My Book of Nostalgia: Chapter 4: Early Marriage/Career/Parenthood

At long last, 4.5 years after starting college (I did switch majors, to a MUCH harder major which took me longer to finish), I graduated and we moved to Missouri! As an aside, I actually graduated during a recession and many people who didn’t have jobs yet simply continued their studies, but I was optimistic that I would land a job, and I did.. as a software engineer! That does seem like an eternity ago, but I am quickly getting off topic, so back to the subject at hand!!

As a “rich” (ha!) college grad, making a “real” salary, I splurged and bought my first flat screen LCD monitor: a Balance 19″ display, available only at Wal-Mart. The quality was on par with what you would expect from a low-cost monitor, complete with dead pixels, but I was (mostly) happy. I still have that monitor today, and up until the pandemic, it was my primary desk monitor! And I even used it a bit during the pandemic, but the 1280×1084 max resolution just wasn’t cutting it for me sadly.

After we bought out first house, and had pretty much moved on to using laptops (mostly un-notable Dell laptops that were cheaply available from Dell outlet online), I decided to set up a “newer” desktop for our kids to use! As such, I purchased a Dell Optiplex SX270. And that’s the very machine that inspired the series of blog posts about nostalgia, since recently I spent way too much money repairing this machine to keep it running. Next week on my YouTube channel, I’ll be debuting the final repair video in the series for this machine, which has been running flawlessly now for the better part of a month! My very young kids spent countless hours on this system, and I even created custom website launchers to make it easy for them to find their favorite websites. This little computer reflects the introduction of what are now nostalgic PCs to my children. Now, here we are, two moves later, three jobs later, living in the third home that we have purchased, and the Optiplex SX270 (which we call “Baby Dell”) is working, running a small backup program every night, as it has been for well over a decade at this point. It’s a nice little Pentium 4 system, 2.8GHz, with an 80GB hard drive, and presently 2GB RAM. Its small form factor is extremely flawed in design, and it will eventually cook itself to death again, but, until then, it will soldier on!

And thus concludes the final nostalgic chapter involving the past and retro computing. In the final chapter next week, we’ll discuss my return to the retro computing scene, which has actually been pretty recent really: It all started about two years ago! As such, there’s quite a gap in the history book, from around 2007 until 2019. I’ve toyed with emulators over the years, and have always had a Windows 3.11 virtual machine around, but this was my first foray into hardware purchases. And, for the record, I don’t consider my Optiplex SX270 to be retro, as it has always been with me since the retro days.. but as you can see from the story here, it truly is retro! Funny how the mind works, isn’t it?


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