My Book of Nostalgia: Chapter 5: Present-Day Nostalgia Part 2 – The Year 2020

We’re getting close to the end of the current-day story!  Let’s have a look at the year 2020.

One focus item for 2020 was getting CRT monitors for all computers in the basement.  I did a lot of driving around the DC area, but was able to finally accomplish this!  Also, pretty much all machines got memory, cache, and sound card upgrades, and the Tandy 1000 got a REALLY nice setup, complete with XT-CF and networking!  The PS/2 Model 30 286 got a proper setup with a Model M keyboard and a “true” PS/2 mouse. 

I also built an AMD Athlon XP system, bringing in the first non Intel system into the collection.  These machines were originally brought into service during the bad cap height, and finding a working motherboard for this proved to be extremely challenging.  The system I built is still not 100% right, and it’s probably one system that won’t stay in the collect indefinitely.

Throughout the year, the LTE 5000 collection grew, and a search was up to get each system nicely equipped with peripherals!  It took some time, but each machine ended up with a floppy drive, CD-ROM drive… and also a 64MB memory module upgrade!  And one of the most exciting days?  When I got the systems working wirelessly via MS-DOS using Cisco Aironet 350 PCMCIA network cards!

And it didn’t take long for me to realize I had over collected monitors and systems!  As such, I started to pass some items on to other members of the retro community.  Keeping a continually pruned collection is, in my opinion, a healthy thing to do!  Plus, the bigger the fleet, the bigger the chance of hardware failures, and I’ve had my share of them.

At some point, there were people asking questions on some of the retro Facebook groups, and I found the easiest way to answer was by making a quick video.  After posting a few short videos, I got some words of encouragement from the community: “Chris, you should start a YouTube channel.”  I thought “not a chance.”  Well, here we are about a year later… more on that in the next chapter, but, fair to say, I had never planned on it, but am glad I did it.  Some of the early videos are really rough… including one that continues to be very popular (my Gotek video), but we have learned a lot and made incremental quality improvements over time.  I made lots of new friends after starting the channel, subscribers and YouTubers alike, and, although it has been some work, it has been a lot of fun!

Well, I had planned on a combined 2020/2021 chapter, but this has grown long, so, next week, we’ll look at creating the concluding chapter in the series for now!  We’ll talk about how the collection has continued and what we’ve been up to on RetroTech Chris.


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