So what is my Technological History anyway?

After dealing with some server issues and a recent move I am glad to be back on the site.  I was recently reading some other blogs and one guy had a post where he talked about his Tech background and well why not share mine.  So here we go.

It all began in the early 1990’s, my friend Belinda recently got a new computer in her house (well her parents anyway)  This computer ran Windows 3.1 and had AOL (America Online) which we spent hours on having fun as kids in the early days of the web.  In early 1995 my parents got their first computer.  A Packard Bell 480 CD, running Windows 3.11 Windows For Workgroups on a 75 MHz Pentium with 4 Mb of ram and a 1 Gb hard drive.  Oh yeah it was cool. This computer cost a whopping $2,400. We would never have internet on this machine as that was an expensive monthly bill my parents could not justify and they were paying off the computer.  This computer would later become my first computer.  I upgraded it to Windows 95 and installed a 90 MHz Pentium and 32 Mb of ram.  I completely disassembled this computer and put it back together just for fun and to better understand computers.

I met my friend Jake in Grade School who was into computer games and started learning a few things from him.  We had a lot of fun trying out new things and customizing Windows to our liking, sometimes at our parents disapproval.  We also spent a lot of time online via AOL having fun in chat rooms and talking over instant messenger.

My parents second computer was an IBM Aptiva with an AMD K6-2 I think 350 MHz and like 128 Mb of ram running Windows 98, not the Second Edition just the first version of Windows 98.  This computer was a problem from the start. Windows 98 had a bug in it that caused it to crash and my dad bought a copy of Windows 98 Second Edition and I helped him install it.  By this time I had picked up a few things about computers and was reading computer magazines.  I told my dad to get a Pentium II instead of the K6-2 but oh well.  If I remember correctly this computer cost around $1,200 to $1,800.

Sometime while my parents were using this computer and before I got a new one my parents would get NetZero because it was free.  Free Internet! Man were those the days! I later bought a long phone cable and would sneak out of my room at night and plug in my computer into the phone jack in the other room.  I copied the install files for NetZero of either a floppy disc or CD and would spend time every day online on my own computer.  While other people spent time in chat rooms, playing games, or looking at porn, I would be downloading music (later on to stop because it was illegal and later either deleted all that music or bought the albums{I am a big music supporter today, support bands dang it, buy a CD from them}) or I would be reading about Windows from Paul Thurrott or Mary Jo Foley or other places I could find or download updates and other programs to make my computer cooler in my eyes. (to say that Paul and Mary Jo have not been an influence on my would be a lie and I openly admit it)

When I was in High School in early 2001 my parents recognized two things, first that computers were the future in business and life in general, and two that I was good with them.  So they bought me my own machine.  A Compaq Presario 7120US running Windows ME on a 1.5 GHz Pentium 4 with 128 Mb of Rambus ram and a 60 Gb hard drive.  This computer was around $800 to $1,000 if my memory serves me right and I still have this machine.  I actually liked Windows ME, for a few reasons, first because if crashed less (it seemed) than Windows 98 on my parents computer and second it had some features I really liked such as zip file support and Windows Movie Maker.  I would later in December 2001 install Windows XP Pro on this machine.  I got a disc from a friend at school (we are no longer in contact).  I would later learn online that this was software piracy and later deleted that partition from my computer for fear that Microsoft was going to come after me or something.  Later on I would scrape the money together to buy a copy of Windows XP Home to put on this machine.

I met my friend Ed while I was in High School and we bonded over what we were running on our computers.  When he found out I was already on Windows XP we really had a lot to talk about.  I would learn a ton from him about computers and we are still good friends to this day.

My senior year of High School my friend Jake convinced me to take a Visual Basic 6 class.  He would continue to pursue programing in college and I would not.  So while I can’t really program anything I do at least understand some basics and have a healthy respect for programmers.  Programing is something I would like to get back into because there is more money there.

In college I knew the director of IT because he went to our church.  He hired me on as a student worker to help him keep the classroom computers and the lab running smoothly.  Over the summer my friend Ed would tell me that Best Buy was hiring in their tech bench (this was right before it would be rebranded as Geek Squad) Here I would learn so much on the job.  I became a pro at removing viruses and seldom gave up on a computer.  9 times out of 10 I did not have to format the hard drive and reinstall Windows.  To me that was giving up.

With the help of Ed I would later build my first computer.  This machine would see many installations of Windows sometimes many at once. I ran this computer into the ground and then used my laptops till I had enough money to build the computer I have now and like any good tech it is in need of an upgrade I think.

From there I would work for the local water treatment plant for my city as a tech, as well as Staples and a school district.  It was at this time I would start a blog that would become Useful Windows.  I would later be a remote technician for a local company with clients nation wide and eventually go back to work for Best Buy Geek Squad, funny enough for my old boss though neither of us realized it till we met for the interview.  Today I work mostly side jobs when it comes to technology but I would like to go back to full time.  I have four versions of Windows installed on my desktop and about six others in virtual machines just to I can test and write articles here.  In addition to that I have multiple desktops and laptops for testing as well.   My wife thinks I have a problem but I have gotten rid of some and clearing out old computers.

So what is next for Useful Windows, well I hope to cover as much about Windows Threshold (9) as I can.  Some usability guides for Windows 8.X, more install and upgrade articles and anything else you suggest.  I have been looking into doing weekly videos where I talk about tech news if you all are interested.  In the mean time thank you for reading and supporting me all these years.

2 replies
  1. Linda
    Linda says:

    @Bryan, it’s around 3:30am in NY, hot/humid, so got out of bed after playing w/cats. Turned computer on, and got email from usefulwindows. Just finished reading your personal story called “So what is my Technological History anyway?” It put some smiles on my face; found it quite interesting, and brought back many memories that have been hidden in my brain. … Would like to share with you, at this time, only one story about my beginnings with computers. … Back in the late 1980s or maybe early 1990s a friend who worked at IBM in NY loaned me his computer. I used the ‘puter solely for writing letters and bookkeeping. Was NOT on Internet; knew nothing about it. Was at the time when that “Michaelangelo virus” was written about in newspapers. Did not want my friend’s computer to get sick with a virus, so every night before retiring I covered the computer with a towel. Apparently my towel trick worked because friend’s computer did not get a virus! Yes, this is a true story! — Linda

    • Bryan Moore
      Bryan Moore says:

      Oh that’s funny, a lot of people really did not understand computer viruses years ago. I am glad you enjoyed the post. I did forget to mention that my grade school had a lab of Apple II computers. I used those till 1997. Also when I disassembled my computer and put it back together it did not work for about a month. My parents told me I had to fix it, so I did some research at a friends house and realized I had the jumper pin on the hard drive wrong. Changed the pin setting and fixed my computer. Oh the memories.


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