How many remember the first computer they owned? I guess most. I do. And I dedicate this article to that remarkable old companion and its accessories, now boxed in a corner back home.
It happened during my final school years (~14 years ago at the time of writing). I remember feeling overjoyed when my dad agreed to buy me a computer. Thanks dad! It defined the course of my life! It was an assembled one: a PIII unit (133MHz bus) with a motherboard from a South-East Asian vendor, 128MB RAM, 16GB hard disk and a wonderful LG StudioWorks monitor. PIII was the affordable latest then. I know guys who started programming on machines that took 6 hrs to compile simple Fortran programs. I was luckier in that respect… I could play Max Payne on this rig. The days since we ordered the machine went in contemplation. And finally it was delivered! It felt like I was dreaming all the time! It was mostly white and looked awesome. The technician who came to setup things brought some movies and a few Chip and Digit CDs. Internet was still costly and those magazines used to sell like hotcakes. He installed Windows 98 and some software to play multimedia, probably Xing. Then he started Terminator 2: Judgment Day. It was an unforgettable experience.
I played around with that box for years changing screensavers, themes, playing games and learning a little Basic. It became my motivation to enroll in Computer Sc. & Engineering. I remember I used to program for hours on that machine during my graduation. I started learning C with Turbo C 16-bit. One day I was mocked on one of the online C programming forums for using that dated software. I moved over to Bloodshed Dev C++ as someone suggested. Then I came to know about Linux which became the love of my technical life. The first version I installed was Red Hat Linux 6.0. I ended up breaking my Windows installation and the computer became an all-Linux box. I continued exploring Linux. I loved the beautiful theme Cheese. And I loved the geek status in college ;). I was astonished that a free and open source OS comes with everything in it: right from the compiler to media player. Later, when I became more comfortable installing Linux I turned the computer into a dual-boot system with Red Hat and XP. I had to have XP because people around me knew only Windows and I had to be compatible to exchange stuff.
After my graduation I had to move to a different city for job. The computer was still working great and my sisters kept using it. In course of time they got a laptop and the box ended up in the attic. A few years back I thought of reviving it with Linux and unpacked it. But the disk had bad sectors, the monitor was flickering and I had to rest the idea with a heavy heart. That old computer had a huge contribution in shaping my outlook and career. Thank you old box!