It all starts ... somewhere

I was talking with a friend of mine who mentioned that the first computer for his child in school is an ipad, and it started a conversation on how far, and how fast technology has improved. This made me realize its good to chronicle how far we have come from when I started.

The first computer I used was an Apple //e in grade school. We mainly learned to type and played Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?.

My first computer was an IBM AT and the coolest thing about it was the turbo button that - if I remember correctly, went from 8Hz to a mind blowing 10Hz. It had a green monitor, was made of metal, had a hinge on the side like a car hood to open it up. The keyboard was made of some very strong metal frame. Keys were gloriously mechanical, clicky and loud. Here's an example of one model (not the one I had, but quite similar)

By MBlairMartin - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

It was slow, which was actually great. The dir command printed the output a line at a time, you could read it out as it was printing it. It ran MS-DOS and BASIC. The only game available was Nibbles. It cost ~$6,000 (a bit more than $18K in equivalent money today).

I also had the Atari 2600 and then a MSX Sakhr AX150 aka (صخر).

The version 2.0

Following this, the next purhase was a grey box, the star of which was the 486/DX2 with math co-processor. It went from 33Mhz to 66Mhz. It also had a Creative SoundBlaster 16 sound card and a CDROM Drive from Creative, that doubled as a music CD player. It even had a volume control wheel.

This computer was beefy enough to feed all my gaming needs, and I played a lot of games on it. I remember these titles most fondly:

the version 2.0; photo circa a long time ago (in boarding school)

The portable years

Following on from 2.0, I moved to exclusively using laptops as space was a premium in college and subsequent dwellings. In college I had a chance to try out a lot of different computers & computing devices:

Work Starts Here

Once I joined the workforce, I had a mix bag of devices. Starting out as I couldn't afford anything of my own - what I used was whatever provided by the office. This meant a lot of grey-box machines, every kind of laptop you can imagine.

Once I started saving up, I bought my very first laptop. A Thinkpad T430 and my love affair with Thinkpads started (the venerable thinkwiki was my home page).


These days I use a 14" macbook pro (from my work), a custom desktop that I had built during the pandemic as I was working from home, and two Windows laptops (a X1 Carbon and a XPS 15), and .. yes .. an ipad.