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Monday, February 11, 2019

The New Old Computer

I meant to post pictures of the new old Windows computer with the previous post, but I had over 100 various pictures to process (and I do a lot of resizing, cropping, and light/color adjustment*).  Feeling lazy, I didn't.  Now I have.  Mainly, I took the pics to document the unboxing process in case of damage, but since I had them...

The box was perfectly sized.  I mention that only because it seems to be a generic box.
It was very carefully enclosed in bubble wrap.  
For an old Windows 95 machine, it was in very good shape.
The A drive (the minidisk) doesn't seem to work, but since I don't have any of those it doesn't matter right now.  I could get it replaced if I needed to.  It makes a lot of noise when booting up, and I don't remember if that is normal.  But it gets quiet again afterwards.

I love the way old Windows towers label the basic ports.  It was nice to see ports labeled for the mouse, the keyboard and the monitor.  Unfortunately, I didn't have those old mouse and keyboards, but it did have ports for the newer mouses (mice?) and keyboards.  An old monitor (I keep stuff) did work (one of those funny old multi-pin plugs).

So I plugged a mouse and keyboard in the USB A style ports right below the labeled ports.  And rebooted it.  Neither worked, but the monitor did, so at least I got messages about that.

I mentioned I keep stuff.  Well, sadly, I had gone on a moderately serious decluttering binge a few months ago and threw out most of my "old never useful again" cables.  I bet I tossed a few adapters that would have worked! 

So I visited a computer store, a Best Buy, and a Walmart.  None of them had the adapters OR any mouse or keyboard with those old PS/2 input cables**.

I went to Amazon.  Bless Amazon, they had adaptors.  Anxious to play the old Civ2 game, I ordered a pack of 2 adapters AND a dedicated old PS/2 mouse (just to be sure).  I could have ordered a PS/2 keyboard, but after I dug around in the computer room closet I found an old one.  It was large, it was complicated by dozens of specialized buttons, it was dirty, the letters on the keys are faded.

But it worked... 

So the adapters and the PS/2 mouse arrived in a week (3rd party seller).  The mouse works perfectly.  I cleaned the old keyboard ***.  I loaded the game and started at the easiest level (its been a while).  After about 16 hours, I am WAY ahead (and only about 1/2 way through).  I guess I still remember the basics. 

It is like being addicted to some uncommon game (like Stadium Checkers) and meeting a new friend who also loves the game and has it (I do).
1950s vintage Stadium Checkers board game w/ glass marbles ...
Can you guess I love games?

* I don't mean like Photoshopping them, but Mac Preview allows some pretty good fast adjustments.  I routinely crop all my pics first, then increase the "definition" to 90 of 100, then increase the lighting (brighten the pics) and lower the color (so Marley doesn't look Neon Orange, LOL).  But it is still 1 picture at a time.  I wish I could do the settings in groups.

** I don't want anyone to think I just know all the hardware stuff.  I had to look up  all the kinds of ports to figure out what I needed.  Searching "computer port images" was very helpful.

*** I spend a lot of time outdoors so I sort of live around dirt.  I learned the best way to clean a keyboard is 1) Unplug it.  2) Vacuum it with a brush nozzle.  3)  Turn it upside down and tap the back gently several times.  4) Then spray a glass cleaner on a soft cloth and WHILE holding the keyboard upside down, (so no cleaner gets into the keyboard innards) wipe the keys in all directions.  Works for me.


Megan said...

I couldn't have helped you in any way at all, Mark, but I do recall these old beasts. Geeez, I'm so old that I can recall 5 1/4in floppy disks!

Sydney, Australia

Mark's Mews (Ayla, Iza, and Marley) said...

I remember those and used them often. My first computer at work was a proprietary companyrequired you to keep changing several of then in and out (one for the program, one for the Multiplan spreadsheet, and one to store anything you wanted to save).

My first home computer was a commodore 64 and oh man that was fun (really it was). But that lived on the old floppies too.