I admit it. I have an addiction. They say the first step to solving an addiction is to admit that it exists. Well I’m here telling you I realize it. However, I don’t want to get rid of this addiction. It’s a very good addiction that’s not bad for my health, only my wallet.
Yes I admit it. I am addicted to computers.
So it should come as no surprise to you that I shall be studying computers at university next year. It even says so in the about me section on the sidebar. So it must be true. What you read on the internet is always true. Sheesh… But seriously now, I’ve been deeply into computers since several years ago. Let me give you the background.
It was 2001 and our family had a Dell P4 system. My dad and I played mostly games on it. I had been to the local Futureshop (which had relatively recently opened up here) and saw the shelf of video cards and wondered just what people did with them. I had never really seen the inside of my computer at this point. Well one day I decided that we definitely needed to do something to improve the performance on our computer. So I went to the internet and did some searching. I still remember the first site I went to, Tom’s Hardware. I did a random search on the internet for tech sites and that one came up first I guess. In any case, I did some studying and prepared myself to do some computer surgery.
We went out and plopped down a good $300 or so on an ATi Radeon AIW 32MB. A pretty decent card at the time, we liked the idea that we could import our video camera stuff into our computer with it and also that we could now watch TV on our computer. Installing it went without a hitch but I was hitched. It was to be the start of a pretty exciting hobby (and now much more than just a hobby) for me.
From then on, I upgraded a few relatively small things like the hard drive and so forth, but it wasn’t until the fall of 2002 that I embarked on my next ambitious computer project. Throughout the rest of 2001 after installing the video card and the first half of 2002, I participated in the online tech community. I spent quite a bit of time chatting with other enthusiasts (if you could even call me that at that point), sharing opinions and gathering new ideas. So it was the summer of 2002 that I became very interested in configuring and building a computer myself. So I went and got the parts all chosen and shipped in and I built it on a weeknight. Boy that was fun.
I had put it all together and I prepared to turn on the computer. Oh this would be a moment long remembered; however I didn’t realize it would be for the wrong reason. I pushed the power button and absolutely nothing happened. Ugh. So after much rooting through the computer, I realize I plugged the damn power wires in wrong to the motherboard. After switching them to the right pins, poof, on the computer turned. I then installed Windows and whatnot. I went to bed content that night.
The next step on my journey was to enter the world of overclocking and tweaking. At first I was constantly scared about breaking my shiny new project. Fast forward a couple days. That feeling has passed and I was overclocking the system like mad. Of course with my n00bish skills I didn’t get very far, but it was fun nonetheless.
So the year after that, I built another computer, this time with more experience in choosing parts and overclocking. That became my own personal computer so I could do basically what I pleased with it. I then upgraded that computer to an Athlon64 and so forth, but that’s not important in the overall scheme of things.
I also got into Linux quite a bit. It seemed like a very interesting platform. Lots of people talked about it, but I didn’t really see it around much. So I decided to try it out for myself. Boy, that created many, many hours of frustrating but, in the end, fruitful work. I now can get around in Linux and learned quite a bit of Google searching =P and perseverence. I had to switch several distros which meant formatting and reinstalling then configuring the system several times. More than once I gave up for a while only to take it back up again later. I’ve finally got a nice Linux setup going and it’s been working well. Now if only people made more games for it. 😉
So now I’ve spent a ton of time on the tech forums reading and responding. Everytime I read this person’s overclock or that person’s new system, it makes me tingle and I want to go out and grab another piece or hardware to test or push my system further. It’s a never ending want for more. But I’ve semi-learned to control it. From time to time, it rears its head again and my finger twitches though and wants to push that buy button.
In the end though, I can’t think of something else I wouldn’t rather spend my money on. (well university’s kind of important, but yeah…) It’s taught me a lot more than, say, that a non-locked PCI bus = corrupted hard drives. It’s taught me discipline, testing methodology, analytical skills and the passion for a great field of work. I genuinely look forward to my university studies in computers. Hopefully it’ll be a sort of continuation of what I’ve been doing on my own for the past 4 years.