I love computers. I may even go so far as to admit to possibly being obsessed with them. I purchased my first computer with my own money when I was twelve. I earned money with my brother by doing a paper route, shoveling snow, and raking leaves. Later, I would “babysit” neighborhood kids while their moms took a nap. In actuality, I just played with the kids for a few hours and got paid, which I thought was awesome.
My first computer was a Commodore 64, or C64. I would spend hours programming it in BASIC. I subscribed to magazines that highlighted new software, and each issue would have a few pages of code you could copy and it would do something silly like create an ASCII graphic or flashing colored text. I would spend hours in my room typing away. My mom never really bugged me about it. I started my physical training for the Army soon after, which meant going on 3 mile runs with my brother Kevin everyday after school. Kevin went into the Air Force. I had access to computers in the Army too.
The Army had access to things that weren’t yet available to civilians. I took them for granted at the time, because it never occurred to me that it was exclusive access. I remember some of the software programs before Microsoft Office came out. I remember old brands that no longer exist or at least don’t produce computers anymore. Like Packard Bell and Micron.
I have several computers presently. A mac mini, a macbook pro retina, my custom gaming PC that I built, my Alienware gaming laptop, my Lenovo linux laptop, and my new Toshiba chrome laptop. Also, two raspberry pi’s and an arduino. So I guess nine. I think I may have a problem. But seriously, I use all of them. My thing is that each has it’s purpose, and I don’t like using the same machine to do multiple tasks. It’s not that I don’t know how to partition a drive and put multiple OS’s on it. I choose not to do so.
Computers are so cheap these days. The hardware is useful for years, but I’m an upgrader when possible. I hate that Apple has started soldering their ram and hard drives to the motherboards in an effort to keep us from upgrading them, and thus forcing us to buy them more often. I have a love hate relationship with Apple. I love some of their hardware, and I like OSX. But I find them underpowered, and overpriced. I like the mini because it’s so small and adorable. It’s enough for Photoshop and Logic. I use my Mac’s for creative endeavors.
My PC’s are about gaming. I play Warcraft daily for the most part. I take breaks sometimes. I don’t do raids or dungeons anymore. They scare me. I know it’s cartoony and fake, but the dungeons and raids make me super anxious. So I farm mats, help kids level, and fly around looking at stuff. I’m not a hardcore gamer by any stretch. I also play The Sims 2, 3, and I’ll probably buy 4 soon. I build houses. I don’t ever go out of build mode. I know that’s not the point of the game, but that’s how I play it.
After one of my sims died from drowning because I forgot to put a ladder in the pool, I was so over creating them. That kinda freaked me out. EA is sadistic. So is Blizzard. Sometimes when I look around too much, I see a lot of really disturbing stuff in WoW. So I just stick to places that are pretty scenery and I fish a lot. That’s what’s fun to me. A few times, I’ve buckled under guild pressure and done a raid or dungeon here and there. But it wasn’t fun to me.
I like my guild though. There are other aspies in it, and even though there are over 600 people, I have the highest 2 gear scores from my hunter and my pally. When you consider I don’t do dungeons or raids, that’s pretty impressive. Not that I need 700 gear scores to fish. I hate PvP too. Player versus player. The Horde on the server I play on are vile. They do stuff like spit on your corpse after they kill you. They camp out at the cemetery and kill you again when you respawn, which pisses me off big time. I end up running my ghost to a different cemetery to revive. Such a waste of time.
I would feel badly about the number of computers I have, but I always give them away when I move on to something else. I teach elderly people how to use computers, printers, and digital cameras. I’m super patient with them, because I know they didn’t have computers in their schooling. One woman I taught, her son is someone I went to school with. He’s a computer security specialist at a major bank now, and would yell at her if she didn’t catch on fast enough.
I always knew he was a dick, but dang. No way to treat your mom! So I taught her a lot of stuff. Then I gave her a netbook and a laptop. She had a Gateway desktop. It was ancient. She got broadband, and now she’s savvy. She builds websites and does digital photography on her bus trips to casinos. I went on one with her to Deadwood a few summers ago. I was the youngest person on the bus by a lot. Deadwood is not exactly a destination I would have chosen. I don’t gamble, so I ended up hiking to Calamity Jane’s grave and reading. All the old people were getting drunk from free booze while playing slots.
It was only 3 days but those were 3 very long days. She learned fast, and all I had to do was make cheat sheets out of 3×5 notecards. She told me her son came to visit and wanted to go online while there. He asked for her password, and when she told him, he was impressed. I taught her not to use words or numbers that were associated with her in any way. She had a super strong wifi password because she lived in an apartment complex. We all know about borrowing Wifi in apartment complexes. I didn’t want her getting a visit by the FBI because of something a wardriver or neighbor did on her wifi.
The last time I saw her, she told me that she taught someone else what I taught her. She took the 3×5 cards I made her to Kinkos and made copies for her friends. I thought that was funny. I go to the VA with a laptop and my tools once in a while and do free tech support for vets. Some of the stuff they come to me with is a trip. I have to admit, some forms of ignorance are surprisingly creative. Removing a coax cable from an ethernet port was pretty funny. He jammed it in there with a purpose.
I’m going to take my chromebook on vacation with me. I should have a break from tech, but not this time. I have books to read so I probably won’t use it much, anyway. We’ll see.