Friday, February 27, 2009

When my PC is down, I get sick

About 15 years ago, I started to spend more and more time on the computer.
Back then, there were no Internet, no ICQ, no MSN.

But there was many Bulletin Board Services aka BBS.

These were small home servers which allowed users to dial in and chat with the local database of users. These were not live chats like what we have now. More like emails and even back then most of us didn't even know what emails was. So then, it was sort of like a turn based chats, whereby you could see their reply and response to their replies on the next time you dial into the server.

On such BBS, there were also some basic turn-based text games running on ANSI graphics.
In today's DirectX and OpenGL standards, these text games were considered medieval.

Last but not least, BBS also presented itself like some form of file sharing server.
Well, that was how we were able to get online porn those days before even the availability of Internet in SG.

Back then, the local phone company was government owned and landline subscription rates were fixed regardless of airtime usage. To connect to a BBS, you'd have to dial in using a 2,400 or 14,400bps faxmodem. Yes, bps not kbps. Back then, having a 14.4kbps modem mean having a Mercedes in the world of computing. And since airtime was unlimited, I spend a good 6-8 hours on dialing into BBS during my teens.

There were so many BBSes in Singapore.
Just to name a few:

Playground BBS [ they had 3 incoming lines ]
Robotics BBS
The Best Connection TBCBBS [ I owned this one ]

It was fun setting up a BBS. I remember staying up late with a few friends, designing ANSI graphics for login screens, chat screens etc.

Electricity bills went up and still remained affordable, unlike these days.

Then there was this sad period whereby my PC broke down. The PC that was serving up to 200 users whom regularly dial into my BBS. [ I only had one incoming line then, that means only 1 user can dial into my BBS at any one time ]. The same PC I use for surfing BBS of other people.

That time, I wasn't proficient in PC repair yet. In those days, everything was DOS command line. Windows wasn't popular yet. The PC refused to power up and the power supply unit wasn't cheap back then. To buy another one, I gotta save and scrimp my pocket money.

Then I fell sick. Just like that. I realised my life was so intertwined with my computing activities such that when the PC failed, I didn't know what to do.

And since then, I'd noticed whenever my PC breaks down, I'd fall sick.
And in the days when Windows 95 started to get popular, more problems begin to affect the PC reliability. Win98 came and BSOD came with it.


DOS didnt have such problems. You run an application, it takes up the full screen, you end it and you start another one. No problems.

Rebooting a DOS system takes less than 10 seconds.
Rebooting Windows takes forever..

And so the list of problem goes on.

Some may ask... Where am I bringing the reader [aka you] with all this talk about my history with the PC?

Windows has made everyday computing a lot easier with its easy to use Graphics User Interface[GUI].

However, along with it, problems of memory allocations, hardware resources needed, BSODs, boot times, viruses, etc. To use Windows has become a somewhat painful experience as more applications gets installed. Continuous need for better hardware for newer applications.

Not forgetting that Windows originally was intended to make everyday computing easy for the non-technical person. But in doing so, Windows has also created a mountain of issues which is impossible for the non-technical everyday user of PCs.

This blog will log my encounters with everyday issues I face with the Windows OS and its related applications. It will also serve to show the readers what steps was taken to solve these issues and also preventive measures.

I hope everyone will gain by my sharing my experiences with the PC.

So if your PC is down, you don't need to fall sick.
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