Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Memory Lane (ROM, RAM & HD)

Something popped into my head today. A fond memory of my first personal computer, purchased at the expense of a big-assed Wall Street brokerage house, for a whopping $6,000.00. I was told by the head of the equities trading department, whose approval was needed for the purchase, to hide the PC "under" my desk. Reason? So that visiting clients wouldn't think that we were "using video games to make investment decisions." I kid you not. That's what he told me.

Anyway, it was an IBM PC-XT. It came with 256kbytes of RAM and a 5Mbyte hard drive. Yeah, I know. Laughable. Mine had a color monitor, unlike the one shown below:

I wasn't the only PC "guru" on the trading floor, however. I had a counterpart who worked on the Risk Arbitrage Desk, a PhD from Cambridge University in England who happened to have a pirated version of a game called:

I loved Digger. I would spend hours ostensibly working but actually playing Digger. If anyone asked what I was doing my stock response was "Solving a programming problem" and that would shut them up.

In time the hardware outstripped the ability of Digger to keep up with it. By the time we graduated from a PC-AT (8Mhz) to a Compaq 386/16 (16Mhz), the game became impossible to play due to the zippier performance speed of the CPU (is this byte-head enough for you?).

I never got into any other "arcade" pc games the way I had with Digger. Some of the happiest moments of my life were spent zoning out (checking out) with Digger.

It didn't help matters that the musical background that accompanied the game was a famous song from the early 80's, "Popcorn." Click on it, below.


Kelly said...

Ah, what memories, what memories!

I had an 8Mhz 286 that had a "turbo" switch... it really flew at 16Mhz! My game of choice back then was a solitaire game called Beat The Devil. Poor thing completely freaked out on my 64Mhz 386. I was generally more fond of those old text-based adventure games, despite the fact that I was always getting eaten by a gru.

MaryO said...

OMG--DIGGER! I _loved_ Digger!!!

JoyZeeBoy said...

I knew you'd appreciate it, Mary. We had the same misspent youth playing arcade games, especially Digger.

Kelly, I violated the warranty on my first AT (a 6Mhz 80286) by pulling the clock crystal on the mobo and inserting one I bought at Radio Shack. I actually bought an assortment and we kept upping the frequency until the pc wouldn't boot. It was then running at about 8Mhz.