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Hardware Snippets

How things have changed! In 2003 I wrote:-

My main machine has an infra-red transmitter connected to one of the com ports. This is for my son to program his Lego "RCX" brick. He designs on the computer how he would like his Lego model to move, then transmits by infra-red the commands to the RCX brick, which then controls the model. To see a site full of pictures of computer controlled Lego models click here.

An interesting feature, not found on modern machines, is the 5.25" floppy drive. This was fitted, as the machine I had previously only used 5.25" floppies, and I needed to transfer my data to the new machine! Of course I have a standard 3.5" and CD ROM drive as well.

The Internet machine was rebuilt from a scrap chassis and motherboard and is now complete with CD ROM drive and sound card.

The Test machine is a P166 with 48Mb RAM . A separate test machine is essential if you want to try out many programs from magazine disks, as installing and uninstalling lots of software soon clogs up a machine, particularly the Windows directory, and slows it down. Conflicts can also occur with some software, and a with a test machine, if the system clogs up, a fresh start can be made by formatting the hard disk and starting again without loosing important data.

The test machine is also an excellent CD player for the computer room, as it has a really good sound card (although it only cost 10!), and is connected to a pair of decent Hi-fi speakers.

My son is chuffed because his PC has a far greater spec than any of mine. We recently built him a 700 MHz machine with 128 Mb RAM and 20GB hard disk. It flies! This is networked to his old P90, which is now used as extra storage space and spare floppy drive!

I guess this page needs updating!!!

P.C. Training

Having taught myself computing, I can now help others in using their machines. Many people buy a new computer and apart from playing a few games do not know what a computer can do for them. I have given one to one tuition to people with new computers to explain to them how to use the machine, and to give them an idea of what it can do. Typically I would spend three or four evenings with someone, and at the end of that time, they are confident to use the computer on their own for some serious applications, and no longer have a very expensive pack of cards to play with! 

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