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  • 1979 was a big year in my life. There were a great many firsts for me. Some of them made such an impact that they later became hobbies and professions.

    A year of firsts

    First year of high school
    First time I walked into an arcade
    First time I played Dungeons and Dragons
    First time I played Gamma World
    First time I read a book - Lord Foul's Bane by Stephen R. Donaldson
    First time I ever worked on a computer - it was a Radio Shack TRS-80
    First job - worked at a pet store
    First time I ever drank beer
    First kiss from a was at a birthday party, she was 19 and intoxicated

    First time I bought albums from these bands:
    • Led Zeppelin - In Through the Out Door
    • Pink Floyd - The Wall
    • Rush - A Farewell to Kings
    • Supertramp - Breakfast In America
    • The Cars - The Cars
    • Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers - Damn The Torpedoes
    • Triumph - Just A Game
    Movies I saw that year:
    • Alien
    • Moonraker
    • Nightwing
    • Phantasm
    • Prophecy
    • Rocky 2
    • Salem's Lot
    • Star Trek - the motion picture
    • The Black Hole
    • The Warriors
    • When a Stranger Calls
    Favorite shows that came out that year:
    • BJ and the Bear
    • Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
    • Salvage 1
    • Star Blazers
    • The Dukes of Hazard
  • Personally, I despise in-app purchases, especially when it concerns games. I believe the in-app purchase scheme is a shakedown of software users. Greed and insanity has ushered into the market an incessant pay-to-play or pay-to-use plot to pilfer user's pockets and fill the coffers of coders. If I buy any application or a game, then I want to pay just once for it. I refuse to be someone's milking cow.

    One more thing, although I see the practicality in leasing expensive software such as Microsoft Office, I don't see the point in doing the same for inexpensive applications.
  • When building a computer I try to avoid buying and installing generic components. Cheap obscure brands out of China show up regularly in shops online and in the local PC store where I shop. Even though I know better, sometimes cash is short and I need a specific part to replace one that broke.

    A number of years ago the PSU (power supply unit) broke in my son's PC. He needed the computer for school and I didn't have an extra PSU laying around or much coin in my pocket, so I went to the nearest PC shop and bought a generic 500 watt power supply. I think I paid 30 Euros for it. I brought it home, installed it and powered up the PC. Everything worked as it should.

    About two months later I was working on my computer when my son came running in shouting, " computer is on fire!". Since he is something of a joker, I thought he was just pulling my chain. So I ignored him. A few minutes later he came running in again shouting, "Dad come quick, I think my desk is now on fire!". This time the tone in his voice jolted me out of my indifference and I bolted to his room. As I came into the room I immediately noticed a red flame shooting out of the case's side vent. Since the PC was sitting inside one of the desk's compartments, the flame that was shooting out of the vent was licking the wood, scorching it black. I quickly went to the circuit box and shut off all the power. On my way back to the desk I grabbed a full plastic bottle of water. I pulled the PC out of the compartment, yanked all of the cables out of there plugs and tossed the computer out onto the balcony. A flame was still protruding from the side vent, so I poured the contents of the bottle in the hole. There was some sizzling sounds, sort of like a steak on hot coals, but eventually the fire died.

    After a few minutes, I opened the case and this is what I saw.

  • I've always been fascinated with handheld computers. Having your personal data and media in a portable device small enough to carry in your pocket, is irresistible.

    My first handheld was a Casio Digital Diary. It was OK for storing my contacts and notes, but pulling the Digital Diary out in public felt like I was waving around a toy Tricorder. No one needs to see that. In the late 90s there were plenty of gadgets that could put my old clam shell Casio to shame, but they all had small displays that had me squinting while performing tasks. Honestly, who could create a presentable spread sheet on a 3.5 inch display with a stylus. Unfortunately, to scratch my itch, I would have to wait several years for the tech to evolve.

    Here's a list of the various handhelds I've owned over the years.

    In 2000 I traded a couple of RAM modules for my second handheld, a Palm 3e.

    My third device was a HP Jornada 720. I bought it in 2001 for around $1000. Even though the Jornada 720 was a powerful device which came with great software, like Microsoft Office, it suffered from a serious's display. The DSTN display was useless outdoors. I ended up selling it a year later.

    My fourth device was a Sony Clie N710C that I bought in 2002. This was a very good PDA that included Sony headphones with a built-in remote.

    My fifth handheld was a HP iPaq H2210 that I purchased in 2003. I traded in the Clie for the iPaq because I needed navigation for my car. The iPaq and TomTom navigation were a perfect match.

    I purchased my sixth PDA on Ebay out of pure curiosity. I didn't use the Psion Revo for anything serious...just for tinkering.

    I kept the HP iPaq H2210 for quite a while...until I dropped it. After that I bought various cell phones, but nothing really serious enough to be of use to me. Finally, in 2012, my kids bought me my first tablet and seventh device, a Blackberry Playbook. The Playbook is a great tablet, but it was designed more for play than work, hence the name. Even though I don't use it anymore, it is still being used in the family for videos and the occasional game.

    The following year, for Christmas, I received my eighth device and second tablet, an Asus Memo Pad HD 7. The Memo Pad is an OK tablet, but a tablet without LTE, in my opinion, isn't really liberated. Plus, the Memo Pad didn't have the screen size or power I was looking for.

    In 2014 I decided to beat Santa at his own game. After some serious research, I purchased a Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 LTE as a Christmas present to myself. I've been fiddling with this tablet for nearly three years and I can tell you, this is the best device I have owned to date. I have looked at a lot of other tablets since I got this one and none of them have managed to lure me away from my Tab S.

    To feed the beast, I also purchased a lot of accessories: Original Samsung keyboard and cover, Microsoft bluetooth mouse, 128 GB memory card, Sony in-ear headphones and a Plantronics bluetooth earpiece for the built-in cellphone.

    It has taken nine devices and a number of years, but now I have finally found a handheld computer that will adequately scratch that take it all with me. :)
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