Today’s museum post is of my first-ever CD burner, bought in the summer of 1997. That summer, I started my first summer job at a credit card company in downtown San Francisco doing temp work. Once I had earned enough money, I used it to buy the burner and the required SCSI card.
The web was still in its infancy back then so the main way computer shops (and there were a lot more of them, especially mom and pop ones) advertised was through free magazines. In the Bay Area, the main two were MicroTimes and Computer Currents. I found a place that sold the burner and card, and called them from the lunch room at work to confirm the price (~$500) and make the order.
It was my first time using a SCSI device and I was a bit nervous about setting up the correct termination and whether the terminators would be included. In the end, everything worked and I burned my first CD.
It was also my first time using a CD caddy. I kept the same caddy for the life of the burner. You can see the crack in the pictures.
For a little while after, before CD burners became mainstream, I became the main source of custom CDs for my family and friends. I’d charge them $5 for the CD-R and the labor involved in ripping and compiling the CD. Good times.
I’ve mentioned before about keeping my hardware in hopes of someday rebuilding those systems of yesteryear, but sadly, it never happened and I eventually threw out the burner. Of course, I took these photos beforehand.
As always, I hope you’ve enjoyed this museum post. 🙂
Here’s another ad from that old newspaper that was found at my Granny’s house. This one is an ad for Odorono, an early deodorant. Smithsonian.com has a nice history of the product on its site. Just like the Brylcreem, Odorono is still sold today (though probably in a different form).
A few pages from the October 18, 1938 edition of the South China Morning Post were found in my granny’s flat. This was one of the ads on the pages. I’ve never heard of Brylcreem but apparently it is still around, and of course, Watsons is still around as well. It’s interesting to note the 5-digit telephone number. In my lifetime, I’ve used the 7-digit number and today’s 8-digit one.
Today’s museum post features a couple of controller cards from my old 386. The first is an I/O controller card that provided the computer’s parallel and serial ports. Our computer came with a dot-matrix printer that connected to the parallel port, and the mouse connected to the 9-pin serial port known as COM-1. Later on, I acquired a gamepad that connected to the game port (although I don’t remember if I connected it to this card or the one on the Sound Blaster).
If you look closely at the photo above, you might notice the 1980s-logo of a now-ubiquitous brand. That’s right, those chips with the 3-star logos on them are Samsung chips (Samsung means “3 stars” in Korean).
The second card is the drive controller card. Unlike the motherboards of today, the drive and I/O controllers were on separate cards. This card supported the 5.25-inch and 3.5-inch floppy drives and the 40 megabyte Maxtor drive in the beginning, and had room for one more drive later on, the Conner CP3000 that doubled the 386’s storage space.
Similarly, this card contains chips from a Korean company called GoldStar. Of course, today we know it as LG. I wonder if the manufacturing of these chips influenced any of the technology in the phones that we hold in our hands today. Quite fascinating to think about.
This site contains some additional information about the drive controller.
Lastly, it’s interesting to note that both of these cards are labeled as made in Hong Kong. I doubt any cards are made in Hong Kong today.