On this lazy Sunday we have a flyer from inside a Verbatim 3.5-inch floppy disk 10-pack, circa 1993. Back in 2012 I went through and recycled the majority of my floppies, saving only the ones that I considered favorites. Now, during this de-cluttering phase of my life in 2017, the rest of them are headed for the shredder (check out the Floppy Disk Memorial too).
This was a pretty sweet deal back then: buy 10 disks, get another with 4 free games, plus another 2 disks via mail-in rebate, for a total of 13 disks. As can be seen from the missing panel, I definitely took advantage of this offer.
Both my sister and I enjoyed these games immensely. We both loved JezzBall, but I think her favorite was Rodent’s Revenge. I can still hear the sound of the bouncing balls in my head. A few years ago when I was still running an x86 version of Windows, I was able to run and install the games. Might have even been Windows 7.
Last Friday we had the page from Computer Currents, and today we have a page from MicroTimes. It is so strange that I ripped out single pages from both of these magazines, with no apparent reason. Even stranger is that I kept them in the blue bag for a couple of decades or more.
Page 31 is is an ad for a computer that sold printers. Maybe I was looking to upgrade to a fancy laser printer. Page 32 is an ad from a mom & pop, white-box, brown-box, OEM, clone, whatever-term-you-want-to-use computer store that was so prevalent back then. I’ll take the 486DX-50 with local bus, please!
Here’s a nice artifact from the pre-internet days of computing, from almost exactly 25 years ago: a page from Computer Currents magazine, a free publication that was available from those metal boxes at various street corners.
I don’t remember why I kept this particular page. In May of ’92, I was just finishing my first year of high school, and I certainly did not have the funds for a new computer, but it looks like I saved this page for the Stellar USA ad. Maybe I was already pining for an upgrade to my 386. Maybe there was a game that I wanted to max out settings on. But why a vendor from Berkeley? I’d probably never even been there at that point. I guess it will have to remain a mystery.
It’s fun to see prices from that time period and to see how far we’ve come. The upgrade technology on the second page is interesting as well (more here). Looks like at the end of the day, it always has been and always will be about the balance between cost and performance. Very fascinating indeed.
Here’s one more museum post before calling it a day: an order form from a shareware company called American Software. I probably got this from a once-ubiquitous computer show either at the Cow Palace or Oakland Convention Center. The additional cost for a 3.5-inch floppy disk suggests that this order form is from the early 90s. Googling the company and address shows almost no trace of American Software. The only matching results are ads from the company in Boys’ Life magazine (now in Google’s scanned archive). Coincidentally, I did read Boys’ Life during that time, though I probably wouldn’t have remembered this if I hadn’t encountered this order form.
The original warranty card from my Sound Blaster 2.0. Interesting to note that it’s almost 24 years to the day from when I purchased it back in 1992. Amazingly, even the floppies had a warranty. I suppose it makes sense for a period before the proliferation of the internet.
I’ve made a lot of posts about my first computer, but I don’t think I’ve once mentioned my first monitor, which came with that computer. It was a 14-inch SVGA model, capable of displaying a maximum resolution of 1024×768, though at that time very few programs could make use of it. The 386’s video card was a Paradise with 256k RAM, and I think I somehow convinced my father to buy an extra 256k so that I could make full use of the monitor. The chips came in a plastic tube that you could tilt to slide them out. They weren’t cheap, either.
I don’t remember if the monitor was an interlaced or non-interlaced model. I just know that compared to the one at my aunt’s house, it was darker and the colors less lively, even on the brightest setting. The VGA cord was built into it as well.
Even googling the monitor doesn’t reveal anything at this point. If I ever find a photo of the monitor, I’ll post it here. For now, here’s the manual that I scanned during that big 2012 cleanup. As always, hope you’ve enjoyed this trip down memory lane.
The first modem I ever got was a 2400 baud. I can barely remember lines of text appearing one at a time, from left to right, when dialing into a BBS. Later on, my cousin’s friend’s wife (or maybe girlfriend) lent me her external 14,400 baud that connected via serial port, and it (either the modem or the fact that an older woman lent me her modem) was like the greatest thing since sliced bread.
I have a vague recollection of acquiring the modem above from Costco, or maybe Price Club. It was amazing to finally have my own. I can’t remember if it was an upgrade to a 2400 or 9600.
Googling the 1442F Rev A on the PCB reveals that this is a modem from Best Data, but at the same time I found another image with 1442F Rev A on the PCB that looks nothing like this one. I remember having the manual somewhere and it is indeed Best Data (and may have had a yellow-colored cover), and if I ever find it I’ll confirm. Until then, hope you’ve enjoyed this museum post!
Update: after making this post I googled around some more, and found a photo of the manuals included with the modem. The cover is indeed yellow! The other manual was for a program called Quicklink II. I would not have remembered using this program had I not seen the manual. In later years, I always used Telix. Good night!
My cousin NVG used to find games in the bargain bin and share them with us, and Fiendish Freddy was one of those games. We played it on the 386 – the only thing I remember is the opening music of the game playing on the internal PC speaker. Good times.
One last thing to add: JC just saw this post and asked me what a Tandy was. haha. Took me a second to answer her with two words: “Radio Shack”. Good night.
Whenever I see photos of my old computer stuff from the 90s, I find myself feeling pangs of regret for getting rid of so much stuff back in 2012 when I decided to turn my life upside-down. And yet, if I hadn’t gone and taken these photos at that time, the stuff probably wouldn’t even show up in my thoughts, let alone my desktop slideshow. If I hadn’t thrown out my things, would I be comforted now knowing they are buried inside a box in my closet halfway across the world? At this moment the answer is yes, but I know that before 2012, I never would have asked this question in the first place. You know what they say: out of sight, out of mind.
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.