I have always had an interest in computers. When I was around 13 years old, I would use the Apple computers in my middle school to play classic games like The Oregon Trail. I still remember needing to insert a 5 ¼ disk into the drive to get the game to boot up. Basic word processing programs required the use of the command line. Even when I was in high school, we had some computers that were still running DOS.
I started working a paper route when I was around 13 years old, and saved up as much money as I could. When I was around 15, I purchased my first computer, an IBM Aptiva, for $1,500, from my sister. I used the computer constantly, to explore, play games, and attempt to access my dial-up Internet connection, for which I had to run a nearly 50′ phone cable through the entire apartment, just to connect it to my computer.
As I started to learn more, I started exploring deeper into the computer. One day, I came across the receipt for my computer, and noticed it was supposed to have 64 MB of RAM. I figured out how to check the RAM on my computer, and realized it only had 32 MB.
I called IBM’s technical support to ask about the problem. This was back when technical support was actually useful; back in the late 1990s. The lady on the phone told me that it was possible one of the RAM sticks had become loose, and it needed to be reseated. Back in the 1990s, it wasn’t uncommon for things like chip creep to happen. Although, I had no idea what that meant at the time.
The lady told me that I could take the case off my computer, and inspect the RAM to see if it was seated properly. I was terrified about removing the cover, because I had previously heard about something called ESD, and I didn’t want to die from it.
Nonetheless, I decided to take the case off the computer. I was able to locate the RAM sticks, by following the lady’s instructions. She asked if I could get to them, or if the power supply needed to be removed. I had no problem seeing the RAM, but I was curious about other parts of the computer, so I lied. I told the lady I couldn’t see the RAM, and the power supply needed to be removed.
She gave me instructions on removing the power supply, which wasn’t that hard. It was only a single clip that held it into place. I removed the power supply, jiggled the RAM, and then followed her instructions on reassembling everything. Once everything was back together, I powered on the computer… and it was fixed! My computer was now showing the correct amount of RAM. I was hooked!
From that point on, I couldn’t get enough of computers. I was always taking them apart. I would take them apart, just so I could reassemble them again. Since that day, I’ve never stopped sticking my hands inside of computers.