In this week’s Flashback Friday, we’re going to a personal place for me with my all time favorite computer, fondly referred to as “Frankenstein.”
As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, my first computer was a Commodore 64, and while it ignited my love for computers, it was Frankenstein that turned it into an obsession. Between the 64 and Frankie, as we lovingly called it in my house, I used a 286 12MHz Packard Bell at work. One day while cruising Waltons, now known as Sam’s Club, I cam across a good deal on a 486 66MHz with a monitor. I wanted a PC at home, and I decided to pick it up although I had never heard of the brand, Pionex..
Little did I know what a monster I was creating.
My memory is fuzzy on its original specs because I did so many upgrades to it, but I do remember it came with only one 3.5-inch floppy drive, Windows 3.1, a dial-up modem, a hard drive I thought I could never fill up and that was about it. Over the years I expanded the RAM, swapped out the audio and video cards, slapped in a CD-ROM, added a tape drive for back-ups, saved up for an additional 1.2GB hard drive, upgraded to Windows 95 and thought I had died and gone to a happy place when I added the second 3.5-inch drive.
If you haven’t guessed by now, the name for the computer came from all the changes I made to it. My family jokingly called it Frankenstein one evening when they found me sitting on the floor, once again removing the chasis to add yet another component. I spent more time tinkering around inside this computer than any other I’ve ever owned.
I feel as though the vast majority of what I know about computers came from this system. I started with a canvas with only a few dollops of paint on it, and I ended up filling in the rest of scenery. I taught myself about installing components, running power cables, Updating the BIOS to tell it about new parts and a whole lot more.
Frankie served me well for about five years, and about the only reason I stopped using it was it was getting slower and Windows 98 was on the horizon. I knew it had no chance of running the latest OS, and Windows 95 and I never really got along. (I don’t think anyone really got along with Windows 95.) Although Frankie hasn’t been in use for years now, it has remained in my house more out of sentimental reasons than anything else. As we are in the middle of preparing for some renovations, and the cabinet it has resided in for all these years needs to be moved, I have finally moved it to the computer graveyard in my office. It will eventually be taken out to head to recycling, but I will always have fond memories of this system.
Enjoy this little slice of walking down my personal memory lane as I say good-bye to this old, and dear friend.
(“Ruder Than You” was the name of a Ska band back in the 1990s. While not my favorite group of the Ska resurgence of that decade, I just liked the slogan being on my computer.)