This weekend, I tried to put together a PC from secondhand parts. For the missing parts, I went into the basement, swept the floor, and used what I found.
My one-year-old helped.
I had the case open in the study on the floor. While I fitted in a 40 GB Western Digital hard drive, he reached in and fooled around with the memory. I showed him how to stay grounded.
I had a bit of a scare when the computer didn’t work. The BIOS took forever to POST, and when I went to install Windows, it said it couldn’t access the drive. Back to the dustpan I went, and I substituted an ancient Quantum 4 GB drive. Then I found out why I always preferred Quantum back when Quantum was in the hard drive business. That 10-year-old Quantum, although hopelessly obsolete, still works.
I have a 20 GB Quantum drive in the basement that’s been running pretty much nonstop since sometime in 2000 or 2001. Its theme song is “My Immortal,” by Evanescence.
Once I find or free up a bigger drive, I’ll image the 4 GB Quantum over to it. In the meantime, that ancient drive let me get on with a weekend project.
The desktop support guy at work assures me that everyone’s drives today are at least as good as those old Quantums were. I don’t buy desktop hard drives very often anymore, so I can’t speak from firsthand experience, but they’re not supposed to. I’d like to think the soul of Quantum still beats within Seagate (Quantum having been absorbed by Maxtor, which in turn was absorbed by Seagate), but who knows? Are DEC‘s best engineers still working at HP?
Who knows. What I do know is when my son gets better dexterity, I’ll probably have help building computers.