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The story of my Packard Bell

 
 
philo
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      02-06-2008, 11:53 PM
Though I'm an old timer who took a few Fortran IV classes back in the days
of punch cards.
I hated those punch cards so much that I swore I'd never touch a computer
again.
Though I did briefly own a TI-99 back in 1982 or so...I eventually grew
afraid of computers.
Not only did I hate them. I hated people who used them...and my only
exposure to them was at work
when I needed to record parts I was taking out of inventory..

For may years I did well by not using a computer...and whenever I wrote,
I used an old L.C. Smith Corona typewriter that was probably made in 1939.
I still recall getting a letter from a friend of mine...and it took him two
pages to tell me
all he had to do to get his printer working.

I laughed and told him that with my typewriter I just put in a piece of
paper and go...
change the ribbon once a year...and a few drops of oil every five years.


All was well until my girlfriend purchased a Packard Bell Legend in 1995.
It was right after Windows95 was released...I thought she went off her
rocker
when she dished out 1600 USD to buy it. That would have purchased 320
rummage sale typewriters!

I absolutely feared the thing and stayed well away from it. Looking back I
realized that I though I was too stupid
to ever learn how to use it.


A few years later, my girlfriend and I broke up...
but one day I wrote her a letter just to ask how she was doing and I
released that
we were still on good terms...and we'd talk a bit from time to time.

In 1999 it happened. She got a new computer and asked me if I wanted her old
one.

It was *FREE* . Yes free is good. So I took it. (Not recognizing the fact
that she knew I'd
have to have her over all the time to show me how to use it. Sheesh, women
are so smart, are they not?)

It did not take me too long to learn how to use it...and in the process we
got our relationship
patched up and we've been together ever since.

That old Packard Bell served me very well for many years and I learned a lot
from it.
When new...it had only 8 megs of RAM. A p-75 cpu and an 850 meg HD.

I soon was building up an assortment of computers around the house...
and that PB would take virtually any hardware I could throw in it.
Any parts that did not work on other machines...would happily work fine in
that old PB.
By the time I retired it many years later...
It had a 20 meg HD and 128 megs of RAM and a 200mhz overdrive CPU.
I had it dual booting win98se and Red Hat Linux.
Also added a USB card and pulled the 14.4 modem /soundcard
and added a 56k modem and SoundBlaster.


Before I packed it away in my storage room
and put it back in it's original factory box...
I returned it pretty much to it's original state..right down to Windows95
and the 14.4 soundcard modem!


Now I am considered by my friends to be a computer guru...
and I am repairing the machines of all the folks who gave me my first
computer lessons.

I sure learned a lot from that old P-1
and I still laugh at the day ...well before I knew how to use it...
when my girlfriend put some of my writing into Microsoft Word...and used an
editing tool
to put "dots" between all the letters to check for proper spacing...
and I screamed at her for ruining the whole thing.

"I don't want all those dots in there, I yelled."

She pointed to the door (I ran out) and when I returned...
the publication was perfect...and looked a lot better than it did
when it was done by my typewriter.


And that is the story of how I finally joined the 20th century...
only to realize the 21st century had just arrived!


 
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mc
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      02-07-2008, 02:03 AM
Well I know the 72 dolphins are happy in their retirement since the patriots
lost, but what ever happened to the original founders of packard bell? Where
did they retire to, are they in the 21st century, I hope not the old stuff
is fun...
mc


 
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Robert E. Watts
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      02-07-2008, 01:03 PM
Hello philo!

Interesting story. It's amazing how we become "attached" to things.

I still have my first computer, the first computer I built ( which quickly
followed my first computer ), and various other computers that through the
years were "important". (to me :-) ( The Basement of Doom and Diet Cola has
well over 100 computers, and truckloads of parts )

I also have my Fathers last computer. Unfortunately, the batteries went bad,
and ruined it. I may try to restore it someday, but the original (486)
motherboard is beyond repair. That incident caused me to go throught my
motherboard collection, and *save* quite a few of them that had batteries
beginning to go by busting the cells off.

Started collecting Packard Bells a couple of years ago. Got about 20, most
of which I feel were the *important* versions. Still got a few to
find...........

Nice post philo !


--
boBWatts®©
EartH
Watts Carburetion Service
Whizzbang Computers
Official collector of: transfat asian plastic junk trinkets !


 
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philo
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      02-07-2008, 01:46 PM

"Robert E. Watts" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:402$47ab0098$4ad76274$(E-Mail Removed)...
> Hello philo!
>
> Interesting story. It's amazing how we become "attached" to things.
>
> I still have my first computer, the first computer I built ( which quickly
> followed my first computer ), and various other computers that through the
> years were "important". (to me :-) ( The Basement of Doom and Diet Cola

has
> well over 100 computers, and truckloads of parts )
>
> I also have my Fathers last computer. Unfortunately, the batteries went

bad,
> and ruined it. I may try to restore it someday, but the original (486)
> motherboard is beyond repair. That incident caused me to go throught my
> motherboard collection, and *save* quite a few of them that had batteries
> beginning to go by busting the cells off.
>
> Started collecting Packard Bells a couple of years ago. Got about 20, most
> of which I feel were the *important* versions. Still got a few to
> find...........
>
> Nice post philo !
>




Thanks.

I try to keep my collection down to the best dozen or so.
I've got a box of spare parts for my PB. Enough to replace
anything...so I should be able to keep it running indefinitely.
Other than that the only other PB I have is a p233 tower.
The one that's often referred to as the "Empire State Building" .
It's in the back of my closet... I can't recall the model #.
Though I saved if for it's classic look...of interest is the fact that it's
the only win95 I've ever seen that had USB support.

Through the years I have tried to get USB working on any Win95b/c machines
I've
worked on. Though I was able to install any of the add'l software needed...
and though the machine would recognize the USB ports and the drivers were
OK...
I never got them to actually see any peripherals.
The machine I've kept ...actually does recognize devices when attached to
the USB port...
but I never tried to install anything more complicated than a mouse.

About the only thing of interest in my collection would be one of those
Compaq
"sewing machines" plus a Kaypro which runs CP/M

Good luck of restoring your father's machine...I know there are still
plenty of 486 boards out there. My father passed away before the computer
era
really caught on...I know he never would have gotten the hang of it
The telephone answering machine was pretty baffling to him <G>





 
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philo
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      02-07-2008, 01:52 PM

"mc" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:YFtqj.19484$hF2.10454@trnddc02...
> Well I know the 72 dolphins are happy in their retirement since the

patriots
> lost, but what ever happened to the original founders of packard bell?

Where
> did they retire to, are they in the 21st century, I hope not the old

stuff
> is fun...
> mc
>
>


I suppose the original founders are long gone.
I live in the US and Packard Bell no longer exists here.
I only found out a couple of years ago that the company is still around...
just in different parts of the world.

The machine I had was used almost continuously for ten years...
so I'd say it was a good investment!


 
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mc
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      02-07-2008, 09:00 PM
Just wondering ...but what kind of batteries damaged your computers?
mc
"Robert E. Watts" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:402$47ab0098$4ad76274$(E-Mail Removed)...
> Hello philo!
>
> Interesting story. It's amazing how we become "attached" to things.
>
> I still have my first computer, the first computer I built ( which quickly
> followed my first computer ), and various other computers that through the
> years were "important". (to me :-) ( The Basement of Doom and Diet Cola
> has well over 100 computers, and truckloads of parts )
>
> I also have my Fathers last computer. Unfortunately, the batteries went
> bad, and ruined it. I may try to restore it someday, but the original
> (486) motherboard is beyond repair. That incident caused me to go throught
> my motherboard collection, and *save* quite a few of them that had
> batteries beginning to go by busting the cells off.
>
> Started collecting Packard Bells a couple of years ago. Got about 20, most
> of which I feel were the *important* versions. Still got a few to
> find...........
>
> Nice post philo !
>
>
> --
> boBWatts®©
> EartH
> Watts Carburetion Service
> Whizzbang Computers
> Official collector of: transfat asian plastic junk trinkets !
>
>
>



 
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Robert E. Watts
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      02-07-2008, 11:34 PM
Hello !

"mc" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:ekKqj.65440$K%.7003@trnddc04...
> Just wondering ...but what kind of batteries damaged your computers?
> mc


Very old computers had a 2 or 4 pin connector that you connected a battery
pack to. ( for the CMOS settings ) This particular computer had a 3 AA cell
battery holder velcroed to the side of the PSU. When the damn batteries
leaked, they destroyed just about everything.

I should have known better.

bob


--
boBWatts®©
EartH
Watts Carburetion Service
Whizzbang Computers
Official collector of: transfat asian plastic junk trinkets !



 
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Elector
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      02-08-2008, 12:41 PM

"philo" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed). ..
<snip>
> I suppose the original founders are long gone.
> I live in the US and Packard Bell no longer exists here.
> I only found out a couple of years ago that the company is still around...
> just in different parts of the world.
>
> The machine I had was used almost continuously for ten years...
> so I'd say it was a good investment!
>

The original Founder was Benny Alagam (Excuse the spelling) he went on to
buy I think AST Computers. That company also ran into problems. Poor
Quality, Poor or NO Support (as the Packard Bells of old). I did not do a
Google on him but I am sure you can find out more about him on the net.

Elector


 
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philo
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      02-08-2008, 12:57 PM

"Robert E. Watts" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:c7b56$47ab9456$4ad76274$(E-Mail Removed)...
> Hello !
>
> "mc" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
> news:ekKqj.65440$K%.7003@trnddc04...
> > Just wondering ...but what kind of batteries damaged your computers?
> > mc

>
> Very old computers had a 2 or 4 pin connector that you connected a battery
> pack to. ( for the CMOS settings ) This particular computer had a 3 AA

cell
> battery holder velcroed to the side of the PSU. When the damn batteries
> leaked, they destroyed just about everything.
>
> I should have known better.
>
> bob
>



Yep...I've seen that...
those AA battieris can sure cause some permanent damage


 
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philo
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      02-08-2008, 01:08 PM

"Elector" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:l6Yqj.67606$K%.9701@trnddc04...
>
> "philo" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
> news:(E-Mail Removed). ..
> <snip>
> > I suppose the original founders are long gone.
> > I live in the US and Packard Bell no longer exists here.
> > I only found out a couple of years ago that the company is still

around...
> > just in different parts of the world.
> >
> > The machine I had was used almost continuously for ten years...
> > so I'd say it was a good investment!
> >

> The original Founder was Benny Alagam (Excuse the spelling) he went on to
> buy I think AST Computers. That company also ran into problems. Poor
> Quality, Poor or NO Support (as the Packard Bells of old). I did not do a
> Google on him but I am sure you can find out more about him on the net.
>
> Elector
>
>



I often heard about poor quality...
but most of the PB's I've worked on were just fine.

The only possible exception
was a multimedia 486 I once had.
Worked fine with the original win3.1
but it could not take an upgrade to win95. The bottleneck turned out to be
an amazingly slow HD
FWIW: I actually have a 386 in my collection that runs win95 just fine...
so any 486 should handle it.

Other than that one machine...I've never had a problem with PB


 
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