Don has been interested in computers since the time he was enrolled at UNO at Omaha, Nebraska in the early 1970s. His first programs were written on a teletype terminal connected to a CDC computer via a 110 Baud modem. The languages used were Fortran and Basic.
His first computer was a TRS-80, purchased in the fall of 1978. It was one of the first available, secured because a store had two of them, The second one was used to show the model, and take orders. It was a Model I with a hefty 4K of RAM, a monitor, and a cassette recorder to save programs and data.
He still has it, after having upgraded it to Level II and adding memory to make the RAM 16K. He has the strange custom of seldom disposing of computers, since they are part of his MindMap. His second computer was a Tandy 1000, with two 5 1/4 disk drives. Almost all of the several computers, of each iteration of Operating Systems, Going back to the earliest Microsoft Windows run under MsDos. Versions 3.2 and after are still accessible via ethernet connections, while earlier computers can exchange data and programs via sneakernet and disks 5 1/4 and 3 1/2 floppies. In all there are about ten computers. I guess you might call it the NysComputerMuseum.
As of 20070904, he is using a Dell Optiplex 1 Ghz computer with disk space approaching 1 terabyte, directly installed or connected via USB Drives. He has retained nearly all programs purchased and written in the last 20 or more years. He is in the process of reducing paper files stored in scores of boxes into digital files via a program called PaperPort. He thinks this will take at least at least 3000 man-hours to digitize.
He is running a scanner with automatic feed for at least 6 to 7 hours a day, while at the same time surfing the internet, writing programs, frequenting WardsWiki and other wikis, collecting information from places visited for future reference.
He thinks that the SearchDesktop installed several months ago, and allowed to run, has made the hundreds of gigabytes it has indexed available in less than two or three minutes when presented targeted searches which look, primarily for unique words or WikiWords, which are used not only for files, but also for directories and sub-directories. This naming convention is quite friendly to the Indexing and searching algorithms in the SearchDesktop Engine. The expectation he has had that some day such a mechanism would exist, has paid off.
While remembering the past, He is ever pressing forward, being a student of Programming Languages, having studied if formal settings: Basic (of the Dartmouth variety) and every iteration of Basic including the recent Visual Basic Dot Net, Fortran, Cobol, Pascal, C, C++, Visual C++, C#, Perl, PHP, Forth, Assembly Language, Databases Starting with DataBase II, III, IV, Clipper 5.0, Borland Paradox, Access. Can write elementary HTML, PHP scripts, CGI programs, WikiEngines, Personal Information Accessors and Archivers, written in Visual Basic 6.0 and Visual C++. He has studied and considered Unix, Linux and has one computer with Ubuntu Linux installed. His eventual aim is to construct an information base which can possibly be extended to 10 terabytes. This information base will include media files which will include videos of the Olympics extending back to 1984, as well as archives of other historic events, including some hours of audio from the landing on the moon, including the "One step for man, one giant leap for mankind". Hundreds if not Thousands of Ebooks, All the photos he has ever taken, as well as photos collected which were taken by others. Digitized Audio from tape recordings he has made, or has collected. These will be carefully named to allow for quick recovery via future search engines. These are the short term goals he is considering, but he is ever discovering new things he wants to do.
All of this he considers a FirstStep.