The World of Mister 4x4
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It all started with me failing a Geometry class in High School, and later finding out that the Computer Science courses they offered would make up that math credit. Plus, my buddy Bob had an Atari 500ST that his dad bought to help him learn about computers - although we goofed around playing games more than anything (never did get that simulated 747 off the ground...). After learning Apple Basic and Apple Pascal on the school's Franklin Ace 1000's, I moved on to the CAD program in my drafting class. I was hooked at that point.

I joined the Air Force with the hopes of becoming a CAD operator/civil engineering architect, but failed a color vision test and was placed into the 491x1 (now 3C0X1) career field - Communications/Computer Operator. I learned how to operate mainframe computers and their peripherals. Yeah, I know...that was pretty close to drafting (rolling my eyes as I type this...).  I learned the ins and outs of the "old iron" mainframes - Sperry 1100/60, VAX 750, 785 & 8650, PDP 11/70, and some Honeywell system I never saw again after tech school.

After getting out in '96, I became a maintenance technician on a mainframe computer system - which is pretty challenging, but still not drafting. I'd worked with mostly Digital equipment back when you actually had to repair things rather than jus swap components and toss out the bad ones.  I had bought an Amiga 500 several years before, and loved using it. But as most people will say, the Amiga was just not recognized by the world as a substantial computer - stupid world. So, I got my first PC a few weeks after becoming a civilian.

I got the hottest machine I could afford at the time ($3000 for a Cyrix 166+ loaded with 32MB RAM, 2.1GB hard drive, 33.6 US Robotics modem, and an awesome ATI Radeon video card with some Altec Lansing ACS-500 surround speakers) in October 1996, and rapidly watched the market take off while my machine was quickly left in the dust both in horsepower and affordability. I was learning why I loved my Amiga so much all those years...it didn't require an annual budget of $1000 to keep the beast up with current technology standards.

Over the past several years (err... decades - damn), these machines have taught me a lot about computers, gotten my menial tasks done, helped me become a better illustrator, kept me from getting bored when there's not much to do or on TV, kept me from getting my chores done, and helped keep the bank account from getting too full... but I love playing with them and as long I can, I'll have at least one computer taking over a corner somewhere in my house.

Over the past few years, I've earned several Industry recognized IT Certifications, including: A+, MCP & MCSA.  and CISSP - which falls more in line my current job requirements as Information Systems Security Manager.


Some of my machines... some I've created, as well as some of my work-horses over the years:

Top Dawg   My main machine.  It's the one that does all my computer-related tasks and keeps all my publishing-type tasks organized, as well as gets me online.

 

Anubis   Her machine - one of my first custom builds.  Not really much more than a paintjob and a front window.

 

Big Dawg   This was my main machine after I'd learned how to build a network.  Now, it's more of a back-up machine and hardly gets used.

 

Rusty   I got bit by the case-mod bug, and decided to build a NASCAR-themed machine.  It became the webserver and new 'Guard Dawg' for awhile, but has been retired since.

 

Guard Dawg   The network workhorse.  At one time it was: file server, NAT box, firewall, media streaming server, webserver, and Unreal Tournament server (when that was the hot game of the day).

 

Jemezman   I was still into case modding and decided to build a custom case for my pal Jim. He's from New Mexico, hence the theme.

 

Dumpster Mac   My current laptop - found in a dumpster, refurbed, and my best deal ever.

 

Kevin's NASCAR   I build another NASCAR machine for the nephew of a friend after he saw a picture of Rusty.

 

LapDawg   My 2nd laptop - rescued from a co-worker who had no idea what he was doing.

 

Hellfire   My sister-in-law asked if I could build a custom computer for her son. He's into skulls and whatnot - it was fun.

 

   

Here's my last custom PC creation: #24 Dupont Chevrolet Monte Carlo machine for Kevin Suberg.

Building this machine was pretty special for me.  Kevin's the nephew of my friend Ron who happens to have inoperable brain cancer.  I really don't care for Jeff Gordon, but when Kevin saw my 'Rusty' machine and I later found out he was a Jeff Gordon fan, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to build this machine.  The above link tells more...

Unfortunately, Kevin lost his battle with cancer earlier in May 2006.  But I'm pretty sure he's up in heaven playing with Lego's and NASCAR Racing on a much better machine.

 

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Copyright 2016 - Eric Hansen Unlimited