I am a Self-Taught Computer Technician

I’ve mentioned it before, but in case you, the reader, didn’t already know, I am a self taught computer technician.

I taught myself how to fix computers initially out of necessity, but now soup up old computers as a hobby.

My fascination with computers can be traced back to the late 1980s when I was a toddler.

The first time I ever saw a computer was either in late 1988 or some time in 1989 when I was shopping with my parents at the Sears in Southland Mall (which is located in Bayou Cane/Houma, Louisiana.)

It wasn’t until I was seven years old that I had found out that there was such a thing as home computers.

Some of my classmates had them, but my family didn’t.

We briefly had a home computer in the Summer of 1998 but didn’t permanently have one until the Summer of 2000.

The model my parents purchased as a family computer, looking back was pretty pathetic, even for the late 1990s and early 2000s.

I don’t remember the exact model number, but it was a Gateway Essential

The specs were:
15 GB Hard Drive (later upgraded to 20 GB.)
64 MB of Ram (later upgraded to 192 MB.)
566 MHz Intel Celeron Processor.
DVD ROM Drive (a CD-RW drive was later added.)
56K Dial-Up PCI Slot Modem (an Ethernet card was later added.)
Only 2 USB Ports
PS/2 Keyboard and Mouse Ports
AND
If I remember correctly the graphics (VGA 600X800 at best), sound and game adapter cards were all part of the mother board.
And if those specs were not cruddy enough, it ran Windows 98 Second Edition.

We made due with this computer from July of 2000 until some time in 2008.

Let me say that I didn’t have a car until the Summer of 2006, and was basically home unless at a school function, so my social life, my reading, my writing, my entertainment and my research were all done on this computer. I used it probably more than any other family member.

We didn’t have adequate virus protection and starting in 2003, began subscribing to cable broadband Internet so, this machine was frequently crashing.

When it did, I would fix it. My parents are fiscally conservative, especially when it comes to technology, if you haven’t figured that out already.

They are also pretty ignorant with technology, so I took it upon myself to fix it.

At first, it was with Gateway Technical Support over the phone, where they would walk me through reformatting the computer.

After doing it enough times, I was able to do it without help from tech support.

This was the beginning of me becoming a self-taught computer technician. I mean my source of many good things in my life was dependent on it.

So it is quite possible that had my parents owned a better computer, I may not have needed to teach myself how to fix computers.

I had known about Linux since 2001, while reading about it in a computer magazine in my school library.

I didn’t actually try it until 2005 when a friend gave me a live boot-able copy of Ham Shack Linux, which I would run on that said machine.

The ease and efficiency of Linux definitely caught my interest back then.

There was no need for hardware drivers everything was plug and play.

There was also no need for virus protection!

This also began my hate relationship with Windows that continues to this very day!

In December of 2005 I had purchased a gently used, but ten year old IBM Think Pad 365E, mostly for writing my stories but also for playing old games. I modified it to run MS-DOS 6.22. Had I known about FreeDOS, I would have loaded it on there.

From the help of a computer professor over the phone, I learned how to make partitions and modify boot sequences in the BIOS memory. This was in March of 2006 or so.

I had that laptop until December of 2006 and I wish I could have kept it.

Also around 2005 and 2006, I began to teach myself how to build computers and mix and match parts.

One of these days I am going to build one from scratch.

But in late December of 2006, I purchased a Compaq/HP Laptop which ran Windows XP Media Center Edition and could be upgraded to Windows Vista.

This is the machine that I discovered WiFi on.

However, it could only do 802.11 a and b.

Then it killed on me in 2008. My family’s Gateway also finally killed on us around this time as well.

My Mom bought a Hewlett Packard in early 2009, which ran Windows 7 and was a good machine until it became bogged down with viruses.

Early in 2009, I had purchased an Asus Eee PC 900A netbook.

It has some decent specs for its size and price:
WiFi built in 802.11 b and g.
1.3 Megapixel WebCam
8 GB solid state drive.
1 GB RAM.
USB and Ethernet ports.

I would have it until 2016 and it was one of the best computers I ever owned.

In December of 2010, it was extremely bogged down with viruses, so I finally figured out how to write an .ISO image to a flash drive and modify the boot sequence.

I ended up installing JoliOS 1.2 which served me very well for over a year. I also installed JoliOS 1.2 on my Mom’s Hewlett Packard.

By the way, it was ruined by a power surge following Hurricane Issac in 2012.

I gave my Dad an older Dell to use which a friend had given me.

He had it until 2019

I subsequently used other versions of operating systems, all from the Linux family on that computer.

In 2015, I finally purchased an Android smartphone. This allows me to Google for a solution when I am working on a computer and I come aross a hiccup.

That was a huge milestone, because before, I needed another computer as well as an Internet connection to get a solution when things didn’t go right.

In 2016, I began to put together a kit of tools that I EDC for my computer repair hobby. The featured image on this pages shows what I am carrying as of February 2020. These tools are kept in a special compartment of my EDC backpack.

In 2018, through most of 2019, I had attended a church and fixed the computers of several members.

By this point in my life, I had obtained a reputation as a computer guru.

There are several friends who come to me when they need their computers fixed and usually I am able to do it.

Now as of 2020, I frequently find myself restoring older computers and making them useful again.

This usually entails me taking a Windows computer and reformatting the hard drive or solid state drive with a version of Linux that has modern functionality but runs well on the hardware. Sometimes I will also upgrade the RAM chips or disk drives.

I wish I would have had this knowledge and skill when I was a teenager. I could have made that old Gateway run like a high spec machine, but if it wasn’t for that cruddy old Gateway, I may never have taught myself how to fix computers to begin with.

I hope to fix computers for the rest of my life because it is a fun and useful hobby.

I know I can also bless other who otherwise cannot afford a new computer but will make their machines run like new.

If it wasn’t for me being dependent on several expensive medications, I would try to make a career out of this, because it is something I can do from dawn til dusk or until those medications kick in, then I am dead to the world for twelve to fourteen hours. However, I would be self employed and have to worry about health insurance. We do need some serious reforms in this country and Obamacare doesn’t cut it!

I guess this concludes my piece on how I am indeed a self taught computer technician. I need to take those medications right now, actually.

So, I hope you, the reader, have been informed and entertained.

Thank you for reading!

Back to “Personal Reflections”

Millennial Affection

I wrote this in the Summer of 2016, but it takes place in the late Spring or early Summer of 2002.

The main character is loosely based on me or whom I would like to be.

His girlfriend is based on someone I knew a long time ago but lost all contact with.

Without further ado, here is the story:

 

…June 2002…

Emmet Matthews was browsing the Internet on his self built computer after getting home from his summer job. He was a hard-working fifteen-year-old, who fixed computers in his spare time and pushed shopping carts for his local Target store as his main summer job. The Express Page or Expage was a popular social networking site at the time and Emmet was browsing other teens’ pages. He had come across a girl’s page and found out that her name was Kira Andersen. Emmet had always been partial to the name Kira because he was very close to a girl with that said first name as a young child. Unfortunately, he had lost all contact with her. In the back of his mind, he wondered if she was the same Kira he had known many years ago. Feverishly he studied her page, but there was no picture of her, past or present. The only information he had acquired from the page was that she wanted to be a writer and wanted to post some of her stories, but her computer had crashed. There was a listing of her ICQ number. Upon reading those two details, Emmet worked up the courage to message her. He started his ICQ application. Anxiously Emmet waited for it to load as the foghorn sound blared. When it finally loaded, Emmet added her number to his contact list. Upon looking at her ICQ information, he learned that she wasn’t far from him, only fifteen miles to the northwest.

He then sent her a message, “Hi. I saw your Expage site and I learned that you’re a writer. I also saw that your computer with all the stories you wrote is broken. I might be able to fix it and, for you, I’ll do it for free.”

Patiently, Emmet waited for a reply.

Finally he heard the “uh-oh” voice through his speaker and a reply message flashed on his screen “First tell me about yourself. I would like to know you better before I am able to trust you with my computer, let alone any of my stories.”

“That’s fine. I’m fifteen and I push shopping carts at Target but also work on computers in my free time. I might be young, but I have lots of experience. I built the computer that I’m talking to you on right now.”

“Is there a Home Depot next to the Target where you work?”

“Yes.”

“Then I work next door to you. I’m a cashier there.”

“Awesome!” “Maybe we could meet up on our breaks?”

“We’ll see. I want to make sure that you are who you say you are.”

“I can get on my WebCam and show you what I look like.”

“Sure.”

Emmet turned on his camera and invited Kira to watch him. She accepted.

“You’re cute!” She said.

“Thanks.” He began to blush and smile from ear to ear after sending that message.

“I would like to see a picture of you as well. You know just to make sure you are who you say you are.”

“I understand.” “I’ll send you a picture.” Kira took her school picture from her yearbook and scanned it then sent it to him.”

“Good Lord, Kira, you are beautiful!” Emmet said.

“Thanks. You’re sweet to tell me that.”

“Well it’s the God’s honest truth. How old are you though?”

“I made sixteen this past April.”

“Nice! Do you drive? I can’t get my license yet.”

“Yes, I drive. I work and give the money to my mom and she pays the note on my car. That’s also how I pay for Internet service.”

“What school do you go to?”

“Landing Station High.”

“Oh. Well I go to Seven Hills Catholic High. I guess that’s why we’ve never seen each other before.”

“I bet that’s a strict school. But at least, I would imagine harassment is not allowed. A bunch of stupid boys are always trying to touch me where I go to school.”

“Do you want me to protect you?”

“That’s sweet and noble of you, but some of those boys would kill you if you tried. They carry sharp weapons made of plastic so the metal detectors won’t pick them up.”

“Well I must say that doesn’t go on at Seven Hills, but there is still much harassment. And if the student doing the harassing is rich or an athlete, he gets away with it. I’m not rich and I hate sports as well, not to mention I’m a computer nerd, so I get harassed quite a bit.”

“Well don’t worry about them, you’ll be a huge success one day, if you are as skilled with computers as you claim.”

“I’ll try. Speaking of that, do you still want me to fix your computer?”

“I sure do. We can meet tomorrow if you work.”

“I go in at ten o’clock in the morning.”

“Awesome, I go in at eight but I get off at three. When do you get off?”

“Four P.M.”

“Great! When can you take a lunch break?”

“One P.M. I guess.”

“Good, I’ll take mine then as well.”

“You mean we can spend our break together?”

“Yes. Then you can come to my house and work on the computer. That is if your parents allow you.”

“I can convince my dad, no problem. My mom might grill me a lot though, but for you it’s worth it.”

“You’re sweet! Now we should get some rest, so we can work tomorrow.”

“Hey, where do you want to meet tomorrow?”

I’ll drive to the Target and you wait for me in the food court.”

“Good idea.”

“All right. I guess I’ll tell you good night.”

“Good night to you too.”

Emmet turned off his computer filled with anticipation and a slight anxiety. He was beginning to have feelings for Kira and thoughts about if she was indeed the same Kira from years ago were bombarding his mind. He knew he had to sleep, so he quietly went to his parents’ medicine cabinet and took a single Tylenol P.M. then dozed off. He dreamt many dreams about this Kira and the one from his past. These dreams seemed to hint that they were the same person.

The next morning Emmet woke up to the beeping of his Casio watch. He dressed for work and also retrieved his computer tools, along with an Anti Virus CD ROM. He ate two energy bars, then brushed his teeth and washed out his mouth with Listerine.

Then his dad asked “Are you ready son?”

“Yes, I’m ready.”

They walked to the car, when his dad asked “What’s with the tools?”

“I’m fixing a computer for a girl. She’s going to drive me to her house after work.”

“Is that all?”

“Well I do have feelings for her, I won’t lie.”

“Do you have any money on you?”

“Yes, why?”

“I want you to go to the pharmacy section in Target and get a condom, in case you get lucky.”

“Right, dad.”

“How are you going to get home?”

“She’ll drive me.”

“Okay remember, there is a curfew so don’t stay out too late, or you both can be arrested.” He then handed Emmet his cell phone and said “Take this in case plans change.”

“Will do. I’m off tomorrow, just so you know.”

“Just remember what I said about using protection.”

The rest of the ride was awkwardly silent.

Finally, Emmet was dropped off at Target. He immediately clocked in, placed his tool kit and CD ROM in his locker and began work. Naturally, Emmet kept an almost constant gaze at the screen on his watch.

Customers came and went and Emmet continuously moved the shopping carts from the parking lot to the store.

An old couple tipped him five dollars for loading the new television they purchased set into their van.

A pregnant lady also tipped him ten dollars for pushing her crib on a flat cart and loading it into her SUV. Seeing a pregnant woman made Emmet think about the condom he was told to buy but instead, decided to use the money to take Kira to lunch.

Emmet continued to push carts with his heart racing, thinking about Kira. Finally, his watch indicated twelve fifty-eight. He walked to the time clock, punched out and went sit down in the food court.

He sat down with anxious anticipation. Finally, he saw Kira walk into the store and towards the food court. He stood up and couldn’t help but admire her.

She smiled, waved and then said “Emmet?”

“Yes, it’s me.”

They walked up to each other and embraced.

Emmet then asked, “Could I buy you lunch?”

“Sure, that’s very sweet of you.”

“What would you like?”

“The fruit and yogurt cup.”

“It’s yours.”

“Thank you!” Kira said with another hug, then asked, “What are you going to eat?”

“The all-beef hot dog and a pretzel, what do you want to drink? I get free fountain drinks, but since you’re so nice to me, I’ll buy you a better drink.”

“An iced coffee I guess.”

“It’s yours.”

Emmet retrieved the yogurt and coffee from the refrigerator, paid for them, then ordered the hot dog and pretzel. Afterward, he asked the cashier for a fountain cup which he filled with Pepsi from the soda tap.

They then ate in happy silence, smiling at each other.

What broke the silence was when Emmet asked Kira, “What are you going to do while waiting for me to get off?”

“I guess I could park my car and wait in the parking lot to watch you work, that is if me doing so won’t make you mad.”

“It wouldn’t make me mad, but if anyone else did, then I don’t know.”

“You’re so sweet and you have such cute curly hair! Can I play with it?”

“Sure. That would feel so good!”

“Awesome!”

Kira moved from the chair across from Emmet and sat in the chair next to him. She then rested his head in her lap and played with his hair. He smiled up at her with bliss and she giggled.

They exchanged phone numbers and addresses and continued until the manager said “Emmet, it’s time to get back to work. The shopping carts need to be brought back in.”

“Yes, sir,” Emmet replied.

“I guess I’ll see you at four o’clock.” Kira said, winking.

“For sure, Kira.” Emmet replied.

They hugged affectionately then got back to work.

The rest of the day dragged on. Emmet pushed shopping carts in the hot sun. What kept him going was thinking about the evening he would spend with Kira.

When three P.M. came, Kira drove her car to the Target parking lot and watched Emmet push the carts. Every time their eyes met, there was also a wink and a wave.

Finally it was four P.M. Emmet clocked out, retrieved his tools and antivirus CD-ROM from his locker, then walked to Kira’s car. She then drove him to her mom’s house.

When they arrived, Emmet said, nervously “I guess I’ll get to work.”

“Great, come to my room.”

Emmet said “I need to open up your old and your new computer, but first let me install antivirus on your new one.”

“Sure, do whatever you need to do.”

Emmet installed the antivirus software, then shut the computer down. He then opened both of them up and took the hard drive out of the old one and connected it to the mother board and IDE power supply of the new one. He turned it on and checked the boot sequence, making sure that the new computer’s original hard drive would boot. He had Kira log in and then clicked on the My Computer icon and double-clicked the icon for the old hard drive.

Emmet then asked Kira “What folder were you stories in?”

“My Document\Stories I believe.”

Emmet accessed the My Documents folder and right clicked on Stories and selected Copy. Afterward he accessed the new computer’s original hard drive then Windows, then My Documents and right-clicked in the folder then selected Paste. Quickly the files were transferred.

“May I read one of your stories to make sure it copied?”

“Sure.”

Emmet opened the text file and said “It works!”

“Let me read it to you.” Kira said.

She read about a teenage couple whom were massacred by gang members.

“That was tragic, but very beautiful. At least they died together.”

“Thank you, Emmet! I was so full of emotions before and after I wrote that.”

“You truly have a gift.”

“You know, I wrote this before I met you but, somehow, you remind me of the boy in this story. The girl is based on me.”

Emmet simply hugged Kira and she petted his hair, but then there was a slight awkwardness.

Kira then said “Would you like to watch As the World Turns with me? I record it every day.”

“Sure. But I would do anything if it meant we could spend time together.”

They sat on Kira’s bed with Emmet resting his head in her lap. The theme music to ATWT began playing.

“I see all these couples together: Jack and Carly, Holden and Lilly, Tom and Margo. Yet, I can’t seem to find anyone.” Kira said.

“I cannot believe you don’t have a boyfriend.”

Kira paused the show and said, “It’s because I have high standards, but that’s my own fault because I expect a guy to be like the good guys in my stories.”

“You can’t think too highly of me, then right. I mean I can’t even legally drive yet.”

“Actually I think the world and the moon of you. You’re a hard worker. You are so good with computers. You are adorable. And, as I’ve said before you do remind me of the good male characters in my stories.”

“Kira, I have feelings for you as well. I’m just afraid you would dump me because of my nerdiness.”

“Rest assured, that would never happen.”

“Then, yes I want you too. I was just afraid I would do something to turn you off.”

“Why do you think that?”

“Because I eventually turn everyone else off.”

“Have you ever had a girlfriend before me?”

“Well sort of. In fact her name was Kira as well, but I was four years old and she was a little older than me. Sadly, I lost all contact with her.”

“Where did you meet her?”

“At a church nursery in Landing Station, this was back in 1991. My grandmother convinced my dad to take me out of there. I wish I could see her again.”

“You’re looking up at her right now! It was me! Now I can see why so many of the characters in my stories remind me of you! Let me say that I’ve wanted you before, but now I want you more than ever!”

“My God, Kira, you have no idea how I’ve been longing to see you again!”

“Yes. I remember how we were always the first kids there and we grew close. I was so sad when you left.”

“Well now we have each other and I refuse to let anything come between us again.”

Their lips met and they began to passionately kiss. They began to hug. They began to pet each others’ hair.

“My gosh that felt wonderful,” Kira said.

“It was as if fate set us up. What’s really something is that we first met in 1991, and here it is 2002 and we meet again. 1991 and 2002 are the only years whose digits are the same frontwards and backward that we will see in our lifetime.” Emmet replied.

Suddenly they heard the front door opening.

Kira’s mom called out “Kira are you home?”

“Yes, mom.”

Emmet got nervous once again.

“Don’t worry, Emmet,” Kira whispered

“Are you in your room, Kira?”

“Yes.”

“Okay. I’m coming to see you.”

Kira’s mom walked into the room.

“Who’s this Kira?”

“This is Emmet Matthews. Remember the boy from church eleven years ago? This is him! I’ve finally found him!”

“Hi. I’m Harriet Andersen. I remember you and Kira playing together before all the other children arrived but I also remember how heartbroken Kira was when you were taken out of the church nursery.”

With great seriousness, Emmet answered her “That was completely beyond my control, but in every way I can, I’ll to make it up to her for the rest of my life. I love her and I’ve always loved her.”

Kira gently held Emmet’s hands and kissed his forehead.

“You better never break her heart again.”

“I swear by whatever or whomever you wish me to that I never will.”

“Well you shouldn’t swear, but I’ll give you another chance. You’re welcome to stay for dinner.”

“Sure.”

“I’ll let you two alone for now.”

Harriet left the room and began to prepare dinner.

Kira said “Imagine if my mom wouldn’t have come in. Would you have made love to me?”

“Only if you would have wanted me to.”

“My God, Emmet, you’re so sweet!”

“I’m off tomorrow, what about you?”

“Yes, I’m off too!”

“Will your parents be home?”

“I can convince my dad to take my mom out for a few hours. He’s been wanting me to have a girlfriend for a long time now.” Emmet paused, then continued “In fact, let me call him now!”

“Put it on speakerphone.” Kira said

Emmet dialed his dad’s house number.

“Hello.”

“Hey. I’m still at the girl’s house. Her name is Kira Andersen and we are now a couple. Is there a way you can take mom out to the city tomorrow, so we can be alone at your house?

“I guess Emmet. Did you go to the pharmacy section at Target.”

“Not yet.”

“You better. By the way, when are you coming home?”

“Right before curfew begins.”

“Where’s her house?”

“In Landing Station.”

“Then make it an hour before that. You might get delayed because of a slow-moving train.”

“All right. Will do. But you take mom out tomorrow.”

“I’ll try.”

“Okay, I’ll let you go for now.”

“Okay bye.”

“Bye son.”

Emmet looked at Kira and said, “My dad definitely wants me to use protection.”

“You don’t have to worry about STDs because I’m a virgin.”

“So am I, but you probably realized that already.”

“Yes. I figured that, but that makes our relationship even more special. By the way, when you told my mom that you loved me, I wanted to say love you too Emmet! Let’s never be taken apart again.”

“I will do everything I can to keep us together.” He paused, then continued “I think my dad is more concerned about me getting you pregnant.”

“I’m on birth control, just to regulate my cycles, nothing else. But it should prevent me from getting pregnant when we do make love.”

“I hope it will be wonderful when we do.”

“I am almost sure it will be.”

Kira kissed Emmet once again and they resumed watching As the World Turns.

“Is this boring you?” Kira asked Emmet.

“Not really, my parents and grandparents used to watch it when I was younger, so I’m used to it.”

“Why don’t they still watch it?”

“Well, I don’t know why my parents stopped. But, my grandparents stopped because myself and the other grandchildren were at their house and there was a lovemaking scene. My grandparents tend to get very uptight about sex.”

“Oh, I see. You know I do want you in every way possible and I hope your grandparents don’t come down too hard on you or me when and if they find out.”

“It wouldn’t matter who gets mad at me. It would be worth any drama if it means I can love you in all the ways you want.”

Kira put her arms around Emmet as he still lay in her lap and said, “Fate is definitely on our side. The fact that we’ve been pining for each other so long and never been with anyone else, makes me believe that we are truly meant for each other!”

“I wholeheartedly agree.”

Kira kissed Emmet’s head and they resumed watching, until Kira’s mom called them for dinner.

Over the course of dinner, Emmet’s dad’s cell phone rang. The number shown on the caller ID was his grandparents’ house number.

“It’s my grandparents calling, I have to answer.”

“Go ahead.” Kira’s mom said.

Kira nodded at Emmet as well.

“Hello.” Emmet answered.

“Emmet, I see you have a girlfriend.”

“Yes. How did you know?”

“Several people saw you and her in the food court at your job. They said you two were acting lewd.”

“All she did was play with my hair.”

“How long have you known her?”

“About eleven years.”

“Eleven years? How come I’ve never heard about her before?”

“Because we met as children at the church nursery.”

“Oh, so she’s a Protestant and you’re supposed to be a Catholic.”

“I don’t believe in all that religious stuff and more importantly I love her.”

“You don’t know what love is.”

“I think I do; I’ve waited eleven years for her.”

“Well you were raised a Catholic and if you leave the Catholic church you will have plenty to answer God for.”

“Can’t you just be happy for me?”

“No. I don’t want you with her. She’s a hellbound Protestant and she’ll take you to hell with her.”

“Look I have to go. I’m eating dinner with her right now and you’re not going to change my mind. I love her, period.”

“Emmet Joseph Matthews! You’re breaking bread with Protestants?!”

“Yes, because I love her!”

“Go ahead do what you want. However, don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

Emmet’s grandmother hung up the phone.

He was visibly upset as he returned to the table.

“What’s the matter?” Kira asked.

“My grandmother is giving me a hard time because you’re not Catholic.”

“Well I hope you still want me.”

“Of course I do. Nothing can change that.”

Kira walked up to him and hugged him.

Emmet continued “Even though she gives me a hard time, I still choose you. We lost each other once before and I refuse to let it happen again.”

“Why is she hung up on all this Catholic stuff? If anything the Catholic church is a false, money-hungry and corrupt church.” Kira paused then continued “Remember how you said if a rich or athletic student harasses someone at Seven Hills, they get away with it?”

Emmet nodded.

Kira’s mom walked out of the room as she said “I’ll leave you two alone. Kira, you should tell him the truth.”

Kira continued “As I was saying before the Catholic church is full of corruption. The unfair rules at your school are just an example of many hypocrisies in the Catholic church. The Bible says ‘For the love of money is the root of all evil’ it also says to ‘Make not a graven image’. Aren’t there all kinds of statues in those so-called churches and schools?”

“You’re right! My God, I’ve never realized this. If all this Catholic stuff is wrong, then how do I get to Heaven then?”

“You may get to Heaven only by trusting Jesus Christ through His sacrifice on the cross to forgive you of your sins. God knows we cannot pay for the sins we commit, so He paid for them Himself through Jesus Christ His Son. There is no way you can earn your way into Heaven like the Catholics teach. The reality is Jesus paid it all. The most famous quote from the Bible says “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believe on Him should not perish but have everlasting life.’ All you must do is earnestly and sincerely believe this truth in your ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins then invite Him to be Lord of your life and Savior of your soul. Just pray to Him from your heart.

Emmet understood and believed, then bowed his head and silently prayed, with the utmost reverence and honesty. He could feel as if a huge burden was taken off of him and he felt peace like never before and then spoke “I’ve never experienced this before, but it is wonderful! I am in complete peace with God even though I had been running from up until this point. Something keeps telling me that if we love each other and we can’t control our urges that we must marry, but I am too young. However I know that I love you Kira with all my heart and I want to express it to you physically. I do know that it is a sin, but I cannot control myself.”

“I know Emmet. I too want to love you physically. If we ever do, I know God can forgive us of it, but if we are tempted we can pray and God will give us an escape route.”

“I was planning for us to be alone at my parents’ house tomorrow, but now I don’t want to sin. But I definitely want to spend all my time with you. Can we go somewhere tomorrow?”

“Sure thing, Emmet!”

Kira’s mom walked back into the room and asked Emmet “Did Kira tell you the truth about God and salvation?”

“She sure did.”

“And do you believe it”?

“I sure do.”

“Praise God! Now let’s eat.”

Happily the three ate dinner.

After eating Emmet and Kira were walking back to her bedroom when the cell phone rang again. It was Emmet’s dad calling.

He answered “Hello.”

“Hey I don’t mean to interrupt your date but curfew starts in an hour.”

“Okay, I’ll have her bring me home then.”

“Tell her to be careful.”

“Are you and mom going out tomorrow?”

“Yes.”

“Okay.”

“You know I want you to use protection.”

Emmet lied, knowing he would try his best not to fornicate, and said, “Will do.”

They hung up and Kira asked “Do I have to take you home?”

Emmet blushed and said, “Yes, but I’ll deeply miss you and I want to see you again tomorrow and every other possible time!”

“I’ll definitely try for us to spend every possible hour together.” Kira said, kissing him.

“Mom I have to take Emmet home.”

“Okay be careful, Kira. It was nice meeting you again, Emmet.”

They walked to Kira’s car and rode off into the darkness.

“I love you so deeply Emmet!”

“And I love you so massively Kira!”

They held hands for the entire trip, which seemed to go very quickly. Emmet secretly hoped for a train to pass, so they could spend just a few more minutes together.

In what seemed like an instant, they arrived at Emmet’s house.

They kissed lovingly, then Emmet said, “Be careful on your way home and call either my dad’s cell phone or our house phone when you get back home to let me know you’re safe.”

“You’re so sweet, Emmet. I love you!”

“I love you too, Kira.”

They kissed once more and Kira drove off.

Emmet walked in, handed the cell phone to his dad and said, “When it rings, that’s Kira telling me she’s home safe so let me know when it does.”

“Okay. You know I just got an earful from my mother how you and Kira were acting lewd in the food court and she’s angry that Kira’s a Protestant.”

“How do you feel?”

“I’m happy for you and proud as well. But remember to stay respectful to your grandmother and try to keep the public displays of affection to a minimum while at work or you both could be fired.”

“You’re right. Will do.”

“Now why don’t you get some sleep so you can be awake for tomorrow.”

“Sure.”

Emmet was preparing for bed when his dad came with the phone and said “I think Kira is calling. Answer it.”

Emmet answered “Hey.”

“Hey I wanted to let you know I’m safe at home.”

“Thank God! I love you, Kira!”

“I love you too, Emmet! Good night.”

“Good night.”

They hung up and went to bed. Emmet dreamt many dreams about Kira.

The next day he woke up and his parents had already left.

Quickly he called Kira “Hey. My parents left, so you can come over.”

“Awesome! I’m coming right now.”

“I love you and be careful!”

“I love you too!”

They hung up and Emmet got ready.

He then paced around the house in anticipation of Kira’s arrival. Finally, he looked through the dining room window and saw Kira pulling up in her car. Emmet walked outside and greeted her with open arms. They kissed with strong affection and then walked inside.

“Should I give you a tour of the house?” Emmet asked

“If you want to,” Kira replied.

So he began to show her around, then they came to the bedroom.

Kira hugged him and said, “I know it’s a sin, but I could very much make love to you.”

“I would do it for you, Kira.”

They began to remove each other’s clothes, until Kira took a deep breath and said, “We need to pray for an escape route.”

“You’re right.”

Suddenly there was knocking at the door, followed by a shrill voice. It was Emmet’s grandmother. She shouted “Emmet I know you’re alone in here with that horrible Protestant girl. Either both of you come out or I will call Bruce Mitchell to deal with you.”

“Who’s Bruce Mitchell?” Kira asked.

“My busy body neighbor. He used to beat me when I was younger.”

“Do you think he would try it again?”

“Possibly. He might even try to hurt you. Just pretend we’re not home.”

Kira nodded.

“I have a key, Emmet and I’m coming in.”

“What will we do now?” Kira asked in distress.

“I’ll get our clothes and you get your keys and make a break for it. I doubt she can catch us.”

“How will we get past her if she blocks us in?”

“You’re right. Damnit I don’t know.”

“I’m scared Emmet.”

They could hear the door unlocking and held each other tightly.

“Emmet, I know your in here and I know your with that damn girl.”

She walked to Emmet’s room and saw them half-dressed and said “Tell me you shoplifted. Tell me you’re on drugs. Even tell me you’re gay. But don’t tell me you laid down with this Protestant girl.”

“No, we didn’t,” Kira said

“But you were going to.” She paused, looked at Kira and said “You need to leave, right now!”

“Then I’m going with her!” Emmet said.

“Don’t you dare.” His grandmother interjected

“But I will,” Emmet replied with confidence.

“Then I’m calling Bruce over.”

Kira said “If whoever this Bruce person is strikes me or Emmet, I’m calling the police!”

“Just try it. I’ll tell them that you two were having sex.”

“But we weren’t.” Kira answered.

“But you were going to. Now leave.”

Emmet whispered in Kira’s ear “She’s blocking us in the doorway right now, but pretend to leave. As soon as she gets out your way I’ll run fast and follow you.”

Kira nodded and kissed him, then began to walk away. Immediately, Emmet ran and followed her then they both ran out of the house.

Emmet’s grandmother shouted “Wait, now I’m calling Bruce and he’s going to deal with both of you.”

Emmet and Kira hurriedly got into the car and she drove off.

“Watch the speed limit Kira; it’s only fifteen. We can’t afford to get pulled over.”

“You’re right. That’s the last thing we need.”

So Kira slowed down.

Emmet looked in the right side mirror and saw an old white truck catching up with them. “Damnit, that’s Bruce Mitchell following us.”

“I’ll tap my brakes and if he hits us, we can sue,” Kira said.

“Good idea,” Emmet replied.

So Kira stared at him in her rearview mirror then hit her brake pedal.

Bruce came within a foot of hitting her. She then accelerated again, but Bruce was soon on her tail. She tapped her brakes again, but Bruce flashed a revolver.

“Oh, God! He’s got a gun!” Kira said in a panic.

“Screw the speed limit, let’s get the hell out of here. If the cops pull us over we can tell them about what Bruce Mitchell was doing to us and his address as well.” Emmet said.

“Good idea.”

Kira accelerated. Bruce also accelerated. After catching up with them, he fired a shot, striking Kira’s left rear tire. They went into a spin and struck a utility pole. Then the car burst into flames…

Contact Me

Back to “Works of Fiction”

 

A Review of the Streamlight Pro Tac 2 AAA Tactical Penlight

Just for the record, I do not own the featured image on this page. It is actually the property of Streamlight Inc.

Since my teens, I have been a self-taught computer technician.

I had become considerably proficient at fixing computers in my early twenties and by my thirties, people are frequently coming to me for a repair or at least consulting me for advice.

I guess I can say that I am a computer nerd. And I am proud of it!

However, there are those that want to make trouble with people like me.

And then there are those who just want to make trouble.

There are people like these even in the best of workplaces.

Then there could just be someone off the street who wants to commit a robbery, I mean computer equipment is very valuable and computer repair equipment is also somewhat valuable.

How does one defend oneself against such a belligerent individual?

I mean, they are probably more fit physically and carrying a weapon of any sort is at best heavily regulated and at worst downright illegal.

Meet the tactical flashlight!

Specifically, meet the Streamlight Pro Tac 2 AAA model, which this piece will be a review of.

I have owned three of them, but misplaced two.

I bought my first one in January of 2018, then another in March of 2018 and my current one in March of 2019.

I EDC my current one with the rest of my computer repair tools for self-defense purposes, rather than general or specific illumination.

This neat little flashlight is slightly longer and thicker than an ink pen, meaning it can be tucked away in a backpack or purse and not noticeable until needed.

The Streamlight Pro Tac 2 AAA can be programmed to three different configurations, which is a feature known as “TEN-TAPĀ® Programming.” The three different modes are:

1. high/strobe/low

2. high only

3. low/high

I have kept mine set on the default high/strobe/low configuration (more on why in a bit.)

The LED light engine has somewhat generous specs, at least for its hardware setup:

High Mode features a 130 lumen 70-meter beam, runs for 1.75 hours and has a beam intensity of 1,230 candelas.

Low Mode features a 20 lumen 30-meter beam, runs for 13 hours and has a beam intensity of 230 candelas.

Strobe Mode runs 3.5 hours and is available for signaling help or disorienting an opponent for defensive purposes.

This flashlight is somewhat water-resistant and has a rating of IPX7 which means the unit is waterproof to a depth of 1 meter for 30 minutes.

It is also impact forgiving and was tested to withstand a fall from a height of 2 meters.

It is constructed of a very durable and abrasion-resistant machined aluminum with a Type II Mil-Spec anodized finish.

The openings are O-ring sealed to keep harmful fluids out.

The glass lens is more robust than say a polycarbonate lens.

It is 5.62 inches (14.27 cm) long and weighs 2 ounces (57g) with batteries installed.

So how is this flashlight a potential self-defense instrument?

I will explain:

First off it is made of a hard Aluminum.

Then, the front bezel is scalloped making a semi-sharp striking weapon.

Finally, it features a strobe which can disorient an attacker, especially in darkness.

The idea is one knows he or she will near any trouble makers to have this flashlight in a place where it can be quickly deployed.

Then if confronted by a violent or threatening individual, especially in the dark, the idea is to activate the strobe, which is done by two quick presses of the switch and shine it in the opponent’s eyes. As the opponent shields his or her face, the next step is to either run away and get help, or to stike the opponent as hard as you can with the scalloped bezel. Places to hit would be the face, eyes, throat or temple as hard as you can. When the impact is made, push and turn into the point of impact as this will break the skin and cause more pain and therefore more stopping power. There are a few videos on sites like YouTube that can show how to execute these movements with better precision and effectiveness than what I am simply describing on my blog. Yes, this methodology turns a small flashlight into a potentially lethal weapon. The good part is that, while it is not considered a weapon legally, it, therefore,may be carried almost anywhere.

Also for the record, I am not liable for any criminal or legal penalties you, the reader, may incur for using this as a weapon. Take my advice and the advice of others at your own risk.

Unfortunately, we live in a society that punishes people for simply defending themselves, even against armed and dangerous criminals. This is a curse that seems to be falling onto the entire Western World.

However, it is better to be judged by twelve than carried by six.

I would advise using this only if the opponent is wielding a weapon, has battered you first or has demanded your property.

This is meant to be a defensive, not an offensive weapon.

Still, it can be a legal equalizer without the red tape, obligations, and requirements of a concealed carry weapons permit.

My one complaint about this flashlight is the faulty pocket clip.

That design needs to be completely redone, as it was the faulty clip that malfunctioned and caused me to misplace my first two.

I keep my third one in a dedicated compartment of my EDC backpack with my computer repair tools and if I felt the need to carry it, I would not clip it to my pocket but rather store it deep in my pocket.

I wish the LED could also be at least 200 lumens instead of 130, but that I pushing it, I get it.

All in all, I give this product a 4.75 out of 5 stars because of the faulty pocket clip.

If the pocket clip were as robust as its 2 AA sibling, I would give it a full 5.

This, therefore, concludes my review of the Streamlight Pro Tac 2 AAA.

I hope you, the reader, have been informed and entertained…

Back to “Product Reviews”

A Review of the Victorinox Cyber Tool S Swiss Army Knife

For the record, I do not own the featured image. It is the property of Victorinox.

As I’ve frequently mentioned before, I am a self-taught computer technician.

Repairing computers is one of my more useful hobbies.

Since July of 2018, I’ve added to the items that I everyday carry when working on computers.

I still have everything previously mentioned except for the Baval branded case, which broke on me-I was sorely disappointed.

In addition to the Incandescent Mini Maglite (which is carried with these items just for general personal lighting in a post EMP situation), a Texas Instruments TI-36 X Pro (which is for assisting a computer programmer or computer scientist, though probably overkill), an Energizer HardCase Inspection Light (for looking inside a tower or mainframe while it is running) the usual USB flash drives and a Victorinox Cyber Tool S (which is for actually having to open up a computer and what this piece will be a review of.) I have since added an additional flashlight, a 2 AA Streamlight ProTac in march of 2019 (mainly for personal illumination protection should I be needed to work on a computer in a shady area or be confronted by a trouble maker in any area.) These items are all kept in a dedicated compartment of my Wenger SwissGear EDC backpack.

I have been using Swiss Army Knives on and off since 2005.

I purchased this particular Swiss Army Knife (a Victorinox Cyber Tool S) in 2018 and it is currently my favorite one.

I use this mostly for when I am working on computers, but I will also open a canned meal with it or if I have to cut something open. Though the blades are some of the sharpest steel I’ve ever encountered, I wouldn’t advise using this for self-defense purposes unless nothing else is available. I see this as much more of a tool for nerds than a weapon for a fighter.

This is what Victorinox had to say about its awesome product, “We took the traditional Officer’s knife functions and added tools like a bit wrench to match new standards in the electronics industry. And that legend continues into the digital age with the CyberTool pocket knife. It’s everything you need to become a superuser.”

Victorinox is a very reputable manufacturer, that should be common knowledge. I mean they’ve been around since 1884. And Victorinox is a Swiss firm, which I believe the Swiss are the world’s finest craftspeople, change my mind! For the record, I am not Swiss, but I do indeed admire them as a people and a sovereign state. I’ve purchased their products many times before and they have always served me well. Furthermore, I have used this particular product frequently in conjunction with my computer repair hobby, so I completely and wholeheartedly agree with their aforementioned statement. The MSRP is 75 American Dollars. Yes, Swiss goods come at a premium price, but they are worth every single penny. Swiss Army Knives easily outperform and outlast all of their East Asian knockoffs and are a hair above their American-made Leatherman counterparts, or so I’ve read. The Swiss take pride in their work, probably more than anyone else, so their products are indeed superior so that is why they have a premium price tag. I justify this purchase because I use my computer repair hobby to assist others, especially since many times cannot afford a new one. Probably the most important lesson I learned at the high school I attended was the importance of being kind to others and I do get a tremendous amount of happiness when I can be a blessing to my fellow human being.

This handy gadget is 4 inches long, 0.8 inches thick and has a net weight of 3.4 ounces. This means that it is lightweight and compact enough to be carried in a pocket and not noticed until needed, but offers a plethora of useful items when deployed!

In addition to the main features of large blade, small blade, corkscrew, reamer, punch, and sewing awl, can opener, screwdriver (3 mm), bottle opener, screwdriver (6 mm), wire stripper, key ring, toothpick, straight pin and tweezers found on many medium sized Swiss Army Knives, there are also the following implements which are indispensible for all computer technicians: a pressurized ball point pen, a precision screwdriver slotted bit which fits onto the corkscrew, a slotted screwdriver bit (size 4), a Phillips screwdriver bit (size 2), a Phillips screwdriver bit (size 0) (Pozidrive), a Phillips screwdriver bit (size 1) (Pozidrive), a Torx screwdriver bit (size 10), a Torx screwdriver bit (size 15), a bit case, a bit wrench, a female Hex drive (5 mm) for D-SUB connectors, a female Hex drive (4 mm) for bits, a Hex screwdriver bit (size 4), and a Torx screwdriver bit (size 8.)

The handle is made of a red translucent plastic known as Cellidor, which means it could easily be located in a backpack when needed.

Actually, Swiss Army Knives are mostly red because there is a lot of snow in Switzerland and they need to be easy to locate should they be dropped in the snow! Probably also the colors of the Swiss Federation are red and white.

This is the least expensive of all the Victorinox Cyber Tool models, yet it has everything I need and even things I probably won’t need, but are still good to have.

The most useful implements in relation to computer repair are the Philips, Hex and Torx Bits. Of course, the Hex wrench that drives these bits is equally important.

These bits have just about every size needed to open up a computer and even a disk drive for the most advanced of users!

Honestly, if Victorinox could make a Cyber Tool without any knife implements, but instead had those important bits and a high capacity flash drive (such as 128 GB or 1 TB) where the knife blade would be, I would definitely save the money and buy it. The reason why I could want such a high capacity flash drive is to store all of the image files of the Linux distributions that I download. Also, if such a tool existed, it could be taken to school without the owner catching a charge and on a plane without getting confiscated. This would be a hit with IT students, professionals and even amateurs like me.

As I’ve said before, the knife implements are some of the sharpest steel I have ever seen and felt, but I would much rather a flash drive in their place.

The can opener implement would, of course, be useful for getting lunch out of a can in the break room or just to have should the power fail and one needs to eat canned food.

The bottle opener implement would be useful for drinking beer or high-quality soft drink after a stressful day when all the equipment had a mind of its own.

The wire stripper on the bottle opener implement would be useful for any computer technician should he or she have to assist maintenance personnel with wiring a receptacle or switch.

And I could take or leave the corkscrew, but I fully understand it could have a use when opening that bottle of bubbly to celebrate a career milestone.

The precision screwdriver bit that attaches to the corkscrew could be used to perform minor repairs of eyeglasses on the fly, Lord knows most computer repair people both amateur and professional will need some sort of eyewear because of all the reading of screens, components and motherboards that ages the eyes prematurely.

I don’t have any complaints about this product whatsoever, I just wish a more legal version was available.

This, therefore, concludes my review of the Victorinox Cyber Tool S.

I hope I have been informative and entertaining.

Back to “Product Reviews”

Notes on the Electronic Calculator

Since infancy, I have had a great fascination with calculators, in fact just about as much as with flashlights. This is because they were always around me growing up. Before my dad became a special education teacher, he was a bank executive so therefore he always had a calculator until his career change. My mom has taught high school math since 1980 and she has always EDCed a scientific calculator or two. I had EDCed a calculator on and off since the age of eight and then permanently since the age of twenty-five. Though both of my parents are teachers, I am not. I am more or less of an amateur tradesman, especially in the trades of electrical and computer repair. Because of this, I greatly realize the need to EDC a calculator, though not for the same reason as my parents. For a while, I have been also EDCing a composition book on which I take notes on subjects that I consider important to me. On October 2nd and 3rd of 2018, I did some research on electronic calculators and took notes into my composition book. I am transcribing these notes for others to read.

Without further ado, here are my notes on electronic calculators:

Wikipedia is the source I cite as that is where the bulk of this information comes from.

The first solid state electronic calculator was created in the early 1960s.

Pocket-sized models came avaailable in the 1970s after the first microprocessor, the Intel 4004 was invented.

By the end of the 1970s, basic calculators were affordable to most and became common in schools.

In 1986 ~41% of the world’s general purpose hardware capacity was represented by calculators. As of 2007, it is only 0.05%.

Processor Components:

The Scanning/Polling Unit scans the keypad waiting to receive an electrical signal when a key is pressed.

The X and Y registers are where numbers are temporarily stored during calculations. All numbers go into the X register first, the number in the X register is displayed.

The function for the calculation is stored in the Flag Register until the calculator needs it.

The Permanent or Read Only Memory or ROM is the instructions for built-in functions that are permanently stored and cannot be deleted.

The User or the Random Access Memory or RAM is where numbers can be stored by the user and contents can be changed or erased by the user.

The Arithmetic Logic Unit or ALU executes all arithmetic and logic instructions and produces results in binary code.

The Binary Decoder Unit converts the binary results into decimal numbers which are shown on the display unit.

The clock rate of the processor chip refers to the frequency of which the Central Processing Unit is running. It indicates the processor’s speed and is measured in clock cycles per second and expressed in the unit of Hertz. Basic calculations can vary between a few hundred Hertz to the KiloHertz range.

The first devices used to aid in arithmetic calculations were bones, pebbles, counting boards and the Abacus which was used in ancient Egypt and Sumeria before 2000 BC.

Computing tools started to arrive in the 17th Century with inventions such as the Geometric Military Compass, made by Galileo.

Logarithms and Napier’s bones were invented by Scottish mathematician John Napier of Merchiston (1550-April 4, 1617.)

The slide rule was invented by English and Welsh clergyman, mathematician and astronomer Edmund Gunter (1581-December 10, 1626.)

In 1642, the mechanical calculator was invented by German professor and minister Wilheim Schickard (April 22, 1592-October 24, 1635) several decades before the device invented by French mathematician, physicist and writer Blaise Paschal (June 19, 1623-August 19, 1662.) Schikard’s device used a well-thought set of mechanized multiplication tables to quicken the process of multiplication and division. Paschal’s calculator could add and subtract two numbers directly.

German polymath Gottfried Leibinz (July 1, 1646-November 14, 1716) spent four decades attempting to design a four operation mechanical calculator he called “The Step Reckoner. he was not successful but in the process, he invented “The Leibinz Wheel.”

At that point my medication kicked in and I went to bed, then resumed taking notes on October 3, 2018.

There were five other unsuccessful attempts to design a calculating clock in the 17th Century.

The first successful calculating clock was invented in the 18th Century by Marquess physicist, mathematician and antiquarian Giovanni Poleni (1683-November 1761.)

Assumed Italian inventor Luigi Torchi (1812-?) invented the first direct multiplication machine and the second key-driven machine in the world, following James White’s invention in 1822.

Real developments began during the Industrial Revolution of the 19th Century. This made large scale production of devices that could perform all four functions of arithmetic.

The Arithmometer was invented in 1820 and put into production in 1851. It became the first commercially sold unit and by 1890, 2,500 units had been sold. There were even clone units from Burkhardt, Germany, in 1878 and Layton, UK, in 1883.

In 1902, American James Dalton invented The Dalton Adding Machine with the first push-button interface.

In 1921, American Electrical Engineer Edith Clarke (February 10, 1883-October 29, 1959), the first female professor of Electrical Engineering at UTA invented the “Clarke Calculator” which was a simple graph-based calculator for solving line equations that involved hyperbolic functions. This device gave electrical engineers the ability to simply calculate inductance and capacitance in power transmission lines.

In 1948, Austrian engineer Curt Herzstark (July 26, 1902-October 27, 1988) invented the pocket portable calculator which was called the “Curta.”

Casio released the Model 14-A in 1957. It was the world’s first all-electric compact calculator.

In October of 1961, British Bell Punch/Sumlock Comptometer ANITA, which is an acronym for “A New Inspiration To Arithmetic/Accounting” was announced. It used cold cathode tubes and Dekatrons in its circuits in addition to 12 cold cathode Nixie tubes. There were two models displayed: the Mk VII was for Continental Europe and the MK VIII was for the UK and the rest of the world.

Tubes began to be phased out in 1963 when the American-made Friden EC-130 was built of an all transistor design. It featured a stack of four thirteen digit numbers and a five-inch cathode ray tube. It also introduced Reverse Polish Notation. This machine sold for $2,200.

In 1964 Sharp introduced the CS-10A. It weighed 25 kilograms or 55 pounds and cost 500,000 yen or $4,457.52.

Italian company Industria Machine Electroniche also introduced the IME-84 with several peripherals so several users could make use of it (but not simultaneously.)

Several manufacturers followed including Canon, Mathatronics, Olivetti, Toshiba, Smith Carona Marchant, and Wang. These calculators used Germanium as opposed to Silicon for their transistors. Displays were either Cathode Ray Tube or cold cathode Nixie tubes and filament lamps. Memory was either delayed line memory or magnetic core memory. However, the Toshiba “Toscal” BC-1411 possibly had an early form of Dynamic Random Access Memory.

In late 1965, the Olivetti Programma 101 was released. It could read and write stored programs on magnetic memory cards and display the results on its built-in printer. Memory was achieved with an acoustic delay line and could be partitioned between program steps, constants and data registers. It could be considered the first commercially made personal computer and won many industrial design awards.

Also in 1965 the Bulgarian made ELKA 6521 was released. The name is derived from a portmanteau of ELektronen KAlkulator. It weighed 8 kilograms or 18 pounds. It was the first calculator to feature a square root function. Later in 1965 the ELKA 25 with a built-in printer was introduced. The ELKA 101 was released in 1974 and was ELKA’s first pocket model. It featured Roman script (I guess as opposed to Slavic)since it was exported to Western Countries.

In 1967, the Monroe Epic was put on the market. It was a large printing desktop model with an attached floor standing logic tower. It could be programmed to carry out many computer-like functions. Unfortunately, the only branch instruction was an implied unconditional branch (GO TO) at the end of the operation stack, which returned the program to its starting instruction. Therefore it was impossible to include any conditional branch ie (IF-THEN-ELSE) logic.

During this time period, the absence of a conditional branch sometimes determined the difference between a programmable calculator and a computer.

Also in 1967, Texas Instruments American electrical engineer Jack Kilby (November 8, 1923-June 20, 2005) led the production of the first prototype of a handheld calculator, the “Cal Tech.” It could perform the four basic operations and printed the results on paper tape.

In 1970 a calculator could be produced with just a few low power chips and be powered by rechargeable batteries. Also in 1970, the first portable calculators appeared in Japan and were sold around the world. Models included the Sanyo ICC-0081 Mini Calculator, the Canon “Pocketronic” and the Sharp QT-8B “micro compet.”

Desiring to reduce power consumption, Sharp introduced the EL-8 which was also marketed as the Facit IIII. it was close to being a pocket model and weight 1.59 pounds or 721 grams, had a vacuum fluorescent display, rechargeable NiCad batteries and sold for $395.

In early 1971, the first “Calculator on a chip” the MK6010 was made by Mostek. Also in 1971, Pico Electronics and General Instrument introduced the chipset for the Monroe Royal Digital III calculator.

The Busicom LE-120A “HANDY” was the first truly pocket-sized calculator. It was the first to feature an LED display, first to use a single integrated circuit and the first to run on primary batteries. It measured 4.9 inches by 2.8 inches by 0.9 inches (124 millimeters by 71 millimeters by 23 millimeters.)

The DB800 was made in 1971 in Buje, Croatia, and was the first European made pocket calculator.

The Bowmar 901B was the first American made pocket-sized calculator which measured 5.2 inches by 3.0 inches by 1.5 inches (132 millimeters by 76 millimeters by 38 millimeters) and was put on the market in Autumn of 1971. It featured the four basic functions, a red LED display and sold for $240.

Then in 1972, the first slimline pocket calculator was released. It was the Sinclair Executive. Measuring 5.4 inches by 2.2 inches by 0.35 inches (137.2 millimeters by 55.9 millimeters by 8.9 millimeters), it sold for 79 Pounds.

The first pocket-sized Soviet-made calculator was the Elektronika B3-04 was developed in 1973 and put on the market in 1974.

In 1973, the Sinclair Cambridge was launched. It sold for 29.95 Pounds or $38.40. Because of their lower price, Sinclair units were popular but they were slower and sometimes produced inaccurate results with transcendental functions.

The first Soviet-made, pocket-sized scientific model B3-18 was completed by the end of 1975.

Texas Instruments introduced the SR-10 (SR stands for “Slide Rule.”) It was an algebraic entry-level pocket calculator using scientific notation and sold for $150. Afterward, the SR-11 was released and had a dedicated key for the Pi constant. The following year, the SR-50 was released and added the trigonometric and logarithmic functions. It was a competitor model to the Hewlett Packard HP-35.

In 1976, the Texas Instruments TI-30 was launched and descendants of it are still in production.

In 1978, Calculated Industries made special purpose calculators such as the “Loan Arranger” which was marketed to Real Estate professionals. In 1985 they launched the “Construction Master” which was marketed to the building trades.

Programmable calculators such as the Mathatronics and Casio AL-100 were very heavy and costly.

The Hewlett Packard HP-65 came out in 1974 and had a capacity of 100 instructions and could store and retrieve programs in a built-in magnetic card reader. The HP-25 introduced continuous memory which stored data and programs in a CMOS. The HP-41C was released in 1979 and could be expanded with Random Access Memory and Read Only Memory. It could also be connected to bar code readers, microcassette and floppy drives as well as printers and communication interfaces such as the RS-232, HP-IL, and HP-IB.

The ISKRA123 was Soviet-made, grid powered and released in the early 1970s. The Elektronika B3-21 was developed at the end of 1976 and put on the market in early 1977. Its successor, the B3-34 was widely used and hundreds of thousands of games and program were written for it. The Elektronika MK-52 was used in the Soviet Space Program.

The Hewlett Packard HP-28C was released in 1987 and was the first calculator capable of symbolic programming.

The Casio fx-7000G was released in 1985 as the world’s first graphing calculator.

In 1981, the Hewlett Packard 12-C was the first financial calculator…

Computer Instruction Notes

I have been EDCing a Composition Book containing notes I have taken on subjects that I’d like to be well versed in. This page and others will feature the notes I have written so others can be as educated as I am on these subjects.

This particular page will deal with my Computer Instructions, specifically on how to get a better operating system for your computer. These are very general, but I still find them to contain valuable information.

The reasons why you may want to change your operating system is either because you are sick and tired of dealing with Microsoft Windows’ painfully numerous shortcomings or the version of Linux you are using is out of date and no longer supported. Maybe you are like me and you liken trying different flavors of Linux to trying different flavors of ice cream.

Whatever the reason, these instructions should be quite useful.

Without further ado, here it is:

…October 1, 2018, is when this was written…

Upgrading your computer’s operating system.

Check the hardware specifications of machine desired for upgrade.

Determine whether your machine is 32 bit or 64 bit.

Search for a distribution that is compatible with hardware specs.

Download the .ISO file.

32 Bit .ISO files work on both 32 Bit and 64 Bit hardware.

64 Bit .ISO files work only on 64 Bit hardware infrastructure.

Athalon AMD is typically 64 Bit.

Intel X86 is typically 32 Bit.

Use Startup Disk Creator (in Linux at least) or Unetbootin (otherwise) to “burn” the .ISO file to installation media (USB stick or SD card.) Use CD burning software to “burn” .ISO file to CD or DVD.

Insert installation media into computer desired for the upgrade, then shut down.

Start up the said computer again and access the BIOS, which is usually achieved by repeatedly pressing one of the Function Keys during and right after power up.

Go to the Boot Menu within the BIOS memory. Here you will modify the Boot Sequence.

Select the device containing the installation media to be the first boot device.

Save changes, then exit the BIOS and restart.

Follow instructions as the new operating system boots.

Restart when finished and be sure to remove installation media…

Synopsis of “Separated Affection”

Separated Affection is one of my “Public Displays of Affection” stories that I am currently on hiatus with writing.

Though I consider it one of my Public Displays of Affection stories, it doesn’t attack false religion, but it does attack Communism and oppressive governments quite a bit.

Part of this came to me in a dream I had in June of 2006, part of it is based on childhood experiences and the third part is directly from my imagination.

And yet, another part came to me in March of 2014 while I was watching CNN at my now ex-in-laws’ house.

It begins late one evening in June of 1989, where two-year-old Easton Milford and his dad, Perry Milford, are in the kitchen listening to a news report on the radio.

The news reporter tells of what going on in the Communist countries, such as the Soviet Union getting its first credit card to modernize its banking system and Red China being put under martial law.

Perry Milford remarks, “Those damn good for nothing communist bastards.”

Easton repeats him.

Perry tells Easton to, watch his language.

Easton replies, asking ‘What language, Dad, I only speak English.’

At the same time, Easton’s mother Penny Milford walks into the kitchen and announces that it’s time for bed. Easton protests, but then agrees when his mother says she’ll read to him.

The next morning Perry is pushing Easton on a swing set when some new neighbors are moving into the house adjacent to theirs.

The Milfords all walk over to the house and greet their new neighbors.

It is a thirty-three-year-old man Anton “Tony” Davidov and his four-going-on-five-year-old daughter, Kamilla Davidov. They are defectors from The Ukraine.

Upon learning this, Perry refers to Boris Yelsten as an ‘S.O.B.’ and says that he can’t stand him.

Curiously, Easton asks, “What’s S.O.B.?”

To which, Perry says, “Nothing, son, don’t worry about it.”

Kamilla looks at Easton and says, “Oh, that’s a cute little boy. Maybe now I can have someone to play with.” She then looks at her dad and asks, “Papa, can I play with him while you unpack?”

All of the adults agree. Kamilla and goes into Easton’s room with him and they socialize. She begins to rock him in the rocking chair and Penny takes a picture of them together.

Meanwhile, Perry is trying to cut the grass but is angered because his lawnmower won’t start.

Being a high school history teacher and not mechanically inclined frustrates him even more.

Anton, hears him cursing the mower, walks over and offers to fix the mower.

Perry agrees.

Anton gets the mower running, then explains that he worked his way from assembler to machinist at a tractor factory while living in The Ukraine.

Perry then says how he has tickets to a baseball game and offers to take Anton for fixing his mower. Anton agrees.

Back in the bedroom, Easton is soon fast asleep and Kamilla is laying next to him on the mattress.

Perry begins to cut the grass near Easton’s bedroom and the noise of the lawnmower startles Kamilla.

She says how when she was really little that tanks used to pass through the streets in her old country.

Easton says how he thought that was “neat.”

Kamilla corrects him and says, tanks are not neat and that they ‘kill people and burn down houses with their missiles.’

Easton replies, that it’s not neat but scary and that he hopes she’ll ‘stay over here from now on.’

Kamilla tells Easton that her dad says he’ll always stay in America as long as the Soviet government controls The Ukraine.”

Easton giggles Kamilla then wants to know, what’s so funny?

Easton explains, his dad calls the Soviet people ‘damn good for nothing communist bastards’.”

Kamilla giggles too.

Suddenly the lawnmower flings a piece of gravel from the yard and it hits the windowpane, shattering it.

Kamilla ducks down thinking they are being shot at by the police.

Penny comes in and demands to know how was the glass broken.

Easton replies, very matter of factly that a rock from the lawnmower hit it.

Kamilla looks at Penny and says, “You mean we weren’t being shot at?”

Penny explains that a rock got caught in the lawnmower blades and hit the window. No one shoots at them.

To which Kamilla asks, ‘not even the police?’

Penny explains that the police aren’t allowed to shoot at innocent people in America

Kamilla confesses, that Easton says that his dad calls the Soviets ‘damn good for nothing communist bastards.’

Penny gives Easton a stern look, but then reassuringly tells Kamilla, that it’s ‘all right to say that in America, the Soviets aren’t in power here.’

Penny then makes the children leave the room so she can clean up the broken glass.

They go into the kitchen and listen to the radio and learned of a Chinese man standing up to a tank in Tiananmen Square, Bejing.

Kamilla says how she would never do something like that.

Easton tells her that he would pull her out of the way if she tried.

Kamilla then kisses Easton and they listen to the radio until Penny puts on Dr. Seuss tapes for them.

Perry finishes cutting the grass then comes in.

Penny tells him how the mower flung a rock and broke Easton’s window.

Perry yells, “Damn it to hell and son of a bitch! What next?”

Penny corrects him and says how his son repeats everything he says and that he shouldn’t talk like that in front of Kamilla either.

Moments later, Anton comes in to pick up Kamilla and she tells him about the broken window.

Anton offers to help Perry install the new pane, to which he agrees.

Anton then measures the dimensions of the window and has Perry write them down.

He then tells Perry to go to the hardware store and have them cut a piece of glass to those dimensions.

Perry says he’ll go right now and he’ll take Penny and Easton with him.

Easton is very excited to go look at all the stuff there.

Anton tells Kamilla to ‘come and see her new room.’

First, she kisses Easton goodbye and he kisses her in return.

That’s all I had written to this story, but there are plans I have to go with it:

Fast forward to July of 1991, over two years later.

Easton and Kamilla had strongly bonded with each other and became very close. They are just about in love if one could call it that.

Kamilla comes running out of her dad’s house screaming and crying because she learned that they are moving back to The Ukraine to care for a dying relative. She continues crying and states that she hoped that they would grow up together and maybe even get married.

Easton kisses the tears off her face and says how they should play together while they still can.

He then asks, ‘Where is The Ukraine?’ and Kamilla replies that ‘it’s on the other side of the world.’

Easton then says quite prophetically that, “One day, there will be a way for people to talk to each other and see each other even though they are on other sides of the world. We can use that when it is invented.”

Kamilla seems distressed and unsure.

They sit together in the grass for a bit then Kamilla says, “I have an old calculator I want you to have. My dad gave it to me and now I want you to have it. I know you like to play with that kind of stuff and I want you to remember me with it.”

Easton then replies “OK, then I want you to have the swirl to my Shelcore Activity center.”

They exchange their items.

I have yet to write the scene where Kamilla and her dad move away, but one day I will. It will require a lot of emotional energy to do so, I can see that for sure.

Fast forward to Easton’s teen years (2000-2007): He is obsessed with Kamilla to the point where it is unhealthy but generally harmless. He teaches himself how to work on computers and every day carries a vintage Mini Maglite flashlight. The reason behind him doing this is that the said flashlight was invented in 1984, the same year Kamilla was born and also it was invented by an Eastern European machinist, named “Tony” very similar to Kamilla’s dad. He also carries the calculator Kamilla gave him in the same pocket as his flashlight. The calculator is an Elektronika MK-61.

Then, fast forward to 2005: Easton is a senior in high school and has a side hustle of repairing other people’s computers. With some of the money he earns, he collects calculators, especially those from the vintage Soviet era. He soon graduates and gets a job at an office supply company but also and begins attending community college taking up Information Technology and English.

In 2006, nineteen-year-old Easton gets his own apartment.

In 2008, he begins his career at age twenty-one as an online blogger.

In 2009, as a lonely twenty-two-year-old, he signs up for Facebook and uses it to search for Kamilla Davidov, still obsessed with her.

In 2014, Russia annexes Crimea, Ukraine and the factory where Anton works is bombed, killing him. Twenty-seven-year-old Easton learns of this on the news and decides to do a frantic search for Kamilla Davidov on Facebook. Finally, he sees her picture and is overcome by her beauty. She is twenty-nine-going-on-thirty. The war between Russia and The Ukraine prompted her to get on social media.

Easton friend requests her and writes a message “Hi. I don’t know if you remember me or not or even if I have the right person. However, I knew someone by your name as a child and she was someone whom I really cared about. Did you live in the United States from 1989-1991? Please let me know either which way and I’m sorry if I have the wrong person.”

She instantly accepts, and replies, “Yes. I most definitely remember you. I still have your Shelcore Swirl toy. Do you still have my calculator?”

“Of course I do, I carry it on me all the time.”

They begin exchanging messages and he eventually convinces her to come to the United States where she will be safe.

That’s all I have. I’m willing to write some more of this one day, but I’ll need a very high amount of emotional energy to do so.

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