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Phoenix: Defender of the file

(Wed May 13 16:04:51 2009)

I use my computer a lot.

I use my computer a lot. I use it for playing games, doing work, watching movies, and editing this website, along with a host of other things. It's my portal to the universe - or from the universe back in. Since I use it so much, I figured I'd try to tell it's story.

Long, long ago, in the summer of 1998, I got a Pentium II 233Mhz computer with 64 MB of RAM and a 2 gig hard drive, running Windows 98. Not too bad for a freebie, actually. The next year, I graduated high school and moved to LeTourneau university, bringing my trusty computer with me, of course. It might have been slow and lacked a decent video card, but I liked it all the same. It was better than nothing, for sure!

In July of 2000, tragedy struck - quite literally. My poor computer was fried by a bold of lightning. There was nothing for it except having it appraised for insurance. Luckily, it was good enough that I was able to get some funds to build a new computer. I named it "Phoenix," for from the ashes of the old rose a new, more powerful machine. I was able to use some of the ram, the hard drive, and a few other bits and pieces from the dead computer - I didn't even need a new OS. Some new hardware, but still my trusty machine.

In October of 2001, again, tragedy! My hard drive gave a few whirs, a clunk, and stopped. I had a second hard drive, a 20 gig, but there was a lot of data on that hard drive I could never recover. Since then, I've found a few things on random floppy disks, but not some of the bigger stories and pictures.

In 2002, I added a new hard drive - and a new OS. The upgrade from Windows '98 to Windows XP was definitely a good move, especially since it was free, provided by my college. In 2003, I upgraded my video card; that January ('04), just before classes, the computer died (no reason that I could find). It took until that summer before I could scrape together the funds to build a new computer, but again, I was able to use old parts - hard drive, sound card, etc.

Fall of 2005, I bought a new motherboard for super-cheap, and swapped it out with my old one. It was a good thing, too, because the next time I powered up the old motherboard, it was dead as a doornail. Whether it was moving the board or something else that killed it, either way, my computer lived on.

More damage hit the poor computer in the Fall of 2006. An electrician was working on the wiring, and managed to throw the main breaker. Somehow, that damaged the power supplies in every computer that was plugged in - all but the one in Phoenix. The fan stopped working, but it at least kept working until I got a new one. Phoenix got a hardware upgrade in the Spring of 2007, along with an OS update: KUbuntu Linux. At that point, it had gone through three different cases; this one needed something special. After many hours (and worn cutting disks), I cut a Phoenix-shaped window in the case.

By now (May 2009), it has a dual-core 64 bit processor, a gig of ram (with another two gigs on the way, due Monday), and a fanless video card and processor. It has a 250 gig hard drive, with another 2 TB of storage in a different computer.

It's been more impressive - 2005 saw it as part of the Borg Array: three computers, acting as a single member. My mouse could move across all four screens (two on Phoenix, one on my server machine, and one on Peregrine, my linux box). Now, I only have two monitors, with Roc (my server) going headless.

Phoenix has changed hard drives four times, and operating systems thrice; it's moved cases from a huge chunk of metal Pentium 2 style case to a dinky mini-tower, and finally to a sweet mid-tower; it's been hit by lightning twice, fried three times, and had more sound cards, modems, and network cards in (and back out of) it than most computers dare to dream about. Even so, after every disaster, it rises from the ashes as a newer, stronger, more powerful creation.

I'll see if I can get some more updated pictures up soonish.

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