How I Learned To Build A Computer

Let’s go back to 1997. I’d pretty much started secondary school, I was awkward and I started to have a passion for computers. More precisely, just how do they work and operate.

The best thing about school is that it’s a learning place for not just the education curriculum, its also a place to develop personally things that would eventually define me in the future. One such activity was computers.

In 1997, the school I was in was using a 486 processor using Microsoft 3.1 and eventually 3.11 operating system and to say the least one of the very first things you had to do at the time was to hand type the operating software command to start the operating system itself.

But there was one room which curiously had a large metal re-enforced door. Behind that was computers from the early 80s and it ran on 8-bit programs. This was heaven on earth, because the software on those computers were often games based and being a school was all rather educational.

Moving over the years, I eventually grew a reputation at school for being a computer nerd, given that I don’t own a computer nor do I use one at home at that time. So much so as a computer geek, I was eventually given a special seat during school Sports Day. You see the school I went to for Sports Day I would go to Crystal Palace Sports Centre.

What I would do was work the electronic scoreboard using a computer that was from the late 1970s to 1980s. And I would control the information about the sports event on that day. My IT teacher would be fascinated in the athletics information before I erased it because my IT teacher is an amateur athletics runner.

The great thing about school for me is watching the development of the schools computer systems, from the constant upgrade of the operating systems moving from Windows 3.1, Windows 3.11 then Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 98SE and finally getting to Windows 2000. But it wasn’t just the operating system upgrades. The computers themselves were interesting in that I would sometimes be given the task to upgrade the computers themselves by increasing the RAM.

In one case, my IT teacher was also supplying as a PE teacher and he knew I didn’t have much interest in sport, so he would send me to the IT room next door to the library and would get instructions from the IT technician there. It was great because I get to do something no pupil at that time was able to do. Fix a computer.

From here I was learning outside of my main education curriculum and spending time after school in the IT room to learn basic MS-DOS coding to learning how a computer physically worked meant that in the end when I was about to leave school, my IT teachers and the IT technicians decided that I deserved to have a computer.

So I was given a computer that was actually found in a dumpster. In fact many of the computers at that time were old trashed computers that offices and in this case banks didn’t want. And so because I had grown up working on those computers, it as natural for me to work on those type of computers.

I did however had a few technical problems. I once managed to short out a computer because of a loose wire and completely wiped out the hard drive and the main BIOS. It was so bad that when you switched the computer on the computer simply gave a command that basically said, I’ve given up being a computer.

But having said that, I did own a fully working computer after that. And throughout college and university I continually upgraded and newly built computers. All that results today with my latest computer which I have great pride as well as testament to my skill and knowledge because I ended up being much like a technician and helped my friend sort out many faults in his computer system.

To think that 20 years ago, I never had a computer, never knew how a PC worked and now today know so much about computers and technology in general it hasn’t left me.

Tinkering To My Heart’s Content

One of the more satisfying things to do on your own website is the endless tinkering to a design and for me that’s no exception. In this case I’m not tinkering to a custom made design, instead I’m actually tinkering a ready made design.

The fact is that I’m using WordPress and the great thing about it is that I can modify many elements of the design using the custom CSS editor which effectively allows me to override the existing CSS built into the page.

So from here on in, you may see subtle changes to the website as I continually modify it until I’m happy… The nice thing about this. I like this approach and want to use this experience to great personal effect, in other words, by making incremental changes to one’s life, hopefully I would be happier and also improve my future career prospects… Not bad for just tinkering for fun!

Introducing CptDogstar

CptDogstar is a separate part of JosephAviation in that it mostly looks into the airsoft, gaming and media side of me.

Having played as an airsofter for the better part of 8 years, I’ve developed it further by taking part in Milsim (military simulation) events as well as personally developing the Airsoft Combat Photographer role in that I go into a game play as a player and photographer at the same time.

I also do video editing of airsoft games like this:

Game play and outright fun is this side of my website but also this side of my personality that most people don’t see when I go to job interviews and it’s mostly a collection of fun activities.

CptDogstar will mainly post airsoft videos, livestream games and photography as well as general comments about certain airsoft kit, defence and security as well as… well… games.

So What Have I Been Doing?

For quite a while my website has been down and that’s because of various reasons including GDPR, HTTPS and generally not having much time to maintain it.

Needless to say the biggest problem is time itself. I’ve been very busy trying to look at my career future and also dealing with a volunteering project (more will be blogged about in the future).

In the meantime, I’ve been looking at my social network and media sites and is trying to combine all of my sites into one comprehensive username to keep consistency.

Meanwhile, I will leave you with an exciting simulated gunfire from HMS Belfast’s 6-inch guns.


This is a short blog post, but needless to say, I’ve taken the time to do some re-ordering of the website and operations. More will be done over time so do please be patient!