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.