Given the International nature of this particular hobby, I should first explain the title of the blog. The short version is that someone who doesn't have much money (or has none) is 'brassic'. The long version is that there was a dialect of the English language used in the East end of London in the mid-to-late 19th century called Cockney Rhyming slang. Growing up not far from there in the '80s, this is something I was quite used to as a kid.
Behind The Curve
The reason for this is simple. I have always been an owner of 'budget' systems. My 'current' system is based on an Intel Core 2 Quad 9550 CPU - equipment dating from 2008. I have always been at least a generation behind the latest technology, but this gap has widened in recent years. I could argue that my laptop (which I'm using right now) is my most up to date system, and it is from 2010: a Lenovo u410 which has a Core i5 3317u CPU. This is a '3rd generation' i5 CPU aka Ivy Bridge - the current generation is Skylake, which is '6th generation'. So now I am 3 generations behind, despite the newest systems still being called i5. (2020 update: 10th generation is the newest).
Not What It Used To Be
As a result, there are some technologies that I never used when they were fresh, and some games I never played at their maximum detail setting, for example. Now that these items are historical, I can experience them retrospectively e.g.
- 3DFX Voodoo graphics ($300 at the time)
- SLI (2 of the above running in tandem)
- VESA Local Bus
- EISA (Compaq's 32-bit ISA-compatible bus)
- MCA (IBM's 32-bit ISA-incompatible bus)
- Caching hard disk controllers
- SCSI (including hard disks running at 10K rpm)
- Games at high detail, high frame rates, or high resolutions
- General MIDI hardware e.g. Roland Sound Canvas and MT32
- Pentium / Pentium II (I skipped this and went from 486 to Pentium III
- Athlon / Phenom (I have had Intel systems since my AMD 486)
- Any other hardware that was unobtainable to most normal people
Once More, With Feeling
Saving The Past
The other side of vintage computing as a hobby is that there is a trend in recent years of computer manufacturers recycling old equipment in order to fulfil government-dictated e-waste quotas and to protect the environment. This is unfortunately resulting some pieces of history being lost. I am one of a relatively small group of people who are trying to preserve the history of computing so that future generations may continue to enjoy the experiences of previous generations. This blog aims to document my own experiences of the preservation process.