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Computer #3 (Gateway 486DX2/50; 1992-1996)

Computer #3 was a Gateway 486DX2/50 ISA machine with 16 MB RAM, 952 MB of IDE hard disk space (initially purchased with two 200 MB drives, but I upgraded both over the years), an ATI Ultra display board with 15" SVGA monitor, a NEC CDR-73M double-speed CD-ROM, Media Vision Pro Audio Spectrum 8-bit sound card, US-Robotics 14,440 external fax/modem, and a mongrel $20 ISA Ethernet card added later once we got home and subscribed to broadband.  While it was my main machine in Germany, I added an HP 560C Inkjet printer to the Epson. It was bought while we were living in Germany, and was finally recycled at a local recycling fund-raiser. It still worked up until the end. I bought this computer via mail-order while we lived in Germany (1991-1995), and had it delivered to our APO mailbox on the Army base.

It was a challenge to get the machine on the "internet" from Germany (I was using Compuserve at the time [72066,234]). First off, German house phones were wired so that if someone was using one phone extension, no other phone extensions would work, so I had to wire the basement phone drop to work off a toggle switch that killed all the other phones in the house when I was online. Also, German phone lines were metered at the time with an audible CLICK that triggered a counter beside the phone that kept track of how many units ($) were being used. That CLICK killed any modem connection, and the click occured every eleven minutes for a local call (ten pfennigs every eleven minutes). I had to teach myself the Hayes modem control codes so I could re-program my US Robotics modem so it would ignore the CLICK on the line and not hang up on me.



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