My First PC

by Tom “20mm” Hayden


“I’m afraid I can’t do that, Tom.”It was late on a Saturday afternoon and my first home-built computer had just spoken to me. I found myself spinning further into the abyss of lunacy that had begun with ordering the components two weeks prior, and before I could evaluate the reasonableness of responding to a talking collection of metal, plastic, and electronics, I said,“Hal, open the CD drive door please. Reboot, please… reboot!”But there was no answer, and no reboot. The blue LED hard drive light blinked intermittently, as if to see if I was still out there, still waiting.

I had never seriously thought about building my own computer before. It all just seemed so alien — the work of teams of scientists with heads larger than a breadbox. The very notion of my interfering “in there” was outrageous, preposterous, an assault against the laws of the universe. It was mysterious and it was… wrong.

And yet something had to be done, there was no denying it. The reasons were over in the corner, still in their original boxes, with the original tape-that-you-have-to-cut-through-first-before-opening intact. One Intel D875PBZ motherboard, and Intel Pentium 4 3.2 GHz processor. I had never even opened the boxes. There could have been Illudiom Pew-36 Explosive Space Modulators in there for all I knew.

The contest of wills between man and machine had begun…


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