I’m Josh from Ballarat in regional Victoria, Australia.
Born in Darwin in 1985 with no siblings, my early years were turbulent, frequently moving from place to place around the country, with just my mother most of the time. By the age of 5, my parents divorced and it was decided we would move back to Adelaide, South Australia. In 1991, my mother’s brother was killed in an motorcycle accident whilst travelling to work. From this we were introduced to someone named Rod, who became a close friend to my mother, and a second father to me.
Over the following years myself and Rod both grew a fascination with computers. I’d be looking forward after school to using his 286 PC, which had Windows 3.1 installed with a VGA display. As someone who started using only DOS, I used to love seeing coloured icons and the interaction with the Windows shell. At school itself I became accustomed to using the Macintosh, particularly with the LC series, and was gaining a reputation for being a geek. When it was time for a reading session, I’d pull out a computer magazine, whilst all the other students would read a novel. I was more interested reading about Windows 95 or the new Intel Pentium processors, then read a story that didn’t actually happen. It annoyed the teacher, and she approached my mother that I had ADHD-like symptoms, though my mother simply dismissed the notion that was the case.
By mid-1997, Rod decided to end his life by carbon monoxide poisoning. As a 12 year old, it was difficult to comprehend, and even now it still stirs emotion. The following couple of years were difficult knowing he was no longer around. Around the same time, I was awarded a High Distinction from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Computer Skills Competition.
I left my mother and Adelaide itself at the age of 15, and stayed with a relative up on a farm on the outskirts of Tamworth, in northern New South Wales. It was a challenging time adjusting to a different lifestyle, where more kids had been raised riding dirt bikes, which I wasn’t used to over the years. Almost a year passed realising this wasn’t for me, I went to Melbourne around Christmas of 2001. I decided on Melbourne as I wasn’t wanting to return to Adelaide as I knew how it would be, and that my father was at the time living down near St Kilda with an English flatmate. My first home in Melbourne was living with them, sleeping on the sofa, with the few items I had kept in boxes. It was far from ideal, although I quickly gained independence. My father specifically mentioned to me that he wasn’t fussed what I did, as long as I wasn’t sleeping on the streets, or getting involved with the police.
Shortly afterwards I decided to enrol myself back into high school. After repeating Year 11 twice, I was pulled into a short meeting by a school coordinator. After explaining to me that in the unlikely event that I could pass absolutely everything in Year 12, I still wouldn’t receive an ENTER score for university entry and so there was little point continuing. By this stage I wasn’t living with my father, moving from house to house within months at a time. It was decided I would just start working full time, in order to start having the things people take for granted.
Over the past few years I became interested in earlier computers that were common in my childhood (early-mid 1990s). Originally this was due to nostalgia, though I’m aware much of these earlier computers and their software were often tossed for recycling and landfill, and ultimately much is lost from what I consider the ‘golden age’ of desktop computing.
This website, Socket 3 was named after the motherboards and associated processors that were common for the period. Socket 3 was the type of socket to insert a 486 processor into the motherboard using 237 pins.
Should you live in the Ballarat area (Australia) and would like an old computer picked up and reused, you may e-mail me via the Contact page.