Today, I decided to acquire a new personal computer. No, my HP Pavilion 15 Beats Special Edition laptop isn’t dying nor am I getting rid of it. I’m transitioning that particular PC to a gaming and media computer to support my entry into the world of Cities: Skylines and to serve as the home for my future podcasting and Internet radio ventures. My day-to-day stuff will move to my newest piece of modern technology: the Samsung Notebook 7 Spin. This is somewhat of a similar setup to what I had back in the Fall of 2001 when I decided to use my first-ever computer—the Compaq Presario 1200—for music and multimedia stuff while acquiring another computer for school stuff. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: the Gateway Solo 1200.
How I first came across this moment? As my sophomore year of high school was closing out in the Spring of 2001, I noticed that my Compaq was slowing down tremendously. I can’t say I was surprised considering it was a very used computer before I even got it. While still serviceable, it was clear that the stuff I was saving to the computer—the Triumphs & Tribulations I entries, the music, the Rollercoaster Tycoon game saves, the school stuff, the pictures—was eating up the free space. So I decided to acquire a brand new computer. After a summer of saving, my father and I visited the Gateway Country Store on October 14, 2001, to get a new computer. The sales representative asked me about my requirements and preferences in a computer and after some discussion, she showed me to the Gateway Solo 1200. It was love at first sight. I wrote a check for $1088.91 and walked away with a new computer in a cow bag.
What it meant to me then? The Solo 1200 was the first major purchase of my life. I felt proud of myself. When I turned on the computer for the first time, I was introduced to Windows Me—or Windows Millennium Edition, for those of you who weren’t really around back then. The computer was far different than the Compaq Presario 1200 that I had been rocking with for a year. It was lighter, faster, and had tons of features that were largely absent from my first PC. Most of all, it had more space. I was able to transition all of my school work to the Solo 1200 and that made a huge difference in how I went about my academics. Eventually, in November 2001, I transitioned Triumphs & Tribulations over from the Compaq. Soon thereafter, as 2002 settled in, the Solo 1200 was home to just about everything while the Presario was what I used for risky stuff like LimeWire or suspect websites or porn. I loved that Gateway Solo 1200. It served tremendously from October 2001 until June 2005, when I purchased a Dell.
What it means to me now? The Solo 1200 was the only Gateway PC I’ve owned. I’ll never forget it. The nights of building the Juan Thomas Presents… playlists in Windows Media Player, all of the entries from Triumphs & Tribulations II, III, IV, and V, the papers I wrote, all of the love poems and short stories and pictures that made up my unreleased book called The VD Files, my transition of life from teenager to 20-something…all of it was recorded in the Solo 1200. It changed the way I looked at laptop and notebook PCs. I’ve owned better ones since but none of them have meant more to me than that one.