My hobbies in the childhood

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  • #1
Omega0
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I just came across a glass supplier which offers everything, and I saw laboratory supply like Erlenmeyer flasks etc. I remembered my childhood when my parents completely supported me in my scientific hobbies (around 40 years ago). I loved science where I got support from my parents in astronomy, chemistry, electronics.

Astronomy: I got a 2 inch refractor as an older child and on Christmas Eve I saw Jupiter and the 4 biggest moons - I was so moved! For chemistry and electronics there have been science kits from Philips - quite expensive and my parents hadn't too much money, let's say. They supported me, nevertheless. So I had science kits for electronics and chemistry.

I wanted to know everything and understand everything. When I think back chemistry was way more fascinating to me, boiling things, little explosions or so, liquids changing the colors or something. I realized what was going on and it was something I could touch - or shouldn't touch - and definitely shouldn't drink :wink: In those experimental kits have been toxic substances - how cool was that? :wink:

In electronics I was sort of proud if I created a circuit from a schedule but the problem was: I didn't understand it. It was explained in detail but I sucked because I wanted to be fast, fast, fast. Why those little circuits with just a few resistors and a transistor, nooooo, I want to have something more complex. As if I would have been in a hurry.

Nowadays, I like all the science and of course math - and other hobbies :smile: I just thought about how much cooler it was to have blubbering glas bulbs connected with colorful liquids or so than a blinking little lightbulb 🙃

What did you do? (PS I was a nerd)
 
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  • #2
rsk
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I didn't have kit like that, but I was fascinated by the night sky and remember getting a book guide to the constallations with pages to cut and stick and make a planisphere. I also remember recceiving a book of Carl Sagan's Cosmos, the year the tv series was first broadcast.

My brother had an electronics kit that we both loved playing with (i remember a 'burglar alarm' to rig up to a bedroom door and an alarm that would go off if you left the bath running and it was in danger of overflowing. Not sure now about the H&S aspects of that, but they were only batteries I suppose).
 
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  • #3
pinball1970
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I just came across a glass supplier which offers everything, and I saw laboratory supply like Erlenmeyer flasks etc. I remembered my childhood when my parents completely supported me in my scientific hobbies (around 40 years ago). I loved science where I got support from my parents in astronomy, chemistry, electronics.

Astronomy: I got a 2 inch refractor as an older child and on Christmas Eve I saw Jupiter and the 4 biggest moons - I was so moved! For chemistry and electronics there have been science kits from Philips - quite expensive and my parents hadn't too much money, let's say. They supported me, nevertheless. So I had science kits for electronics and chemistry.

I wanted to know everything and understand everything. When I think back chemistry was way more fascinating to me, boiling things, little explosions or so, liquids changing the colors or something. I realized what was going on and it was something I could touch - or shouldn't touch - and definitely shouldn't drink :wink: In those experimental kits have been toxic substances - how cool was that? :wink:

In electronics I was sort of proud if I created a circuit from a schedule but the problem was: I didn't understand it. It was explained in detail but I sucked because I wanted to be fast, fast, fast. Why those little circuits with just a few resistors and a transistor, nooooo, I want to have something more complex. As if I would have been in a hurry.

Nowadays, I like all the science and of course math - and other hobbies :smile: I just thought about how much cooler it was to have blubbering glas bulbs connected with colorful liquids or so than a blinking little lightbulb 🙃

What did you do? (PS I was a nerd)
I was interested in ornithology from a young age and I used to like reading about all these birds I had never encountered as I lived in the city.
Breakthrough though was when mum got me a chemistry set for Xmas. I was hooked.
 
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  • #4
berkeman
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Dad taught me to play chess when I was relatively young (maybe around 7 years old?). I still remember all the evenings we would sit in the back yard of our Southern California home and play game after game. I don't think I ever won a game with him in the first couple years, even when he would offer to turn the board around in the middle of the game when I wasn't doing so well.

After those early years I didn't play chess much, until I bought a Radio Shack computerized chess board after I graduated from university and was working as an EE. It was one of the earlier such boards, and did not have any easy levels to set (the levels went from hard to super-hard!). I lost many games against that board until I purchased a few chess books to study up on chess strategies. I think my dad only taught me a couple of the strategies (like the knight fork), so seeing all of the other strategies and tricks was a real eye-opener for me.

After reading the books, I was able to beat the chess board about 50% of the time on the first level (hard), and even managed to figure out an opening strategy that worked a little better against the computerized board (but which would not work all that well against a person, especially the 2nd or 3rd time the opening was used).
 
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  • #5
Omega0
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After those early years I didn't play chess much, until I bought a Radio Shack computerized chess board after I graduated from university
I was very ambitious as a child. I had a friend and he asked me to play chess against him. He completely crushed me because I didn't know anything about openings, middle game and end games. So I begun to study books, first one: Bobby Fisher teaches chess :biggrin: this is only scratching the surface but it started my fascination. r.
After reading the books, I was able to beat the chess board about 50% of the time on the first level (hard), and even managed to figure out an opening strategy that worked a little better against the computerized board (but which would not work all that well against a person, especially the 2nd or 3rd time the opening was used).
I got other books later which I still have, from Soviet grandmasters, about opening, middle game and end games. Awesome material and I joined a chess club. Not a long time later I was a youth chess master in my city - but then the descend begun. I needed to play even on sundays for a team and my party life was starting. This didn't work together, I quitted the club and stopped playing.
Recently I tried to play again from time to time but it is ridiculous how miserable I play. Around 1000 in Lichess o0) I have to many hobbies to invest time here and I am not ambitious to become a good player, I think...

I didn't have kit like that, but I was fascinated by the night sky and remember getting a book guide to the constallations with pages to cut and stick and make a planisphere. I also remember recceiving a book of Carl Sagan's Cosmos, the year the tv series was first broadcast.
Ohhhh yes, I didn't mention it, but Carl Sagan's "Cosmos" was very likely the main part for being interested in science. :bow: Before there came a very old astronomy book which was from my grandma. When I started to learn reading and writing I took my grandma's book and commented the pictures inside with a pen :biggrin: my words have been mispelled completely, I tried to write down what I heart before. It was in German, but imagine the Crab nebula and I wrote something like "eggsplogen" 😁
My brother had an electronics kit that we both loved playing with (i remember a 'burglar alarm' to rig up to a bedroom door and an alarm that would go off if you left the bath running and it was in danger of overflowing. Not sure now about the H&S aspects of that, but they were only batteries I suppose).
Yeah, those ones where battery driven. For mine flat-batteries have been used 1 or seldom 2, to get 9V. I really loved those experiments. Some have been so magic. I will never forget when I build a crystal radio (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crystal_radio) under the Christmas tree and letting my parents listen to the music completely puzzled them. They believed it was sort of a trick and my father wanted to find the battery 😆
 
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  • #6
DaveC426913
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Oh god.crystal radios.

I got one of those 10-in-1 electronic boards where they showed you how to make 10 different things. Nine of them were crystal radios.
 
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  • #7
Omega0
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Oh god.crystal radios.

I got one of those 10-in-1 electronic boards where they showed you how to make 10 different things. Nine of them were crystal radios.
Aha okay, I had just one and I found it fascinating. Being young where I have been told that radio works in a sense that energy is transported via waves this was the prove I needed to believe the story. I found it awesome 😃

PS I think you got a bad kit. Mine always have been pretty versatile.
 
  • #8
Hornbein
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I used to read the World Book Encyclopedia, starting at age five. (It had lots of illustrations.)

I still prefer encyclopedias to online browsing for something new. I tried the random article feature of Wikipedia once. Mostly I got histories of US high schools.
 
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  • #9
david2
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I collected stamps, stones, soda and beer cans and I had a turtle and a lizard

I also coded on a msx (basic) ,c64 and 80386 pc (both assembly) when I was a kid.
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  • #10
Omega0
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I also coded on a msx (basic) ,c64 and 80386 pc (both assembly) when I was a kid.
-
Nice. I coded the c64 in assembler, too, that was fun :smile: but I never coded any assembler for the 80x86 generation. What did you code for the PC? There the high-level languages appeared to me more natural but I didn't spend much time in programming until I was studying physics and computer sciences. 🤔
 
  • #11
onatirec
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Not a long time later I was a youth chess master in my city ... Around 1000 in Lichess
Surely you don't mean actual master-level (i.e. 2200+ FIDE)?

It's hard to believe that a former master would play at a 1000 level on lichess (which is probably more like 300-400 USCF/FIDE)

[Post edited by a Mentor]
 
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  • #12
Omega0
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Surely you don't mean actual master-level (i.e. 2200+ FIDE)?

It's hard to believe that a former master would play at a 1000 level on lichess (which is probably more like 300-400 USCF/FIDE)
Not sure about your brain but where did you read that I had such a master level? Having been a chess master of a (pretty small) city in a youth league means for you that it needs to be sort of master level? Hey calm down, expert.

[Post edited by a Mentor]
 
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  • #13
berkeman
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Not sure about your brain but where did you read that I had such a master level?
I was confused by your post as well, but now I understand that where you are, being a youth chess master in your city does not mean the same as being a youth chess master in general. Thanks for the clarification.

[Mentor Note -- an off-topic comment and response have been deleted from the two posts above]
 
  • #14
david2
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What did you code for the PC?
Not that much. A Disk editor for starters, a program to paint, some vectors, some basic boot virusses lol etc.

Only in real processor modus.

There the high-level languages appeared to me more natural
I programmed in those too when I was studying computer science. (never finished it due to a mental problem)

My new Pentium 133 pc ruled lol
 
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  • #15
gmax137
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My brothers and I and our friends had a "lab" in our basement. We did a lot of "experiments" many of which involved trying to make gunpowder or distilling fermented grains. We had a book from the school library (likely banned now) with lots of fun projects. My favorite was the "carbon arc furnace" which used rods from flashlight batteries, a flower pot, and other materials. The details violate the PF guidelines, I'm sure... Somehow we survived :oldeek:
 
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  • #16
hutchphd
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My brothers and I and our friends had a "lab" in our basement. We did a lot of "experiments" many of which involved trying to make gunpowder or distilling fermented grains. We had a book from the school library (likely banned now) with lots of fun projects. My favorite was the "carbon arc furnace" which used rods from flashlight batteries, a flower pot, and other materials. The details violate the PF guidelines, I'm sure... Somehow we survived :oldeek:
Phew. I was worried that I might be the only miscreant in the lot. Guilty of all of the above! My arc furnace used hollowed out bricks and a unique inline resister. Also sugar rockets, various lighter than air craft, vortex ring guns, homemade go carts, acetylene (calcium carbide) tennis ball cannon, van de Graaf ... good golly it was fun. In retrospect I was careful but I am still quite lucky to have two good eyeballs and 10 digits. Don't try this at home kids.
 
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  • #17
hutchphd
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We had a book from the school library (likely banned now) with lots of fun projects.
I had a book then that I have been trying to find. It was old even then (the 1960's) and had stuff like making a spark coil (using an old Model T rig), how to order an X-ray tube for said coil (!), using big wire coils to send wireless messages. All kinds of good stuff...sound at all familiar? Anyhow thank god for summer vacations and accidents of birth. Boy did I win the jackpot
 
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  • #18
Mondayman
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I took out a book on World War One in first grade, aged 6. And so started my fascination with military history in the 20th and 21st centuries.

As I got older, around 23, I discovered a passion for math and physics. But I still read and study history as a hobby.
 
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  • #19
Omega0
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My brothers and I and our friends had a "lab" in our basement. We did a lot of "experiments" many of which involved trying to make gunpowder.. Somehow we survived
😁👍 me too... in pharmacies 40 years ago agent mum bought for me chemicals for my kits, she was an angel. Was me the devil that coal powder, sulfur and saltpeter was on the list? 😉
:oldeek:
Phew. I was worried that I might be the only miscreant in the lot. Guilty of all of the above! My arc furnace used hollowed out bricks and a unique inline resister. Also sugar rockets, various lighter than air craft, vortex ring guns, homemade go carts, acetylene (calcium carbide) tennis ball cannon, van de Graaf ... good golly it was fun. In retrospect I was careful but I am still quite lucky to have two good eyeballs and 10 digits. Don't try this at home kids.
As written above, guilty, too, in all points! Nevertheless, with your sugar rockets and the vortex ring gun I would have been jealous 😊
 
  • #20
Omega0
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My new Pentium 133 pc ruled lol
Yeeaaah, my first own Pentium with 100MB (?) hard drive (or was it already 1 GB, I can't remember). What I remember very well is that always when a friend or me got a new hard drive (even for 80MB) the reaction was identic: "Woooow man, you will never get this full! " 😁
 
  • #21
gmax137
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a unique inline resister
Did this involve lead sinkers and mom's pyrex pie dish? That was almost as interesting as the arc itself.

I remember my buddy pointing to a modified extension cord (female receptacle cut off, and the wires stripped). He told me "My mom would kill me if she saw this..."
I had a book then that I have been trying to find. It was old even then (the 1960's) and had stuff like making a spark coil (using an old Model T rig), how to order an X-ray tube for said coil (!), using big wire coils to send wireless messages. All kinds of good stuff...sound at all familiar? Anyhow thank god for summer vacations and accidents of birth. Boy did I win the jackpot
This sounds like the book I remember. Do you have any idea of the title or author?
in pharmacies 40 years ago agent mum bought for me chemicals for my kits, she was an angel. Was me the devil that coal powder, sulfur and saltpeter was on the list?
I went looking for sulfur in the drug store a few years ago, they thought I was crazy to ask for it. I don't know why they carried it back in the 1960s. We used it for "stinkbombs" mostly. Our powder experiments were mostly fizzling failures.

EDIT
Boy did I win the jackpot
You can say that again. Lucky to be there in that time!
 
  • #22
hutchphd
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Yes I remember going to the neighborhood drug store (Held's Drug Store in Springfield Ohio) which was a single storefront about two blocks south of our house on a side street and purchasing "Flowers of Sulphur" and Saltpeter (Na O3 a pound of McKesson brand was$0.80 I think. They just sold it to my 13 yr old personage...maybe my parents gave the OK.

I am pleased it can still be obtained:https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07XPGBYGD/?tag=pfamazon01-20

This sounds like the book I remember. Do you have any idea of the title or author?
It seems to me it was something like "The Young Scientist" or "The Young Experimentor" but that is all I recall. I got it from probably the jr high library. From the technology in it I would guess 1920-1940 publish. I would very much like to find it but have been totally unsuccessful thus far.
Fun.
 
  • #23
frost_zero
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I liked reading books, the one fictional book(s) which left most impact on my childhood was geronimo stilton, I loved that series a lot. In our school library those books were basically treated as special and we only got to take them roll no. wise (roll no. 1 will take it for the 1st week, roll no. 2 will take it for the 2nd and so on) so waiting for your turn sucked, most children only liked it for the pictures but I actually read it.

Another of my hobby was writing stories;- most of them were inspired by geronimo and I wrote them in the same style as them; inspite of that I must have finished writing only a handful of stories because I lost interest in them; in non-fiction I liked to read encyclopedias which had a ton of beautiful pictures, they are what hooked me up to science so they had probably the most influence on my life out any books
 
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  • #24
Jodo
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Phew. I was worried that I might be the only miscreant in the lot. Guilty of all of the above! My arc furnace used hollowed out bricks and a unique inline resister. Also sugar rockets, various lighter than air craft, vortex ring guns, homemade go carts, acetylene (calcium carbide) tennis ball cannon, van de Graaf ... good golly it was fun. In retrospect I was careful but I am still quite lucky to have two good eyeballs and 10 digits. Don't try this at home kids.
I am with Hutchphd and Gmax on this scenario. My grade 7 teacher gave the class the formula for gunpowder. I started production shortly after.
I did not have a mortar and pestle until grade 8 so a lot of the original batches I produced fizzled alot. I sold pill bottles of homemade gunpowder to kids in the area for 25 cents a bottle. Unfortunately one kid managed to light the picnic table on fire beside his house which then lit the siding of the house on fire...
Cops showed up next day and shut me down!
I spent the rest of the summer of grade 8 grounded. My dad ordered 10 cords of firewood, split 5 cords with the wood splitter and then handed me an axe. I was grounded until all 10 cords were split and ranked ... Long summer that was.😀
Go Cart smash up derbies were the rage around my parts. I wasn't allowed to join because my go carts were indestructable. I had a Rockwell table saw and a cut off mitre saw in the basement. My go carts had frames and plywood sheathing as well as steel axles with bearings, rofl.
Aside from that it was nothing to see 35+ kids heading out to our war zone with tennis ball cannons or even worse we would use pellet guns and have wars with that 😁
How I still have 2 eyes and 10 fingers is beyond me.
Oh ya, and bottles were not recyleable at that time. I would gather bottles all day then the next day throw my arm out throwing rocks at the bottles.
We didn't have the internet in the 70's but we sure had a hell of a good time!
I am actually going to go to the local drugstore today and see if they still sell sulphur and pottasium nitrate.
Oh the memories.
 
  • #25
Omega0
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I collected stamps, stones, soda and beer cans and I had a turtle and a lizard

I also coded on a msx (basic) ,c64 and 80386 pc (both assembly) when I was a kid.
-
I currently restarted coding some ASM. What a difference with 2022 tool chains compared to 1980s :-D Believe it or not but my favourite for some coding is Commodore C16. It was my first love. I loved that "all-in-one", coding it in machine code (you are reading right, not some top notch assembler ;-) ). What I loved without any question was the C64 sprites and the SID chip. Wow that was so much more than the 2 tone generators of the C16. It was the first synth I ever saw. Without knowing. 3 tone generators of different wave forms, mad filters, amazing :-D

Next generation, I think was Amiga 500. I never grew up with it. My influence in that time was my brothers 286, later 386 and with this computer, graphics and sound card Commodore was stone dead for me.

Currently I am thinking about the Amiga 500 again. Not that it has any chance against any of my current computer equipment but what I like is the first (for me!) appearence of separate customized chips. The SID 6581/8081 wasn't aware to me as a separate thing. As I said: The C16 and the TED was my first love. I never was aware that it is different pieces.
I am thinking about the Amiga 500 again because it was so superb in sound compared to the C64, it was stunning - but! - the Amiga never had a synth.
The 4 channels are PCM and currently I am thinking what this means. It is pretty interesting because in the last years analog synth became popular again. I have different synths at home, like Waldorf Blofeld (virtual analog), Model D etc. (anolog) and Digitakt (wavetable).
What I find so interesting is that way from some pure computer tones (C16) to a synth (C64) to PCM wavetables (Amiga 500). The way was short I think which is to me so surprising. It resembles the complete computer sound development in the next several years. Stunning, from beep to analog synth to wavetable.
The Amiga 500 disappeared for me when the 386 got it's co-processors and sound card etc.

Nevertheless, as I said: They are reborn, I always loved them.

What do you think?
 
  • #26
ChemAir
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I had a couple of these project kits. I remember learning more about troubleshooting damaged transistors, relays, and other parts (usually damage caused by my execution), and how to replace them.


staticflickr.com%2F2841%2F33826814622_aeee7d3a14_b.jpg
 
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  • #27
Omega0
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I had a couple of these project kits. I remember learning more about troubleshooting damaged transistors, relays, and other parts (usually damage caused by my execution), and how to replace them.
Do you remember when you had this kid? Just asking because the technology I used for electronics was different. What you used is sort of a fixed modular arrangement and if I see how the synth Moog Grandmother looks nowadays (sort of such a pseudo modular thing) then the colors and basic idea remind me of this.
 
  • #28
Klystron
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I loved reading books as a child, still do as a senior citizen. I was determined to read every book in our local public library. Subjects beyond my comprehension I mentally marked for future understanding.

For reason* unknown some librarian flagged my library card to limit my checkouts. I borrowed my younger sister's card and completed my reading project by seventh grade. My sister, who rarely read books, was feted by the library as an outstanding young scholar, consistently earning their yearly reading awards, even winning a library sponsored scholarship to a Northern California university famous as a 'party campus'. We both enjoyed big laughs at the expense of the stuffy librarian.

*It may have been from reading authors tagged as communist during the 'Red Scare'.
 
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  • #29
sysprog
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Not that much. A Disk editor for starters, a program to paint, some vectors, some basic boot virusses lol etc.

Only in real processor modus.


I programmed in those too when I was studying computer science. (never finished it due to a mental problem)

My new Pentium 133 pc ruled lol
A typical Pentium 3 machine was pretty competent in its day, but today, most new phones have far more computing capacity than a P3 processor has, and yet, the Intel Pentium 3 is still a good processor ##-## https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentium_III.
 
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  • #30
ChemAir
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Do you remember when you had this kid? Just asking because the technology I used for electronics was different. What you used is sort of a fixed modular arrangement and if I see how the synth Moog Grandmother looks nowadays (sort of such a pseudo modular thing) then the colors and basic idea remind me of this.
I was in the 5th-6th grade in the US., aged 10-12, between 1979 and 1981.

The kit was from RadioShack, which has, sadly all but disappeared in the US. I made my dad/mom take me to RadioShack more than a few times for me to buy parts to fix my kit, after I made bad wiring decisions.
 
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