After acquiring a gigabit switch and a network attached storage (NAS), I was forced to admit that my computer installation has a definitive SOHO scent. In fact, one finds quite a few of the essential concepts and elements of a "real" network:
For example, there is a router, a firewall, a switch, a wireless access point, a RAID 5 NAS, and clients connected either by the Gbit link of the switch or wirelessly by the router. There's also an all in-one printer, scanner, and copy machine. In a professional network, dedicated devices would take care of each of these services, but the intended functionality is the same (albeit here at a much smaller scale).
How the hell could that happen to me, who doesn't even have a smartphone and whose plasma TV cannot display 3D contents? How?
Let's see how this madness started.
1987: Schneider PC1512, CPU 8086/8 MHz, 512 kB RAM, 10 MB HDD, MSDOS 3.3
Highlights: Compiling my Pascal programs at home instead of waiting hours for a free place in the CIP pool.
1992: Mitsubishi Laptop, CPU 80386SL/25 MHz, 2 MB RAM, 20 MB HDD, IBM DOS J5.02/V
Highlights: TeXing at home after years of doing that on a dumb terminal. A truly superior feeling!
1995: Custom-made, Pentium I 90, 16 MB RAM, 512 MB HDD, Windows 95/Redhat 2.0
Highlights: Comanche, Doom, Heretic, Hexen, Descent, Duke Nukem 3D, Command & Conquer, and a PC Unix not unlike the Solaris I'd enjoyed on my SPARCstation 10 at Mitsubishi a couple of years ago. Coupled with the 33.6 K Modem with snafu as provider, and the 17" Viewsonic monitor, this was about the ultimate PC anybody could have bought at that time. It also costed a mind-boggling 8000 DM ...
1998: Dell, Pentium II 266 + NVidia Riva 128/Voodoo II 8MB, 384 MB RAM, 8 GB HD, Windows 98/Mandrake Leeloo
Highlights: Quake, Unreal, KDE 1.0, and T-DSL with 768/128 kbit up/down from July 1999. Together with the implementation of the PPPoE protocol by Roaring Pinguin, I started to use the Dell as a router for my wife's gaming rig a year later:
2000: Custom-made, Athlon 750 + NVidia Geforce 1 DDR, 512 MB RAM, 20 HB HDD, Windows 98
Highlights: Unreal Tournament. The whole package: clan membership, clan leadership, clan foundership, fights in a European league.
And so that's how it all started. Just because of the games. ;)