RIP “berto”

Posted in Life, The Universe, and Everything, Technology at 12:09 am

This is part 1 of 3 of the new computer series, and part 1 of 3 of the new funeral series here on MikeRoberto.com

On December 31, 2006, I was setting up my new bedroom, which also serves as my office, design studio, surfboard storage, hamper, and, of course, seduction palace. I turned on my computer, which was so creatively named “berto”, and noticed the power supply fan struggling to do its job.

Like any other idiot electrical engineer from Ohio State would have done, I decided to test if the fan was spinning by inserting a metal screwdriver into the power supply, thereby electrocuting myself with 120V and creating a small explosion.

And that was it. Berto had died. And this post is dedicated to the death of that 7 year old[1] dear friend of mine.

You are now attending berto’s funeral, and I am begrudgingly giving you his eulogy right now.

Berto was born on December 27, 1999. Hours of preparation went into his creation. This was my first computer being built from scratch, and would be used to forge my new life in college, as well as help me accomplish work for the beloved but now-defunct APK Net (sold to Expedient).

Berto was paid for in half by myself, and half by my parents. He cost $2600 total.

He came with an AMD Athlon 550MHz, 256mb ram, 40GB hard drive, Asus K7M motherboard, Teac 4X CD-R, Tekram 390F SCSI card, Klipsch THX Sound System, SoundBlaster Live! Value Audio Card, Sony CPD-400 Monitor, NVidia 3d video card, and Netgear network interface card. For software, I began with a dual-boot Mandrake Linux (7.1 I believe) and Windows 98 system. It eventually became a dedicated Linux box.

Over the course of time, I upgraded the memory to a whopping 396MB, and got a new hard drive that took me to the maximum supported 80GB, got a new power supply, and melted quite a few video cards due to poor cooling and dusty dorms.

I learned a lot about that purchase over time. Some quick lessons are:

  • Find the right price point break when shopping for a processor. I did good with this, the damned thing lasted forever
  • Don’t get a $300 video card if you don’t play many games
  • Get awesome speakers and monitor, they devalue slowly. I did this and it was great, despite that monitor weighing 500 pounds and costing just as much, it lasted the entire time. I still have Klipsch in my room, and they are just as crystal clear as ever
  • Don’t buy cheap cooling or power supplies or expect them to last forever, or they’ll just electrocute you in the end
  • Do your research and find good deals with sites such as shopper.com

berto and I had some great memories. They began during construction, and ended with destruction. In between, there were those LAN parties at Larz’s house, CFabe’s house (don’t forget about jello shots with TGould and CFabe!), Arstein’s house, and TGould’s house. Yes, we were dorks, and it was fun.

Bertocam, pictured above, was around for a while, hosted using berto’s Apache server. I have a ton of silly pictures from freshman year, back before digital cameras were hot.

In college, berto became more popular than I did for quite a while. You see, berto somehow managed to collect a massive amount of digital pornographic videos, and his administrator decided to share them on the campus network. Despite being warned by a friend to turn on password protection, my ethernet connection was constantly pegged at 10MBits. Interesting story with that:

I’m home studying on a Thursday night, but the roommates are out partying with some friends of KiRBY’s in the south campus dorms. One such friend, Scott, is there:

Scott: Dude, you guys gotta check out this dude on the network! His name is “Ber-To”.

Jon and Jeremy: Oh cool

Scott: yeah dude he’s got all this porn. But one day he turned on his password. So I yelled down the hallway, “Hey, what’s BER-TO’S new password?”

Jon and Jeremy (thinking to themselves): This is starting to sound familiar…

Scott: And my buddy down the hall yells back “the password is JONISGAY in all lower case!!!”

Jeremy: HAHAHHAAHHAA! Dude that’s our fucking roommate! That’s BERTO, not Ber-TOE!

Jon: And I’M Jon! I’m the gay one! (but I’m not gay…)

And hilarity ensues. Scott had been wanking off to a computer that was kept feet within the two guys who he was now drinking delicious Natural Light with.

berto was a trooper. Pegged network connections. Silly websites. Traveled all over northeast Ohio. Put up with numerous drunken kernel panics and botched experiments. He lived in 6 different locations with me, and nearly survived the 7th. That’s impressive.

berto saved the day numerous times with remote desktop capabilities in Linux. His usage as a webserver for the early renditions of bertopics.com and beroline, as well as that of a MySQL and file server were monumental. I even used him to install backorifice on my roommate Jon’s computer and do funky things to his desktop while I was in class.

berto took care of me, and I took care of him. He was constantly playing me music, checking emails, and surfing the web. I was constantly keeping him alive and hooking him up to weird things, such as a remote control for my mp3 player, which I would now be miserable without. He has seen some great changes in technology, and even greater changes in his owner.

And now, he’s gone forever, off to the PC heavens, where he will reign supreme over those who he lasted thrice the length.

I love and miss you, berto, and I will hold you near and dear to my heart forever.

However, it is time to move on. In part two of the new computer series, we will discuss the birth of ‘destroyal’, the latest and greatest in MikeRoberto.com technology.

[1] This is 105+ years old in computer years.


  1. Larz said,

    05.03.07 at 3:59 am

    Dude you are awesome….that was great…hope you have a blast in costa rica!

  2. Yo Momma said,

    05.03.07 at 5:40 am

    So happy that my $1300 investment brought u and your buddies so much fun and entertainment – specially the porn!!!! (I’m over it..) And that (Jon, Jer, Scott) story is totally hilarious. I know – I’m a sick mom!!! I know you’ll miss berto – but his replacement will bring you many more happy memories…….

  3. Gingo said,

    05.03.07 at 6:17 am

    Although I lived with berto for 4 years, he was always a bit of an enigma to me. However, seeing the joy that he brought to you in the form of bertocam, Quake, and, of course, pr0n, warmed my heart. He will be missed.

  4. Minh said,

    05.04.07 at 6:19 pm

    Although I have never dubbed my old processing beast with a name, it too is on its last legs (AMD 1900+, ATI Wonder 64, Asus 7V333), going on 5 years (which according to your math is 75 years old in computer years) as my one and only computer. I’ve tried my best to push back its inevitable relegation to the dustbin via fancier cooling fans and more hard drives but your post really brings home the fact that I’ll have to say goodbye someday. Good luck with your computer!

  5. jay said,

    05.09.07 at 3:58 pm

    How about a eulogy for soul? I miss soul…

  6. Allison said,

    05.15.07 at 6:42 am

    Oh I will miss berto…all those fun times freshman year…but he is in a better place now…

    I don’t want to jinx it but my Sony Vaio laptop is turning 105 also – and still going strong :-D. I guess women computers have longer life spans than men also :)

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