What was your first Computer?

by The Lone Ranger 43 Replies latest jw friends

  • james_woods

    I had one of the very first Altair 8800 kits from 1975 - the blue box with all the switches. You had to solder it together from raw parts.

    I still have the first issue of now-defunct Byte magazine; Sept. 1975, and I kept Ed Roberts business card - it is still inside the pages. (Ed was president of M.I.T.S., maker of the Altair, and mentor to a young Bill Gates and Paul Allen - they wrote the Basic Interpreter for the Altair.) Ed was on that PBS special - revenge of the nerds; he later quit the computer business and went back to being a country medical doctor.

    Those were really the days - it must have been very much like that experience to be in on making the first cars and airplanes back at the turn of the last century.

  • TopHat

    I bought a "Peanut" for the kids...they played games on it.

  • Nosferatu

    TRS-80 Model I

    Oh the joys of loading from cassettes. The volume on the cassette player had to be at the right level, as well as the tone control (if any) or else your software would load filled with bugs, or wouldn't load at all.

    My second was a Vic-20, but it was the C-64 that I spent most of my time on. The PC-XT in the other room collected dust since the sound and graphics were no match for the Commodore.

  • Leolaia

    Wow so many of us had Timex Sinclairs? Anyone still have their old issues of the Syntax newsletter? I loved playing with BASIC to see what would happen -- it seemed so advanced lol. It is kind of amazing how much you could do with 1K, or that massive 16K memory pack that seemed to have more memory than you know what to do with. It kind of makes me think of how wasteful current Windows format files are in terms of space.

    I remember having a flight simulator game on casette tape; I taped over it however. There was an episode of the Jeffersons about the "end of the world" that seemed to be so hilarious, and that was the only tape available, so bye bye flight simulator. Pretty funny to think of the decisions you made as a kid.

  • james_woods

    OK - two more forgotten ancients from the past...

    Did anybody else rush out to buy one of the first little cube Apple Macintosh computers? Mine had only 128K of memory...and no way to expand it. All the chips were just plain soldered onto the main board - no sockets, no bus, no way to change them.

    This did not stop Mr. Hacker, yours truly, from cutting them off their leads with a razor saw, desoldering the stubs, and substitution of quad density RAM chips to make it 512K. The things we did in those days!

    Another blast from the past that used the same Motorola 68000 chip in the Mac was the old Corvus Concept...it had a big black & white screen that you could tilt 90 degrees for either a page format or a landscape format. Very useful for editing long programs. It also had the first hard drive I ever owned - a big separate box the size of a printer - and get this: 30 Meg of hard drive space!!!

    Yes...that was Meg, not Gig. And only 30. It cost three thousand dollars for just the drive.

  • Jim_TX
    "BTW - somebody mentioned SWTechnical Products - I had their "TV Typewriter" kit, too. Amazing how many little start-ups there were in those days; and almost all of them gone and forgotten now."

    Yuppers... I bought that one too - and it was my first 'video monitor' - I used a 9-inch Sony monitor that I got at a hock shop for about $65.00 (I talked them down cause it had a broked rabbit ear). That version Sony monitor had a 'dead' space on the tuner that you could tune it to - and not receive a channel. I had to get the Sams Photofact schematic for it and figure out where to solder a wire inside to bring out to a cable connector - where I could hook to my TV typewriter.

    I remember turning the computer on for the first time - and to my surprise - it worked! This was an accomplishment - especially since I hadn't ever done anything this massive (building a computer) before.

    Edited to add reference with photos - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SWTPC

    I also built the keyboard that interfaced to the SwTPC 'TV typewriter'. I got the kit from Radio Shack - who was getting in on the 'kit' fad that had swept the nation. Since it was only a keyboard... I needed a 'case' for it. I remember getting some milk-white plexiglass, and cutting it, and drilling it, and then filing and sanding. I even cut it to have the proper slope for the keyboard keycaps. I glued it together with some special 'glue' that is used for plexiglass. Pretty neat, even if I do say so myself.

    I still have all of my SwTPC stuff - wrapped in plastic - in storage. The documentation, too. That and a buck-fifty will get me a cup of coffee.

    " It is kind of amazing how much you could do with 1K, or that massive 16K memory pack that seemed to have more memory than you know what to do with. It kind of makes me think of how wasteful current Windows format files are in terms of space. "

    This reminds me. I am looking at the little 'computer-on-a-chip' that a company called Parallax (http://www.parallax.com/tabid/295/Default.aspx) sells. They occupy only about 0.84 square inches. One model (BS-2) has 32 bytes of RAM and 2-k of EEPROM, and 16 I/O's. They have a version of BASIC embedded inside them, and you program them to do various tasks (popular with robotics geeks). Anyway... I'm playing with one - trying to learn it - for a possible application that I have.

    It's kinda funny... re-learning BASIC commands (plus new ones that they've added). It's programmed using a program in Windows - and then when you have the program written, you compile it and download it to the small BS-2 computer, where it runs.

    Sorry... I'm rambling.


    Jim TX

  • hillbilly

    never owned a PC unitl the mid 90's

    did install a couple of IBM driven energy management systems back in the dark ages...IIRC an IBM series 7 was the guts of the system.

    The machine was about the size of a diswasher. Ran on DOS and the whole deal was hardwired together with miles and miles of twisted pair com cable

    Most of the input and out put points were fed by stuff we had to fabircate in the feild. Mostly a lot of little current transformer that would indicate if a light or machine was on-off... a couple of thermometers and stuff for other input data.

    The outputs were line current latching relays that were controled through other relays so you could get the logic right.. all the power circuits were cut into the big relays to turn off sections of lights or machines.

    I spent most of 1982 and 1983 working in two big (7acre) grocery warehouses putting these systems together. Now days all the stuff is pre fabed and the computer would fit in a lunch box... and it's all wireless network

  • hot mama
    hot mama

    I've only had a computer for 2 years! So have learned alot. My first was a desktop made by Cisnet. Now I have a Compac laptop and a Dell desktop. My husband bought the old one.

  • knock knock
    knock knock

    First one I had my hands on was the TI99/4A. Then shortly to a Tandy Color Computer II. Much the same and I learned a bit about programming and the basics were all there. Remember trying to program any graphics? Wow.

    I'm currently only on my 10th machine but no Macs as of yet. Maybe soon though.

  • moshe
    My first Computer was back in 1981, a Sinclair ZX81, it has 1k of memory.

    That was my first computer, too. I think it cost $199- a few years later I acquired a Commodore Vic-20.

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