"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.