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My first home computer


eagleb1
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I got into a discussion in the political board about my computer experience.  I mentioned that my first home computer was in 1980 when my company bought me a Superbrain to match one in the office which we were using to keep records for a small business we were testing. My version had twin 5 1/4" floppies and 64KB of memory.  Here is a link to a site about it http://oldcomputers.net/intertec-superbrain.html

This will seem hard to believe but most of the programming was done in Basic by my 10 year old son. It was funny that when the employee running the program needed information, she had to wait for him to get home from the fourth grade.  

In a sense, we had home computing ability in 1979 when my son was nine.  The school district's director of math and science allowed him to access the high school's time-sharing computer.  We used an obsolete terminal from my office and an acoustical coupler modem. We had been discussing inflation and compound interest (yes! with a nine year old) when he came up with an age appropriate question.  How much would the tooth fairy have to leave at some future point to keep up with inflation?  He already knew Basic, so I explained for/next loops.  He wrote a few lines of code and got the answer.  He finally convinced me that he needed a better game playing computer so our next one was an Apple II (maybe IIe).

What was your first home computer?

Superbrain.jpg

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Atari 800. Booked up to 48K. 88K of kick-ass 5.25 floppy power, hauled ass with a 300 baud Volkmodem. Programmed games into it from Softside Magazine to learn Basic. Wrote a full production management program on it. And it was great fun for gaming and graphic demos.

Still have it. It still boots. The grand-kids enjoy it now.

I only played with a CP/M computer once, a laptop that weighted 80 lbs. Then I think a man named Gates took its OS, changed the OS slightly, licensed it, and made it his own. I still remember the PIP command.

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We all used to get into damn-near religious arguments about which brand of computer was best. It was some kind of a dick-pride thing.

Ultimately, we quit arguing about such things: all these machines were pioneers in one way or another.

The nifty thing about them was that you could lift up the hood on an 8-bit (like you could on your first car) and work on it. It wasn't doing a bunch of weird software shit in the background, and it wasn't sending your activity to everybody and their dog. And if it broke or died, it didn't destroy your normal daily life.

 

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On 10/22/2016 at 1:18 AM, Foamy T. Squirrel said:

I only played with a CP/M computer once, a laptop that weighted 80 lbs. Then I think a man named Gates took its OS, changed the OS slightly, licensed it, and made it his own. I still remember the PIP command.

The story I remember went something like this:

Since Gates’s first meeting with IBM, he had conveniently gotten his hands on a microcomputer operating system similar to Kildall’s, from nearby Seattle Computer Products. SCP, which sold microcomputer boards, needed an operating system that ran on the new Intel 8086 processor. Because DRI was late in porting its system to that processor, SCP hired programmer Tim Paterson to create one. It called this system QDOS, for “Quick and Dirty Operating System.” Gates bought the rights to QDOS for $75 000 and hired Paterson to modify it into MS-DOS; that’s what he licensed to IBM for its PC as PC-DOS.

The question has always been why didn't IBM do that themselves.  The lengthy article I quoted from is at http://spectrum.ieee.org/computing/software/did-bill-gates-steal-the-heart-of-dos much of it is beyond my technical ability and, at the beginning, the site raise serious doubts as to the author's objectivity.

My son and I used to attend meetings of a NY amateur computer club and we saw something like that "laptop" you describe.  I think it was an early Compaq and had  a 3" screen.

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Spectrum ZX

I thought this thing was the last word in future tech and it would be highly unlikely that a more powerful machine would ever be built for home use.

About 10-15 years later I remember having a conversation with a colleague who told me that PCs were starting to be shipped with 2 gigabytes of RAM and I told him that was nonsense and there was no way that kind of memory would ever be neccessary!

Today the machine I'm writing this on his 6 gigs of ram for just the graphics card - 16gbs system RAM :P

1200px-ZX_Spectrum128K.jpg

 

 

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My first computer, like Maturin, was a teletype machine w/ acoustic couplers for a phone's receiver (circa 1972). We also logged onto a time sharing system with the phone company. It was part of our second year algebra and/or physics classes. My first home computer was Tandy (Radio Shack) TRS-80 (Trash80) Color computer. I used it to control an articulated cockpit seat I was trying to invent to lessen the G-stress on fighter pilots. My first business computer was made by Mars-Sinclair and was a "lunchbox" style Z-80 powered computer with two 5.25" floppy drives. I used it to help develop a computer which communicated with the directional drilling equipment for Eastman-Whipstock.

As I remember it, DOS started out as a Navy/Air Force (NavAir) construct for field-use computing of various kinds, then it was bought and modified for civilian use by Heath, then adopted/stolen (adapted) into MS-DOS for Micro-Shaft and DR-DOS for Compaq. But alas I never knew the truth nor cared.

I still have (though I don't know why) one of the monitors (spare parts R us), for the Compaq Lunch Box, along with its Hercules monochrome graphics card. I also had, until recently - now belongs to Goodwill, an 8086 CPU card, and a 30MB "flash dive" (hard drive on a board) for a Zenith Desktop. The Zenith, truly open architecture, only had the bus installed (8 16bit slots) and everything installed plugged into the bus including the CPU card.

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A buddy of mine started with this little project puppy in 1975. He's the only person I know who had one, but there must be more people out there. Truly a historic computer, but not particularly user friendly to the uninitiated.

If bought assembled with most of the bells and whistles consisting of interface boards (serial, teletype, cassette interfaces only) it would cost you $6,731.26, inflation adjusted.

Versions of both 4K and 8K BASIC language and their interface boards were extra.

 

 

 

PopularElectronics.jpg

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On ‎2016‎-‎11‎-‎10 at 0:42 AM, Foamy T. Squirrel said:

A buddy of mine started with this little project puppy in 1975. He's the only person I know who had one, but there must be more people out there. Truly a historic computer, but not particularly user friendly to the uninitiated.

If bought assembled with most of the bells and whistles consisting of interface boards (serial, teletype, cassette interfaces only) it would cost you $6,731.26, inflation adjusted.

Versions of both 4K and 8K BASIC language and their interface boards were extra.

 

 

 

PopularElectronics.jpg 

I'm sure many of us oldsters remember that cover well.  At that point I was a VP Finance and my data processing manager was so excited to show it to me.  As I look at the cover date, I'm surprised at how short a time it was from then to the events I described in the post that started this topic. 

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