Author Topic: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?  (Read 30739 times)

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Offline jmelson

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #125 on: October 05, 2017, 09:27:51 am »
Used:

PDP-5  (forerunner to PDP-8)
LINC  (12 bit mini, discrete transistor)
IBM 360/50  (via punch cards, 8 hour turnaround, UGH!!!)
Kind of about the same time, so hard to figure which was first

Owned:
I built an 8008 computer with 256 bytes of memory in 1976.  Couldn't do much on such a limited system, but learned a lot!
I got an S-100 backplane and built up an 8080 system by 1977, upgraded to Z-80 CPU, added a floppy drive and CP/M.
eventually added an SASI disk drive and 9-track mag tape backup.

Later moved up to a MicroVAX-II.  Rather a LARGE step up!
 

Online austfox

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #126 on: October 06, 2017, 02:57:53 am »
Used:

Exidy Scorcerer (running a Zilog Z80)

Owned:

Casio PB-100 Pocket Computer (a whopping 512 bytes), which is still in great condition!



 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #127 on: October 06, 2017, 04:23:53 am »
I built an 8008 computer with 256 bytes of memory in 1976.  Couldn't do much on such a limited system, but learned a lot!

Just so, except in my case it was a 6800 (still have the chip), 128 bytes RAM + 16 byte bootload/dump, and 1977.

It was very helpful w.r.t. getting an interesting final year project, and a great talking point in job interviews.
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Offline khs

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #128 on: October 06, 2017, 06:14:35 am »
My ZX81 kit. My best computer ever.

For me it was a development system like the adruino today, because on the rear side all pins of the Z80 are available.

With the Basic peek and poke commands it was easy to control external hardware via the Z80 in/out commands, so it was not quite difficult to make an EPROM programmer.

With the self made EPROM programmer, it was possible to burn a (I think it was a 4K EPROM) Hex code printed on some pieces of paper (after hacking in...)

I think the name of the program was ASCMIC, it replaced the Sinclair PROM.

ASCMIC was a quite powerful Z80 assembler / debugger, so I had all to make the firmware for a video card with 512 x 256 pixel.

Due to my special DRAM timing (built with a lot of 74LSxx logic chips), it was possible to read / write the DRAM during the CRT readout. Sure, the card was not as fast as video I/O today, but not slow for it's time.

It was possible to mix graphics and text, so the way to a layout program was not far. It used just pixel, so the layout was somewhat angular, but usable. Since this time I'm a proud owner of a (quite expensive) HP7475 plotter to generate the 2:1 plots for the pc-board manufacturer. It was quite expensive to make pc-boards this time..

The video card then was a part of a CPM system with an ECB bus. I was quite surprised my cheap CPM computer was more flexible than the PDP11's of the institute I worked.

With Turbo Pascal and the ECB bus it was quite easy and fast to control an experiment.

Later the ECB bus was controlled by a PC via the ISA bus.

My job this time was to help the students to make their computer control of their (in most cases optical or laser) experiments. This time I invented standardized ECB cards and standardized Turbo-Pascal units. So for the students it was not difficult to make their work without me, so I had more time for myself.

My first self made CNC mill worked with steppers controllers via the ECB/ISA bus many years until it was replaced by a professional machine.

Meanwhile the ISA to ECB interface is replaced by an USB to ECB interface, so I can still use all of my old cards e.g. to program microcontrollers or control DAC's for calibration or debug purposes.

Since last year my Windows XP runs in a virtual machine on a Linux OS, but the 19" rack with the old ECB backplane of the ZX81 era is still used and works fine.

So even in 2017 a little bit of the spirit of my good old ZX81 is still alive in my lab.
 

Offline Bicurico

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #129 on: October 06, 2017, 09:03:52 am »
My path went this road:

1981 - ZX81 (with 16KB RAM expansion)
1984 - C64 (with 1541 floppy disk drive, later with 1701 Color Monitor, Datasette and Commodore needle printer)
1988 - Amiga 500
1989 - Casio FX-850P Pocket Computer (with 32KB RAM expansion)
1994 - Silicon Graphics Indy, Indigo, O2 (at work, of course - they cost a 5 figure sum each back then)
1994 up to today: PC's

I still own a lot of them: ZX81, C64, Amiga 500, Casio FX-850P & FX-880P, HP 200LX, HP Omnibook (the first one), Silicon Graphics Indy and O2, etc.

I had a MacIntosh, but gave it away, which I now consider a mistake.

Never had an Apple ][, but got to use them at school. They sucked compared to my C64 (at least in my opinion, back then).

As a kid I used to visit the German stores (Kaufhof and Hertie). They had all the home computers in display and you could actually try them out, so many kids even brought their own floppy disks with pirated games to play and trade them there with other kids... Some kids didn't even have any computer at home and just "lived" with the computers available at the stores. People were much poorer back then, which is something we forget nowadays, when we complain that a new iPhone or Samsung Note 8 cost 1000 bucks. 1000 Deutsche Mark was the initial price of a C64!!!

Anyway, using the computers at the stores gave me some insight on:

- Amstrad
- Atari 600, 800, etc.
- MSX
- ...

At a friend I got to see and use an Atari ST. Pretty interesting high resolution B/W monitor for that time and the MIDI interface connected to a synthesizer (Roland DX-7) was cool, too.

I am a TEA (Test Equipment Addict), but I suffer from OCCS (Old Computer Collection Syndrome). I have it under control right now and the last outbreak was contained to programmable calculators. This got me the HP 11C (great device, bought for peanuts), amongst many other calculators. I still lack a representative of the pocket computers made by Sharp, like the E500 and I would love to get a Casio PB-1000 and PB2000. Not to mention the Epson HX-20 which I loved to use in the stores back in the eighties. It was unbelievable small and yet complete with tape and printer!

Cheers,
Vitor
 

Offline djos

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #130 on: October 06, 2017, 09:20:25 am »

I am a TEA (Test Equipment Addict), but I suffer from OCCS (Old Computer Collection Syndrome). I have it under control right now and the last outbreak was contained to programmable calculators. This got me the HP 11C (great device, bought for peanuts), amongst many other calculators. I still lack a representative of the pocket computers made by Sharp, like the E500 and I would love to get a Casio PB-1000 and PB2000. Not to mention the Epson HX-20 which I loved to use in the stores back in the eighties. It was unbelievable small and yet complete with tape and printer!

Cheers,
Vitor

Me too, I just recently whittled my collection down to 10.  :-DD

Currently I have:
1x Commodore 64
2x Amiga 500's
1x Amiga 600
1x Amiga 1200
Tandy 1000 EX
Mac SE
Mac LC630 (effectively a Quadra as it has the full-fat 040 in it)
PowerMac G3 Beige Desktop
K6-III+ Clone PC with S3 Virge graphics , SB AWE64 + Roland MT-32 Synth

I recently sold of several LCIII's and a 3rd spare Amiga 500 to pay for the Tandy 1000 EX and some peripherals.   8)
The impossible often has a kind of integrity which the merely improbable lacks.

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Online Selectech

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #131 on: October 06, 2017, 09:49:15 am »
Started with a 6800 and 256 bytes of ram on a breadboard, with a CRT display made from a TV, around 1976.   Eventually expanded it to have 48K ram, some 8" floppies, then added a couple of 1 mbyte  fixed head disks and ran UCSD pascal. ( still have the chip, but not the breadboard ).

Added an Apple II clone ( orange ) to the mix, booted from the fixed head disks, running Apple / USCD Pascal. Pseudo local network, just not Ethernet.

Had a teletype unit as a printer, but eventually replaced that with a DEC LA36 printer made from some salvaged, repaired materials and a bit of mechanical & woodworking.

Made another USCD Pascal machine from an AM29116 and another from AM29201.

Eventually migrated the lot to MC68000, then MC68020 with a few mbytes of ram and integrated colour CRT display.

Many PC's along the way, 8080, 8085, 286, 386, 486, 586, Pentium, Xeon ... . Current notebook is a fanless Core m3, but have several desktops around that I use for test setups and file-stores.

Now doing a lot of work with embedded ARM controllers, Cortex-M3, Coretx-M4, Cortex-M7 using Astrobe Oberon tools.
 

Offline djos

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #132 on: October 06, 2017, 10:01:53 am »
Started with a 6800 and 256 bytes of ram on a breadboard, with a CRT display made from a TV, around 1976.   Eventually expanded it to have 48K ram, some 8" floppies, then added a couple of 1 mbyte  fixed head disks and ran UCSD pascal. ( still have the chip, but not the breadboard ).

Added an Apple II clone ( orange ) to the mix, booted from the fixed head disks, running Apple / USCD Pascal. Pseudo local network, just not Ethernet.

Had a teletype unit as a printer, but eventually replaced that with a DEC LA36 printer made from some salvaged, repaired materials and a bit of mechanical & woodworking.

Made another USCD Pascal machine from an AM29116 and another from AM29201.

Eventually migrated the lot to MC68000, then MC68020 with a few mbytes of ram and integrated colour CRT display.

Many PC's along the way, 8080, 8085, 286, 386, 486, 586, Pentium, Xeon ... . Current notebook is a fanless Core m3, but have several desktops around that I use for test setups and file-stores.

Now doing a lot of work with embedded ARM controllers, Cortex-M3, Coretx-M4, Cortex-M7 using Astrobe Oberon tools.

Nice, despite never having used them myself, I find 8" floppy disks and drives inherently sexy ... prolly got something to do with one of my fav movies being WarGames.  :-+
The impossible often has a kind of integrity which the merely improbable lacks.

Visit my Tindie store for Tandy 1000 Adapters for EX, HX, SX, SL, TX & TL etc
 

Offline wkb

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #133 on: October 08, 2017, 07:23:20 am »
The first computer I had my hands on was a home-built Motorola M6800 design. At a tech youth club called "De Jonge Onderzoekers" here in NL ("Young scientists & inventors", "Jugend forscht" etc).

I went on to build my own M6809 based system, running at a whopping 2MHz and with 1MB of DRAM. It was a Dutch variant of the SWTP/09 system. It runs Uniflex, a Unix V6-spin of written in assembly.  I wrote runs instead of ran because I still own it. On last power up it told me it's Rodime RO204 harddrive has bought it :( Looking for a solution I ordered a MFM disk emulator PCB at http://pdp8online.com/mfm/mfm.shtml
The PCB arrived this week, I hope to be able to get the whole thing running again, I still have all the distribution floppy disks, both in 5.25" and in 8" format.  And yes, I also have the 8" floppy drive to go along with it..

 

Offline radar_macgyver

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #134 on: October 08, 2017, 08:42:35 am »
Mine was a Sharp EL-5500



I remember programming it to play Battleship, one had to scroll to see the playing field.
 

Offline bitseeker

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #135 on: October 08, 2017, 08:45:10 am »
Hey, I had one of those, too. It met an unfortunate demise during a move. So sad.
You don't acquire TEA. It acquires you.
 

Offline jcrubin

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #136 on: October 16, 2017, 12:52:44 pm »
I still own my very first computer i've ever used, its a Commodore 64 and all of the same hardware is used in this video.

CVM CATAPVLTAE PROSCRIPTAE ERVNT TVM SOLI PROSCRIPTI CATAPVLTAS HABEBVNT

http://www.youtube.com/c/jordanrubin6502
 
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Offline djos

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #137 on: October 16, 2017, 08:28:12 pm »
Hey, I had one of those, too. It met an unfortunate demise during a move. So sad.

I had an Atari Portfolio that got thrown out during a move too, I'm still irritated by its loss to this day - especially after I checked eBay to see what they sell for now.  |O
The impossible often has a kind of integrity which the merely improbable lacks.

Visit my Tindie store for Tandy 1000 Adapters for EX, HX, SX, SL, TX & TL etc
 
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Offline hli

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #138 on: October 16, 2017, 11:11:46 pm »
The first computer I actually used was an East German A5120 (see http://www.robotrontechnik.de/index.htm?/html/computer/a5120.htm - the one with 3 5.25'' drives). I played around learning BASIC programming. THe first computer I owned was a Commodore C16 - there I also learned assembler programming and building my own hardware extensions.
 

Online Alex Eisenhut

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #139 on: October 18, 2017, 01:49:09 pm »
My parents got me a VIC-20 for Christmas. I must have been 12, 13?  By then, I already wanted a 64 but they were still too expensive. I had used Atari 800s at a neighbor's and at a computer camp.

Another neighbor had a VIC in the basement, I borrowed game cartridges and I learned (through sheer stubbornness and curiosity, because I was left to myself!) how to copy them. I had an article in a magazine describing how to make a 24K RAM expansion for the VIC, I could only afford 16K. (Each chip was 20$ at the time, I remember that! It took a while to scrape that together at the time.) Radio Shack supplied the PCB and solder.

Eventually, by age 15 I had various odd jobs and bought a weird C64 motherboard from the surplus shop. This was from a "PET64". It was a 64 with modified ROM to boot up in black and white (because Commodore shoved those 64s into PET cases!) and no SID. This 4064 had no power connector or switch populated; seems C= just soldered them in directly.

http://www.floodgap.com/retrobits/ckb/secret/4064.html

I shoved that motherboard into my VIC case, it's the same power supply and keyboard. The VIC case had a much larger expansion connector, but the rest was the same. The 64's narrower expansion slot fit just right, with the left over space used by the 64's built-in RF modulator. I drilled a hole in the top of the case to put a big old DPDT switch for the power.

Then I got a SID from the repair place, I popped that in and I had a 64 that booted with a B/W screen. This didn't affect anything AFAIR.

Eventually I got a 1541 drive, a 256K expansion, a 1581 3.5" floppy, a printer, and a proportional mouse for the thing and I was handing in printed assignments in high school. GEOS really made that silly 1526 (identical to the MPS-802. Why C= felt the need for two part numbers I don't know) printer much better, even if it took 20 minutes per page.... (No, I ain't kidding.)

I also got a replacement KERNAL to boot up with the correct 64 colors and boot up message.

Ooooh, I managed to upgrade that 256K expansion to 512K with DRAM chips I found in the bushes outside a Microserv. Someone upgraded their Mac and threw the old DIMMs out on the street. Didn't take me too long to pick them up and desolder the 41256 DRAMS!

This was all a lot of fun, and I'm not even talking about the warez scene at the time....
 

Offline rrinker

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #140 on: October 21, 2017, 01:47:24 am »
 First used? TRS-80 Model 1, when they first came out. I bought the manual for a whopping $5 and taught myself BASIC. I was ll of 11 years old at the time, and loved when we went to the mall - I made a beeline for the Radio Shack store and stayed there the whole type using the store demo machine. I eventually even had a binder with my programs and some cassettes to save them on.

 First owned, was a kit built Quest Super Elf (RCA 1802). Built from a kit, the original machine had a whole 256 bytes of RAM. I was about 13, managed to build it all and get it working. The following year I got the expansion add on which gave it 4K of memory. Still have it, and it still works. and I still remember most of the opcodes so I can quickly key in short demo programs for people. There is a VERY active Yahoo Group for 1802 enthusiasts.


 

Offline Smokey

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #141 on: October 21, 2017, 07:35:40 am »
Used = Apple2
Owned = Custom built 486 with windows 3.1

Looking back I'm so glad I didn't get the apple at home.  That PC was the start of the path to where I am now.  Good times.
 

Offline ebastler

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #142 on: October 21, 2017, 08:15:00 am »
So what did you do during the 10 years between that Apple II and the 486? ;-)
 

Offline Smokey

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #143 on: October 23, 2017, 12:17:51 pm »
I was in a coma.  You are so inconsiderate!!!!!  Say you're sorry!

Really though, Apples2 were in school computer lab at time I got 486.  When was the last time you saw brand new computers in a school lab?  Aren't they always at least 10 years old?

According to Wikipedia:
Apple2
Release date    June 1977, Discontinued    November 1993

486
Produced    From 1989 to 2007

That overlaps anyway :)
 

Offline ebastler

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #144 on: October 23, 2017, 04:45:21 pm »
Apples2 were in school computer lab at time I got 486.  When was the last time you saw brand new computers in a school lab?  Aren't they always at least 10 years old?

Ah -- at that time, you were smart indeed not to get an Apple II for home use. ;)

You had mentioned Windows 3.1 running on your 486, which dates it even later; 1992 and onwards? By that time, one had to have very specific reasons (legacy software etc.) to buy an Apple II, I guess. Even a newfangled one like the IIGS, or whatever model was still being sold then...  :)
 

Online CatalinaWOW

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #145 on: October 25, 2017, 12:06:12 am »

 By that time, one had to have very specific reasons (legacy software etc.) to buy an Apple II, I guess. Even a newfangled one like the IIGS, or whatever model was still being sold then...  :)

Totally agree.  I got one of the IIGS free as a bank promotion somewhere around 1992.  It was a bad deal at that price.
 

Online schmitt trigger

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned ?
« Reply #146 on: October 25, 2017, 12:14:42 am »


The RCA1802 microprocessor, has some special (unique at the time), properties (if I remember correctly). It was both CMOS and certifiable for spaceflight/satellites.

1802 Membership Card Powered Up by Todd Decker, on Flickr

And if I remeber correctly, it could also operate at Vdd = 15v.
Which was kind of pointless, because the available memory devices ran at 5v.

I also had a Cosmac 1802 board.
 

Online MarkL

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #147 on: October 25, 2017, 01:57:42 am »
Used:

APL on an IBM 2741 terminal with dial-up to an IBM System/360, 1974 or so.  APL was my first language.  That took a major amount of un-learning when I started learning BASIC as my next language.

The 2741 was actually a converted IBM Selectric typewriter, which was needed to accommodate the special APL character set.  Stock photo of a 2741:



Owned:

Some single-board 8085 system, I don't remember the manufacturer anymore.  It had no peripherals but I had fun hand-assembling programs and typing them into the console monitor with a clunky CRT terminal (SWTPC CT-82).

The first useful computer I owned was a home-built Z80 system with a 5MB hard drive (yes, that's megabyte), with 256kB of bank switched memory.  It ran CPM and later ZCPR.  It still runs after 35 years, although I had to hit the hard drive spindle with a hammer because the brake had frozen on it.  It was all wire wrapped, except for the Xebec SASI disk controller which was purchased.





I thought the converted Selectric was a neat idea, so when I needed a printer I built a Z80 controller for a junked Selectric.  I still have it, but it needs a good cleaning and re-oiling.




« Last Edit: October 25, 2017, 02:00:44 am by MarkL »
 
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Offline bitseeker

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #148 on: October 25, 2017, 08:10:31 am »
Hmm, I suppose one could also convert a Selectric into a PC keyboard. Such a flexible machine. ;D
You don't acquire TEA. It acquires you.
 

Online MarkL

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #149 on: October 26, 2017, 12:14:39 am »
Hmm, I suppose one could also convert a Selectric into a PC keyboard. Such a flexible machine. ;D
I suppose you could, but it would be a horrible thing.

The Selectric keyboard is completely mechanical and inseparable from the print mechanism.  Whatever you type on the keyboard is printed by the typeball.  The only electrons in the stock version were to run the motor for the mechanics.

Being truly half-duplex, it made a pretty lousy terminal too.  While the computer was typing the keyboard would be locked out.  But the keyboard was one of the nicest to type on, back in the day.  Sure beats an ASR33 Teletype, which was my next encounter while learning BASIC.

Ancient trivia: Ever wonder why a baud rate of 134.5 exists?  It was to support the mechanical speed of these Selectric terminals.  It was the speed where the print shaft could keep turning and not disengage/engage the clutch every rotation (which would cause unnecessary wear on the clutch).
 
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