Author Topic: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?  (Read 22552 times)

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Offline shawty

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #225 on: December 23, 2017, 07:10:18 am »
My first computer was an Apple II with two floppy drives and a green monochrome CRT. I don’t know how much RAM it had, but I can remember playing »Lemonade« and »Nibbles«.
I still have this unit but it is sitting in storage at my parents place and has not been turned on for at least 25 years.

I'll give that a try thanks.

I did however have an interesting Idea Last Night.

The RTC/Cmos chip in the A5K is an PCF8583 which is an I2C based device.

I know what the I2C address of it is, as it's in the programmers reference manuals, so I got to wondering if I could just remove the SMD that's on the mobo, and wiring the I2C lines SDA/SCK and GND directly to an Arduino Nano/Micro or similar.  I know which 3 lines I need and where to get them, and importantly I know there active, I also know where to get a 5v supply from to power the Arduino.

My thinking is to program the Arduino to be an I2C slave, on the address the computer looks for the RTC chip, then just let the Arduino save the settings and such like in it's on board Eprom.

In all honesty, I'm really not too bothered if the clock actually keeps the correct date/time, the important part is that the system settings are saved, and looking at the data sheet for the RTC chip, i recon I can quite easily emulate it using an Arduino, or even just something like a DSPIC (I have a few of those lying around too)

Anyway, it's all just theory at the moment, like everything I want to do for me, it'll end up going on the "Stuff for my Retirement" pile :-D

BIG THUMBS UP TO A FELLOW BEEBER :-)
 8)
Meh....
 

Online Calambres

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #226 on: December 23, 2017, 07:24:40 pm »
My first computer was a Sinclair ZX-81. I loved programming that semi-toy. I got the infamous 16KB expansion dongle: the connector was so flimsy you couldn't move even the slightest. Otherwise you got a beautiful system reset.

Next was the obvious step: Sinclair Spectrum 48K. I used it very thoroughly and even programmed a financial program using "Microdrives" that was used commercially by a friend's firm. I ended installing the guts inside the keyboard of an old AS/400  :-/O  It worked very fine!

My first "proper" computer was an IBM Portable 5155. 15Kg of portability, go figure! The system was only 256KB RAM and I hacked it to 640KB. In Bill Gates' own words: "640KB is all you'll ever need for RAM". It had two 256KB 5 1/4" floppy drives. Later I added an IBM 5161 "PC Expansion" that was the size of an IBM Personal Computer, with  a 10MB disk drive. In IBM's own words: "10MB is all you'll ever need for file management"  :-DD

Then I got an IBM XT-286, a strange mix between an IBM-XT case and IBM-AT guts, only a bit faster. That was the sexiest XT-286 in the world  ;D : It had a 20MB disk drive, 16MB RAM, 2MB "Expanded" memory option, 287 Math coprocessor, External tape backup system, Token Ring adapter, VGA adapter (IBM 8515 monitor), Monochrome adapter (IBM 5151 monitor) for a dual display system,  SoundBlaster, IBM ProPrinter 4201 and other options I no longer remember... all card expansions were used. You couldn't expand it any more!. I still have it.

The next computers were a lot less glamourous  :)
« Last Edit: December 23, 2017, 11:04:30 pm by Calambres »
 

Offline boffin

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #227 on: December 25, 2017, 12:13:11 pm »

My first "proper" computer was an IBM Portable 5155. 15Kg of portability, go figure! The system was only 256KB RAM and I hacked it to 640KB. In Bill Gates' own words: "640KB is all you'll ever need for RAM". It had two 256KB 5 1/4" floppy drives. Later I added an IBM 5161 "PC Expansion" that was the size of an IBM Personal

Actually the 640k quote is a well reproduced myth.  The 640k limitation was instead based on the architecture of the IBM PC that put the graphics memory starting at A000:0000 (the mono card put the text at B000:0000 and the colour card put the text at B800:0000).  If you could forgo graphics, and used a CGA for text only, you could happily make a PC run with 736k of RAM.  Later invocations of MS-DOS (6 IIRC) allowed you to load TSR programs "high" (using LOADHI), and you could map RAM into the D000:0000 and E000:0000 spaces (C800:xxxx was used by HD controllers)
 

Online rrinker

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #228 on: December 25, 2017, 03:17:19 pm »
 There were actually a lot of 'holes' in upper memory you could exploit, depending on the hardware you had installed. When programs like QEMM came out, I became an expert at getting the most free DOS memory and organizing resident programs in the upper memory holes. I always took it as a challenge to get the most free memory in the lower 640K.
 And speaking of QEMM - their other product, Desqview, brought a pre-emptive multitasker to DOS. I was able to run my Opus BBS in college while still reserving enough of my machine to write reports and such with WordPerfect, or even run circuit simulations with pspice.

 

Online Calambres

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #229 on: December 25, 2017, 07:31:31 pm »
One of those "holes" is what allowed the "Expanded Memory" I have in my XT-286 (2MB max) to be paged into real memory. It was only accessible via a resident program loaded in "config.sys"

Offline cowasaki

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #230 on: January 15, 2018, 10:10:16 am »
My brother's VIC20 in 1982

My first computer was an Amstrad CPC464 followed by a CPC6128 - I was in 4th/5th year at high school 14/15 and wrote an expansion ROM which added 150 new commands but was also programming 6502 on BBC model B at school where I completely re-wrote the networking software making it quicker and fairer as it queued stuff (they were still using it 5 years later!)....

Then on to the Atari 1040STFM where I had my first hard drive £420 for 30Mb (they had no 20Mb left so did a 30 for the same price if I turned up with cash!)

Then onto The Archimedes range as I was then a component level service engineer for Acorn machines.....
 

Offline GeorgeOfTheJungle

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #231 on: January 15, 2018, 11:00:05 am »
1st an hp9830 in 1973..74, an hp65 1975, an Apple II 1977, TRS-80 1977 (but didn't like it), Compucolor II 1979  (but didn't like it), switched from the Apple II to a Mac in 1984, and then always Macs ever since. I've never had any "PC" nor any DOS/windows machine. Now I prefer Macs for the job, linux and small sbcs for everything else.
 

Offline skyshaver

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #232 on: January 20, 2018, 02:49:46 pm »
My first computer was a Vic20. I spent the savings bond my grandparents gave me to buy a tape drive and copied code from the back of magazines. Though my fondest memory of that machine is the text-based RPG "The Count"
 

Offline Bruce Abbott

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #233 on: January 21, 2018, 05:09:25 am »
Actually the 640k quote is a well reproduced myth.
Actually...

"I have to say that in 1981, making those decisions, I felt like I was providing enough freedom for 10 years. That is, a move from 64k to 640k felt like something that would last a great deal of time. Well, it didn’t – it took about only 6 years before people started to see that as a real problem." - Bill Gates

 

Offline ferdieCX

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #234 on: January 21, 2018, 06:14:58 am »
I went in 1979 straight to repair Olivetti Audit 5 boards, it was my first job
First owned was a home assembled 8080 S-100. It took two years to get the naked boards and the chips to South America,
carried by mail (only 20 USD at month allowed)  :palm: or by relatives and friends who visited the USA
I still have the CPU board
« Last Edit: January 21, 2018, 06:20:33 am by ferdieCX »
 
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Online Gyro

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #235 on: February 23, 2018, 06:29:46 am »
Used (in order):

Education:
ICL1902S
DEC KL10

Work:
PDP-11/44 2xRL02(10MB)
Dual headed VAX-11/780 (Altara and Krell), with all the toppings!  8)
MicroVAX 1 -> MicroVAX II Workstations
(a bit of a DEC theme there!)
...
PCs.

Owned (in order):

Science of Cambridge (Sinclair) MK14 (NS SC/MP)
UK101 (6502 based UK clone of the Ohio Superboard)
DEC PDP-11/05 (unibus, 32k word core memory), 2 x TU56 DECTape1 random access tape drives (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DECtape). Later upgraded to 2 x RX02 dual 8" Floppy.
PDP-11/23plus, home built Q-Bus cabinet, RD52 (30MB) HDD, RX50 Floppies. Later upgraded to PDP-11/53 as handy bits became 'available'  ;).
...
PCs :=\
« Last Edit: February 26, 2018, 03:26:21 am by Gyro »
Chris

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Offline Mister35mm

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #236 on: March 10, 2018, 02:38:44 pm »
PSI comp80?

Was that this one?

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/391977282124

I saw one at a computer show, I think. Powertran were showing off the TI9995 Cortex and this thing.

Z80 & maths chip.
Will of iron,
Nerves of Steel,
Knob of butter.
 

Offline 1audio

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #237 on: March 10, 2018, 05:18:26 pm »
PSI comp80?

Was that this one?

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/391977282124

I saw one at a computer show, I think. Powertran were showing off the TI9995 Cortex and this thing.

Z80 & maths chip.
My first computer experience was a Bendix G-15. At a nearby high school in the mid 1960s.  I also worked on CDC computers in the early 1970s and built a z80 system in the 1970s before getting an IBM pc. At the time I was working at Four Phase systems designing peripherals for their computer systems. Too much early computer experience so I moved to Consumer Electronics.

Sent from my LG-H830 using Tapatalk

 

Offline Bryce

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #238 on: March 20, 2018, 07:15:48 am »
The first computer I used was an MS-DOS based PC clone, a 286 of some description, that my father bought in the late 80s when I was a baby.  I think it was the second computer in the household, since my father had a TRS-80 MC-10 before that, but I have no memory of that computer and I believe it was sold prior to the acquisition of the PC. The PC had a modem, 9600 Baud I believe, which at some point Dad set up so that we could track the Space Shuttle on a map display.

The first computer that was mine personally was either an 8088 based "Eagle" PC clone (uncertain model number) or a Epson PX-8 Geneva laptop. I don't remember which was first; my father got both of them in state surplus property auctions in the mid-90s and gave them to me. Neither was my main computer though, I primarily used the family Macintosh (an 68030-based Performa that later got a 68040 accelerator card.) If you don't count family computers and surplus sale junkers, I got my first computer in '97, which was an Apple PowerBook 1400. I still have it, though it developed a bad LCD connection. (I still have the PX-8, too, I think, though it's been a long time since I've actually seen it and I am not 100% sure.)
« Last Edit: March 20, 2018, 10:34:27 am by Bryce »
 

Offline oldtubeguy

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #239 on: May 01, 2018, 03:17:51 am »
I was hired at IBM in Poughkeepsie NY as a System Test Techician in 1965, worked on final test of IBM 7090 Series System.
http://www.computer-history.info/Page4.dir/pages/IBM.7090.dir/images/Picture.9.jpg shows some of an IBM 7090. In that image the four frames behind man standing is the actual processor and I/O contollers.
Also in pic are some tape drives, card reader, line printer and operator console.
Not in picture is Memory --initially discrete cores in an oil-bath, later air cooled. Also 'Power Convertor' which was a motor-generator set which  changed 60 cycle power to 400 cycle  (a noisy piece of gear).
Moved into programming in 1968 and spent years writing Assembler code, Fortran, PL/1 and other languages.
My first personal computer was a Radio Shack TRS80. Had many IBM PCs and home built.
Retired from IBM in 1999. At the time worked for IBM as technical consultant on large scale commercial  implementations of CATIA 3D design system.
After retirement went private and the last thing I did was software development on RS/6000 for Computer Sciences Corp.
 

Offline meeko

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #240 on: May 08, 2018, 07:08:20 am »
In the summer of 1980, my Dad borrowed a Commodore PET (I don't remember if it was a 2001 or one of the later ones with a proper keyboard) from his school for the summer.  (He was a teacher.)  Then we got a C64.

The first computer I personally owned was an Apple III that was given to me by a friend of my Dad's.  It also came with a colour monitor and a broken ProFile 5 MB hard drive.  I rarely used it, though, as by that time we had an Amiga 500.

The first computer I bought with my own money was a Pentium 120, with I think 64 MB of RAM, 1.6 GB hard drive, ATI Mach64 video card, CD-ROM drive and a no-name SB16-compatible sound card, initially running Windows for Workgroups 3.11 with Win32s and the Microsoft "Wolverine" TCP stack.  Wolverine didn't support dial-up networking, though, so I had to use a DOS terminal program to dial in and start a SLIP session, exit the terminal program without hanging up the modem, start the SLIP packet driver, then a packet driver to NDIS shim, before finally starting Windows.  And that was still more stable than Trumpet Winsock!
 

Offline intabits

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #241 on: May 09, 2018, 12:49:26 am »
First used, all at Monash Uni in 1974/1975:-
DEC PDP-11
HP2100A
Burroughs B6700

Unless Wang programmable calculators qualify, then in high school, 1970
 

Online bob225

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #242 on: May 09, 2018, 03:27:16 am »
8080, hand built 8088, Ibm XT, 286 ps/2 - all very used in the mid to late 80's

zx81 > ZX128+2 > Commodore 386 16 with 8mb of ram > Amiga A600 >  486 dx33 upgraded to a DX4 100 > Amd 5x86 then it gets fuzzy for a few years > Intel P3 >


Now running X99 5820K with all the trimmings - 8th Gen I7 on the wish list but I'm happy with what I have now

Seem to have lost my passion for computers the last year or so, possible to do with no major jumps in tech


edit. there was the odd Mac (g4 and intel based) Acorn electron and Acorn Archimedes along the way too
 

Offline brucehoult

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #243 on: May 09, 2018, 11:29:02 am »
8080, hand built 8088, Ibm XT, 286 ps/2 - all very used in the mid to late 80's

Apple ][, PDP11/VAX (not personally owned!), home built wire-wrapped 6809, 68k Macs, PPC Macs G3 - G5, Linux Pentium Pro 200 then Athlon 700 then Athlon 3200+, Core 2 Duo Macs, Hackintosh i7-860 then Linux i7-4790K, i7-6700K. Various ARM boards (Pi, Odroid) and Arduinos. Now RISC-V HiFIve1 (Arduino) and HiFive Unleashed (1.5 GHz Quad core).

Quote
Now running X99 5820K with all the trimmings - 8th Gen I7 on the wish list but I'm happy with what I have now

Definitely still a great machine, with no reason to replace it unless you want 10 - 18 cores (i9) or similar performance in a smaller lower power package.

I'm very impressed by my new 100mm x 100mm x 35mm NUC with an i7-8659U CPU. I can put it in my pocket and travel the world, it uses 15W, and the performance matches a 2.5 years old 65W i7-6700 desktop CPU! (and beats it by 20% on single-core tasks).

Quote
Seem to have lost my passion for computers the last year or so, possible to do with no major jumps in tech

Wow! Even at 55 years old I'm the opposite!

Clock rates have peaked, yes, but that makes things MUCH MORE interesting than any time since 1990! It's no longer enough for Intel to simply spend their billions on a new FAB process and lazily crank out the same design as last year but at 50% higher clock speed.

Now they have to actually *think*.

So far Intel have mostly been thinking "Lets put more of the same old cores on on chip". That's reasonably exciting. It makes tasks such as compiling software or video transcoding or responding to a lot of web requests much faster without a lot of effort, but it's a very interesting challenge to figure out how to use this for other things.

But even more exciting is that YOU DON't NEED TO BE INTEL to innovate any more. Basic CPUs aren't getting faster any more which means that speeding up particular tasks often now requires special hardware to directly implement the main part of the task, with a conventional CPU there as well to supervise and control it.

There is an absolute *explosion* happening in people building this special hardware inside FPGAs, and the successful and high volume designs migrate to custom SoCs. Sometimes this special hardware can be done as a co-processor with relatively loose coupling to the main CPU (and you can license ARM cores for that), but often it works better if you can hook your special hardware up to custom instructions in the CPU and incorporate it in the normal program flow in a much more fine-grained way. You can't do that with ARM.

Some companies are creating their own proprietary and customisable CPU architectures and that's exciting to see that happening again (like in the 70s and 80s). But even though gcc and linux etc are pretty portable it's still a lot of work to actually port them, and that work doesn't actually add any unique value to your company. So more and more people are grabbing an existing open-source and license-free processor design and customising that with their own special sauce.

Mostly now, that means RISC-V, which is getting very good momentum.

And so I've made my way to a RISC-V startup where our business is making customised CPUs and SoCs.  Exciting times!
 

Offline djos

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #244 on: May 09, 2018, 08:14:06 pm »
Seem to have lost my passion for computers the last year or so, possible to do with no major jumps in tech

I simply must concur with your sentiment, my 2012 i7 Mac Mini still does everything I want it to and if I want to pay games I use my dozen retro computers, particularly my Amiga's and Tandy 1000 EX. I find them to be a lot more fun than modern computing which is iterative and boring.
The impossible often has a kind of integrity which the merely improbable lacks.
 

Online rrinker

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #245 on: May 11, 2018, 04:50:30 am »
 I'm not so sure I've lost my passion for computers so much as I just can't justify spending money to replace my current desktop, which is now something like 6 or 7 years old. It still plays the few games I play, and everything else runs just fine. It does have an SSD, and I did replace the video card a few years ago, I built it with a GTX480 and not have a 970. But it runs everything I need it to run just fine.
 I sort of satisfied it by building a new machine for my workbench, which I also built, about 2 years ago. On that one I went for small, a mini-ITX cube case, no discrete GPU, low power was the primary criteria. It's still plenty powerful enough for KiCad and various toolchains for programmign micros and runnign test equipment even with just the built in Intel graphics.
 

Offline MapleLeaf

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #246 on: May 11, 2018, 05:18:19 am »
My first was a S100, Z80 i tried to build from pieces in the late 70s. It almost worked  :)
Then a working 8085 that i got MS basic running on. Used it for my Computer Science degree.
Ah the joy of doing home work in my dorm room instead of going to the CS building to punch cards for
an IBM 360 computer.
I am nearing retirement and have all the bare S100 boards and parts to make a working system. Will start
on it soon. It should be so much easier now that i have a complete electronic lab. The first time i only had an analog volt meter.
 Still can't figure out how i can use my spectrum analyzer in building this new system  :D
 

Offline stenbror

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #247 on: May 12, 2018, 06:22:42 am »
My first that i owned myself was a Commodore Vic 20, but i did own 50% of a Sinclair ZX81 together with a friend back in 1982.
 

Offline Stavos122

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #248 on: May 12, 2018, 06:30:23 am »
After a lot of articles and comparisons in PC Mag, first PC owned was a Compaq Presario - purchased is '93 or '94.  We laughed on the way home from the store that it was more expensive than the car it was being transported in.   
 


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