Author Topic: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?  (Read 27619 times)

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Offline MK14

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #50 on: July 29, 2017, 08:56:43 pm »
Early on I changed the thread title from 'owned' to 'owned or used', so I've added this post, to fill in the extra details. I've already said my first owned computer was a self built MK14 (photo in OP was NOT the one I built, none of the photos are of the machines I actually used, stock ones used).

The first "computer" I remember seeing in real life (which was not really a computer, but from that era, it just about counts as one), was an all valve/tube (but it did have one Germanium transistor in the voltage supply circuitry), was an Anita calculator, probably the first one, which was a MK8. But I did NOT use it, so it does not really count. (But later on I did play around a lot with an early, Toshiba calculator. It had lots of TO-metal-canned ICs in it, and could flash its nixie tubes in a really fascinating way, for lots of seconds, when you gave it a massive calculation).
It looked much bigger than the picture seems to show. It was the size of a very large typewriter.





Ignoring calculators and a programmable calculator (Texas Instruments SR-52), my first access to a computer, was an ancient all TTL (mini-computer like) massive desktop Wang computer. Called something like a 2200. Similar to the picture below (but I remember it being all white in colour, except the top floppy drives).
I use to love programming it (for fun) in its built in Basic language.



Later I had access to (not necessarily in accurate time order, as I can't accurately remember the exact timing sequence):
Commodore Pet, nice for programming in its built in Basic, and even 6502 machine code.

ASR-33 mechanical terminal + paper tape available + modem to talk to a mini-computer, which was probably one of the ICL1900 series, computers. If I remember correctly the language used was CECIL. An early, assembly language like programming environment. One step above machine code.

Commodore 64, which was mainly for gaming.
BBC model B microcomputer (later with floppy disk, external add on, and one or more extra Rom/EPROM chips)

Mainframe computer, made by ICL, 2900 series, in the classical format of the time. A huge (air-conditioned room), with massive cabinets. A very fast line(page) printer (it could print things out, amazingly quickly), many computer operators. Access to the computer was by video display unit terminals (there were VERY few of these) so access to them was VERY rare, printing terminals with built in keyboards (probably Dec). Very rarely access (if you could use one of the more 'modern' terminals, that was the preferred solution), via punched card (which I remember doing).

My first (owned) PC, was an Amstrad PC1512, with colour screen (EGA if I remember correctly), pair of floppies, 20 megabyte external hard disk (internal ones were possible at the time, but I wanted to keep access to two floppies, for easy copying of them). 8086 at 8 MHz, 640K ram (if I remember correctly, but it could of been 512K).
I actually designed schematics and PCBs on it (as well as all sorts of other things, I did with it). I had access to a (long term borrowed) Rowland Plotter.
Turbo Pascal was amazingly fast on it. Eventually I used C as well (Turbo C).
« Last Edit: July 29, 2017, 09:09:06 pm by MK14 »
 

Online PA0PBZ

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #51 on: July 29, 2017, 08:59:57 pm »
First one I used - no idea. It was at the other end of a teletype thing on a trade show. Yes, that was the only way to use a computer at the time.
First one I owned was a KIM-1, set me back about a years earning from my paper delivering job. It should still be around somewhere, but with a blown PIA if I remember correctly.

Keyboard error: Press F1 to continue.
 

Offline digsys

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #52 on: July 29, 2017, 09:12:31 pm »
CDC6400 Fortran 4, Adelaide University 1970? approx. Charge out time $20 per processor sec. Computer club members - free 10Sec a week.
Had a job cleaning the valve pins !! Heaven :-)
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Offline Nusa

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #53 on: July 29, 2017, 09:44:46 pm »
Hard to say, since I've been around computers my entire life, wound up in it as a career, and I've used many of those things you now call vintage.

I don't personally remember the incident, but my parents have a story about me in 1960 (at the age of 2) hitting the big red emergency stop button in the university computer room and shutting down the mainframe. That's the risks of taking your kid to work!
 

Offline amspire

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #54 on: July 29, 2017, 09:54:29 pm »
CDC6400 Fortran 4, Adelaide University 1970?
Sounds like all Australian engineering students in that era did Fortran with the Watfor compiler. It resided in core memory and could compile at an unbelievable 100 lines of code per second! Perfect for handling thousands of student assignments without having to reload the compiler for each job. I never touched Fortran again after the course.

Pascal became really big a few years later. The C language seemed to be reserved for the Computer Science students only. Probably the compilers were not very efficient.

 

Offline digsys

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #55 on: July 29, 2017, 10:48:11 pm »
Quote from: amspire
  ... Pascal became really big a few years later. The C language seemed to be reserved for the Computer Science students only ...
Ahhhh yeah, I remember the introduction of Pascal, and the first programming language wars (on PUNCH-CARDS  :-) ) !!  Never got interested in C
I moved to Flinders University, SA's rival uni, and moved into other science fields. There were sooo many new ones to discover :-)
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Offline SL4P

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #56 on: July 30, 2017, 11:26:35 am »
Signetics KT-9500 board (expanded to 8KB)
ETI serial  terminal kit.
A long time ago!
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Offline wilfred

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #57 on: July 30, 2017, 01:08:37 pm »
Did anyone here make the Electronics Australia EDUC-8 or the Miniscamp? Still got it?
 
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Offline SL4P

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #58 on: July 30, 2017, 01:13:01 pm »
My boss had an SC/MP based kit (before EDUC-8)
It was playing with that which led me on to a bigger & better world!
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Offline amspire

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #59 on: July 30, 2017, 02:59:57 pm »
Did anyone here make the Electronics Australia EDUC-8 or the Miniscamp? Still got it?
I wanted to build something like the IMSAI 8080 that came out a little later, but I was never rich enough. It was a pretty huge investment back then but at least is was expandable into something practical. It looked like a real computer at the time.

The EDUC-8 was just too limited for anyone but a college in my opinion. It was a computer built totally from TTL logic I believe with an incredibly small amount of RAM. When they said it was a learning computer, they meant it. You probably had to write in machine code directly.
 

Offline joeqsmith

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #60 on: July 30, 2017, 03:03:22 pm »
I guess my brain was the first. 

Does this one count?  ;)


http://www.experimentierkasten-board.de/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=50

The Kosmos "Logikus", which I got in the early 1970s. A plugboard, 10 switch banks, 10 little light bulbs (behind a transparent paper overlay). Essentially you could wire logic equations, and the user would position the switches, either to provide input or in response to the output shown via the light bulbs. No clock or registers in this one, thank you very much!

The Logikus did come with a great instruction book and clever application examples. It could help you solve logic puzzles, for example -- I seem to remember the one with the wolf, the goat, and the cabbage which you had to get across a river by rowboat...

Sorry, I could find German web pages only. Has this been sold elsewhere under a different name?
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logikus

EDIT: To answer my own question -- yes, the "LOGIX" was a licensed version for the US market. And the overlay on this LOGIX looks very much like that skipper with the wolf, goat and cabbage:   :)


http://www.samstoybox.com/toys/LogixComputer.html

I believe I have that same model that I got as a child.  I remember it taking me a fair amount of time to assemble and then work my way through all the examples.  I remember having a favorite example but it's been so long.  Maybe some sort of cannibal and missionary..  Maybe TIC-TAC-TOE.   
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Online tggzzz

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #61 on: July 30, 2017, 05:24:20 pm »
Quote from: amspire
  ... Pascal became really big a few years later. The C language seemed to be reserved for the Computer Science students only ...
Ahhhh yeah, I remember the introduction of Pascal, and the first programming language wars (on PUNCH-CARDS  :-) ) !!  Never got interested in C

I first sampled "wars" with character sets and 5 channel punch tape, as used by teleprinters. My first assembler program was to convert from something-or-other to Elliott code. It worked first time, partly because I had unwittingly and triumphantly reinvented FSMs :)

Exercise for youngsters: how do you encode all the digits plus a few symbols plus the upper-case alphabet in the 25=32 codes available in 5 channel paper tape?
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Offline rolycat

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #62 on: July 30, 2017, 09:30:15 pm »
Exercise for youngsters: how do you encode all the digits plus a few symbols plus the upper-case alphabet in the 25=32 codes available in 5 channel paper tape?

I dunno if I qualify as a youngster - I never encountered paper tape, but I have punched cards in anger.

Anyway, the answer is that you don't. You encode the alphabet plus a 'shift to figures' code. Then you re-use the same 32 codes (less the 'shift to letters' code) for digits and symbols until you need to switch back.
 

Offline Gary350z

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #63 on: July 30, 2017, 10:04:08 pm »
The first computer I used:
Some type of small main frame in the basement of the college library that was connected up to several terminals, I remember three CRT terminals and two teletype terminals. You saved your programs on paper tape. This was 1976.
I heard there was a computer in the library basement and thought that was interesting. I played around with it for a while, then printed out one of its programs (it was in BASIC). By studying the program I figured out how programming worked, and started writing my own programs. I had no programming instruction, classes, or books. I learned just by studied that original program. My first programming class was two years later, which was very easy because of what I already knew.

The first computer I owned:
Ohio Scientific C1P, bought in 1979 for $350.
4K RAM
8K BASIC in ROM
Programs were stored on an audio cassette recorder.
Had a keyboard and hooked up to a TV through a home made RF modulator.
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Offline brucehoult

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #64 on: July 30, 2017, 11:10:05 pm »
Personally owned? Pick between TI57 in 1979 (8 floating point registers, 50 bytes of program space) or Apple IIcx in 1989 (16 MHz 68030, zero RAM, zero HD at purchase .. I added my own 3rd party of each. Anything from 1 MB - 128 MB RAM was supported).

Used: HP97, TI58, Burroughs B1800, PET, TRS-80, Apple ][, PDP11, VAX, Macintosh, DEC Rainbow, Sanyo MBC555, IBM 5150, DG MV...
 

Online tggzzz

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #65 on: July 30, 2017, 11:24:03 pm »
Exercise for youngsters: how do you encode all the digits plus a few symbols plus the upper-case alphabet in the 25=32 codes available in 5 channel paper tape?

I dunno if I qualify as a youngster - I never encountered paper tape, but I have punched cards in anger.

Anyway, the answer is that you don't. You encode the alphabet plus a 'shift to figures' code. Then you re-use the same 32 codes (less the 'shift to letters' code) for digits and symbols until you need to switch back.

Almost correct :) There's also a "delete" code (all holes punched) which works in both lettershift and figureshift modes; hence there are a total of 60 symbols available.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2017, 11:27:20 pm by tggzzz »
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Offline rob77

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #66 on: July 30, 2017, 11:41:03 pm »
first i used was a Tesla PMD85-1 (8 bit 8080 with 48kB RAM)


and the first i owned was a Didaktik gama - it was a ZX spectrum clone with 80kB of RAM.

« Last Edit: July 30, 2017, 11:43:08 pm by rob77 »
 

Offline ebastler

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #67 on: July 30, 2017, 11:46:04 pm »
Almost correct :) There's also a "delete" code (all holes punched) which works in both lettershift and figureshift modes; hence there are a total of 60 symbols available.

Almost correct :)  The essential control characters (letter and figure shift, carriage return, line feed, space) all need to work in either state. That reduces the number of encodable symbols a bit further.
 

Offline cdev

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #68 on: July 31, 2017, 12:01:09 am »
The first computer I actually owned was probably a VIC-20 I owned for a while in the very early 1980s. I had a lot of fun fooling around with that but, as I couldn't connect up to anybody else I eventually exhausted all its possibilities and then life changes made it so I didnt have the time or money for several years to get another one. My next computer was not really a computer, it was a dumb Televideo 925 terminal that I found being thrown out which worked and had a 80x24 screen. That was the machine that I used to hook up to my first Unix BBSs - a process that gradually led me to the Internet. After I got an Atari 520ST I started being able to get bits of computing related work, and my income rose a bit. Then I got a used Mac, the first in a long chain of Macs.

Eventually I was able to afford non-used computers too.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2017, 12:14:45 am by cdev »
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Online tggzzz

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #69 on: July 31, 2017, 12:02:23 am »
Almost correct :) There's also a "delete" code (all holes punched) which works in both lettershift and figureshift modes; hence there are a total of 60 symbols available.

Almost correct :)  The essential control characters (letter and figure shift, carriage return, line feed, space) all need to work in either state. That reduces the number of encodable symbols a bit further.

<expletive deleted>

You might think senility is creeping up on me; I could not possibly comment :(
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Gliding aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
Having fun doing more, with less
 

Offline Nusa

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #70 on: July 31, 2017, 12:23:11 am »
Almost correct :) There's also a "delete" code (all holes punched) which works in both lettershift and figureshift modes; hence there are a total of 60 symbols available.

Almost correct :)  The essential control characters (letter and figure shift, carriage return, line feed, space) all need to work in either state. That reduces the number of encodable symbols a bit further.

Known as Baudot-Murray code, after Emile Baudot's hand-keyed telegraph code, later modified by Donald Murray to minimize wear on punch machines (common letters used the fewest holes). Western Union used it for over 50 years. The TTY version of the code was a slight modification of that.

Baudot is also where we coined the term "baud rate", which refers to symbols per second. In modern usage, baud rate usually uses symbols defined as 1 bit, which makes it the same as bit rate.
 
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Offline Richard Crowley

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #71 on: July 31, 2017, 12:36:29 am »
First computer programmed:  IBM 1620 at school



First computer owned: a system built on the S-100 bus with CPU, DRAM, I/O cards from several vendors...



And I built several "Ferguson Big Board" computers. Z80, 64K RAM, CP/M, on-board dual floppy interface, and on-board 80x24 CRT terminal.




« Last Edit: July 31, 2017, 12:39:40 am by Richard Crowley »
 

Online tggzzz

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #72 on: July 31, 2017, 12:48:41 am »
Almost correct :) There's also a "delete" code (all holes punched) which works in both lettershift and figureshift modes; hence there are a total of 60 symbols available.

Almost correct :)  The essential control characters (letter and figure shift, carriage return, line feed, space) all need to work in either state. That reduces the number of encodable symbols a bit further.

Known as Baudot-Murray code, after Emile Baudot's hand-keyed telegraph code, later modified by Donald Murray to minimize wear on punch machines (common letters used the fewest holes). Western Union used it for over 50 years. The TTY version of the code was a slight modification of that.

There were several such 5-channel codes. My school had one, the local tech college with the computer had another - hence my foray into assembler for a 39-bit machine.

Quote
Baudot is also where we coined the term "baud rate", which refers to symbols per second. In modern usage, baud rate usually uses symbols defined as 1 bit, which makes it the same as bit rate.

Except where it isn't, with all the OFDM modulation systems being modern examples.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Gliding aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
Having fun doing more, with less
 

Offline ebastler

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #73 on: July 31, 2017, 01:06:54 am »
Almost correct :)  The essential control characters (letter and figure shift, carriage return, line feed, space) all need to work in either state. That reduces the number of encodable symbols a bit further.

<expletive deleted>
You might think senility is creeping up on me; I could not possibly comment :(

Ahh, don't be too harsh on yourself there!
I cheat -- I am keeping a Baudot teletype in the study to refresh my memory occasionally.  ;)

(Fond memories of that one: It was actually my first computer printer. Obtained third-hand in 1980, when radio amateurs were happy to replace those noisy buggers with microcontroller-based RTTY solutions.)
 

Offline CatalinaWOW

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #74 on: July 31, 2017, 02:59:21 am »
My first use computer was an IBM 1620 that was the training computer at university.  It was student operated, the console, card reader and card punch were all just walk up and use.  Used magnetic core memory and punched cards and the memory were the only storage options.  Languages available were assembly and FLAG (Fortran Load and Go) a memory resident version of FORTRAN II. 

From there it was on to a Burroughs 6600 which was the university mainframe.  Batch input on card decks, or, drum roll please, you could use the new experimental time sharing system using teletype terminals.  Reliability was not one of the strong points of the time share system.  I will always remember the frequent -

P
  L
    O
       P

System Failure.  Restarting.

Burned the old "Save Early, Save Often" mantra into my brain.

My first personal computer was the COSMAC Elf II.  Fun but basically unsatisfactory.  The only really redeeming feature was that it was the embedded computer used in my job at the time and it was nice to have the extra background/knowledge.

Then went to a homebrew Z80 based S100 bus machine with dual 8 inch floppyies that was my workhorse for several years, even after building a single board Z80 computer into a terminal to take to work.  This was a few years before my employer provided anything other than mainframe computer support to employees.  That S100 machine with upgrades lasted until I finally decided that the IBM compatible desktop thing was for real and bought a clone.








 


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