Author Topic: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?  (Read 33415 times)

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Offline IanH

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #275 on: July 09, 2018, 02:53:45 pm »
Elliott 803 at RMIT 1968
Algol 60 was the programming language
Program entered by punched cards created with either IBM 026 or 029 keypunch
 

Offline MapleLeaf

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #276 on: July 10, 2018, 05:27:19 am »
Mid 1970s, built a S100 system from bare boards and components. Did not work. I only had a cheap volt meter to debug with.
Then built an Explorer 85 kit (Intel 8085 CPU) , worked, used it getting a Computer Science degree.
After 40 years of doing software and electrical engineering, i am back building a S100 system. I am using some of the
same boards on my first attempt. It is much easier now with all the electronics instruments i have now. ;D
Can't wait to get a REAL computer running. One with toggle switches and LEDs for the front panel.

 
 

Offline hendorog

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #277 on: July 10, 2018, 06:38:31 am »
What upsets me, about the modern day PCs. Is that they are all so similar to each other.
I could sit by my PC and do stuff on windows (not that I use it much, or at all, it varies), then fly to Australia and use someone else's. Which to all intents and purposes, the experience would be, almost exactly the same.
This is not very good, as I'd prefer there to be much more variety.
You mean like Linux?    :-DD

Maybe I am getting old but to me, right now, windows is way less consistent than linux - or osx for that matter.

 I think MS are doing exactly what seemed to happen in the ubuntu world a few years.ago - groping around blindly for the next ui paradigm.

Fortunately company has employed an admin so i no longer have to google how to fix error 0x80007025.
 

Online bd139

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #278 on: July 10, 2018, 08:39:27 am »
I think Microsoft are throwing poo everywhere and working out what it sticks to, which they’re identifying with telemetry.

Unfortunately everyone is fed up of having poo hurled at them by a deranged schizophrenic monkey that steals your wallet and watches you while you sleep.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2018, 08:42:02 am by bd139 »
 

Offline Specmaster

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #279 on: July 10, 2018, 08:49:43 am »
Come on. be fair, Win 10 if you have installed all the updates is now pretty good, just wish it was more backwardly compatible with older programs and games especially, I have a few that will not run on it.
Who let Murphy in?
 

Online bd139

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #280 on: July 10, 2018, 08:52:17 am »
If I’m being paid to wrangle windows you pay me by the hour.

If I’m being paid to wrangle Linux you pay a fixed rate for job done.

That’s all I’m saying :)
 

Offline Specmaster

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #281 on: July 10, 2018, 09:02:01 am »
That might well be an area where problems could exist but for the average user, running standard office and games etc then it is what seems to be a stable and good platform these days.
Who let Murphy in?
 
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Online bd139

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #282 on: July 10, 2018, 09:11:25 am »
We’re power users. I’ve seen normal users machines. It’s not pretty. The average user can fuck up an etch-a-sketch. It’s like watching the monkeys around the monolith at the start of 2001.

Anyway back on first computers, I was talking to placement student in the office today and his first computer ran windows 7. Now I feel old.
 

Offline bitseeker

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #283 on: July 10, 2018, 09:56:24 am »
His first computer ran Windows 7? :o Yup, I'm instantly feeling ancient too.
You don't acquire TEA. It acquires you.
 

Offline Specmaster

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #284 on: July 10, 2018, 10:05:28 am »
Anything running Windows XP makes me feel very old  :-DD
Who let Murphy in?
 

Offline djos

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #285 on: July 10, 2018, 10:07:54 am »
We’re power users. I’ve seen normal users machines. It’s not pretty. The average user can fuck up an etch-a-sketch. It’s like watching the monkeys around the monolith at the start of 2001.

Anyway back on first computers, I was talking to placement student in the office today and his first computer ran windows 7. Now I feel old.

Ouch! DOS 2.11 was my first MS OS!  :scared:
The impossible often has a kind of integrity which the merely improbable lacks.

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Offline ljwinkler

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #286 on: July 10, 2018, 04:18:18 pm »
I'm not sure if you can call it a 'computer' but it was an Atari 65XE with a tape recorder.
It was an 8-bit 6502, 64kB of RAM and a tape that took 30 minutes to load a game. It was then upgraded with a 'turbo' switch to allow having 20...40 games on a single, 60-minute tape.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atari_8-bit_family


Offline bitseeker

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #287 on: July 10, 2018, 04:31:21 pm »
It certainly is a computer. I wrote reports for school using Atari Writer on an Atari 130XE and printed them with an Atari 1027 printer. That took a while and what a racket it made.
You don't acquire TEA. It acquires you.
 

Offline ljwinkler

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #288 on: July 10, 2018, 04:44:38 pm »
When I got mine I was like 8 or 9. For me it was just a gaming machine with a crude joystick with just one button :)
My dad was involved in all those upgrades back in the day.
I remember one mysterious thing (it was happening from being new, I don't suspect a wear back then). When the tape recorder was put next to the computer (it was in the left side, the right one had joystick ports) there was a humming noise while loading games. It sounded like a poor ground in an audio equipment. The games of course couldn't load as the noise was stronger than the recording. The solution was to put the tape unit on top of the computer, right in the middle - all keys were accessible and the noise was gone. 100% load rate.
I wonder if this could be caused by a broken/not soldered wire in the plug? My guess was that putting it on the computer protected the tape recorder using the computers ground/shields.

Then I had an Amiga, 486, first Pentium and now I'm surrounded by Raspberry Pi single board computers :)

Offline bitseeker

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #289 on: July 11, 2018, 07:04:48 am »
Yeah, could be the shielding on the top of the XE's case helped (and/or any shielding on the bottom of the cassette drive).
You don't acquire TEA. It acquires you.
 

Offline IconicPCB

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #290 on: July 11, 2018, 09:33:50 pm »
An abacus...
My grandfather got it for me and taught me to program beads in terms of place value number base 10.
It was a great little abacus... blue and red beads.
Man you should have seen those beads fly upon the programing wire grid. I was barely five.
 

Online GregDunn

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #291 on: July 12, 2018, 02:44:28 pm »
The first computer I ever got a look at was an IBM 1130, safely esconced behind glass in the college's computing center.  No student could touch it; you laid a deck of Hollerith cards on the counter, and if you were lucky, an hour or two later you'd get your deck and a printout back.  Usually proclaiming that you had a syntax error on one of the cards (good luck figuring out which one).

I was sitting with friends one day musing about having a computer that we could actually sit down at, type in commands, and run programs without waiting for the batch jobs to run.  One of the guys (who lived down the hall from me) said, "Oh, you don't know about Ben?".  He pulled me aside and informed me that the school had an old ex-military computer down in the basement in a locked room.  But if you were a serious student and wanted to learn about computers, the school's EE department head would arrange for you to get a key to the room and after some instruction, leave you alone with the computer!

The computer?  It was this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bendix_G-15

(Yeah, the nerds called it "Ben" for short)  It was all vacuum tube logic, and the memory was a rotating drum coated with multiple stripes of magnetic material.  I/O was a Friden Flexowriter with relays and contacts wired under the keys so that the computer could use it for output as well as accepting user input.

To boot the thing, you had to set up the front panel to initialize the Flexowriter's I/O channel, then use it to type in a couple of octal commands that, when executed, copied the boot loader into memory from a punched paper tape.  That allowed you to read the OS in from another paper tape.  After that, any user programs you wanted could also be loaded from the tapes.  If you were careful and paid attention, you could boot the machine up and have a program loaded in 10 minutes or so.  We'd run a Blackjack game or its version of ELIZA, use the machine's utilities for running some calculations, and try to figure out how to write a program that didn't freeze the machine, requiring a power cycle.  I hope it made it into a museum somewhere, because that computer certainly started a few serious programmers on their path to software development.

But that was the first computer I ever actually used
 

Offline bsudbrink

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #292 on: July 13, 2018, 12:18:30 am »
If you ever want to visit one again (a Bendix G-15, that is), the Vintage Computer Federation museum in Wall, NJ has one that is partially operating and is in the process of being restored.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2018, 12:20:21 am by bsudbrink »
 

Offline jsantoro

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #293 on: July 13, 2018, 12:43:32 am »
IBM 360 Mod 30, yes I'm old
 

Online ebastler

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #294 on: July 13, 2018, 01:47:59 am »
The computer?  It was this:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bendix_G-15

(Yeah, the nerds called it "Ben" for short)  It was all vacuum tube logic, and the memory was a rotating drum coated with multiple stripes of magnetic material.  I/O was a Friden Flexowriter with relays and contacts wired under the keys so that the computer could use it for output as well as accepting user input.

The Librascope LGP-30 was a contemporary of the Bendix, and also a magnetic drum computer with a very similar concept. Not my first computer (I'm not quite that old...), but I found it fascinating enough to build a little FPGA-based replica a couple of years ago: http://www.e-basteln.de/lgp30

It helps that excellent documentation is available online, including a service manual with full schematics and a step-by-step explanation of the inner workings. Also, quite a few paper tapes with original software have been scanned and published. A few links are on the above web page.



 

Online GregDunn

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #295 on: July 13, 2018, 03:00:59 am »
Glad to see people maintaining these old dinosaurs or even building replicas.  I always wanted to have a PDP-11 in my lab just because the front panel is one of the coolest looking things ever.   8)

Coincidentally, I'll be in Philadelphia next week, but the NJ museum hours don't line up with my free time or else I'd run over there.
 

Offline blv1946

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #296 on: July 21, 2018, 09:38:42 pm »
Got a Southwest Technical Products 6800 kit in 1976. Came with a whopping 2K of ram. Used my Sony TV for a monitor until the TV typewriter kit came along, used audio cassettes for storage.
I was in the USAF stationed at Clark AB in the Philippines at the time. After a few months discovered that I wasn't alone, had 4-5 other people with the SWTP 6800, a couple more with the MITS Altair 8800's, another had the 8800 and the MITS 680b. And a Major had lugged an ASR-33 teletype terminal(they had a very substantial discount at the time to rope in the hobbyist with money) all the way across the Pacific but his wife banished him and it to a closet with the door closed every time he used it. Think someone had one of the Kim-1's or something similar with a 6502 too. Don't remember any one having an Apple I at that time.
My friend Lynn, who worked for VOA, got one of the first SWTP 40 column impact printers. We did a few mods for the 6800 stuff and had one tiny article in published Dr Dobbs Journal in 77. 

Had the first issue of Byte magazine, but someone borrowed it and it never came back, still have 2nd and 3rd issues somewhere in a box.
After a few years got the Heath H-19 terminal(80 beautiful columns and real descenders on lower case) to use with the 'puter. Later, a brown case Commodore 64 and few years later the 128D. First PC was one of the Commodore models with a 8086 chip.

Still remember the first time I turned on the 6800 and the flashing asterisk prompt staring me in the face.  "Ok, you built me and turned me on, now what?" was the implied challenge.
Definitely an exciting time for electronics technology and the future we are still exploring.
 

Offline shawty

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #297 on: September 08, 2018, 06:54:59 am »
Glad to see people maintaining these old dinosaurs or even building replicas.  I always wanted to have a PDP-11 in my lab just because the front panel is one of the coolest looking things ever.   8)

Coincidentally, I'll be in Philadelphia next week, but the NJ museum hours don't line up with my free time or else I'd run over there.

My current "Pet Project" is using Microchip PIC's to emulate some of these older devices.  Currently I have an old unused dsPIC33F4011 that I'm trying make behave like a rockwell 6522 VIA :-)

Iv'e already took an old tube of PIC16F54's that where no use for anything else, and turned them into discrete logic IC's like Quad AND/NAND/OR/NOR/XOR gates , my big target however, is to see if I can pull off a trick of the century and make a PIC18F4550 believe it's a Rockwell 6502 CPU :-)
Meh....
 

Online ebastler

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #298 on: September 08, 2018, 07:01:17 am »
[...] my big target however, is to see if I can pull off a trick of the century and make a PIC18F4550 believe it's a Rockwell 6502 CPU :-)

I notice that the two have the same package size. But you don't expect to make the PIC a pin-compatible, drop-in replacement for the 6502 -- or do you?  :) 
I would assume that the supply and clock pins don't do you the favor of being in the right locations, to begin with?
 

Offline MK14

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #299 on: October 15, 2018, 07:11:03 pm »
[...] my big target however, is to see if I can pull off a trick of the century and make a PIC18F4550 believe it's a Rockwell 6502 CPU :-)

I notice that the two have the same package size. But you don't expect to make the PIC a pin-compatible, drop-in replacement for the 6502 -- or do you?  :) 
I would assume that the supply and clock pins don't do you the favor of being in the right locations, to begin with?

I think it can be done, because you can "cheat", and bend upwards, the incompatible pins (e.g. power pins). Replacing the missing (bent upwards) pins, with little pins, which can then, with extremely narrow gauge/thin wires, connect to the needed positions.

In the "old" days, tricks like that were done, to allow first production PCBs, to leave the factory. Despite having one or more, initial mistakes in the design. Some of Dave's videos, show things like that, if I remember correctly.
If you are desperate, you can bend through hole IC legs out of the way. Solder in alternative wires into the PCB, and even solder other wires to the top of the bent upwards pins.

Like this:


Alernatively. Make a 40-pin adapter, pcb like this, which converts between a tiny surface mount cpu and the larger 40 pin through hole one:

 


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