Author Topic: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?  (Read 45528 times)

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Offline Kilo Tango

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #175 on: October 31, 2017, 09:11:50 am »
Oh yes, I've also got an Apple Lisa awaiting attention.

Too many projects, not enough time...

Ken
 

Offline djos

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #176 on: October 31, 2017, 09:21:53 am »
Oh yes, I've also got an Apple Lisa awaiting attention.

Too many projects, not enough time...

Ken

Nice, I have a Mac SE 40MB awaiting recapping, it's so unstable it wont boot off anything anymore - Im pretty sure the PSU is the culprit but havent had time to put it on the healing bench and catalogue the caps and measure the outputs etc.
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Online brucehoult

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #177 on: October 31, 2017, 11:29:58 am »
Oh yes, I've also got an Apple Lisa awaiting attention.

Too many projects, not enough time...

I used to have a Lisa (converted o Mac XL) that I picked up almost free.  As recently as 1994 I was making it available to houseguests who wanted to do email etc. I gave it away to someone in the great aborted move to the USA in 2001 :(

I still have an original 128k Mac (not *quite* original as it actually says "128k" on it, meaning the Fat Mac was already out), and several SE/30s. Now that was a great machine! Came with 1 MB of RAM, expandable to 128 MB .. in theory.
 

Offline bitseeker

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #178 on: October 31, 2017, 11:39:34 pm »
Nice, I have a Mac SE 40MB awaiting recapping, it's so unstable it wont boot off anything anymore - Im pretty sure the PSU is the culprit but havent had time to put it on the healing bench and catalogue the caps and measure the outputs etc.

Hmmm, I've got a Mac Classic that won't boot from its HDD, only from the onboard ROM. In the queue...
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Offline EncomLab

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #179 on: November 01, 2017, 01:33:00 pm »
My first was a TI99-4/A...though honestly I did not use it for much.  The first computer I actually used effectively was an Apple II/C - LOGO changed my life ;)
 

Online brucehoult

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #180 on: November 01, 2017, 02:33:09 pm »
My first was a TI99-4/A...though honestly I did not use it for much.  The first computer I actually used effectively was an Apple II/C - LOGO changed my life ;)

LOGO is great. Thinly disguised LISP.
 
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Offline JohnPen

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #181 on: November 05, 2017, 09:35:22 am »
My first computer was a home built Z80 system back in 1979.  It consisted of the Z80 plus 2K of RAM and a 1K UV ROM.  The UV ROM was programmed in machine code to provide a very simple 'operating system' and the RAM provided the screen display via a character generator chip.  The result was displayed on a portable TV slightly modified.  To prove the hand drawn, photo resist ink pen, PCB I coded a simple looping program and checked the address and data lines were working with a multimeter.  I did have a home built 10 Mhz scope to assist but triggering was a little difficult but at least one could recognise that tri-state on the lines was also working correctly.

The very first genuine program was the well known Hangman which could accept up to a maximum of 23 letters before impinging on the screen display.  The character generator chip provided the dashes and strokes to draw the scaffold etc.  Later developments added a 2K UV ROM with  a modified 'Tiny Basic', to suit Z80 rather than 8080, and drive the screen character generator.  The whole assembly was then built into a home made case with a dedicated PSU and the portable TV stood on top.  Following the addition of a 16K Dynamic RAM board other programs were created for my children a crude space invaders, geography capitals quiz etc. I also added a solenoid operated 'golfball' printer using a diode matrix to provide text for letter writing. It all survived a few years and then the inevitable happened more games for the family so I purchased a Texas TI 99, followed by a couple of AMIGAs. 

Now sadly I am just  PC box user and other H/W interests take priority.  I guess that's life.

Edit  Just a thought I still have a Z80  and an unused 68000 plus a few UVROMs  hanging around if anyone has a need.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2017, 09:39:37 am by JohnPen »
 

Offline jprozas

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #182 on: November 07, 2017, 04:45:42 pm »
Used, Hewlett-Packard HP9810A from 1971 (at school in the late 70s):



Owned, Compukit UK101 from 1979:

I buyed in London , diy a UK101. Cpu 6502  ram 8KB.
Basic and asembler.

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Offline rrinker

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #183 on: November 07, 2017, 06:34:18 pm »
 Reset - so good, they had to do it twice!  :-DD
 

Offline bsudbrink

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #184 on: November 07, 2017, 06:59:41 pm »
Reset - so good, they had to do it twice!  :-DD

Reset, right next to enter.  Very annoying to hit it by accident, so you have a double key to avoid it.  Same as OSI-C1P.  You could also do a "fancier" circuit that required several seconds of keypress to take effect.
 

Offline Specmaster

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #185 on: November 07, 2017, 07:06:25 pm »
Hmm, with my fat fingers I could easily press them both together by accident.  :-DD
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Offline bsudbrink

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #186 on: November 07, 2017, 07:26:46 pm »
Hmm, with my fat fingers I could easily press them both together by accident.  :-DD

That's some fat pinkies! :-DD  Notice also, the big slashed zero.  A tribute to the active (back then) argument between IBM and the rest of the world about whether the zero or "letter O" was to be slashed.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2017, 07:29:54 pm by bsudbrink »
 

Offline ebastler

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #187 on: November 07, 2017, 08:32:19 pm »
Notice also, the big slashed zero.  A tribute to the active (back then) argument between IBM and the rest of the world about whether the zero or "letter O" was to be slashed.

It seems that, even within IBM, there were different practices between various IBM systems and user groups:
https://www.circuitousroot.com/artifice/letters/characters/slashed-o/index.html  ;)

That being said, I would assume that by 1979 the debate had long since been settled. I don't think anybody wanted to make a particular point with the slashed "0" on that keyboard.
 

Offline bsudbrink

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #188 on: November 07, 2017, 09:11:08 pm »
That being said, I would assume that by 1979 the debate had long since been settled. I don't think anybody wanted to make a particular point with the slashed "0" on that keyboard.

The thing is that the slashed and non-slashed O's are reversible. Also, I think the UK101 is a little older than 79, but I'm not sure.  Anyway, the early hobbyist companies were known to use surplus components.  I would bet that those keycaps sat in storage for several years before being built into that computer.
 

Offline dschnur

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #189 on: November 08, 2017, 03:57:43 am »
The first computer I used was a TRS80 model II.  They had just been acquired by the school I was attending and I chose basic programming as an elective.   The first computer I ever owned (Thank you Clive Sinclair) was a Timex/Sinclair ZX80.  It was marketed as a $99.00 computer and you really got what you paid for.  Good, No.  Fast, No.  Cheap? Yes.   That was when other machines went for well over $2000.00.
 

Offline ebastler

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #190 on: November 08, 2017, 05:38:01 am »
The thing is that the slashed and non-slashed O's are reversible. Also, I think the UK101 is a little older than 79, but I'm not sure.  Anyway, the early hobbyist companies were known to use surplus components.  I would bet that those keycaps sat in storage for several years before being built into that computer.

Ah, right -- you have a point about the interchangeable key caps. They chose to use the exact same basic shape for the letter "O" and digit "0", rather than making the letter more round and the digit more narrow. So the two keys would indeed not look out of place when exchanged.

Thanks for an interesting bit of computer history -- I had not expected to still find traces of the O vs 0 debate in the early micro-computers!
 

Offline Specmaster

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #191 on: November 08, 2017, 11:12:05 am »
The first computer I used was a TRS80 model II.  They had just been acquired by the school I was attending and I chose basic programming as an elective.   The first computer I ever owned (Thank you Clive Sinclair) was a Timex/Sinclair ZX80.  It was marketed as a $99.00 computer and you really got what you paid for.  Good, No.  Fast, No.  Cheap? Yes.   That was when other machines went for well over $2000.00.
Yes because of the pricing point of the Sinclair machines, it got more people into computers than otherwise would have been the case and indeed many programmers today did indeed get their first introduction to computers and programing from those Sinclair machines that for sure.
Who let Murphy in?
 

Online Nusa

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #192 on: November 08, 2017, 11:23:28 am »
The thing is that the slashed and non-slashed O's are reversible. Also, I think the UK101 is a little older than 79, but I'm not sure.  Anyway, the early hobbyist companies were known to use surplus components.  I would bet that those keycaps sat in storage for several years before being built into that computer.

Ah, right -- you have a point about the interchangeable key caps. They chose to use the exact same basic shape for the letter "O" and digit "0", rather than making the letter more round and the digit more narrow. So the two keys would indeed not look out of place when exchanged.

Thanks for an interesting bit of computer history -- I had not expected to still find traces of the O vs 0 debate in the early micro-computers!

It predates computers entirely, although many of you aren't old enough to have personally seen it. Most manual typewriters did not have a 1 key and many did not have 0 keys. The typist was expected to type l and o instead. So they literally were the same symbol on paper. Sometimes there was no exclamation point...so one typed . backspace ' instead. And a few other tricks like that, designed to make space for special symbols used in various fields.
 
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Offline bsudbrink

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #193 on: November 08, 2017, 02:24:35 pm »
It predates computers entirely, although many of you aren't old enough to have personally seen it. Most manual typewriters did not have a 1 key and many did not have 0 keys. The typist was expected to type l and o instead. So they literally were the same symbol on paper. Sometimes there was no exclamation point...so one typed . backspace ' instead. And a few other tricks like that, designed to make space for special symbols used in various fields.
As late as 1982, the GSA (United States Government, General Services Administration) was still teaching typists to use uppercase "o" for zero and lower case "L" for one.  I worked for the Social Security Administration for a few years, programming Wang OIS machines.  The OIS implementation of BASIC (yes, I really programmed BASIC for money) had a number of "forms" extensions, including a date entry field.  I programmed some of the first forms and, as soon as we released them to the field offices, we started to get complaints.  My boss and I tested and tested the code at our office and couldn't see anything wrong.  Finally, we went to a field office and watched one of the clerks there cause the problem.  We were baffled. I asked the clerk to let me enter a form and it went in fine.  My boss typed one and it went fine too.  Clerk sat down, no good.  It took us most of the morning to figure it out.  Once we did, we met with several supervisors.  They would not retrain their clerks.  I finally wrote a custom date field that performed the translation, upper case "o" to zero and lower case "L" to one.
 
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Offline bsudbrink

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #194 on: November 08, 2017, 04:26:52 pm »
One last thing, both the Wang date field and my "enhanced" date field used 2-digit years: MM/DD/YY.  So did the document store that the forms were eventually archived in.  I sort of doubt that those systems were still in service in 2000 but sometimes I like to imagine that I contributed to the notorious Y2K(tm).
 

Offline peppper

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #195 on: November 11, 2017, 02:25:26 am »
My first was a TI99-4/A...though honestly I did not use it for much.  The first computer I actually used effectively was an Apple II/C - LOGO changed my life ;)

I have one of my TI99/4A's sitting on the bench with a bad TMS9900. Great machines.

 

Offline basinstreetdesign

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #196 on: November 15, 2017, 05:22:47 am »
The first computer I ever OWNED was a home-built "pineapple" in 1981.  It was an unauthorized copy of the Apple ][ main board and then I built it with parts bought/scrounged.  Afterwards it was expanded with a genuine floppy drive and a cheap crt monitor.  It had a MTBF of about 4 hours so backups had to be religiously done often.

I learned the value of backups the hard way.  Once when I was working on a sizeable BASIC program the CPU decided to crash and wipe my only floppy copy of my program.  This was after about 3 weeks of work on it.  I couldn't look at it again for a couple of days so went out on my bike a saw a few movies.

The first computer I ever USED was a PDP-8 in 1967.  That one was completely assembled into an ad hoc rack frame by one of the electronics teachers at my high school in Ottawa.  Ours was the first school in Ottawa to ever have a real computer.  That teacher, Carl Weick worked on the Avro Arrow, the only Canadian fighter jet to intimidate the US military and president into demanding its program be cancelled and all materials destroyed.  To PM Diefenbakers' discredit, he did just that.

Too bad I have no pictures of either of those computers.

As for stuff waiting to be fixed I have a Fat Mac (512K RAM, floppy only, no HDD) which worked last time I tried it maybe 6 years ago and an external 45 Mb HDD which won't spin up.
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Offline Howardlong

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #197 on: November 15, 2017, 05:50:45 am »
Regarding the 0 vs O (zero vs letter O), the first computer I built in the mid 70s was based on the GI LP8000, a dim ascendent of the PIC. It was programmed directly in machine code hex, usually hand written on paper first. For some reason which I don’t know, instead of uisng standard hex nomenclature 0-9, A-F, the standard was to use 0-9, J-O, called “modified hex”.

I guess it was perceived to be ever so slightly easier to convert the J-O to and from ASCII as you could do it without adding: it seems bizarre nowadays, but that was the mindset back in the day.

Of course, it was going to be a minefield between 0 and O in machine code hex listings. The solution was to use both a slashed zero and the letter O was written as a square. When verbally discussing a listing, the letter O was always said as “square”. In context, to a trained programmer fluent with the instruction set encoding (a very common skill then, not at all nowadays), it was pretty universally obvious in context whether it should be 0 or O.
 

Online brucehoult

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #198 on: November 15, 2017, 08:57:23 am »
That same year, 1982, I was a 2nd year university student. At the end of the year I got a summer job in my small home town (~40k) as the sole programmer doing a project to computerise the city's 30 cm thick binder of loans various individuals and institutions had made to them to build or upgrade the town water supply or library or whatever. Each loan had an interest payment due quarterly, half-yearly or yearly and every quarter the finance manager would leaf through the binder noting the payments due that quarter. Some terminals were available connected to a PR1ME minicomputer at a nearby bureau (which had essentially two customers: the city council, and a dairy factory). COBOL and FORTRAN were available, and an ISAM database.

Even in 1982, some of the loans matured a little into the 21st century, while others had issue dates as far back as the early 1950s. I suggested that we should store years with 4 digits but it was impressed on me that this would not be acceptable due not only to the wasted disk space (ha!), but also would not be compatible with standard data types and ad-hoc query software for the database.

I came up with a scheme where a single global parameter was stored, a two digit year, such that years in the database greater than or equal to the parameter were considered to be in the current century, while years less than it were considered to be in the next century. I initially set the parameter to "50", meaning that dates from 1950 to 2049 could be represented. Once loans from the 1950s had all matured they could be aged out of the system (there was a function for this), and the parameter increased to "60" etc. This was also done automatically by the ageing function.

And so in 1982, at 19 years old, working alone, I avoided the Y2K problem! I'm a little bit chuffed about that :-)

[There was another rather interesting problem in this system ... some of the debenture certificates listed explicitly the date and the amount of every payment. I of course didn't want to store every payment, but calculate it from the principal and interest rate. However some of the printed numbers (in particular from the AMP insurance company) were one cent different from what calculation would suggest. It was also impressed on me that if an incorrect payment was made the AMP was actually stupid enough to send an invoice or refund for 1c and we didn't want that to happen. I eventually solved the problem, after noticing that the problem debentures had all been issued before 10 July 1967. A chocolate fish to anyone who can tell me why, and how to fix the calculation :-) :-) ]
 

Offline djos

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #199 on: November 15, 2017, 09:08:43 am »
Something to do with leap years Perhaps?
The impossible often has a kind of integrity which the merely improbable lacks.

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