Author Topic: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?  (Read 59747 times)

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Offline KV6O

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #375 on: April 20, 2020, 02:47:37 pm »
TRS80 Model I, Level II was the first owned.  Used Wang 700 (dad worked for Wang), PDP 11 and PET's in high school.  Atari 800 with 88K floppy's was next at home, and added a 300baud acoustic modem - online in the early 80s!
 
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Offline MK14

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #376 on: April 21, 2020, 12:41:20 pm »
TRS80 Model I, Level II was the first owned.  Used Wang 700 (dad worked for Wang), PDP 11 and PET's in high school.  Atari 800 with 88K floppy's was next at home, and added a 300baud acoustic modem - online in the early 80s!

The 'Wang 700' seems a fascinating computer. With 2 massive rows of nixie tubes, it must have been impressive to use it.
I've never seen or used one (in real life), but it looks like a huge programmable calculator, with interesting nixie tubes.

Downloadable emulator/simulator here:
http://wang700.durgadas.com/

« Last Edit: April 21, 2020, 12:48:59 pm by MK14 »
 

Offline KV6O

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #377 on: April 21, 2020, 05:31:06 pm »
The 'Wang 700' seems a fascinating computer. With 2 massive rows of nixie tubes, it must have been impressive to use it.
I've never seen or used one (in real life), but it looks like a huge programmable calculator, with interesting nixie tubes.

My dad sold a number to a local community college in the early 70's, and in the early 80's he came across them being sold in a surplus auction by the college, and bought 3 for about $10 each.  We were able to get one running with the parts from the 3, and it was pretty cool to play with.  They sold for many thousands of dollars originally, a great early lesson on how the latest and greatest piece of tech becomes trash in a few short years!

I have a soft spot for nixies, probably from playing with the Wang 700 back in high school.  So much so, that I designed a Kenwood DG5 emulator (frequency counter/dial indicator for the Kenwood TS-520S amateur radio) that uses nixies (Russian IN12's):



« Last Edit: April 21, 2020, 05:36:29 pm by KV6O »
 
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Offline Neomys Sapiens

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #378 on: April 22, 2020, 01:27:08 am »
First computer that I encountered as a user (text processing etc.) was a AppleIIe. Followed by Atari512 and an Olivetti M21. My first own one was a Zenith183 which drew the monicker of 'Gabi' due to it being compared by someone to the Triumph-Adler 'Gabriele' portable typewriter.

The first computer that I did programming on was a Procontik PLC from BBC, followed by Siemens S5-110 with the PG (Programmiergeraet) 670. Also Rockwell AIM65 for learning.
 
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Offline MK14

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #379 on: April 22, 2020, 02:37:30 pm »
The 'Wang 700' seems a fascinating computer. With 2 massive rows of nixie tubes, it must have been impressive to use it.
I've never seen or used one (in real life), but it looks like a huge programmable calculator, with interesting nixie tubes.

My dad sold a number to a local community college in the early 70's, and in the early 80's he came across them being sold in a surplus auction by the college, and bought 3 for about $10 each.  We were able to get one running with the parts from the 3, and it was pretty cool to play with.  They sold for many thousands of dollars originally, a great early lesson on how the latest and greatest piece of tech becomes trash in a few short years!

I have a soft spot for nixies, probably from playing with the Wang 700 back in high school.  So much so, that I designed a Kenwood DG5 emulator (frequency counter/dial indicator for the Kenwood TS-520S amateur radio) that uses nixies (Russian IN12's):



I like the video, thanks. It brings back nice memories.
Both the transceiver and the Nixie tube display (emulator), you have made, using the Arduino. It looks good. The '5' looks fractionally out. Which is a common issue with the Russian Nixie tubes, or so I've heard.
Some rumours, say it is because they made the '2', then just 'reversed' it to make the '5'.
Instead of taking the time to properly design a nicer '5'.
It is not that easy to cope with the high voltage drive requirements on nixies, with modern parts. There use to be chips available, which would do it, but they are probably long obsolete, these days.
It can be done and there are tricks for doing it with lower voltage parts, as well. I think Dave/EEVblog, has at least one video about how he did it, as a design exercise.

If I walked by (today), and there were Wang 700 calculators selling for $10. I think I'd go crazy.
 

Offline 386SX

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #380 on: July 03, 2020, 06:43:39 pm »
First computer used (as game console) a Commodore 64. First x86 computer used mostly as a game console too was a friend brand new Compaq 486SX-25/33 and after that my own very first x86 pc was an older 80386SX-20 based one with a very cheap config, 1MB of ram, around 50MB hard disk, an Oak OTI-37C vga probably, no sound card, 5,25" and 3,5" floppy drives with MSDOS 5.0.  :)
 
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Offline paul@yahrprobert.com

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #381 on: July 03, 2020, 08:28:46 pm »
Used:  IBM 360 at RPI (Troy NY) in 1971 or so.  Had to hand a lady my punch cards and wait for printout.  Wrote in assembly.
Owned:  Kaypro II, running CP/M.  Two 51/4 floppies.  Wrote my thesis on it around 1984.  Halfway through my thesis the floppies quit working.  I had to re-magnetize the stepper motors with a big electrolytic capacitor and some physics.
 
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Offline Bud

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #382 on: July 03, 2020, 08:46:19 pm »
My dad sold a number to a local community college in the early 70's, and in the early 80's he came across them being sold in a surplus auction by the college, and bought 3 for about $10 each.
I imagine the bid war at the auction was not too deadly ?  :D
Facebook-free life and Rigol-free shack.
 
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Offline MK14

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #383 on: July 22, 2020, 02:55:03 am »
Used:  IBM 360 at RPI (Troy NY) in 1971 or so.  Had to hand a lady my punch cards and wait for printout.  Wrote in assembly.
Owned:  Kaypro II, running CP/M.  Two 51/4 floppies.  Wrote my thesis on it around 1984.  Halfway through my thesis the floppies quit working.  I had to re-magnetize the stepper motors with a big electrolytic capacitor and some physics.

Fixing the floppies, sounds really hairy. Especially during such a busy (thesis) time.
The punched card era, is probably a good thing that has passed us by. But it was good, for the time.
As the alternative would probably be pencil, paper and slide-rule, or a mechanical calculator, if you were lucky.
Your own CP/M machine, must have seemed, hugely better than the punched cards.
 

Offline ferdieCX

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #384 on: July 23, 2020, 04:03:15 pm »
Used:  IBM 360 at RPI (Troy NY) in 1971 or so.  Had to hand a lady my punch cards and wait for printout.  Wrote in assembly.
Owned:  Kaypro II, running CP/M.  Two 51/4 floppies.  Wrote my thesis on it around 1984.  Halfway through my thesis the floppies quit working.  I had to re-magnetize the stepper motors with a big electrolytic capacitor and some physics.

In the early 80s, I learned to program in an IBM 360/44, also with punched cards.
Later, I married the lady that received the deck and gave me back the printout  :)
 
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Offline MK14

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #385 on: July 23, 2020, 04:06:07 pm »
In the early 80s, I learned to program in an IBM 360/44, also with punched cards.
Later, I married the lady that received the deck and gave me back the printout  :)

That's an amazing story!
I wonder how many other friends/relationships, started that way ?
I bet you were not unique.
 

Offline eugenenine

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #386 on: July 25, 2020, 05:38:27 pm »
Did you propose to her with a punch card?
 

Offline ferdieCX

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #387 on: July 25, 2020, 06:05:50 pm »
Did you propose to her with a punch card?
No, it was not so romantic. She left her job at the University before I had finished my studies.
Later we met by accident and she asked if I could take a look at an electronic typewriter at her new job, that was having an issue.
After diagnosing the typewriter, I invited her to the movies.
Cupido came under the form of an Olivetti ET-121  ;)
 
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Offline bd139

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #388 on: July 25, 2020, 06:17:54 pm »
Same thing happened with my ex. Fix her pc. Turned out she was a mental bitch. Be careful  :-DD
 
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Offline ferdieCX

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #389 on: July 25, 2020, 08:36:40 pm »
I have had good luck, after 35 years of marriage she is still an angel
 
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Offline cliffyk

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #390 on: July 25, 2020, 11:01:20 pm »
DEC PDP-8...
-cliff knight-

paladinmicro.com
 
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Offline djos

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #391 on: July 25, 2020, 11:02:21 pm »
I’m fortunate too, despite having two autistic children and an autistic husband, my wife is still amazing.
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 djos

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #392 on: July 27, 2020, 09:00:57 am »
Came across some Vintage computer madness today that really left me wondering what drugs the Tandy / Radio Shack engineers were on in the 80's.

So for context, Tandy came up with a clever powered, dual-drive solution based on the Shugart standard for the wedge-shaped 1000 HX. it used a Y floppy cable that flipped the pins to opposite sides of the connector - so signal lines closest to the notch and ground + power lines on the opposite side to the notch.



Anyway, for most of the big box Tandy 1000's they reverted to the standard layout .... BUT, in the last couple of days I've discovered that on some machines (eg the TL/3) they used one connector in the standard orientation and one in the flipped orientation.  :palm:

I made a video showing this crazy cable because I had a customer use the wrong adapter on his TL/3 and BBQ his floppy drive and blow out a ferrite bead on his mainboard after they got 12v fed back through the signal lines!  :scared:

« Last Edit: July 27, 2020, 09:08:46 am by djos »
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 jmh

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #393 on: July 27, 2020, 09:36:28 am »
Scratching at brain cells I think the first computer I had was a Newbear 6800 or 6809 board, switch programmed with LEDs and a speaker for output. That was either 1977 or 78. After that, and from one extreme to the other came a Litton 1231 with printer and two tape units that filled most of my workshop.

The Litton at least had i/o other than switches and LEDs. I had the programming manual but no way to program the thing until I rang Litton who told me they could not give any info because the system was still in production but whispered that if I unscrewed the rear panel a microswitch put it into program mode!
 
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Offline PKTKS

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #394 on: July 27, 2020, 10:02:24 am »

My first use of a computer came with something  by Burroughs circa 78 to 80.

Probably some sort of Unisys Univac huge assemble.
I remember just the print job had dedicated a full floor.
The rest of the thing was in the upper floor.

Of course punch cards was the unique media available
mostly to introduce FORTRAN and COBOL.

No idea about the real hardware because accounts were
restricted to single dedicated student jobs.

Later early 80s switching to IBM and Cray hardware
and very soon Z80/8085 CP/M micros (dedicated micro-controllers).

Since late  80 - exclusive 8086 PCs.

Paul

 
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Offline paul@yahrprobert.com

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #395 on: July 30, 2020, 03:20:13 am »
After the IBM 360 (early seventies) there were still a few years with the punch cards.  The Univac machine at UW Madison, then a Harris machine at UW Engineering Computing Lab.  Then they had a great advance - you could store your program on a hard disk, and just submit some edits in your card deck.  Then the real advance was when they got terminals and you could use some kind of one-line editing program  (ed??) to fix your bugs.  So by the time I got my Kaypro cpm machine I had already experienced the transition away from cards.
  It was horrible when people had big programs and they carried around a box of cards as long as your arm. If you tripped and spilled them, your life was over!
 
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Offline brucehoult

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #396 on: July 30, 2020, 04:22:10 am »
After the IBM 360 (early seventies) there were still a few years with the punch cards.  The Univac machine at UW Madison, then a Harris machine at UW Engineering Computing Lab.  Then they had a great advance - you could store your program on a hard disk, and just submit some edits in your card deck.  Then the real advance was when they got terminals and you could use some kind of one-line editing program  (ed??) to fix your bugs.  So by the time I got my Kaypro cpm machine I had already experienced the transition away from cards.
  It was horrible when people had big programs and they carried around a box of cards as long as your arm. If you tripped and spilled them, your life was over!

I chose my university in 1981 based largely on the computing facilities.

Auckland University had a big Burroughs mainframe (6700), as did the other major NZ universities (Victoria, Canterbury). Students submitted programs on punched cards and picked up a printout the next day. Ugh!

In contrast, the much smaller and newer Waikato University in Hamilton had acquired a PDP 11/70 (in quite an entrepreneurial and controversial way that upset the Department of Education considerably!) and had plans to upgrade to a VAX. Rooms of VT52 terminals were available to 2nd year and later students 24 hours a day. There was also a PDP 11/34 used to teach first year students BASIC and FORTRAN and (starting in 1981, my first year) Pascal. That pretty much sealed it for me, with the facts that overgrown cow-town Hamilton was much more comfortable for a Northland farm boy than downtown Auckland and that my grandfather's brother and his sons had a large farm 20 km from the university (bicycling distance!) was icing on the cake. The university being 310 km from my parents instead of 180 km didn't make much difference. My '74 XL350 was just as capable of one distance as the other with only about 1.5 hours travel time difference.
 
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Offline duckduck

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #397 on: July 30, 2020, 04:32:56 am »
Apple ][
 
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Offline saipan59

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #398 on: August 01, 2020, 02:31:49 pm »
Circa 1974: Wrote a simple BASIC program on an ASR-33 teletype; saved my program on a paper tape. Don't know what type of computer it was behind the scenes.
1977: Used the university CDC Cyber 172 to write Fortran code for a class. Punch cards; card deck submitted to the cubby holes in the Computer Center; pick up the output the next day.
1979: Bought a used Commodore PET 2001, with 8KB of RAM, chiclet keyboard, and cassette tape drive.
1980: Bought a CBM 8032 and 8051 disk drive.
Circa 1982: Bought a DEC VT-103 (LSI-11).
Etc...

Pete
 
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Offline sokoloff

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #399 on: August 01, 2020, 02:45:22 pm »
First used: a borrowed from the school district over the summer TRS-80. Taught myself programming in BASIC from the excellent manuals.

First owned: Atari 1200 that we pre-ordered.
 
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