Computing > Vintage Computing

What was the very first computer you owned or used ?

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AaronLee:
First owned was an IMSAI 8080. I also have an IBM 5100 from the same era (1975 or there abouts). First to use was a DEC PDP-11/35.

gcewing:
Miniscamp, built from a design published in Electronics Australia. National SC/MP CPU, 256 bytes RAM, switches and LEDs for program entry and I/O.

Much hacked upon over the next few years. RAM was expanded to 1.5k, a hex keypad and display was added, a cassette tape interface was added. The CPU was replaced with a 6800 (big improvement!). I experimented with random-access tape storage based on an old 8-track cartridge player (kinda sorta worked, not very reliable or practical). I connected it to a 5-bit teleprinter (worked well, but was very noisy!)

My next computer was a Dick Smith Super 80 built from a kit, but that's another story...

SiliconWizard:

--- Quote from: gcewing on August 08, 2021, 05:59:10 am ---Miniscamp, built from a design published in Electronics Australia. National SC/MP CPU, 256 bytes RAM, switches and LEDs for program entry and I/O.

Much hacked upon over the next few years. RAM was expanded to 1.5k, a hex keypad and display was added, a cassette tape interface was added. The CPU was replaced with a 6800 (big improvement!). I experimented with random-access tape storage based on an old 8-track cartridge player (kinda sorta worked, not very reliable or practical). I connected it to a 5-bit teleprinter (worked well, but was very noisy!)

My next computer was a Dick Smith Super 80 built from a kit, but that's another story...

--- End quote ---

Would be nice if you still had photos of either to share.

DrG:

--- Quote from: gcewing on August 08, 2021, 05:59:10 am ---/--/
My next computer was a Dick Smith Super 80 built from a kit, but that's another story...

--- End quote ---

Was looking at that https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dick_Smith_Super-80_Computer At lest than 300 for the kit looks like a nice price for the time!

Bassman59:
The first personal computer I used was the ubiquitous Apple ][, owned by a family on my paper router. I was a Freshman in high school. The school eventually set up a computer lab with Apple ][e and later ][g and in addition to BASIC we had courses in FORTRAN and Pascal. (Back then FORTRAN was also compiled down to p-code.)

The school also had an office that had a time-share terminal with a dial-up modem to some big mainframe somewhere and they let students come in and use it. We'd play that text-based Star Trek game, Hunt the Wumpus, and of course the grandaddy of 'em all, Zork/Adventure. To this day I still say "It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue."

At university my freshman year, every student got a DEC Professional-350 desktop machine. It was DEC's first ill-fated attempt at personal computers, and it was based on the LSI/11. It had two 5 ΒΌ" floppy disk drives (which were not compatible with IBM PC diskettes), a 10 MB hard disk drive, and it ran a desktop version of VMS.  The university was a big DEC shop. The summer before my arrival they decommissioned the DEC System10, but the full-up VAXcluster was still operational. The choice of the Pro350 would have made more sense had we all been given modems to dial in to the big system, but since the dorm rooms didn't have telephones they wouldn't have been of use anyway. There was never much of an attempt to integrate the computers into the curriculum, and that was the biggest flaw of the scheme.

(Later DEC released the second ill-fated attempt at personal computers, the IBM-PC-compatible DEC Rainbow, but it used the same weird incompatible floppy disks as the Pro350, so while software was "available" for it, you couldn't buy a box in the store and use it. But wisely the school changed from the Pro350 to actual IBM PC-ATs (or XT, I don't remember) and skipped the Rainbow.)

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