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Offline MK14

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What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« on: July 28, 2017, 06:14:41 pm »
Mine was, a Science of Cambridge, MK14, self build computer (effectively from Clive Sinclair's, Sinclair Radionics new venture).
It was based on the National Semiconductors, 8 bit SC/MP (also known as a 'scamp') microprocessor. With a huge 256 bytes of ram.
8 (or 9 if rewired) digit, seven segment (calculator) display, a membrane hex (plus a few more keys) keypad.

I did have access to some computers, before this. But it was the first that was all mine and owned by me.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MK14

This is apparently the first new thread, since the new "Vintage Computing", sub-forum has started. Apparently a number of existing threads have already been copied into it.


« Last Edit: July 28, 2017, 06:35:49 pm by MK14 »
 

Online NivagSwerdna

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned ?
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2017, 06:23:57 pm »
I used other peoples computers for a while (especially COSMAC ELF, PDP11, ICL1902T & PET) but the first computer I ever bought (after working the summer holidays) was https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tangerine_Microtan_65

« Last Edit: July 28, 2017, 07:33:35 pm by NivagSwerdna »
 

Online blackbird

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned/used ?
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2017, 06:28:57 pm »
The first computer I've owned was a Sinclair ZX Spectrum, it was a present for my 8th birthday back in 1982. At home we had already Zx80/81 and Commodore Pet amongst others I can't remember now.
 

Offline MK14

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned ?
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2017, 06:32:57 pm »
I used other peoples computers for a while (especially COSMAC ELF, PDP11 & PET) but the first computer I ever bought (after working the summer holidays) was https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tangerine_Microtan_65

I changed the title from 'owned' to 'owned/used', so it is more flexible.

I've heard lots of good things about the COSMAC ELF, but never used one. The Pet's were really fun at the time.
I've heard of the Microtan 65, but not had anything to do with them. But it looks like a decent/useful computer, for that era.
Amazingly low price, for something in such a big case, as well.
 

Offline pelule

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned/used ?
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2017, 06:34:18 pm »
My first computer I used was a Siemens System 3003 (https://www.f10479.de/siemens_edv.html)
My first computer I owned was a z80 based self-made CPM80 system.
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Offline AndyC_772

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2017, 06:44:45 pm »

Offline nali

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2017, 06:47:30 pm »
First "proper" computer was probably a Sinclair ZX81. Followed shortly by a homebrew Apple ][ as someone at work managed to get hold of some  ripoff blank motherboard PCBs that were doing the rounds, probably around 1982/3.
 

Online blueskull

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned/used ?
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2017, 06:49:26 pm »
A Chinese brand called TCL (now out of computer business), with Pentium 2 on a slot card and huge 128MB of memory running Windows 98.
I've used older ones, but not at home. My primary school had a bunch of Pentium MMX Windows 95 machines, as well as 486s with DOS (which were the machines I learned C with Turbo C)

My first DIY computer was a Pentium 4 Prescott with a whopping 512MB (2*256MB) of DDR memory and latest Matrox (ironically, out of business, IP transferred to Seagate) SATA drive and an GeForce fx5200 (not Quadro FX5200) GPU, later Radeon X800 (last massively produced AGP Radeon, though some later PCIe GPUs also have AGP interface, but the physical cards are rarely AGP except for some niche market).

My second DIY was a Core 2 Quad 6600 with 2GB of DDR2 (later upgraded to 4GB) and a Seagate (later upgraded to Kingston 30GB SSD, then 64GB) and a GeForce 8600GT (first low cost CUDA card and first low cost Direct X 10 card), later 9800GT and GTX460.

My third DIY PC was a Xeon E3-1230v1 (then v2, socket compatible -- most stupid upgrade in my life) with a very entry level GPU, HD6670, and 16GB of RAM. Designed to run server apps in lab, crowdfunded by a few lab members, later acquired by me after their entrepreneurship had failed.

My fourth DIY PC was also a Xeon, this time E3-1271v3, with 32GB of true ECC RAM and server mobo, in a 11.2L tiny chassis, with a very low end GTX750Ti GPU, for use in my dorm. This machine was used through out my masters degree education and I did a lot of Altium works on it. This is my first SSD only PC with 256GB of SSD.

My fifth and current DIY PC is a great step up of my all previous PC, and I built this one to last at least 3 years as main workstation and another 2 years as secondary workstation. It has a 22 core Xeon E5-2596v4, 64GB of REG ECC RAM, 1.2TB of SSD and 4TB of HDD for backup. It also has a flagship Radeon R9 nano.

My plan for 3 years ahead is to build my next main workstation with single socket server grade (estimated 48 cores, 96 threads) AMD Zen generation 3. It will be my first AMD build, and I'm looking forward to it.
 

Online bsudbrink

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2017, 06:53:24 pm »
Make up your mind!   :)

Used: HP-1000 E-Series
Owned (and still own): Ohio Scientific C1-P


 

Offline grumpydoc

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2017, 06:55:11 pm »
Used: TRS80, Exidy Sorcerer, RM380Z

The latter got me into slightly tepid water at school when a friend and I edited all the error strings in the basic interpreter to be, ahem, slightly more pointed.

Owned: Nascom 2
« Last Edit: July 28, 2017, 07:57:33 pm by grumpydoc »
 
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Online awallin

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2017, 07:06:54 pm »
Commodore 64, with a tape drive  ;D
BASIC programming, with mysterious PEEK and POKE commands.
later got a 5.25" floppy-drive, and also a Pascal compiler at some point.

The C64 was replaced with a 286 running at 8 MHz.
 

Offline sarel.wagner

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2017, 07:20:57 pm »
Mine were an Apple ][, Commodore Vic 20, Sinclair Spectrum, HP 150 and Apple Lisa. Also Later a Commodore 64 and Olivetti Portable  :-DD  Still have a few of them today.

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Offline CJay

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #12 on: July 28, 2017, 07:22:13 pm »
Used, whatever was at the end of the teletype at Manchester Uni and a Commodore PET with, I think, 8K or 16K memory.

Owned, Commodore VIC20
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Online NivagSwerdna

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned ?
« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2017, 07:39:01 pm »
I've heard lots of good things about the COSMAC ELF, but never used one. The Pet's were really fun at the time.
The Head of Physics at our school built one from the design in Practical Electronics.  It was awesome.  (I should probably build http://www.cosmacelf.com/gallery/membership-cards/ as homage if I ever get the time).  You programmed it via switches.. one bit x8 forming one instruction at a time.  The bootstrap to enable the external hex page he also built was around 100 instructions... it didn't take long one you had the hang of it an an assistant calling out the hex.  :)
 
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Offline rolycat

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #14 on: July 28, 2017, 07:57:25 pm »
Used, Hewlett-Packard HP9810A from 1971 (at school in the late 70s):



Owned, Compukit UK101 from 1979:
« Last Edit: July 28, 2017, 08:08:14 pm by rolycat »
 

Offline MK14

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned ?
« Reply #15 on: July 28, 2017, 08:03:16 pm »
I've heard lots of good things about the COSMAC ELF, but never used one. The Pet's were really fun at the time.
The Head of Physics at our school built one from the design in Practical Electronics.  It was awesome.  (I should probably build http://www.cosmacelf.com/gallery/membership-cards/ as homage if I ever get the time).  You programmed it via switches.. one bit x8 forming one instruction at a time.  The bootstrap to enable the external hex page he also built was around 100 instructions... it didn't take long one you had the hang of it an an assistant calling out the hex.  :)

The RCA1802 microprocessor, has some special (unique at the time), properties (if I remember correctly). It was both CMOS and certifiable for spaceflight/satellites.

That (or a similar variant) tiny computer you just mentioned, is just, so, so, cute!  :)

1802 Membership Card Powered Up by Todd Decker, on Flickr
« Last Edit: July 28, 2017, 08:06:08 pm by MK14 »
 

Offline darrellg

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #16 on: July 28, 2017, 09:04:31 pm »
Commodore PET with the Chiclet keyboard and built-in cassette drive.
 
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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #17 on: July 28, 2017, 09:39:53 pm »
A Yamaha CX5M MSX-1 computer with Midi interfaces (actually my father bought it)
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Offline Astrodev

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #18 on: July 28, 2017, 11:12:01 pm »
I am afraid I went in the deep end, as at the time I was trying to get hold of an Ohio Challenger but they were in short supply so I ended up going with a TI TMS990/101 TMS9900 (16bit) based board with 2 serial ports and a massive 4K (2K x 16) of RAM, the unusual feature was that it would handle 2 users (provided you had 2 terminals) I am afraid that I had to run it from a Teletype ASR33 which meant that the storage medium was good old paper tape.

I still have both the board and the Teletype (don't really use either these days), might be fun to use a modern PC as a terminal to run 70's computer, it wont be the first time as back in the 80's I used a BBC B with a Tek 4010 emulation ROM to run a Data General Nova 820 that I also still have (64K of core memory) was part of an original EMI scanner.
 

Offline Halcyon

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #19 on: July 29, 2017, 12:12:33 am »
Mine was the Sharp MZ-800 (released in 1985).

Z80A CPU running at 3.5469MHz, 64KB RAM and supported a resolution up to 640x200 (albeit in only 4 of the 16 available colours).

Mine had the tape drive, "Quick Disk" floppy drive (which could load 64KB of data in 8 seconds) and the 4-colour plotter printer. It was a pretty powerful machine at the time and the way it utilised sound and graphics hardware was pretty amazing.

I spent many hours as a kid playing on that machine. I even learned basic programming using Logo. I sold it all in the 1990's along with a box full of tapes and disks for $50 -- I now wish I hadn't.


 

Offline Astrodev

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #20 on: July 29, 2017, 12:15:18 am »
Was that the plotter with the 4 colour biro refils
 

Offline Halcyon

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #21 on: July 29, 2017, 12:17:20 am »
Was that the plotter with the 4 colour biro refils

It sure was! It drew one colour at a time.



The down-side was that it wasn't long before the pens dried out.
 
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Offline tautech

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #22 on: July 29, 2017, 12:26:57 am »
Commodore 64, with a tape drive  ;D
BASIC programming, with mysterious PEEK and POKE commands.
later got a 5.25" floppy-drive, and also a Pascal compiler at some point.

The C64 was replaced with a 286 running at 8 MHz.
Very similar pathway with C64 and floppy drive added soon after.

First real PC was 486 @ 100 MHz (Otech Mobo) with 8 Mb 7ns RAM that cleaned up P100's running the same spec.  :)
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Offline Jay_Diddy_B

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #23 on: July 29, 2017, 12:34:42 am »
Hi,
The first computer I used was a KSR 33 teletype and an acoustic MODEM to link to a remote mainframe. This was around 1970. I believe the MODEM ran at 110 baud, which is 10 characters per second.

I used the RCA 1802 COSMAC ELF II as a summer student.

The first computer I owned was the Acorn Atom (6502) 4k RAM 4k ROM. I also owned a BBC model B. Acorn developed the Acorn Risc Machine. The Acorn Risc Machine later became ARM.

I was a late adopter of the PC, around 1987. My first PC was a 386 I paid $4000.00 it had a 68MB hdd, divided into three partitions. I later bought the 387 Maths co-pro ($750.00) , so I could run Intusoft SPICE.

Regards,

Jay_Diddy_B

 
 

Offline MK14

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #24 on: July 29, 2017, 12:35:15 am »
Was that the plotter with the 4 colour biro refils

It sure was! It drew one colour at a time.



The down-side was that it wasn't long before the pens dried out.

That youtube-video/plotter looks, so cool now!
Pity that the pens would run out too quickly and maybe expensive and/or hard to obtain, these days.

I just love the way it plots out the schematic. The noise it makes is pretty fantastic as well.
I guess the modern day printers (especially Laser), whereby it comes out almost instantly (maybe 3 seconds per page, on a middle of the road, laser printing single sided, with lots of pages at the same time) and silently (in comparison).

I suppose I would get fed up with it, after a while, and go back to modern printers. I pity you, that you sold the lot for $50 a while ago. That's life I guess.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2017, 12:38:25 am by MK14 »
 

Offline Specmaster

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #25 on: July 29, 2017, 12:44:59 am »
My first computer was a pocket one, Sharp PC1211 which I still have today and followed by Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48K, also still have that as well, Since then there has been many others but all were and still PC clones, the first of which was an Amstrad 1512 with the power supply built in to the monitor.
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Offline Halcyon

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #26 on: July 29, 2017, 01:09:22 am »
Sharp PC1211 which I still have today

You inspired me to crack out my Sharp PC-3100 palmtop. I also have a whopping 2MB PCMCIA SRAM card to go with it.


 

Online gamalot

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #27 on: July 29, 2017, 01:22:32 am »
My first computer was a Sharp PC-1246 pocket PC (in year 1985)

 
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Offline amspire

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #28 on: July 29, 2017, 02:05:48 am »
The first computers I used would have been a CDC Cyber mainframe at university with either punched cards or optically scanned cards (marked boxes with a pencil). This was followed by a DEC VAX mainframe with terminal screens or more commonly the DEC LA36 Printer Terminals. With these everything you entered or received back from the computer was printed on paper - there was no screen, but this seemed like heaven compared to punch cards. We even played the famous Startrek game on these which used a massive amount of paper. Graphics from packages like Spice was just done with ascii characters - no real graphics.

The first computer I owned was the Sinclair ZX80 kit.

At work, the first was the HP9825A programmable calculator (used a Basic language) and the HP1000 mainframe with two gigantic 64MByte hard drives! Sounded like jet engines starting up when you turned them on and disk crashes were real disk crashes - the giant multi-platter glass disks totally shattered within the huge removable cartridges and it took about a day for technicians to clean up the mess and get the drive working again with a new cartridge and new heads. You had to boot the HP1000 using toggle switches to enter the first few CPU instructions to load the bootloader. Mainframe computers didn't know then how to start on their own.
 

Offline dfnr2

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #29 on: July 29, 2017, 02:31:01 am »
Used: Xerox Sigma 9 (via punch card/batch, then ASR-33, then Hazeltine 1500)

Owned: Ohio Scientific C2-4P, 8K RAM, cassette interface, BASIc-in-ROM
 

Online JXL

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #30 on: July 29, 2017, 02:37:44 am »
Used:  IBM System/370 in college, programming in Fortran IV
Owned: Atari 400, 16k RAM (upgraded to a whopping 48k), modded with a 28pin ZIF socket to program UV EPROMS.
 

Offline pfrcom

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #31 on: July 29, 2017, 03:20:16 am »
Used: IBM 1130 & Fortran IV

Owned: IBM Series/1, EDX O/S & EDL language
 

Online boffin

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #32 on: July 29, 2017, 05:30:10 am »
Used (ie wrote code for), an Olivetti Programma 101


Owned, Commodore PET 2001 (2nd gen, w/ external tape)



 

Offline gnif

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #33 on: July 29, 2017, 05:44:00 am »
This board and any other hand-me-downs my dad had finished with :D



Not as old as the stuff you guys had, I am not that old :)

even today i'd just about kill for one of those older machines that was programmed with switches, just so I could have a go :)

I also had older stuff, commodore and amiga things, but that wasn't the first... they were given to me. Somewhere I still have an original Commodore thermal printer.
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Offline Halcyon

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #34 on: July 29, 2017, 05:47:56 am »
This board and any other hand-me-downs my dad had finished with :D

I hope that's an old photo and you've since removed that CMOS backup battery before it leaked all over the place ;-)
 

Offline mtdoc

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #35 on: July 29, 2017, 05:49:22 am »
First used:  Apple II.  1981 or so - college freshman psychology course - had to learn basic and program basic statistics with it.

First owned: - sort of - my dad bought my brother and I a Z80 based Timex-Sinclair TS1000 in 1982.  Hooked it up to a 9" B&W TV and played. Later an Apple IIe.
 

Offline gnif

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #36 on: July 29, 2017, 05:59:05 am »
This board and any other hand-me-downs my dad had finished with :D

I hope that's an old photo and you've since removed that CMOS backup battery before it leaked all over the place ;-)

That's not my photo, just the same board. I sold a 486 never before used still in original packaging board a few months back, sill had it's battery, and was 100% intact.

Edit: Just found the photos :)

« Last Edit: July 29, 2017, 06:05:08 am by gnif »
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Offline GerardWassink

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #37 on: July 29, 2017, 06:00:15 am »
Hi y'all,

My first computer was an ELF II, see this page on my website.

I built it from a kit around a RCA 1802 processor. It had one full quarter Kilobyte of memory, a two digit hex output, a seventeen key keyboard and one LED we could have blink and some digital inputs and outputs. One had to program it in machinecode starting from address zero, one hexadecimal byte followed by an enter at a time.

Still I was able to program my little model railroad with it.

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Offline jhalar

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #38 on: July 29, 2017, 06:04:17 am »
First computer owned: a Dick Smith Super80 kit computer (was my 2nd kit built when I was a kid).

First practical computer owned: a Microbee 56k system with two 360k  5 1/4" disk drives and CP/M 2.2. Used until the end of my 2nd year of my EE degree before buying a PC.

 

Offline netdudeuk

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #39 on: July 29, 2017, 06:32:06 am »
First computers I learned to program on -

Transam Triton
Altair time sharing system with VDUs and teletypes

First computer I owned -

ZX81 with custom keyboard made from Maplin key switches

First computer I programmed on for a living -

HP85

I had one of those plotters but it was rebranded as a Tandy.

 

Offline netdudeuk

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #40 on: July 29, 2017, 06:33:57 am »
I've still got an original Microprofessor MPF-1 from 1981.
 

Online dave_k

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #41 on: July 29, 2017, 06:52:18 am »
Since it hasn't been mentioned yet, my first official computer was given to me when i was (maybe) 6 years old. It was a Commodore VIC-20 with tape drive. I spent years learning to program on that.. writing games, little database programs (for mum's recipe collection) and other such nonsense programs.  :-+
 

Offline Dan Moos

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #42 on: July 29, 2017, 06:59:04 am »
First used were Apple IIs and PETs at school.

First owned, was a TI 99-4/a

 

Online tggzzz

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #43 on: July 29, 2017, 07:21:57 am »
Pah! All modern crap.

There's an example of the first computer I used still running at The National Museum of Computing - along with guides that whip out the circuit diagrams and start discussing them with you. Excellent.

TNMoC also has the world's oldest operating computer.
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Offline Naguissa

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #44 on: July 29, 2017, 07:39:36 am »
The first computer I've owned was a Sinclair ZX Spectrum, it was a present for my 8th birthday back in 1982. At home we had already Zx80/81 and Commodore Pet amongst others I can't remember now.
I was born at 82, jeez..

Tje first was an Amstrad CPC 6128 with floppy, tv tunner and alarm clock. It was from my brother.

But the one I really was initiated in informatics world was next one, a 486 dx-50 with a Cirrus Logic 1Mb Vesa Local Bus card. That PC suffered me a lot....


Edit:



Enviado desde mi Jolla mediante Tapatalk
« Last Edit: July 29, 2017, 07:41:28 am by Naguissa »
 

Offline Kalvin

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #45 on: July 29, 2017, 09:01:30 am »
Telmac 1800 (based on COSMAC ELF II, but had a simple PCB-keyboard) with 2KB of RAM, 64*32 pixel NTSC TV output, sold as a kit. The programs were delivered on a C-cassette. Upgraded to full 4 KB and built better keyboard. Programmed using assembly and Chip-8.

http://itametsa.mbnet.fi/harras/pi_ku_ti_ha/telmac-rak.JPG
« Last Edit: July 29, 2017, 09:06:45 am by Kalvin »
 

Offline ebastler

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #46 on: July 29, 2017, 09:14:12 am »
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
« Last Edit: July 29, 2017, 09:35:55 am by ebastler »
 

Online bd139

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #47 on: July 29, 2017, 09:46:41 am »
Sinclair ZX80. My father built the kit and I inherited it when he'd moved on to better things. It was cannibalised for parts to do Art of Electronics in about 1992 as it had a Z80 CPU and lots of useful TTL ICs. Fortunately he distrusted it so much (being Sinclair this was wise!) to add IC sockets. It was so horrible to use that it deserved to be eviscerated.

 

Offline DTJ

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #48 on: July 29, 2017, 10:25:12 am »
I used a TI Silent 700 around 1978. Not quite a computer as the computer was at the other end of the phone line.

It was terminal that had an acoustic coupler that your land line hand piece sat into. Cutlery being clinked together in the kitchen would make it print out spurious characters.

It had a paper roll "display" on which any input or output was printed.

I used to connect to a PDP11 mainframe @ my fathers work.

 

Offline MK14

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #49 on: July 29, 2017, 10:56:43 am »
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, 11:09:06 am by MK14 »
 

Online PA0PBZ

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #50 on: July 29, 2017, 10:59:57 am »
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 #51 on: July 29, 2017, 11:12:31 am »
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 #52 on: July 29, 2017, 11:44:46 am »
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 #53 on: July 29, 2017, 11:54:29 am »
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 #54 on: July 29, 2017, 12:48:11 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 #55 on: July 30, 2017, 01:26:35 am »
Signetics KT-9500 board (expanded to 8KB)
ETI serial  terminal kit.
A long time ago!
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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, 03:13:01 am »
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 #57 on: July 30, 2017, 04:59:57 am »
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 #58 on: July 30, 2017, 05:03:22 am »
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.   
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Online tggzzz

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #59 on: July 30, 2017, 07:24:20 am »
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 #60 on: July 30, 2017, 11:30:15 am »
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 #61 on: July 30, 2017, 12:04:08 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.
See photos below:
 

Offline brucehoult

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #62 on: July 30, 2017, 01:10:05 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 #63 on: July 30, 2017, 01:24:03 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, 01:27:20 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 #64 on: July 30, 2017, 01:41:03 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, 01:43:08 pm by rob77 »
 

Offline ebastler

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #65 on: July 30, 2017, 01:46:04 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 #66 on: July 30, 2017, 02:01:09 pm »
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 30, 2017, 02:14:45 pm by cdev »
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Online tggzzz

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #67 on: July 30, 2017, 02:02:23 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.

<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.
Glider pilot's 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 #68 on: July 30, 2017, 02:23:11 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.

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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Online Richard Crowley

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #69 on: July 30, 2017, 02:36:29 pm »
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 30, 2017, 02:39:40 pm by Richard Crowley »
 

Online tggzzz

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #70 on: July 30, 2017, 02:48:41 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.

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.
Glider pilot's 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 #71 on: July 30, 2017, 03:06:54 pm »
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 #72 on: July 30, 2017, 04:59:21 pm »
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.








 

Offline eugenenine

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #73 on: July 30, 2017, 10:12:01 pm »
I feel young now starting with a Commodore 64.  Then I got an SX64 then an Amiga 500 then a 20MHz 286 and ah HP48SX and PIC16c54.
 

Offline brucehoult

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #74 on: July 30, 2017, 10:57:23 pm »
I remember those "Big Board" ads well and wished that I had a spare $500 in US money, plus whatever it would cost to send money to the US and a board back.

It probably would have cost a heck of a lot more to make it useful.
 

Offline alanb

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #75 on: July 31, 2017, 01:18:04 pm »
First used computer - Manchester University Atlas (Atlas Auto code)
First owned - home made 6800 (Newbury labs? PCB)
 

Online capt bullshot

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #76 on: July 31, 2017, 01:29:47 pm »
My first computer was this one:

http://computermuseum.informatik.uni-stuttgart.de/dev/christiani/

Bought it at a local flea market, half of the documentation was missing - still got some use out of it, like programming blinky LEDs on the 7 segment display (with only half of the instruction set of the SC/MP documented)
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Offline alank2

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #77 on: July 31, 2017, 01:43:06 pm »
Great pictures here everyone.

First computer I saw was a PET at school playing this gold miner game.  It was amazing how fun mining for gold was and going up and down that elevator to get to more exploration!

First computer my family had was a VIC-20.

My first computer was a NEC PC-6001A.  I recently bought one from eBay and repaired the bad diode rectifier in it that was pulling 2.5A at 120VAC.  The composite output it pretty nice, but the RF output is pretty noisy.  Other than that it works pretty well.  I ordered a slot backplane that plugs into its cartridge port to turn that into 4 slots using double row header along with a 16K RAM module and 512K ROM module.  I'm going to make a microSD to FDD interface module for it as well.

 

Offline Stefan Payne

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #78 on: August 01, 2017, 02:21:06 am »
Well, of course the 'Brotkasten' (=Bread Box). C64 in that ugly brown case.
After that some time later I got an Olivetti PC286S. Sadly no pictures of that unit were ever made by me.

Also with an 14" VGA Monitor...
 

Online MarkF

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #79 on: August 01, 2017, 05:47:12 am »
My first computer used out of school was a Honeywell DDP-516.
 

Online tggzzz

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #80 on: August 01, 2017, 07:26:19 am »
My first computer used out of school was a Honeywell DDP-516.

Ah, I did my final year project on one of those.

It was fun to see
  • the 10MB disk - not the case, but the vertically mounted platter several feet in diameter
  • paper tape flying horizontally through the reader at 100cps, and landing in a very big bucket; wouldn't pass HSE regulations nowadays!
  • ASR33s, which have a very satisfying delayed thunk when the ink is thwacked onto the paper
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Offline poorchava

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #81 on: August 01, 2017, 12:10:49 pm »
My first was a PC, going from my memory:
-Cyrix 133MHz
-16MB RAM
-2MB Matrox Millenium 2D video card
-no sound card
-2x 850MB interchangeable HDDs (one was for my mom's CAD work, the other one was for mine and my sisters' games)

IIRC it was quite expensive back in 1996, as most parts were picked to provide room for epansion and upgrade... one year later it was a total junk, such was the speed of technology development back then.
I love the smell of FR4 in the morning!
 

Offline Tepe

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #82 on: August 01, 2017, 06:45:27 pm »
The first computer I used was a Regnecentralen RC7000 (basically a rebranded Data General Nova 1200, I think).
The first I owned was a VIC-20...
 

Offline fable

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #83 on: August 01, 2017, 08:21:43 pm »
Comodore 64 then atari 1040st
 

Online retrolefty

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #84 on: August 01, 2017, 08:31:38 pm »
First were various mini-computers in the early 70s as a field service engineer. Around that time I took a night class at local community college on Fortran taught on a IBM 1130 system.
 

Offline rdl

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #85 on: August 03, 2017, 06:47:35 pm »
This is the first computer I owned. It's an IBM PS/1 Model 2168-37C. I pulled it out of the closet this morning and started it up for the first time in over a decade. It seems to be working fine. The clock was off by just under a minute.



The processor is a 486DX2-50 with 4MB RAM and the hard drive is 256MB. I added many upgrades over the next few years. It came originally with Windows 3.1 and DOS 6 but now has Windows 95.






 

Offline rdl

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #86 on: August 03, 2017, 09:11:04 pm »
Yes. I am a pack rat.




I still have the original box also, but that's buried too deep in the outside closet to get to easily.



 

Offline ebastler

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #87 on: August 03, 2017, 09:16:57 pm »
Yes. I am a pack rat.

Hey, that's great! So you still have the number to call for repair service, if you ever need it.  ;)
 

Offline MK14

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #88 on: August 03, 2017, 09:17:10 pm »
Yes. I am a pack rat.

No, a pack rat would still have the CRT monitor, it originally came with (or the one you were using at the time). I presume you didn't get an LCD monitor, in 1993.
 

Offline rdl

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #89 on: August 03, 2017, 09:41:37 pm »
Sadly, the original monitor did not last much longer than the warranty. I don't think I got my first LCD monitor until around year 2000 or later. I still have it though and it probably still works.
 

Offline MK14

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #90 on: August 03, 2017, 09:52:13 pm »
Sadly, the original monitor did not last much longer than the warranty. I don't think I got my first LCD monitor until around year 2000 or later. I still have it though and it probably still works.

Yes, now you mention it. I remember, many of them only did last a few years and the picture deteriorated, after a few years as well (even if it still worked). I'm NOT 100% sure, as it is a distant memory, now.

Like you. I did have a 486 system at one point, but (unfortunately, as I would like to have it now, as a legacy system) I sold the motherboard, and replaced it with a Cyrix cpu based motherboard, or whatever the upgrades were at the time.

The monitors from that time point, were often really small, and the picture quality was often not that great. So I guess you are not missing too much.
 

Offline metrologist

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #91 on: August 03, 2017, 09:56:33 pm »
What, no claims of an Antikythera computing machine?

Apple IIe+
 

Offline bitseeker

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #92 on: August 03, 2017, 10:23:42 pm »
Used: TI 99/4 (at school)

Owned: TRS-80 Color Computer (still have it -- has RAM issue -- but it's low in the repair queue)

Neither had storage devices. Want to run a program or play a game? Type the source code in and don't turn it off until you're sure you don't want to use it anymore.
I TEA.
 

Offline rdl

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #93 on: August 03, 2017, 10:32:04 pm »
The first computer I actually used was a Commodore PET when I took a class on BASIC programming in college in the early eighties. There was one Apple computer of some kind in the computer lab, but you had to be an advanced student before you were even allowed near it.
 

Offline joeqsmith

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #94 on: August 05, 2017, 09:29:28 pm »
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 
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Offline ebastler

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #95 on: August 06, 2017, 05:57:13 am »
Thanks Joe! Especially for the "farmer & goat" manual page, which is exactly what I recall.  :)
I will need to go looking for my "Logikus" computer. I have a feeling that it is still in storage at my parents' place...
 

Offline joeqsmith

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #96 on: August 07, 2017, 02:25:31 am »
Thanks Joe! Especially for the "farmer & goat" manual page, which is exactly what I recall.  :)
I will need to go looking for my "Logikus" computer. I have a feeling that it is still in storage at my parents' place...

No problem.  I found mine when I was cleaning out my parents house.  Surprised they kept it.  That farmer goat program was the missionaries and cannibal problem I remember.  I think this is really what set the hook for my love of digital hardware design.  At this age, I had played with old TVs and radios but nothing digital.  We had no calculators yet beyond an old adding machine that someone had given me.  This was really my introduction to the digital world.

I started reading the manual but now have a much better appreciation for it. 

Here is the chess game.
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline ebastler

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #97 on: August 07, 2017, 05:21:35 am »
Here is the chess game.

Thanks for that one too! I don't recall it from my Logikus computer, and the American author attribution suggests that they have added further programming examples for the U.S. version.

I'll definitely go looking for the Logikus at the next oportunity. I don't recall whether I ever got around to designing my own programs as a kid -- time to do that now, maybe?
 

Offline joeqsmith

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #98 on: August 07, 2017, 10:57:12 am »
I don't recall whether I ever got around to designing my own programs as a kid -- time to do that now, maybe?

It will be interesting to see what ideas you come up with that would translate to the switch logic available.  That in itself may be the hardest part.   What, no clock?  What, no FFs?   :-DD :-DD
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline ebastler

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #99 on: August 07, 2017, 11:49:12 am »
It will be interesting to see what ideas you come up with that would translate to the switch logic available.  That in itself may be the hardest part.   What, no clock?  What, no FFs?   :-DD :-DD

Just put a metronome next to it to clock the user!  ;)
 

Offline MK14

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #100 on: August 07, 2017, 12:09:30 pm »
It will be interesting to see what ideas you come up with that would translate to the switch logic available.  That in itself may be the hardest part.   What, no clock?  What, no FFs?   :-DD :-DD

You can, just get a similar kit, with all the wires and switches, plus a motor (as the clock) and a few relays to give flip flop like actions. See here:
(Apologies, soundtrack NOT English, He runs it later in the video, just after the 1 min 30 sec mark).

Amazingly it can play Naughts and crosses (Tic Tac Toe) against the computer from 1961, even though it only consists of wires, switches, lamps, a motor (which effectively is a ROM and hence the program and program counter), and 6 relays.

« Last Edit: August 07, 2017, 12:15:55 pm by MK14 »
 

Offline Towger

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #101 on: August 07, 2017, 12:20:15 pm »
Used: Apple II
Owned: Oric 1
 

Offline VK5RC

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #102 on: August 07, 2017, 12:56:43 pm »
Used ; DEC I think PDP, belonged to the Uni where my father worked - played Moon Lander ! 1978 I think
Owned ; PC 386 1997
Whoah! Watch where that landed we might need it later.
 

Offline IanMacdonald

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #103 on: August 08, 2017, 06:19:24 am »
Years ago the Birmingham science museum had an electromechanical computer that played fox and hounds. Cabinet about 6ft high and 2ft deep filled with PO 3000 style relays. Worked very well too, although like chess programs it had one or two strategy weaknesses that you could exploit to win every time once you knew them.
 

Offline WastelandTek

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #104 on: August 08, 2017, 06:31:29 am »
"owned" is relative

"had use of"?

would have been the HP calculator Dad brought home from work

you could feed the "moon lander" game strip through it, some sort of mag strip memory, then attempt to feed fuel and not crash...what    a     machine

"owned" would have been a suitcase Osbourne rig with a flaky CRT circuit, I had to jam a pencil in it just so to make the HV work, a hand-me-down from my...yes...grandfather, it ran CP/M as I recall
« Last Edit: August 08, 2017, 06:43:07 am by WastelandTek »
I'm new here, but I tend to be pretty gregarious, so if I'm out of my lane please call me out.
 

Offline MK14

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #105 on: August 08, 2017, 06:56:34 am »
Years ago the Birmingham science museum had an electromechanical computer that played fox and hounds. Cabinet about 6ft high and 2ft deep filled with PO 3000 style relays. Worked very well too, although like chess programs it had one or two strategy weaknesses that you could exploit to win every time once you knew them.

I would have liked to have seen that.
Presumably the Birmingham Science Museum is no more. Replaced by the Millennium Thinktank (with its Museum), I think.
Unfortunately I've never been to the Birmingham Science Museum, the wiki says it no longer exists, closed in 1997, replaced in 2001 by the Millennium Thinktank, in a different location.

The (London) Science Museum made a good visit. Most of the time I did not even know Birmingham had one, by the time I did, I was mostly NOT visiting Museums.

In general, I preferred UK museums, many decades ago, because they were potentially more interactive and you could get closer to the stuff, or at least feel like you are closer, even if you are not.

So many of the computers (which I used, many, many years ago), and I presume some others posting in this thread in some cases feel the same. Now are mainly viewable in museums. Especially big mainframe/mini computers, which are mostly NOT in peoples homes, or gathering dust in peoples attics.
Is this because the computer age has come and moved so quickly, or is it because time has moved on ?

I've still got it partly in my head, that mainframes are the only real and proper computers. Yet they are (in my opinion), mostly extinct these days (*** To avoid forum disagreements, I AGREE, Mainframe computers are still around, but in general Big Server Racks are more the normal now ***).
Replaced by rack servers and PC computers. I guess it was a marketing ploy by IBM and other manufacturers to help them sell these very expensive huge big Iron Mainframe computers.
Even mini-computers (still huge by todays standards), were somewhat ridiculed as well. Again, probably by Mainframe computer sellers, I presume.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2017, 07:01:46 am by MK14 »
 

Online tggzzz

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #106 on: August 08, 2017, 07:27:10 am »
In general, I preferred UK museums, many decades ago, because they were potentially more interactive and you could get closer to the stuff, or at least feel like you are closer, even if you are not.

As I've mentioned before, The National Museum of Computing is superb in that respect. Both times I've been I've had long discussions with people about the internals of the first computer I used - including poring over the (very large) circuit diagrams.

(One day i suppose I'll go to the Bletchely museum next door.)
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
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Offline MK14

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #107 on: August 08, 2017, 07:43:27 am »
In general, I preferred UK museums, many decades ago, because they were potentially more interactive and you could get closer to the stuff, or at least feel like you are closer, even if you are not.

As I've mentioned before, The National Museum of Computing is superb in that respect. Both times I've been I've had long discussions with people about the internals of the first computer I used - including poring over the (very large) circuit diagrams.

(One day i suppose I'll go to the Bletchely museum next door.)

Thanks!
I'm embarrassed to admit that I've still not been there yet. Lots of people I've met or know, thoroughly recommend it for me. It seems to be something (visiting there), that is waiting for this particular "rainy day", which never seems to come.
So far, when I've been somewhat close to it, I've been too tired or busy with other things, to pop in.

My only excuse is that I want to spend a long time there. Which makes it harder to do that, and do/visit what ever else I was doing, at the time.
 

Online tggzzz

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #108 on: August 08, 2017, 08:08:22 am »
In general, I preferred UK museums, many decades ago, because they were potentially more interactive and you could get closer to the stuff, or at least feel like you are closer, even if you are not.

As I've mentioned before, The National Museum of Computing is superb in that respect. Both times I've been I've had long discussions with people about the internals of the first computer I used - including poring over the (very large) circuit diagrams.

(One day i suppose I'll go to the Bletchely museum next door.)

Thanks!
I'm embarrassed to admit that I've still not been there yet. Lots of people I've met or know, thoroughly recommend it for me. It seems to be something (visiting there), that is waiting for this particular "rainy day", which never seems to come.
So far, when I've been somewhat close to it, I've been too tired or busy with other things, to pop in.

My only excuse is that I want to spend a long time there. Which makes it harder to do that, and do/visit what ever else I was doing, at the time.

I used to invoke such pathetic "reasons" :) Now I'm more enlightened, I drop in when I'm in the area, even if only for a couple of hours.

Feel the clunk of an ASR33 under your fingers.
Listen to the music being played on a 2kIPS room-sized computer.
See the world's oldest operating computer.
Play adventure on a mainframe.
And be very irked that your once-prized possessions are now museum pieces :(
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's 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
 
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Offline ebastler

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #109 on: August 08, 2017, 09:05:57 am »
Years ago the Birmingham science museum had an electromechanical computer that played fox and hounds. Cabinet about 6ft high and 2ft deep filled with PO 3000 style relays. Worked very well too, although like chess programs it had one or two strategy weaknesses that you could exploit to win every time once you knew them.

The Heinz Nixdorf Museum (in Paderborn/Germany) still has a similar game on display. Called "Wolf and Sheep", but I believe it's the same game. Their version was built by an electrical engineering student in 1951. He did slightly shrink the playing field, to 8*7 instead of 8*8, because he did not have enough relays. ;-)  Managed to fit everything into a pretty compact box though, much smaller than what you describe.

The only photo I could find online does not quite do it justice: https://goo.gl/images/ohHYru.

Unfortunately one cannot play the vintage game in the museum; it is displayed behind glass. But they have an interactive explanation including the playable game on a touch screen next to it.
 
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Offline CJay

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #110 on: August 08, 2017, 09:33:25 am »
In general, I preferred UK museums, many decades ago, because they were potentially more interactive and you could get closer to the stuff, or at least feel like you are closer, even if you are not.

As I've mentioned before, The National Museum of Computing is superb in that respect. Both times I've been I've had long discussions with people about the internals of the first computer I used - including poring over the (very large) circuit diagrams.

(One day i suppose I'll go to the Bletchely museum next door.)

I've done the opposite, Bletchley twice now but haven't managed to visit the Computing Museum.

It's worth spending a day on but try and find a day when they're demonstrating the machines, it's really very impressive to see them running.
M0UAW
 

Online tggzzz

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #111 on: August 08, 2017, 09:45:33 am »
In general, I preferred UK museums, many decades ago, because they were potentially more interactive and you could get closer to the stuff, or at least feel like you are closer, even if you are not.

As I've mentioned before, The National Museum of Computing is superb in that respect. Both times I've been I've had long discussions with people about the internals of the first computer I used - including poring over the (very large) circuit diagrams.

(One day i suppose I'll go to the Bletchely museum next door.)

I've done the opposite, Bletchley twice now but haven't managed to visit the Computing Museum.

It's worth spending a day on but try and find a day when they're demonstrating the machines, it's really very impressive to see them running.

Agreed.

Is Bletchley worth seeing? My prejudice is that it will be static and the information available will be polished, canned and limited.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's 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
 
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Offline CJay

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #112 on: August 08, 2017, 10:02:17 am »
Agreed.

Is Bletchley worth seeing? My prejudice is that it will be static and the information available will be polished, canned and limited.

I think it's worth a visit, there's an atmosphere to the place, it's got a fair few non cipher/code breaking displays which have little interest for me and the tech stuff is pitched at a level that's intended to make it easy to understand for the average museum visitor.

It is quite interesting but feels 'corporate' in places, there's a full room dedicated to (from memory) GCHQ and it's all 'fluff' for instance.

I wanted more detail and tech things which is why I'd recommend going on a day when the machines are running, speaking to the guys who do the demos is rather informative and just seeing the machines run explains how it was done a lot better than any static display would, for me at least.

Oddly, the RSGB have a nice display there too, some good working demos of basic radio/electronics principles.




M0UAW
 
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Online bd139

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #113 on: August 08, 2017, 10:05:41 am »
I've got the week off next week. I'm trading NMOC vs Science Museum. The latter has rockets in it which means it's currently winning.
 

Offline CJay

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #114 on: August 08, 2017, 10:14:14 am »
You could do both, depending where you're traveling from one could well be on the way to the other and if you need to do overnight MK is far cheaper than London at this time of year.

Science museum is spitting distance from V&A, Natural History and a stone's throw from the British (and they are all capable of soaking up a whole day or more, I'd recommend at least two days each for the big ones) as well as dozens of other smaller museums, all worth a visit.
M0UAW
 

Online bd139

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #115 on: August 08, 2017, 10:17:09 am »
Not a bad idea actually. I'm in West London so neither are a terrible journey from me.
 

Offline Dataforensics

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #116 on: August 08, 2017, 03:21:39 pm »
First used either an IBM/360 or an Olivetti Programmer 101. It was at school in my early teens. My school had the 101 and I still have my issued mag card somewhere. With the 360 we had a punch card machine and had to send them to North East London Polytechnic that was nearby. The language was Fortran.
My first owned one was also a Sinclair MK14 that soon got modified with a home assembled micro switch one to replace the awful rubber one.
 

Offline Old Don

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #117 on: August 09, 2017, 01:13:46 pm »
Quest Super Elf kit and later on added the optional S-100 expansion board. First laptop was a NEC PC-8500 with CP/M and Wordstar plus other "Star" programs all in ROM.
Retired - Formerly: Navy ET, University of Buffalo Electronic Tech, Field Engineer and former laptop repair business owner
 

Offline Old Don

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #118 on: August 18, 2017, 12:27:12 pm »
After posting my 1st post to this forum got me looking on eBay and there was an As-Is "parts" Quest Super Elf going for a few bucks and so I put an under $50 bid in on it. It sold for about $250! It was missing a key top and didn't even have the optional expansion board, Tiny Basic or other stuff. Yikes, I need to dig my original one out of storage and get it up and running!!!!!
Retired - Formerly: Navy ET, University of Buffalo Electronic Tech, Field Engineer and former laptop repair business owner
 

Offline Shred

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #119 on: August 19, 2017, 07:39:20 am »
The first I used was a PDP/11 at a local community college. My friend's father was a teacher there and took us in on a Saturday afternoon. I think we played "Super Star Trek" on an amazing new VT100 "glass tty". (Look: it has smooth scolling).

First owned, like a couple of earlier posters was a Dick Smith Super-80 kit.  It ended up being extensively modifed - to the point that the original board served mainly as a common point for all the extra boards to plug in to. It has an 80 column video card, a floppy disk controller and a memory expansion board. I still have it and it still worked last time I fired it up. I had an ASR33 teletype that I used as a printer. My parents complained that it sounded like a machine gun going off when I used it.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dick_Smith_Super-80_Computer
 

Offline Insatman

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #120 on: August 19, 2017, 10:01:18 am »
First computer I used was an NCR Century 50.  It had magnetic core memory...a whopping 8K of RAM.  I programmed it in a high school computer class, one of the first for my area.
We upgraded to 16K before I left school.  The only input was punch cards...the only output was printer paper.   No CRT back then.

The first computer I owned was an Osborne Exec.  I got it when Osborne went bankrupt for the then bargain price of $600.   I probably put another $3000 into it over the years.  Adding Quad Density 5.25" drives, a harddrive kit, various modems and memory upgrades and of course external monitors.

Memories....I replaced it with an Amiga 2000, but that's another story
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Offline djos

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #121 on: August 30, 2017, 09:40:58 am »
First Computer I ever:

used was an Amstrad CPC-6128 in primary school:



owned (family) was a Tandy 1000 EX



owned (personally) was an Amiga 500:

The impossible often has a kind of integrity which the merely improbable lacks.

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Offline sprintcarfan

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #122 on: September 18, 2017, 11:52:07 pm »
First post ever...

First computer ever used was an Apple II or II Plus (~1982) in 3rd grade at school.

First computer ever owned was a TI-99/4a (with cassette player!) received as a Christmas gift in 1983 or 1984 after TI had pulled out of the market and were practically giving them away.
 

Offline TK

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #123 on: September 19, 2017, 12:41:20 am »
Used IBM 5100 in High School



Owned TI 99/4a at home

 

Offline kaz911

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #124 on: September 19, 2017, 06:47:24 pm »
My first computer was some  4004 demo kit with 0-9/A-F keyboard and a few bytes of ram .. and a bloody paper roll to "print on" :)

My 2nd was a self-assembled Sinclair ZX80 kit much like this;


Then I had a Lambda something

Then a Vic 20

But my favourite was the BBC-B (Bleep) - with great basic and teletext graphics and ?High? resolution mono graphics. Hours/Days/Months spent on typing in code from magazines like the dancing skeleton playing ?Sweet things are made of..?

Then in ''84'ish I got upgraded to the first clone PC's.

Apart from that I played on other peoples C64/Amiga/AmstradCPC/AcornRiSC's/Atari 520/ZX Spectrum etc.

But my favourite is still the BBC-B... I think I have to find one in good condition to keep safe. :)

My first own hardware project was a Midi interface for ISA bus PC's back when only Roland did PC Midi Interfaces nobody in their right mind could afford. I even wrote a 16 track sequencer for it? Darn one had a lot of spare time when one was young.
 

Offline jmelson

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #125 on: October 04, 2017, 10:27:51 pm »
Used:

PDP-5  (forerunner to PDP-8)
LINC  (12 bit mini, discrete transistor)
IBM 360/50  (via punch cards, 8 hour turnaround, UGH!!!)
Kind of about the same time, so hard to figure which was first

Owned:
I built an 8008 computer with 256 bytes of memory in 1976.  Couldn't do much on such a limited system, but learned a lot!
I got an S-100 backplane and built up an 8080 system by 1977, upgraded to Z-80 CPU, added a floppy drive and CP/M.
eventually added an SASI disk drive and 9-track mag tape backup.

Later moved up to a MicroVAX-II.  Rather a LARGE step up!
 

Offline austfox

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #126 on: October 05, 2017, 03:57:53 pm »
Used:

Exidy Scorcerer (running a Zilog Z80)

Owned:

Casio PB-100 Pocket Computer (a whopping 512 bytes), which is still in great condition!



 

Online tggzzz

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #127 on: October 05, 2017, 05:23:53 pm »
I built an 8008 computer with 256 bytes of memory in 1976.  Couldn't do much on such a limited system, but learned a lot!

Just so, except in my case it was a 6800 (still have the chip), 128 bytes RAM + 16 byte bootload/dump, and 1977.

It was very helpful w.r.t. getting an interesting final year project, and a great talking point in job interviews.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Offline khs

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #128 on: October 05, 2017, 07:14:35 pm »
My ZX81 kit. My best computer ever.

For me it was a development system like the adruino today, because on the rear side all pins of the Z80 are available.

With the Basic peek and poke commands it was easy to control external hardware via the Z80 in/out commands, so it was not quite difficult to make an EPROM programmer.

With the self made EPROM programmer, it was possible to burn a (I think it was a 4K EPROM) Hex code printed on some pieces of paper (after hacking in...)

I think the name of the program was ASCMIC, it replaced the Sinclair PROM.

ASCMIC was a quite powerful Z80 assembler / debugger, so I had all to make the firmware for a video card with 512 x 256 pixel.

Due to my special DRAM timing (built with a lot of 74LSxx logic chips), it was possible to read / write the DRAM during the CRT readout. Sure, the card was not as fast as video I/O today, but not slow for it's time.

It was possible to mix graphics and text, so the way to a layout program was not far. It used just pixel, so the layout was somewhat angular, but usable. Since this time I'm a proud owner of a (quite expensive) HP7475 plotter to generate the 2:1 plots for the pc-board manufacturer. It was quite expensive to make pc-boards this time..

The video card then was a part of a CPM system with an ECB bus. I was quite surprised my cheap CPM computer was more flexible than the PDP11's of the institute I worked.

With Turbo Pascal and the ECB bus it was quite easy and fast to control an experiment.

Later the ECB bus was controlled by a PC via the ISA bus.

My job this time was to help the students to make their computer control of their (in most cases optical or laser) experiments. This time I invented standardized ECB cards and standardized Turbo-Pascal units. So for the students it was not difficult to make their work without me, so I had more time for myself.

My first self made CNC mill worked with steppers controllers via the ECB/ISA bus many years until it was replaced by a professional machine.

Meanwhile the ISA to ECB interface is replaced by an USB to ECB interface, so I can still use all of my old cards e.g. to program microcontrollers or control DAC's for calibration or debug purposes.

Since last year my Windows XP runs in a virtual machine on a Linux OS, but the 19" rack with the old ECB backplane of the ZX81 era is still used and works fine.

So even in 2017 a little bit of the spirit of my good old ZX81 is still alive in my lab.
 

Offline Bicurico

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #129 on: October 05, 2017, 10:03:52 pm »
My path went this road:

1981 - ZX81 (with 16KB RAM expansion)
1984 - C64 (with 1541 floppy disk drive, later with 1701 Color Monitor, Datasette and Commodore needle printer)
1988 - Amiga 500
1989 - Casio FX-850P Pocket Computer (with 32KB RAM expansion)
1994 - Silicon Graphics Indy, Indigo, O2 (at work, of course - they cost a 5 figure sum each back then)
1994 up to today: PC's

I still own a lot of them: ZX81, C64, Amiga 500, Casio FX-850P & FX-880P, HP 200LX, HP Omnibook (the first one), Silicon Graphics Indy and O2, etc.

I had a MacIntosh, but gave it away, which I now consider a mistake.

Never had an Apple ][, but got to use them at school. They sucked compared to my C64 (at least in my opinion, back then).

As a kid I used to visit the German stores (Kaufhof and Hertie). They had all the home computers in display and you could actually try them out, so many kids even brought their own floppy disks with pirated games to play and trade them there with other kids... Some kids didn't even have any computer at home and just "lived" with the computers available at the stores. People were much poorer back then, which is something we forget nowadays, when we complain that a new iPhone or Samsung Note 8 cost 1000 bucks. 1000 Deutsche Mark was the initial price of a C64!!!

Anyway, using the computers at the stores gave me some insight on:

- Amstrad
- Atari 600, 800, etc.
- MSX
- ...

At a friend I got to see and use an Atari ST. Pretty interesting high resolution B/W monitor for that time and the MIDI interface connected to a synthesizer (Roland DX-7) was cool, too.

I am a TEA (Test Equipment Addict), but I suffer from OCCS (Old Computer Collection Syndrome). I have it under control right now and the last outbreak was contained to programmable calculators. This got me the HP 11C (great device, bought for peanuts), amongst many other calculators. I still lack a representative of the pocket computers made by Sharp, like the E500 and I would love to get a Casio PB-1000 and PB2000. Not to mention the Epson HX-20 which I loved to use in the stores back in the eighties. It was unbelievable small and yet complete with tape and printer!

Cheers,
Vitor

Offline djos

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #130 on: October 05, 2017, 10:20:25 pm »

I am a TEA (Test Equipment Addict), but I suffer from OCCS (Old Computer Collection Syndrome). I have it under control right now and the last outbreak was contained to programmable calculators. This got me the HP 11C (great device, bought for peanuts), amongst many other calculators. I still lack a representative of the pocket computers made by Sharp, like the E500 and I would love to get a Casio PB-1000 and PB2000. Not to mention the Epson HX-20 which I loved to use in the stores back in the eighties. It was unbelievable small and yet complete with tape and printer!

Cheers,
Vitor

Me too, I just recently whittled my collection down to 10.  :-DD

Currently I have:
1x Commodore 64
2x Amiga 500's
1x Amiga 600
1x Amiga 1200
Tandy 1000 EX
Mac SE
Mac LC630 (effectively a Quadra as it has the full-fat 040 in it)
PowerMac G3 Beige Desktop
K6-III+ Clone PC with S3 Virge graphics , SB AWE64 + Roland MT-32 Synth

I recently sold of several LCIII's and a 3rd spare Amiga 500 to pay for the Tandy 1000 EX and some peripherals.   8)
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
 

Online Selectech

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #131 on: October 05, 2017, 10:49:15 pm »
Started with a 6800 and 256 bytes of ram on a breadboard, with a CRT display made from a TV, around 1976.   Eventually expanded it to have 48K ram, some 8" floppies, then added a couple of 1 mbyte  fixed head disks and ran UCSD pascal. ( still have the chip, but not the breadboard ).

Added an Apple II clone ( orange ) to the mix, booted from the fixed head disks, running Apple / USCD Pascal. Pseudo local network, just not Ethernet.

Had a teletype unit as a printer, but eventually replaced that with a DEC LA36 printer made from some salvaged, repaired materials and a bit of mechanical & woodworking.

Made another USCD Pascal machine from an AM29116 and another from AM29201.

Eventually migrated the lot to MC68000, then MC68020 with a few mbytes of ram and integrated colour CRT display.

Many PC's along the way, 8080, 8085, 286, 386, 486, 586, Pentium, Xeon ... . Current notebook is a fanless Core m3, but have several desktops around that I use for test setups and file-stores.

Now doing a lot of work with embedded ARM controllers, Cortex-M3, Coretx-M4, Cortex-M7 using Astrobe Oberon tools.
 

Offline djos

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #132 on: October 05, 2017, 11:01:53 pm »
Started with a 6800 and 256 bytes of ram on a breadboard, with a CRT display made from a TV, around 1976.   Eventually expanded it to have 48K ram, some 8" floppies, then added a couple of 1 mbyte  fixed head disks and ran UCSD pascal. ( still have the chip, but not the breadboard ).

Added an Apple II clone ( orange ) to the mix, booted from the fixed head disks, running Apple / USCD Pascal. Pseudo local network, just not Ethernet.

Had a teletype unit as a printer, but eventually replaced that with a DEC LA36 printer made from some salvaged, repaired materials and a bit of mechanical & woodworking.

Made another USCD Pascal machine from an AM29116 and another from AM29201.

Eventually migrated the lot to MC68000, then MC68020 with a few mbytes of ram and integrated colour CRT display.

Many PC's along the way, 8080, 8085, 286, 386, 486, 586, Pentium, Xeon ... . Current notebook is a fanless Core m3, but have several desktops around that I use for test setups and file-stores.

Now doing a lot of work with embedded ARM controllers, Cortex-M3, Coretx-M4, Cortex-M7 using Astrobe Oberon tools.

Nice, despite never having used them myself, I find 8" floppy disks and drives inherently sexy ... prolly got something to do with one of my fav movies being WarGames.  :-+
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
 

Offline wkb

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #133 on: October 07, 2017, 08:23:20 pm »
The first computer I had my hands on was a home-built Motorola M6800 design. At a tech youth club called "De Jonge Onderzoekers" here in NL ("Young scientists & inventors", "Jugend forscht" etc).

I went on to build my own M6809 based system, running at a whopping 2MHz and with 1MB of DRAM. It was a Dutch variant of the SWTP/09 system. It runs Uniflex, a Unix V6-spin of written in assembly.  I wrote runs instead of ran because I still own it. On last power up it told me it's Rodime RO204 harddrive has bought it :( Looking for a solution I ordered a MFM disk emulator PCB at http://pdp8online.com/mfm/mfm.shtml
The PCB arrived this week, I hope to be able to get the whole thing running again, I still have all the distribution floppy disks, both in 5.25" and in 8" format.  And yes, I also have the 8" floppy drive to go along with it..

 

Offline radar_macgyver

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #134 on: October 07, 2017, 09:42:35 pm »
Mine was a Sharp EL-5500



I remember programming it to play Battleship, one had to scroll to see the playing field.
 

Offline bitseeker

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #135 on: October 07, 2017, 09:45:10 pm »
Hey, I had one of those, too. It met an unfortunate demise during a move. So sad.
I TEA.
 

Offline jcrubin

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #136 on: October 16, 2017, 01:52:44 am »
I still own my very first computer i've ever used, its a Commodore 64 and all of the same hardware is used in this video.

CVM CATAPVLTAE PROSCRIPTAE ERVNT TVM SOLI PROSCRIPTI CATAPVLTAS HABEBVNT

https://www.youtube.com/c/jordanrubin6502
 
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Offline djos

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #137 on: October 16, 2017, 09:28:12 am »
Hey, I had one of those, too. It met an unfortunate demise during a move. So sad.

I had an Atari Portfolio that got thrown out during a move too, I'm still irritated by its loss to this day - especially after I checked eBay to see what they sell for now.  |O
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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Online hli

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #138 on: October 16, 2017, 12:11:46 pm »
The first computer I actually used was an East German A5120 (see http://www.robotrontechnik.de/index.htm?/html/computer/a5120.htm - the one with 3 5.25'' drives). I played around learning BASIC programming. THe first computer I owned was a Commodore C16 - there I also learned assembler programming and building my own hardware extensions.
 

Offline Alex Eisenhut

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #139 on: October 18, 2017, 02:49:09 am »
My parents got me a VIC-20 for Christmas. I must have been 12, 13?  By then, I already wanted a 64 but they were still too expensive. I had used Atari 800s at a neighbor's and at a computer camp.

Another neighbor had a VIC in the basement, I borrowed game cartridges and I learned (through sheer stubbornness and curiosity, because I was left to myself!) how to copy them. I had an article in a magazine describing how to make a 24K RAM expansion for the VIC, I could only afford 16K. (Each chip was 20$ at the time, I remember that! It took a while to scrape that together at the time.) Radio Shack supplied the PCB and solder.

Eventually, by age 15 I had various odd jobs and bought a weird C64 motherboard from the surplus shop. This was from a "PET64". It was a 64 with modified ROM to boot up in black and white (because Commodore shoved those 64s into PET cases!) and no SID. This 4064 had no power connector or switch populated; seems C= just soldered them in directly.

http://www.floodgap.com/retrobits/ckb/secret/4064.html

I shoved that motherboard into my VIC case, it's the same power supply and keyboard. The VIC case had a much larger expansion connector, but the rest was the same. The 64's narrower expansion slot fit just right, with the left over space used by the 64's built-in RF modulator. I drilled a hole in the top of the case to put a big old DPDT switch for the power.

Then I got a SID from the repair place, I popped that in and I had a 64 that booted with a B/W screen. This didn't affect anything AFAIR.

Eventually I got a 1541 drive, a 256K expansion, a 1581 3.5" floppy, a printer, and a proportional mouse for the thing and I was handing in printed assignments in high school. GEOS really made that silly 1526 (identical to the MPS-802. Why C= felt the need for two part numbers I don't know) printer much better, even if it took 20 minutes per page.... (No, I ain't kidding.)

I also got a replacement KERNAL to boot up with the correct 64 colors and boot up message.

Ooooh, I managed to upgrade that 256K expansion to 512K with DRAM chips I found in the bushes outside a Microserv. Someone upgraded their Mac and threw the old DIMMs out on the street. Didn't take me too long to pick them up and desolder the 41256 DRAMS!

This was all a lot of fun, and I'm not even talking about the warez scene at the time....
 

Offline rrinker

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #140 on: October 20, 2017, 02:47:24 pm »
 First used? TRS-80 Model 1, when they first came out. I bought the manual for a whopping $5 and taught myself BASIC. I was ll of 11 years old at the time, and loved when we went to the mall - I made a beeline for the Radio Shack store and stayed there the whole type using the store demo machine. I eventually even had a binder with my programs and some cassettes to save them on.

 First owned, was a kit built Quest Super Elf (RCA 1802). Built from a kit, the original machine had a whole 256 bytes of RAM. I was about 13, managed to build it all and get it working. The following year I got the expansion add on which gave it 4K of memory. Still have it, and it still works. and I still remember most of the opcodes so I can quickly key in short demo programs for people. There is a VERY active Yahoo Group for 1802 enthusiasts.


 

Offline Smokey

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #141 on: October 20, 2017, 08:35:40 pm »
Used = Apple2
Owned = Custom built 486 with windows 3.1

Looking back I'm so glad I didn't get the apple at home.  That PC was the start of the path to where I am now.  Good times.
 

Offline ebastler

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #142 on: October 20, 2017, 09:15:00 pm »
So what did you do during the 10 years between that Apple II and the 486? ;-)
 

Offline Smokey

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #143 on: October 23, 2017, 01:17:51 am »
I was in a coma.  You are so inconsiderate!!!!!  Say you're sorry!

Really though, Apples2 were in school computer lab at time I got 486.  When was the last time you saw brand new computers in a school lab?  Aren't they always at least 10 years old?

According to Wikipedia:
Apple2
Release date    June 1977, Discontinued    November 1993

486
Produced    From 1989 to 2007

That overlaps anyway :)
 

Offline ebastler

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #144 on: October 23, 2017, 05:45:21 am »
Apples2 were in school computer lab at time I got 486.  When was the last time you saw brand new computers in a school lab?  Aren't they always at least 10 years old?

Ah -- at that time, you were smart indeed not to get an Apple II for home use. ;)

You had mentioned Windows 3.1 running on your 486, which dates it even later; 1992 and onwards? By that time, one had to have very specific reasons (legacy software etc.) to buy an Apple II, I guess. Even a newfangled one like the IIGS, or whatever model was still being sold then...  :)
 

Offline CatalinaWOW

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #145 on: October 24, 2017, 01:06:12 pm »

 By that time, one had to have very specific reasons (legacy software etc.) to buy an Apple II, I guess. Even a newfangled one like the IIGS, or whatever model was still being sold then...  :)

Totally agree.  I got one of the IIGS free as a bank promotion somewhere around 1992.  It was a bad deal at that price.
 

Online schmitt trigger

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned ?
« Reply #146 on: October 24, 2017, 01:14:42 pm »


The RCA1802 microprocessor, has some special (unique at the time), properties (if I remember correctly). It was both CMOS and certifiable for spaceflight/satellites.

1802 Membership Card Powered Up by Todd Decker, on Flickr

And if I remeber correctly, it could also operate at Vdd = 15v.
Which was kind of pointless, because the available memory devices ran at 5v.

I also had a Cosmac 1802 board.
 

Online MarkL

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #147 on: October 24, 2017, 02:57:42 pm »
Used:

APL on an IBM 2741 terminal with dial-up to an IBM System/360, 1974 or so.  APL was my first language.  That took a major amount of un-learning when I started learning BASIC as my next language.

The 2741 was actually a converted IBM Selectric typewriter, which was needed to accommodate the special APL character set.  Stock photo of a 2741:



Owned:

Some single-board 8085 system, I don't remember the manufacturer anymore.  It had no peripherals but I had fun hand-assembling programs and typing them into the console monitor with a clunky CRT terminal (SWTPC CT-82).

The first useful computer I owned was a home-built Z80 system with a 5MB hard drive (yes, that's megabyte), with 256kB of bank switched memory.  It ran CPM and later ZCPR.  It still runs after 35 years, although I had to hit the hard drive spindle with a hammer because the brake had frozen on it.  It was all wire wrapped, except for the Xebec SASI disk controller which was purchased.





I thought the converted Selectric was a neat idea, so when I needed a printer I built a Z80 controller for a junked Selectric.  I still have it, but it needs a good cleaning and re-oiling.




« Last Edit: October 24, 2017, 03:00:44 pm by MarkL »
 
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Offline bitseeker

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #148 on: October 24, 2017, 09:10:31 pm »
Hmm, I suppose one could also convert a Selectric into a PC keyboard. Such a flexible machine. ;D
I TEA.
 

Online MarkL

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #149 on: October 25, 2017, 01:14:39 pm »
Hmm, I suppose one could also convert a Selectric into a PC keyboard. Such a flexible machine. ;D
I suppose you could, but it would be a horrible thing.

The Selectric keyboard is completely mechanical and inseparable from the print mechanism.  Whatever you type on the keyboard is printed by the typeball.  The only electrons in the stock version were to run the motor for the mechanics.

Being truly half-duplex, it made a pretty lousy terminal too.  While the computer was typing the keyboard would be locked out.  But the keyboard was one of the nicest to type on, back in the day.  Sure beats an ASR33 Teletype, which was my next encounter while learning BASIC.

Ancient trivia: Ever wonder why a baud rate of 134.5 exists?  It was to support the mechanical speed of these Selectric terminals.  It was the speed where the print shaft could keep turning and not disengage/engage the clutch every rotation (which would cause unnecessary wear on the clutch).
 
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Offline bitseeker

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #150 on: October 25, 2017, 08:33:39 pm »
Hmm, I suppose one could also convert a Selectric into a PC keyboard. Such a flexible machine. ;D
I suppose you could, but it would be a horrible thing.

The Selectric keyboard is completely mechanical and inseparable from the print mechanism.  Whatever you type on the keyboard is printed by the typeball.  The only electrons in the stock version were to run the motor for the mechanics.

Ah, that's a bummer.
I TEA.
 

Offline Rolo

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #151 on: October 26, 2017, 03:44:28 pm »
ZX81 from Sinclair. And was happy with it. Even build a RAM extension that was piggy bagged on the original RAM.
 

Offline Naguissa

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #152 on: October 26, 2017, 03:48:51 pm »
First computer I ever used was a Turion or Athlon desktop from around 1996 - and about 512 MB of RAM. What a pig that thing was.
Add arround 10 years ti the date to let that machines exist...

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Offline TopLoser

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #153 on: October 26, 2017, 04:00:46 pm »
1978 Elektor SC/MP built on a scrap of veroboard, eventually upgraded to run NIBL basic.
 

Offline jmelson

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #154 on: October 27, 2017, 09:57:31 pm »

The Selectric keyboard is completely mechanical and inseparable from the print mechanism.  Whatever you type on the keyboard is printed by the typeball.  The only electrons in the stock version were to run the motor for the mechanics.
However, there were some units derived from the I/O Selectric, such as the IBM 2741 (I think I have that # right) and the Dura.  I had a Dura MANY years ago.  It had about a dozen small circuit cards in the back with discrete transistors and diodes that converted from Selectric code to EIA codes, and had a paper tape reader and punch, as well as I/O connectors.  I managed to get it to run as a printer on my CP/M computer for a while.  I managed to snap one of the bands in mine when something went wrong.  I just took it to the local typewriter shop, the guy measured it and gave me the correct replacement part.  Put it in, and it worked like a charm.  But, it was pretty slow...

Jon
 

Online Richard Crowley

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #155 on: October 27, 2017, 11:04:41 pm »
Back in the late 1960s my school had a room full of 25-30 of the Dura-branded Selectric terminals with APL font balls, linked to a time-share server at UCI or UCLA(?)

We lab-assistants regularly demonstrated a stunt where we could take a program in any other language and translate it into 1/10 the number of lines of code in APL. Of course, while the APL code would run properly, it was nearly indecipherable to humans (including the one who wrote it).
 

Online MarkL

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #156 on: October 28, 2017, 08:33:43 am »
We lab-assistants regularly demonstrated a stunt where we could take a program in any other language and translate it into 1/10 the number of lines of code in APL. Of course, while the APL code would run properly, it was nearly indecipherable to humans (including the one who wrote it).
For me, going the other way from APL to other languages was a bit of a shock.  What do you mean I have to iterate over each element of this matrix?

We called it "write-only" code.
 

Offline Astrodev

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #157 on: October 28, 2017, 01:56:55 pm »
Just been thinking back to the ASR33's (which I still have) and I remembered that I had the idea of making use of the spare space in the stand so made a chassis out of wood and mounted the TI 990/101 board I was using as a computer at the time in the stand making it my first "all in one computer" as well.

Funnily enough I still have most of the bits including the wooden chassis.
 

Offline raptor1956

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #158 on: October 28, 2017, 08:30:56 pm »
Commodore VIC-20 in 1981.  Then, a couple weeks after joining IBM in March of 1982 I order an IBM PC under the employee discount program which saved me, if I remember correctly, about 10%.  But, as an employee we were not a priority and I had to wait nearly a year before my PC arrived and during the interval I made a couple of changes to the order as IBM upgraded the PC.  When I eventually received it in January of 1983 it came with DSDD floppies of 320KB each.  I think the installed RAM was 48KB and I later installed a RAM card that added 256KB bringing my total to a bit of 300KB.  My Nikon D800E takes still images that average about 43MB/file in RAW so this first generation PC would have had no chance of doing anything with a file that large.  I got the PC with the monochrome display which had a resolution of something like 480x720 which was way better than the 320x640 color monitor I picked up a bit later.

If I added up all the PC's, both desktop and laptop, that I've owned over the years it would be well over 20 -- I still have about 10 in my possession though only about 6 of them work.  I think I've also had about 20 HD failures in that time as well.


Brian


 

Offline eugenenine

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #159 on: October 28, 2017, 10:50:33 pm »
I've surprisingly had very few hdd failures.  I had one get bad sectors when I moved in my house in 1995.  Then a laptop drive in 2006 that was in an external case my newborn got hold of.  And one last year in my daughters laptop but thats all I can remember.
 

Offline rhb

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #160 on: October 28, 2017, 11:58:24 pm »
Computers I've owned:

Vic20
C64
Generic 386SX w/ FPU
Sun 3/60
Sparcstation 1+
Sun 4/110
Microway 164LX DEC Alpha
Sun Ultra 20
Various x86 based machines too numerous and varied to describe
Various microcontrollers too numerous and varied to describe (most more powerful than a Vic20)

Computers I've worked on:

IBM 360/167 running MUSIC
IBM 370 series running  VM/CMS
Perkin-Elmer 3200 (nee Interdata )
VAX 11/780 w/ FPS AP-120B & Gould-DeAnza graphics display
MicroVAX II in BA123 world box
Sun 386i
DECstation various MIPS based
SGI various models
Intergraph Clipper
HP "snakes series"
AIX various Power series
Sun most SPARC workstations
Alliant FX8 and the i860 nightmare
Intel i386 Hypercube
Intel i860 Hypercube
CDC 6400 (???) UT Austin mainframe w/ custom OS

Operating systems I've used:

MUSIC
VM/CMS
OS32 (?) Perkin-Elmer
VMS
Sun OS 4.x
Irix
Clix (Intergraph)
HP-UX
AIX
Ultrix
Minix
Coherent
Linux
OpenIndiana
MS-DOS (only under duress)
CP/M
Windows (only under duress)
MVS/TSO (only under duress)
UT Austin CDC OS

Worst computers:

Alliant i860
Intel i860 Hypercube

Things they had at work that I didn't use:

Connection Machine CM2 & CM5
Stardent
Cray Y-MP
PDP11/??

I'm sure it's not a complete list, but it's pretty close.

Favorite CPU:

 6502
 

Offline oldtubeguy

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #161 on: October 29, 2017, 12:41:20 am »
   i was hired by IBM in Poughkeepsie NY (USA) in 1965 as a test technician. Systems Test for IBM 7090, 7094, 360 Model 91/95.
Moved into programming in 1968. Professionally programmed 1401 autocoder; 7080 assembler, 360 assembler, Fortran, PL1; IBM RS6000 Fortran;
Windoze assembler, basic, c, c++. First code was to enter debug routines directly into memory of 7090 via systems console.
    Wound up in IBM Consulting group, specializing in large scale data management for Mechanical design system (CATIA). worked for internal IBM HQ group responsible for Corporate-wide mechanical CAD systems. Finally did a lot of consulting for US Auto and US defense companies. Fully retired in 2012.
     It was a great ride, but not-so-great for current workers IT workers.

Originally I was a an electronics tech. Now I just screw around with simple electronic circuits, especially with Arduino.
FWIW for a few years I was buying broken HP 475 Oscopes on Ebay (works of art inside) and repairing/reselling. Lost interest and now I have a 1/2 dozen on the shelf.
Want to get rid of them, but too lazy to pack for shipment, so if anyone in Florida wants to take a drive, I will give them up fo free -  they are non-functional but complete. Usually a capacitor or two to fix.

 
   
   
 

Offline Specmaster

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #162 on: October 29, 2017, 12:54:18 am »
I may be wrong, but I have never heard of a HP 475 scope so I googled it and google also came up blank. I think you might mean Tektronix 475. If you lived in the UK I'd take you up on that very kind offer as I love to repair scopes as well, always loved them and currently have 5 working ones in my collection, 1 x HP1740A (just finished repairing it), 1 x Iwatsu SS5710, 1 x Goldstar OS-9100D, 1 x Rapid 1725A and Hitachi V-525 with undergoing repairs now a Hameg 408-1A.
Who let Murphy in?
 

Offline bitseeker

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #163 on: October 29, 2017, 01:09:28 am »
Hehe, when I saw "HP 475", my brain automatically filtered out the "HP" part. So, I comprehended the references as Tektronix 475. Only after you pointed it out did I realize that there was an HP there.
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Offline oldtubeguy

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #164 on: October 29, 2017, 01:25:32 am »
   Umm, Of course they are Teks. I had HP on my mind because I actually did have an HP unix-flavored computer that I played with for awhile.
At one time HP was another great name, but sadly like IBM and Tektronix  long ago put the Marketing Geniuses in charge. I will concede that it may be the time of well engineered, reliable (and expensive) equipment is over.

 

Offline brucehoult

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #165 on: October 29, 2017, 11:11:38 am »
Favorite CPU:

 6502

You were doing so well up until that point! :-) :-)

What criteria do you use in deciding that? Other than being the CPU in the first couple of machines you personally owned. (and me too .. I still 35-40 years later remember the hex codes for a lot of the common instructions: 20, 60, 4C, A9, A5, 85, B1, 91, D0, F0

The 6502 was cheap, and got a lot of performance bang out of a minimal amount of random logic and given speed of DRAM (much better than 8080/Z80). But they're really awful to try to write large well structured programs with, and a terrible compiler target (worse than 8080/Z80, far worse than 6809).


My favourite CPU of all time? If I have to pick a single model then ARM7TDMI.

Cortex is better of course, but new. And RISC-V is better than Cortex, and (currently) covers the range from M0 - A53. That's my new love.
 

Offline rhb

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #166 on: October 29, 2017, 01:03:33 pm »
Favorite CPU:

 6502

You were doing so well up until that point! :-) :-)

What criteria do you use in deciding that? Other than being the CPU in the first couple of machines you personally owned. (and me too .. I still 35-40 years later remember the hex codes for a lot of the common instructions: 20, 60, 4C, A9, A5, 85, B1, 91, D0, F0

The 6502 was cheap, and got a lot of performance bang out of a minimal amount of random logic and given speed of DRAM (much better than 8080/Z80).

I like the architecture. It's elegant in its simplicity.  It also maps neatly to forth. And then there was the cheap and cheerful aspect ;-)

Bear in mind that I used to read processor manuals for entertainment and have read 3 of the first 4 editions of "Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach" by Hennesy & Patterson in their entirety.  So I'm clearly a bit twisted. 

The real horror was the i860.  An acquaintance made a good bit of money hand coding FFTs and similar for that thing.  When the salesman said, "And this is how you dump the assembly language so you can optimize the code." I backed out of the room and left the i860 hypercube to torment someone else.

Today the agony is trying to figure out how to keep the cache from thrashing while doing a few million sums of a few million values each with execution order basically unknowable.  Don't get me wrong.  Things are *much* better now, but there is always the desire to squeeze a few more FLOPS out of the machine.  This is especially true with problems that take 10,000 cores a week or two to finish.

The last machine I really got down and dirty with was the Alpha 164LX.  Quite a marvel in its day.  It was 3-4x the fastest available x86 while running at 533 MHz even though the x86 was clocked much faster.  It was a real pity that HP disbanded the Alpha team.
 

Offline richnormand

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #167 on: October 29, 2017, 04:44:38 pm »
IBM 1130.
FORTRAN, COBOL and assembly.....

 ::)
 

Offline forrestc

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #168 on: October 29, 2017, 05:02:16 pm »
The first computer I used was an Apple II while in elementary school.

The first one I owned was a Timex Sinclair TS1000 (aka prebuilt ZX81 w/NTSC modulator and 2K Ram).   Complete with 16K plug pack and printer.   I think I got the 16K plug pack and printer as they were closing them out somewhere.  Don't really remember for sure.   One note:   The crappy keyboard was there for a reason - at some point I modified the computer to use a real keyboard, and I could type faster than the computer could handle..... and of course anyone who used the plugpacks knew how mechanically unstable they were...

Sometime shortly after, my parents bought an Apple IIe at home (which I also still own), and sometime in the same period I bought an Epson PX-8 laptop.  The PX-8 ran CP/M.   I've got that around here somewhere too.   

I kinda miss the days of unique computers.....
 

Offline SeanB

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #169 on: October 29, 2017, 06:05:33 pm »
Anyndoy here ever work with the IBM 360/44? Or wind any ferrite memory arrays?

did fix broken core wires and replace broken cores, though that was a lot smaller core, just 16 by 16 array. There was a new version being developed when I left, using a whole 2k of Dallas battery backed RAM in a Timekeeper, with the use only being in the top 1k of the memory to avoid the RTC address space. Had to be compatible with the old memory as a drop in, so there was a lot of work done on emulating the core read and write operation, spreading it out over the timekeeper address space and using only a single data bit. 1 Timekeeper, and then a half dozen TTL chips on the board did it, plus a load of resistors to emulate the core lines and attenuate the data level to not saturate the read amplifier. Still only did 16 words as well, but at least was not unobtanium and almost as reliable.
 

Offline Kilo Tango

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #170 on: October 30, 2017, 04:45:35 pm »
The first I had/built was the Wireless World SC80 designed by John Adams. It had a Nat Semi number cruncher and ran BURP ( Basic Using Reverse Polish).

I then built his SC84, a CP/M machine. I found a pair of 35 track floppies that caused a lot of fun storing stuff high up on the floppy !.

Ken
 

Online bd139

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #171 on: October 30, 2017, 07:24:03 pm »
The first I had/built was the Wireless World SC80 designed by John Adams. It had a Nat Semi number cruncher and ran BURP ( Basic Using Reverse Polish).

I then built his SC84, a CP/M machine. I found a pair of 35 track floppies that caused a lot of fun storing stuff high up on the floppy !.

Ken

Was that the massive scary thing built out of a metric shit ton of UMUT PNP transistors?
 

Offline rrinker

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned ?
« Reply #172 on: October 30, 2017, 08:55:33 pm »


The RCA1802 microprocessor, has some special (unique at the time), properties (if I remember correctly). It was both CMOS and certifiable for spaceflight/satellites.

1802 Membership Card Powered Up by Todd Decker, on Flickr

And if I remeber correctly, it could also operate at Vdd = 15v.
Which was kind of pointless, because the available memory devices ran at 5v.

I also had a Cosmac 1802 board.

 It also has 16x 16 bit registers, and ANY of them could be the program counter, any of them could be the pointer (index) register. And you could change it in the middle of program execution - this formed the basis of RCA's standard call and return for subroutines. And any micro with the mnemonic SEX (for SEt X) is an automatic winner.

 A prior message mentioned the 6502 as a favorite - of the four 8-bitters I learned, the 6502 was my LEAST favorite, such a pain to work on compared to the 1802. The lack of registers and the absolute need for a stack for even fairly trivial programs made is so in my mind - I had to code a large part of my Apple II program in high school with assembler because it ran far too slow in BASIC. At the time I already knew 1802 and Z80, in college I did some 8080. 1802 was very elegant, 91 total instructions and since many of them referenced the 16 registers, or one of the 7 I/O ports, the first hex digit was a family and the second digit specified the register.
 
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Offline ebastler

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #173 on: October 30, 2017, 09:58:43 pm »
Not my first computer; but since we are drifting towards the topic of "favorite CPU":

My favorite CPU is the 68000, due to its relative simplicity and regularity. And the first 68000 machine I owned was the "DTACK Grounded" board for the Apple II. Anyone remember that one? Hal W. Hardenberg of Digital Acoustics was probably best known for his strong opinions on Intel's processors and Apple's 68000 computers, as voiced in the DTACK Grounded Newsletter, and for his great humour in expressing them.

The original DTACK Grounded board had a whopping 96 kByte of painfully expensive static RAM. No wait states here, thank you very much!  :)
I still have mine. Note the elegant tilt of the SRAMs, which made taping down those bus traces so much easier for Hal... ;)





 

Offline Kilo Tango

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #174 on: October 31, 2017, 09:10:10 am »
The first I had/built was the Wireless World SC80 designed by John Adams. It had a Nat Semi number cruncher and ran BURP ( Basic Using Reverse Polish).

I then built his SC84, a CP/M machine. I found a pair of 35 track floppies that caused a lot of fun storing stuff high up on the floppy !.

Ken

Was that the massive scary thing built out of a metric shit ton of UMUT PNP transistors?

No the SC80 design was a clever design using a Z80 and an MM57109 number cruncher chip to do all the math. I think it used 1K x 1 2101 static ram. It was quite good. PowerTran offered a kit for it, and I bought one that didn't work and managed to get it going. There was a user group for it, pretty good, I learned a lot.

Then 4 years later out came the SC84, a 3 board design, CPU card, Video card, and floppy/serial channel card. It ran CP/M and so you had access to all the software on the CPM user group.  Some of us overclocked the processor up from the original 4MHz to 6MHz, most of the Z80A's would run at 6MHz, although whether you noticed the difference was debatable.

I've still got it tucked away somewhere, " just in case " !

Things have moved on a bit since then .....

Ken
 

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.
The impossible often has a kind of integrity which the merely improbable lacks.

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Offline 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...
I TEA.
 

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 ;)
 

Offline 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
 

Online 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
Who let Murphy in?
 

Online 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.
 

Online 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.
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Offline 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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Online 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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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.
 

Offline 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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Offline brucehoult

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #200 on: November 15, 2017, 09:46:11 am »
Something to do with leap years Perhaps?

No.
 

Offline rolycat

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #201 on: November 15, 2017, 01:59:24 pm »

[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 :-) :-) ]

That was the date that New Zealand adopted decimal currency. Presumably the fact that one old penny was worth 5/6 of a cent gave rise to rounding errors which needed to be compensated for.
 

Offline brucehoult

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #202 on: November 15, 2017, 03:26:19 pm »
That was the date that New Zealand adopted decimal currency. Presumably the fact that one old penny was worth 5/6 of a cent gave rise to rounding errors which needed to be compensated for.

Yes. Giving the precise date rather gives it away :-)

Any exact number of pounds -- or even shillings -- converted exactly to decimal currency. Most of the debentures had the principal converted to dollars and then the payments recalculated in dollars and cents. The AMP, for reasons known only to themselves, took the originally calculated payments which had already been rounded to the nearest penny, converted each payment to decimal, and then rounded again to the nearest cent. This double rounding would sometimes give a different result to calculating directly in dollars and cents and rounding once.

What a pain!

But easy enough to compensate for, once understood, with a flag on each loan indicating whether this had been done.
 

Online bsudbrink

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #203 on: November 15, 2017, 07:07:42 pm »
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.

I think the idea was that "J" is the tenth letter in the alphabet.  I remember seeing some hex dumps using that nomenclature.  It also brings to mind the hex-vs-octal arguments at my high school... "numbers don't have letters, period!"... I was always more comfortable with hex myself.  By the time I got to college, it didn't really matter.  Later, I found it pretty funny that they created a "pre-computer science" "weed out" course that was essentially nothing but "number bases, get it or get out".  As I understand it, a lot of people flunked or dropped that class.
 

Offline jmelson

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #204 on: November 15, 2017, 11:54:23 pm »
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.

The Bendix G-15 and others used Sexadecimal, with UVWXYZ instead of ABCDEF.  The G-15 was a vacuum tube and drum computer from about 1958.

Jon
 

Offline ebastler

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #205 on: November 16, 2017, 01:43:13 am »
The Bendix G-15 and others used Sexadecimal, with UVWXYZ instead of ABCDEF.  The G-15 was a vacuum tube and drum computer from about 1958.

And the Librascope LGP-30, a vacuum tube and drum computer from 1956, used the digits "FGJKQW", because that's how the characters' binary codes fell on the Flexowriter... Easily remembered as "fiber glass javelins kill quite well".  ;)
 

Offline John Heath

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #206 on: November 17, 2017, 12:00:31 am »
Thank you for posting the picture of the chiclet pet commodore. That was my first computer that I payed for and owned. What a sweety with that great look and a auto cassette data input. Way better than the 100 buss system with the cold cold boot from a line of with switches. The top of the pet lifts up somewhat like the hood of a car with a metal bar to keep it up. This way you could stare at the mother board and power supply. That was a nice computer for it's time.
 

Offline daybyter

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #207 on: November 17, 2017, 03:05:31 am »


The pet was donated to the vzekc and should be turned into a fully functional computer.
 

Offline Specmaster

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #208 on: November 17, 2017, 06:09:47 pm »


The pet was donated to the vzekc and should be turned into a fully functional computer.
One question comes to mind, WHY?
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Offline daybyter

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #209 on: November 18, 2017, 12:25:08 am »
It was at the entrance of the classic computing 2015 and it looks better than a simple sign, or so?

http://www.classic-computing.de/wp-content/gallery/classic-computing-2015/cc2015_bild4.jpg
 

Offline Specmaster

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #210 on: November 18, 2017, 01:04:52 pm »
Now it makes sense.
Who let Murphy in?
 

Offline @rt

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #211 on: November 22, 2017, 02:49:14 pm »
Sega SC3000H, but it probably should have been a C64.
I had no support for it, no magazines, no new games, no local club,  and couldn’t really learn anything outside of the manual.

So the Amiga, I’d like to think of my first computer, because I had friends with them, one of which at least tried to tech me programming.

Strictly speaking, my first computer might have been a serious mechanical adding machine given to me as a kid.
 

Offline paulca

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #212 on: November 22, 2017, 03:36:35 pm »
First used was a ZX81 (later with 16k expansion) in about 1981.  Wrote first code on a ZX Spectrum 48K - 1982

First owned a Spectrum 48K Plus 1984-1985 ish, then Amstrad CPC464, CPC6128, Amiga 500, Amiga 1200... long break...  Pentium Celeron 600Mhz (circa 2000).
"What could possibly go wrong?"
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Offline ChrisLX200

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #213 on: November 22, 2017, 07:11:39 pm »
First computer I bought was.. an Oric 1, and I still have it :)  Lulled by the advertisment of 64k memory (compared to the 48k of the Spectrum) but not realising that extra 16k was used by the system! Probably the worst keyboard of any home computer of that age. Anyway, I took some pics for your amusment.
 

Offline Old Don

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #214 on: December 01, 2017, 04:34:19 pm »
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.

I built a few "Orange" clones of the Apple II and sold them for a few $'s spending extra money.
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Offline shawty

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #215 on: December 13, 2017, 04:04:45 pm »
My first computer was a Sinclair ZX80, quickly followed by an 81 with "Drum Roll...." 16K RAM PACK!!!

WOW... 16K, that was a HUGE memory :-)

Not long after that I had a VIC20, then a Commodore 16+4.

I went through a succession of second hand machines bought from the wanted ad's and such like (Early 80's) I had an Atari 800XL, Tandy TRS-80 among others, and that was until I discovered...

THE BBC MODEL B Micro

That was my first computer LUST...   I saved money like it was going out of fashion.  Birthdays, Christmas, Paper Round etc then it arrived.

16 Colours, 4 Channel sound, More I/O than I could shake a stick at, I was in heaven, it was my first real computer and I paid for it ALL myself, so I didn't have to share it with my sister or the rest of the family.

Up until I left school and got dragged kicking and screaming into the world of the IBM Compatible/Clone and Dos/Windows I stuck with Acorn.

BBC B up to a Master, then an ET Turbo, and eventually with the pay check(s) from my first summer Job an Acorn Archimedes A5000

I had to get rid of all my BBC Stuff about 10 years ago, when myself and my wife moved to the house we now have, it broke my heart to see it all have to go.  Some of it went to new owners, but a big chunk went to the breakers yard too :-(

I do however, still have my A5000, but she's in a sorry state these days.  The CMOS Ram's buggered on it after an Alkaline battery leak, I removed the battery and soldered in a double A twin holder, but to no avail.  Board outside looks fine so I suspect there's track damage inside the layers somewhere.  It powers up, but beacuse it has no settings, and I can't make it store anything, I'm really not getting it to do much more than give me a supervisor * prompt.

I'll get the time to fix it one of these days however :-)

Aside from that, I have a server rack full of modern day PC's but I do still have a few gems kicking about in my workshop.

Got an original Sun Netra T105 Blade server somewhere, and an original set of Solaris/Sun OS disks somewhere for it, and got various bits and bobs Iv'e picked up at car boot sales with the intention of junking them for interesting parts.

I'll always have a soft spot for Acorn though, British Designed, British Made, British Invented.  IMHO Opinion, Acorn should get so much more recognition than they actually do, after all, the world would be a very different place today without the ARM Processor.

:-)



Meh....
 

Offline djos

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #216 on: December 13, 2017, 08:44:21 pm »
Those old dual layer boards are easy to trouble shoot, just put a bright led light source behind then and you can usually see broken tracks quite easily.

E.g.

« Last Edit: December 13, 2017, 08:45:59 pm by djos »
The impossible often has a kind of integrity which the merely improbable lacks.

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Offline frozenfrogz

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #217 on: December 13, 2017, 09:20:35 pm »
My first computer was an Apple II with two floppy drives and a green monochrome CRT. I don’t know how much RAM it had, but I can remember playing »Lemonade« and »Nibbles«.
I still have this unit but it is sitting in storage at my parents place and has not been turned on for at least 25 years.
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Offline ebastler

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #218 on: December 13, 2017, 09:21:31 pm »
Those old dual layer boards are easy to trouble shoot, just put a bright led light source behind then and you can usually see broken tracks quite easily.
E.g.

Heck, where is the broken track?
(And which 68000 machine is that, anyway?)

Thanks, nice photo!
 

Offline djos

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #219 on: December 13, 2017, 10:06:24 pm »
Those old dual layer boards are easy to trouble shoot, just put a bright led light source behind then and you can usually see broken tracks quite easily.
E.g.

Heck, where is the broken track?
(And which 68000 machine is that, anyway?)

Thanks, nice photo!

To the left of the 40 pin ROM socket.

That's a rev 4.5 Amiga 2000 motherboard.
The impossible often has a kind of integrity which the merely improbable lacks.

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Online jpb

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #220 on: December 13, 2017, 10:31:07 pm »
I don't know what the first computer I used was as it was a main-frame and I had a pre-university job at Scicon back in 1979.  I learned to program in FORTRAN on punched cards and these were loaded by computer operators. I often wonder what became of all the computer operators when their jobs disappeared.

The first computer I owned was a BBC micro model B with a cassette player for storage. It took five minutes to load games and then the cat would jump on the keyboard and you'd have to start again!

My present workstation (which is 8 years old) has nearly a million times the RAM (24GB vs 32k), over a 1000 times the CPU speed (3GHz vs 1MHz) with 8 times the core count and a million times the hard-drive storage yet it takes longer to boot up than my BBC micro did!
 

Offline shawty

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #221 on: December 14, 2017, 11:29:15 am »
My first computer was an Apple II with two floppy drives and a green monochrome CRT. I don’t know how much RAM it had, but I can remember playing »Lemonade« and »Nibbles«.
I still have this unit but it is sitting in storage at my parents place and has not been turned on for at least 25 years.

I'll give that a try thanks.

I did however have an interesting Idea Last Night.

The RTC/Cmos chip in the A5K is an PCF8583 which is an I2C based device.

I know what the I2C address of it is, as it's in the programmers reference manuals, so I got to wondering if I could just remove the SMD that's on the mobo, and wiring the I2C lines SDA/SCK and GND directly to an Arduino Nano/Micro or similar.  I know which 3 lines I need and where to get them, and importantly I know there active, I also know where to get a 5v supply from to power the Arduino.

My thinking is to program the Arduino to be an I2C slave, on the address the computer looks for the RTC chip, then just let the Arduino save the settings and such like in it's on board Eprom.

In all honesty, I'm really not too bothered if the clock actually keeps the correct date/time, the important part is that the system settings are saved, and looking at the data sheet for the RTC chip, i recon I can quite easily emulate it using an Arduino, or even just something like a DSPIC (I have a few of those lying around too)

Anyway, it's all just theory at the moment, like everything I want to do for me, it'll end up going on the "Stuff for my Retirement" pile :-D


Meh....
 

Offline manzini

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #222 on: December 16, 2017, 10:10:21 pm »
SECOINSA (FUJITSU)
SERIE 20 AT School (cobol & Fortran with IBM 8" disk recorder , Sharp mz80b that I ever love (ever searching on ebay) at local computer club an finally zx-pectrum 48k at home, some years after Amiga 1000 for C & 68k assembler and Now!! ORIC ATMOS  only for nostalgic, non rational  things :)




« Last Edit: December 17, 2017, 01:10:04 am by manzini »
 

Offline shawty

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #223 on: December 22, 2017, 08:10:18 pm »
My first computer was an Apple II with two floppy drives and a green monochrome CRT. I don’t know how much RAM it had, but I can remember playing »Lemonade« and »Nibbles«.
I still have this unit but it is sitting in storage at my parents place and has not been turned on for at least 25 years.

I'll give that a try thanks.

I did however have an interesting Idea Last Night.

The RTC/Cmos chip in the A5K is an PCF8583 which is an I2C based device.

I know what the I2C address of it is, as it's in the programmers reference manuals, so I got to wondering if I could just remove the SMD that's on the mobo, and wiring the I2C lines SDA/SCK and GND directly to an Arduino Nano/Micro or similar.  I know which 3 lines I need and where to get them, and importantly I know there active, I also know where to get a 5v supply from to power the Arduino.

My thinking is to program the Arduino to be an I2C slave, on the address the computer looks for the RTC chip, then just let the Arduino save the settings and such like in it's on board Eprom.

In all honesty, I'm really not too bothered if the clock actually keeps the correct date/time, the important part is that the system settings are saved, and looking at the data sheet for the RTC chip, i recon I can quite easily emulate it using an Arduino, or even just something like a DSPIC (I have a few of those lying around too)

Anyway, it's all just theory at the moment, like everything I want to do for me, it'll end up going on the "Stuff for my Retirement" pile :-D

BIG THUMBS UP TO A FELLOW BEEBER :-)
 8)
Meh....
 

Offline Calambres

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #224 on: December 23, 2017, 08:24:40 am »
My first computer was a Sinclair ZX-81. I loved programming that semi-toy. I got the infamous 16KB expansion dongle: the connector was so flimsy you couldn't move even the slightest. Otherwise you got a beautiful system reset.

Next was the obvious step: Sinclair Spectrum 48K. I used it very thoroughly and even programmed a financial program using "Microdrives" that was used commercially by a friend's firm. I ended installing the guts inside the keyboard of an old AS/400  :-/O  It worked very fine!

My first "proper" computer was an IBM Portable 5155. 15Kg of portability, go figure! The system was only 256KB RAM and I hacked it to 640KB. In Bill Gates' own words: "640KB is all you'll ever need for RAM". It had two 256KB 5 1/4" floppy drives. Later I added an IBM 5161 "PC Expansion" that was the size of an IBM Personal Computer, with  a 10MB disk drive. In IBM's own words: "10MB is all you'll ever need for file management"  :-DD

Then I got an IBM XT-286, a strange mix between an IBM-XT case and IBM-AT guts, only a bit faster. That was the sexiest XT-286 in the world  ;D : It had a 20MB disk drive, 16MB RAM, 2MB "Expanded" memory option, 287 Math coprocessor, External tape backup system, Token Ring adapter, VGA adapter (IBM 8515 monitor), Monochrome adapter (IBM 5151 monitor) for a dual display system,  SoundBlaster, IBM ProPrinter 4201 and other options I no longer remember... all card expansions were used. You couldn't expand it any more!. I still have it.

The next computers were a lot less glamourous  :)
« Last Edit: December 23, 2017, 12:04:30 pm by Calambres »
 

Online boffin

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #225 on: December 25, 2017, 01:13:11 am »

My first "proper" computer was an IBM Portable 5155. 15Kg of portability, go figure! The system was only 256KB RAM and I hacked it to 640KB. In Bill Gates' own words: "640KB is all you'll ever need for RAM". It had two 256KB 5 1/4" floppy drives. Later I added an IBM 5161 "PC Expansion" that was the size of an IBM Personal

Actually the 640k quote is a well reproduced myth.  The 640k limitation was instead based on the architecture of the IBM PC that put the graphics memory starting at A000:0000 (the mono card put the text at B000:0000 and the colour card put the text at B800:0000).  If you could forgo graphics, and used a CGA for text only, you could happily make a PC run with 736k of RAM.  Later invocations of MS-DOS (6 IIRC) allowed you to load TSR programs "high" (using LOADHI), and you could map RAM into the D000:0000 and E000:0000 spaces (C800:xxxx was used by HD controllers)
 

Offline rrinker

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #226 on: December 25, 2017, 04:17:19 am »
 There were actually a lot of 'holes' in upper memory you could exploit, depending on the hardware you had installed. When programs like QEMM came out, I became an expert at getting the most free DOS memory and organizing resident programs in the upper memory holes. I always took it as a challenge to get the most free memory in the lower 640K.
 And speaking of QEMM - their other product, Desqview, brought a pre-emptive multitasker to DOS. I was able to run my Opus BBS in college while still reserving enough of my machine to write reports and such with WordPerfect, or even run circuit simulations with pspice.

 

Offline Calambres

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #227 on: December 25, 2017, 08:31:31 am »
One of those "holes" is what allowed the "Expanded Memory" I have in my XT-286 (2MB max) to be paged into real memory. It was only accessible via a resident program loaded in "config.sys"

Offline cowasaki

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #228 on: January 14, 2018, 11:10:16 pm »
My brother's VIC20 in 1982

My first computer was an Amstrad CPC464 followed by a CPC6128 - I was in 4th/5th year at high school 14/15 and wrote an expansion ROM which added 150 new commands but was also programming 6502 on BBC model B at school where I completely re-wrote the networking software making it quicker and fairer as it queued stuff (they were still using it 5 years later!)....

Then on to the Atari 1040STFM where I had my first hard drive £420 for 30Mb (they had no 20Mb left so did a 30 for the same price if I turned up with cash!)

Then onto The Archimedes range as I was then a component level service engineer for Acorn machines.....
 

Online GeorgeOfTheJungle

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #229 on: January 15, 2018, 12:00:05 am »
1st an hp9830 in 1973..74, an hp65 1975, an Apple II 1977, TRS-80 1977 (but didn't like it), Compucolor II 1979  (but didn't like it), switched from the Apple II to a Mac in 1984, and then always Macs ever since. I've never had any "PC" nor any DOS/windows machine. Now I prefer Macs for the job, linux and small sbcs for everything else.
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Offline skyshaver

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #230 on: January 20, 2018, 03:49:46 am »
My first computer was a Vic20. I spent the savings bond my grandparents gave me to buy a tape drive and copied code from the back of magazines. Though my fondest memory of that machine is the text-based RPG "The Count"
 

Offline Bruce Abbott

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #231 on: January 20, 2018, 06:09:25 pm »
Actually the 640k quote is a well reproduced myth.
Actually...

"I have to say that in 1981, making those decisions, I felt like I was providing enough freedom for 10 years. That is, a move from 64k to 640k felt like something that would last a great deal of time. Well, it didn’t – it took about only 6 years before people started to see that as a real problem." - Bill Gates

 

Offline ferdieCX

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #232 on: January 20, 2018, 07:14:58 pm »
I went in 1979 straight to repair Olivetti Audit 5 boards, it was my first job
First owned was a home assembled 8080 S-100. It took two years to get the naked boards and the chips to South America,
carried by mail (only 20 USD at month allowed)  :palm: or by relatives and friends who visited the USA
I still have the CPU board
« Last Edit: January 20, 2018, 07:20:33 pm by ferdieCX »
 
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Online Gyro

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #233 on: February 22, 2018, 07:29:46 pm »
Used (in order):

Education:
ICL1902S
DEC KL10

Work:
PDP-11/44 2xRL02(10MB)
Dual headed VAX-11/780 (Altara and Krell), with all the toppings!  8)
MicroVAX 1 -> MicroVAX II Workstations
(a bit of a DEC theme there!)
...
PCs.

Owned (in order):

Science of Cambridge (Sinclair) MK14 (NS SC/MP)
UK101 (6502 based UK clone of the Ohio Superboard)
DEC PDP-11/05 (unibus, 32k word core memory), 2 x TU56 DECTape1 random access tape drives (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DECtape). Later upgraded to 2 x RX02 dual 8" Floppy.
PDP-11/23plus, home built Q-Bus cabinet, RD52 (30MB) HDD, RX50 Floppies. Later upgraded to PDP-11/53 as handy bits became 'available'  ;).
...
PCs :=\
« Last Edit: February 25, 2018, 04:26:21 pm by Gyro »
Chris

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Offline Mister35mm

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #234 on: March 10, 2018, 03:38:44 am »
PSI comp80?

Was that this one?

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/391977282124

I saw one at a computer show, I think. Powertran were showing off the TI9995 Cortex and this thing.

Z80 & maths chip.
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Nerves of Steel,
Knob of butter.
 

Offline 1audio

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #235 on: March 10, 2018, 06:18:26 am »
PSI comp80?

Was that this one?

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/391977282124

I saw one at a computer show, I think. Powertran were showing off the TI9995 Cortex and this thing.

Z80 & maths chip.
My first computer experience was a Bendix G-15. At a nearby high school in the mid 1960s.  I also worked on CDC computers in the early 1970s and built a z80 system in the 1970s before getting an IBM pc. At the time I was working at Four Phase systems designing peripherals for their computer systems. Too much early computer experience so I moved to Consumer Electronics.

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Offline Bryce

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #236 on: March 19, 2018, 08:15:48 pm »
The first computer I used was an MS-DOS based PC clone, a 286 of some description, that my father bought in the late 80s when I was a baby.  I think it was the second computer in the household, since my father had a TRS-80 MC-10 before that, but I have no memory of that computer and I believe it was sold prior to the acquisition of the PC. The PC had a modem, 9600 Baud I believe, which at some point Dad set up so that we could track the Space Shuttle on a map display.

The first computer that was mine personally was either an 8088 based "Eagle" PC clone (uncertain model number) or a Epson PX-8 Geneva laptop. I don't remember which was first; my father got both of them in state surplus property auctions in the mid-90s and gave them to me. Neither was my main computer though, I primarily used the family Macintosh (an 68030-based Performa that later got a 68040 accelerator card.) If you don't count family computers and surplus sale junkers, I got my first computer in '97, which was an Apple PowerBook 1400. I still have it, though it developed a bad LCD connection. (I still have the PX-8, too, I think, though it's been a long time since I've actually seen it and I am not 100% sure.)
« Last Edit: March 19, 2018, 11:34:27 pm by Bryce »
 

Offline oldtubeguy

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #237 on: April 30, 2018, 05:17:51 pm »
I was hired at IBM in Poughkeepsie NY as a System Test Techician in 1965, worked on final test of IBM 7090 Series System.
http://www.computer-history.info/Page4.dir/pages/IBM.7090.dir/images/Picture.9.jpg shows some of an IBM 7090. In that image the four frames behind man standing is the actual processor and I/O contollers.
Also in pic are some tape drives, card reader, line printer and operator console.
Not in picture is Memory --initially discrete cores in an oil-bath, later air cooled. Also 'Power Convertor' which was a motor-generator set which  changed 60 cycle power to 400 cycle  (a noisy piece of gear).
Moved into programming in 1968 and spent years writing Assembler code, Fortran, PL/1 and other languages.
My first personal computer was a Radio Shack TRS80. Had many IBM PCs and home built.
Retired from IBM in 1999. At the time worked for IBM as technical consultant on large scale commercial  implementations of CATIA 3D design system.
After retirement went private and the last thing I did was software development on RS/6000 for Computer Sciences Corp.
 

Offline meeko

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #238 on: May 07, 2018, 09:08:20 pm »
In the summer of 1980, my Dad borrowed a Commodore PET (I don't remember if it was a 2001 or one of the later ones with a proper keyboard) from his school for the summer.  (He was a teacher.)  Then we got a C64.

The first computer I personally owned was an Apple III that was given to me by a friend of my Dad's.  It also came with a colour monitor and a broken ProFile 5 MB hard drive.  I rarely used it, though, as by that time we had an Amiga 500.

The first computer I bought with my own money was a Pentium 120, with I think 64 MB of RAM, 1.6 GB hard drive, ATI Mach64 video card, CD-ROM drive and a no-name SB16-compatible sound card, initially running Windows for Workgroups 3.11 with Win32s and the Microsoft "Wolverine" TCP stack.  Wolverine didn't support dial-up networking, though, so I had to use a DOS terminal program to dial in and start a SLIP session, exit the terminal program without hanging up the modem, start the SLIP packet driver, then a packet driver to NDIS shim, before finally starting Windows.  And that was still more stable than Trumpet Winsock!
 

Offline intabits

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #239 on: May 08, 2018, 02:49:26 pm »
First used, all at Monash Uni in 1974/1975:-
DEC PDP-11
HP2100A
Burroughs B6700

Unless Wang programmable calculators qualify, then in high school, 1970
 

Offline bob225

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #240 on: May 08, 2018, 05:27:16 pm »
8080, hand built 8088, Ibm XT, 286 ps/2 - all very used in the mid to late 80's

zx81 > ZX128+2 > Commodore 386 16 with 8mb of ram > Amiga A600 >  486 dx33 upgraded to a DX4 100 > Amd 5x86 then it gets fuzzy for a few years > Intel P3 >


Now running X99 5820K with all the trimmings - 8th Gen I7 on the wish list but I'm happy with what I have now

Seem to have lost my passion for computers the last year or so, possible to do with no major jumps in tech


edit. there was the odd Mac (g4 and intel based) Acorn electron and Acorn Archimedes along the way too
 

Offline brucehoult

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #241 on: May 09, 2018, 01:29:02 am »
8080, hand built 8088, Ibm XT, 286 ps/2 - all very used in the mid to late 80's

Apple ][, PDP11/VAX (not personally owned!), home built wire-wrapped 6809, 68k Macs, PPC Macs G3 - G5, Linux Pentium Pro 200 then Athlon 700 then Athlon 3200+, Core 2 Duo Macs, Hackintosh i7-860 then Linux i7-4790K, i7-6700K. Various ARM boards (Pi, Odroid) and Arduinos. Now RISC-V HiFIve1 (Arduino) and HiFive Unleashed (1.5 GHz Quad core).

Quote
Now running X99 5820K with all the trimmings - 8th Gen I7 on the wish list but I'm happy with what I have now

Definitely still a great machine, with no reason to replace it unless you want 10 - 18 cores (i9) or similar performance in a smaller lower power package.

I'm very impressed by my new 100mm x 100mm x 35mm NUC with an i7-8659U CPU. I can put it in my pocket and travel the world, it uses 15W, and the performance matches a 2.5 years old 65W i7-6700 desktop CPU! (and beats it by 20% on single-core tasks).

Quote
Seem to have lost my passion for computers the last year or so, possible to do with no major jumps in tech

Wow! Even at 55 years old I'm the opposite!

Clock rates have peaked, yes, but that makes things MUCH MORE interesting than any time since 1990! It's no longer enough for Intel to simply spend their billions on a new FAB process and lazily crank out the same design as last year but at 50% higher clock speed.

Now they have to actually *think*.

So far Intel have mostly been thinking "Lets put more of the same old cores on on chip". That's reasonably exciting. It makes tasks such as compiling software or video transcoding or responding to a lot of web requests much faster without a lot of effort, but it's a very interesting challenge to figure out how to use this for other things.

But even more exciting is that YOU DON't NEED TO BE INTEL to innovate any more. Basic CPUs aren't getting faster any more which means that speeding up particular tasks often now requires special hardware to directly implement the main part of the task, with a conventional CPU there as well to supervise and control it.

There is an absolute *explosion* happening in people building this special hardware inside FPGAs, and the successful and high volume designs migrate to custom SoCs. Sometimes this special hardware can be done as a co-processor with relatively loose coupling to the main CPU (and you can license ARM cores for that), but often it works better if you can hook your special hardware up to custom instructions in the CPU and incorporate it in the normal program flow in a much more fine-grained way. You can't do that with ARM.

Some companies are creating their own proprietary and customisable CPU architectures and that's exciting to see that happening again (like in the 70s and 80s). But even though gcc and linux etc are pretty portable it's still a lot of work to actually port them, and that work doesn't actually add any unique value to your company. So more and more people are grabbing an existing open-source and license-free processor design and customising that with their own special sauce.

Mostly now, that means RISC-V, which is getting very good momentum.

And so I've made my way to a RISC-V startup where our business is making customised CPUs and SoCs.  Exciting times!
 

Offline djos

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #242 on: May 09, 2018, 10:14:06 am »
Seem to have lost my passion for computers the last year or so, possible to do with no major jumps in tech

I simply must concur with your sentiment, my 2012 i7 Mac Mini still does everything I want it to and if I want to pay games I use my dozen retro computers, particularly my Amiga's and Tandy 1000 EX. I find them to be a lot more fun than modern computing which is iterative and boring.
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
 

Offline rrinker

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #243 on: May 10, 2018, 06:50:30 pm »
 I'm not so sure I've lost my passion for computers so much as I just can't justify spending money to replace my current desktop, which is now something like 6 or 7 years old. It still plays the few games I play, and everything else runs just fine. It does have an SSD, and I did replace the video card a few years ago, I built it with a GTX480 and not have a 970. But it runs everything I need it to run just fine.
 I sort of satisfied it by building a new machine for my workbench, which I also built, about 2 years ago. On that one I went for small, a mini-ITX cube case, no discrete GPU, low power was the primary criteria. It's still plenty powerful enough for KiCad and various toolchains for programmign micros and runnign test equipment even with just the built in Intel graphics.
 

Offline MapleLeaf

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #244 on: May 10, 2018, 07:18:19 pm »
My first was a S100, Z80 i tried to build from pieces in the late 70s. It almost worked  :)
Then a working 8085 that i got MS basic running on. Used it for my Computer Science degree.
Ah the joy of doing home work in my dorm room instead of going to the CS building to punch cards for
an IBM 360 computer.
I am nearing retirement and have all the bare S100 boards and parts to make a working system. Will start
on it soon. It should be so much easier now that i have a complete electronic lab. The first time i only had an analog volt meter.
 Still can't figure out how i can use my spectrum analyzer in building this new system  :D
 

Offline stenbror

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #245 on: May 11, 2018, 08:22:42 pm »
My first that i owned myself was a Commodore Vic 20, but i did own 50% of a Sinclair ZX81 together with a friend back in 1982.
 

Offline Stavos122

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #246 on: May 11, 2018, 08:30:23 pm »
After a lot of articles and comparisons in PC Mag, first PC owned was a Compaq Presario - purchased is '93 or '94.  We laughed on the way home from the store that it was more expensive than the car it was being transported in.   
 

Offline precaud

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #247 on: June 09, 2018, 12:44:31 pm »
My first were in 1980/81, two Apple II systems (unbelievably expensive), one for the lab, one for the office. Both choices turned out to be a mistake. Replaced them with an HP 9845B for the lab and Eagle IIe (Z-80 CP/M) for the office. Both great choices. Never had a lick of a problem with either. Both still work today.
 

Online Richard Crowley

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #248 on: June 11, 2018, 05:04:21 pm »
In the E-test (test wafer probing, measurement and evaluation) lab I managed, we had several Lomac LM80 automated test systems. They had a 40-channel (or 48??) switch matrix, and four SMU source-measurement units which could source/sink voltage or current and simultaneously measure voltage/current.  Perfect for evaluating transistors, etc.

The LM80 came with an S-100 bus CP/M computer with a full 64Kbytes of memory and two 8-inch floppy drives.  I got several Xerox 820 computers to allow users to enter test parameters for the LM80s (so that the LM80s could spend their time testing and the programming could be done off-line).  The Xerox 820 was a commercialized version of the Ferguson BigBoard (referenced in Reply #71)  Xerox (whose PaloAlto Research Center, PARC invented the windowed GUI with mouse control and local networking) took a giant step backwards and licensed this rather basic CP/M board from a small company in Texas (Digital Research, not the same as the CP/M people).

But we quickly outgrew the 64K Z80 computer that came with the Lomac test system.  So I reverse-engineered the control bus and the control software to operate the SMUs and the switch matrix, and wrote a driver for the HP 9845, a couple orders of magnitude more sophisticated machine than the little CP/M sytems.  The HP 9845 came with several plug-in I/O modules, one of which was a 16-bit, bi-directional  parallel port which was perfect for talking to the Lomac hardware (with only five or six 7400 series TTL "glue" chips in-between)




The Lomac people came to visit one day and were astounded that we had upgraded their system on our own.  Those systems were used during development of a couple generations of CPU chips (386, 486, Pentium, etc.)
 
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Offline CatalinaWOW

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #249 on: June 12, 2018, 12:25:15 am »
9845 was the dream machine of its time.  You could have purchased 50 or so big board based computers for the price they brought.  Best I could do in that era was limited shared access to one, so I threatened to bring my own big board computer to work.  My threat, with others was what finally started breaking the ice on the company actually providing computers for engineers to use at their desks.
 

Offline Peter63

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #250 on: June 17, 2018, 10:28:43 am »
Commodore VIC-20, sold it 1988  :'(
 

Online tggzzz

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #251 on: June 17, 2018, 02:52:49 pm »
Clock rates have peaked, yes, but that makes things MUCH MORE interesting than any time since 1990! It's no longer enough for Intel to simply spend their billions on a new FAB process and lazily crank out the same design as last year but at 50% higher clock speed.

Now they have to actually *think*.

So far Intel have mostly been thinking "Lets put more of the same old cores on on chip". That's reasonably exciting. It makes tasks such as compiling software or video transcoding or responding to a lot of web requests much faster without a lot of effort, but it's a very interesting challenge to figure out how to use this for other things.

But even more exciting is that YOU DON't NEED TO BE INTEL to innovate any more. Basic CPUs aren't getting faster any more which means that speeding up particular tasks often now requires special hardware to directly implement the main part of the task, with a conventional CPU there as well to supervise and control it.

There is an absolute *explosion* happening in people building this special hardware inside FPGAs, and the successful and high volume designs migrate to custom SoCs. Sometimes this special hardware can be done as a co-processor with relatively loose coupling to the main CPU (and you can license ARM cores for that), but often it works better if you can hook your special hardware up to custom instructions in the CPU and incorporate it in the normal program flow in a much more fine-grained way. You can't do that with ARM.

Some companies are creating their own proprietary and customisable CPU architectures and that's exciting to see that happening again (like in the 70s and 80s). But even though gcc and linux etc are pretty portable it's still a lot of work to actually port them, and that work doesn't actually add any unique value to your company. So more and more people are grabbing an existing open-source and license-free processor design and customising that with their own special sauce.

Mostly now, that means RISC-V, which is getting very good momentum.

And so I've made my way to a RISC-V startup where our business is making customised CPUs and SoCs.  Exciting times!

Most of those efforts are merely variations on a theme, which run into the standard problems:
  • the processing power is limited by the i/o bandwidth
  • the embedded software languages haven't caught up with multicore systems (the latest C/C++ might be different, iff you can use that variant and the compiler correctly supports the language and the libraries use the new features and the engineers know the correct incantations)
  • real-time latency is difficult to guarantee
The only exception to that I'm aware of is the XMOS xCORE processors and xC. They have up to 32 core 4000MIPS chips with guaranteed instruction timings (IDE specifies the worst case, no measure-and-hope required), interrupt latencies typically 10ns, and solid inter-core comms and synchronisation built into the language.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Having fun doing more, with less
 

Offline Squarewave

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #252 on: June 19, 2018, 03:31:18 pm »
I think mine was a Wang computer. Green mono display, massive computer base to it with a hard drive referred to as a Winchester.

It didn't do much apart from some data base stuff and a word processor.

My printer was a massive daisy wheel printer.
 

Offline JimS

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #253 on: July 06, 2018, 07:34:30 am »
As I recall it was a Timex / Sinclair kit.
I do not recall the model number.
From searching on the web it it looks like it was a ZX80 in a ZX81 case.
It had a Z80 running at 1 Mhz with 1k sram.
I got the extra 1k sram and a video fix option/part(s) for it.
It did not have the second 40 pin chip like the ZX81 & 1000.
I replaced the Z80 with a Z80A and added extra ceramic caps to the power rails.
Traded it in on a 'trade in your old computer' special and get $100.00.
So my next one was a Commodore 64 with a floppy drive (cost more than the C64  ::)
I even modified my TV for a YC input for better video quality.
Thanks for the thread and bringing back fond memory's.
 

Offline luiHS

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #254 on: July 06, 2018, 09:25:21 am »
My list of computers, owned and used, in order of date are:

Owned:

1.- Sinclair ZX Spectrum
2.- Amstrad PC2286 (an expensive and very noisy compatible PC)
3.- PC compatible, several MCU up to now with Intel I7

Used:

1.- Sinclair ZX Spectrum
2.- IBM S36 5360, 5363 and 5364
3.- IBM AS400
4.- Amstrad PC2286
5.- PC compatible, several MCU up to now with Intel I7

I remember with fondness and nostalgia the IBM S36 5360, 5363 and 5364 with which I worked for several years until migrating to the IBM AS400 with which I was many years, until 2004. All the programming in RPGII and RPGIII language.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2018, 09:35:25 am by luiHS »
 

Offline spudboy488

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #255 on: July 06, 2018, 11:48:56 am »
My very first was a 8080 development/training board in college.
Then tried a TRS-80
Then used HP85 controllers (and their various iterations) for my job (followed by the 200 series)
Then built (from a bare board) an Apple II clone.
Then purchased a Sinclair ZX81 (I think I still have it)
Then purchased  a used Apple IIC.
Then built (component level) a 486 PC.
Then just purchased various other PC based laptops and desktops.
 

Offline bsfeechannel

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #256 on: July 06, 2018, 01:09:07 pm »
It was one of those Intel 8080 or 8086 training kits at school. It didn't have the fancy hexadecimal keypad or the eight-segment LED displays of later versions. Instructions  were entered in binary to an EPROM. You had a row of switches representing a byte and you had to turn them on or off to get your ones and zeros. If you made a mistake, you would have to wait for 30 minutes until the whole memory got erased under UV light. EEPROMs hadn't been invented yet. You had to "retype" your program byte by byte again because of a misconfigured switch on the 999th word. Fortunately things got a little better since then.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2018, 03:01:51 pm by bsfeechannel »
 

Offline exit_failure

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #257 on: July 06, 2018, 09:04:14 pm »
My first one was a Highscreen 386 DX-33. Complete with a 40MB hdd, 1.44" floppy and an externally attachable battery pack.

If anyone is interested, I can take a couple of pictures and maybe even take it apart when I'm at my parents' again.

 

Offline pamperchu

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