Author Topic: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?  (Read 44847 times)

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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 »
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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.
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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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Online 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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Online 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.
 

Online 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
Retired Pulsed Power Engineer/Physicist...now I just dabble in electronics
 

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.
 

Online 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.
 


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