Author Topic: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?  (Read 44452 times)

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Offline ebastler

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #300 on: October 15, 2018, 08:51:32 am »
Alernatively. Make a 40-pin adapter, pcb like this, which converts between a tiny surface mount cpu and the larger 40 pin through hole one:



Bent pins and jumper wires are possible, of course, but nasty. :-) And I would not consider them if a large number of pins need to be redirected that way, starting with power and clock pins.

The adapter you show is intriguing for me due to its pins. I have made a similar adapter a couple of years ago (a little high score saver for an old arcade game, with a couple more ICs:  http://www.e-basteln.de/arcade/asteroids/highscore/). I used an old bag of solder pins for it, but struggled to find new stock in the right size.

I assume the adapter in your picture uses press-fitted pins. I have not come across these yet -- would you have details? Where to get them; are special tools required to install?

Thanks,
Juergen
 

Offline MK14

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #301 on: October 15, 2018, 09:00:16 am »
Bent pins and jumper wires are possible, of course, but nasty. :-) And I would not consider them if a large number of pins need to be redirected that way, starting with power and clock pins.

The adapter you show is intriguing for me due to its pins. I have made a similar adapter a couple of years ago (a little high score saver for an old arcade game, with a couple more ICs:  http://www.e-basteln.de/arcade/asteroids/highscore/). I used an old bag of solder pins for it, but struggled to find new stock in the right size.

I assume the adapter in your picture uses press-fitted pins. I have not come across these yet -- would you have details? Where to get them; are special tools required to install?

Thanks,
Juergen

They can be ridiculously expensive. But I have (VERY rarely) seen IC like/equivalent pins for sale. Especially designed for using on PCBs, to plug straight into IC sockets and similar.
The ones I saw, were from some kind of indigo/kickstarter or similar thing (if I remember, correctly).

(as requested, in your post) Sure, details here (R.S. supplier):
https://uk.rs-online.com/web/p/ic-socket-adapters/1582929/

 
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Offline Herr R aus B

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #302 on: October 26, 2018, 04:56:40 pm »
First contact was a PET 2001 with buildt in tape and that ridiculous chiclet keyboard and whopping 12K RAM at school - I was 16 then in 1980 and I remember they called for a dedicated school conference just to decide whether the school could afford purchasing the RAM upgrade from 2,5K to 12K which at the time was in the 1000s of DM and thus VERY expensive :-)

Then messed around with a buddy's VIC20 and my base player's ZX81 - the latter just being a terrible nightmare, sorry.

1982 I bought a C64 & 1541 and used it for MIDI controlling in my home recording setup together with the frst available MIDI interface and sequencer software by Steinberg.

https://www.forum64.de/index.php?thread/83843-c64-steinberg-research-midi-interface/

http://www.muzines.co.uk/images_mag/articles/SOS_apr_1986_the_professi_1_large.jpg

A friend of mine preferred playing Impossible Mission on the thing tho until he was able to play the damn game blindfolded and with earplugs from start to end in under 2 hours or so. :-)

Later I've got me a 1040STF in 1985 also for MIDI controlling and first C programming stuff until it got a lethal RAM upgrade by a friend who afterwards wasn't a friend any longer :-)

I then purchased my first 386 with stunning 8MB of RAM - remember a certain Bill Gates claiming that noone would ever need more then 640K of RAM, well, yeah, right... - and a ridiculously large 125MB HDD, which at that time (1990/91) was thought to be a beast of a machine - at least the seller was quite impressed as he had to order "special rare parts" for that one and I paid almost 5.000 DM - being around 4.300 € in today's money... well, given the fact that I was a poor student back then and compared to the 6.000 € for a little used cabin boat I bought three months ago, that was quite an investment, being rendered almost worhtless 4 years later... :-)

On that thing I did programming under OS/2 1.2 - 1.4 for my master thesis in CS using the Glockenspiel C++ pre compiler, the C/2 Set C compiler and ORACLE 5 as RDBMS - quite a setting as I also connected an old VT220 terminal to the serial port to use for starting the compiler and displaying error messages, while the 14" (!!!) Monitor displayed the Editor - there was no IDE at that time under OS/2 and the REXX Editor with some basic command line integration came later :-)

Those were they days and now I feel VERY old  :(

 ;D
« Last Edit: October 26, 2018, 05:15:29 pm by Herr R aus B »
 
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Offline Herr R aus B

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #303 on: October 26, 2018, 05:20:17 pm »
Commodore PET with the Chiclet keyboard and built-in cassette drive.


This thing is still the best design ever and I am so many times close to buy one - trying to be reasonable tho and staying away from the drug while thinking, it just looks nice, catches dust, takes up non-available space and is exactly capable of: not much :-)

Anyway - I love the thing, as it also was my first contact to CS  ^-^
« Last Edit: October 26, 2018, 05:22:27 pm by Herr R aus B »
 

Offline Herr R aus B

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #304 on: October 26, 2018, 05:27:13 pm »
...
Not as old as the stuff you guys had, I am not that old :)
...

Define OLD!!!  >:(

 ;D
 

Offline MK14

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #305 on: October 26, 2018, 05:28:18 pm »
This thing is still the best design ever and I am so many times close to buy one - try to be reasonable tho  it just looks ice, catches dust, takes up nonavailable space and does exactly - not much :-) Anyway - I love the thing, as it also was my first contact to CS  ^-^

Many years ago, I was at a radio-rally, and a pet computer, just like you pictured (or similar, if a different model), was apparently for sale for just £1 (maybe it was poor condition and/or not working, I didn't find out). I looked at it from a big distance, and thought, "nah" (No), and didn't even take a closer look at it.
These days, it would probably be worth a small fortune. (£100's I guess).

But as you say, they take up lots of room.

I think it is a real classic of a computer (design), and maybe iconic for the early development of home PCs (pre-real PCs that is, i.e. I mean PC=Personal computer, NOT IBM-PC), in the history books.

Although, there were computers available before it, in general, they were too expensive to hit the mass market and/or too difficult to use by normal people.
 

Offline Herr R aus B

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #306 on: October 26, 2018, 05:30:26 pm »
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

My uncle once brought that to a party - we all were VERY impressed and indeed he just had "programmed" this goat wolf cabbage riddle ;-) I was 8 then and rather liked the backlights in the "display" :-)
 
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Offline rrinker

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #307 on: October 26, 2018, 07:25:47 pm »
 I had one of those, although it was the Radio Shack/Tandy version. Same basic thing, they were just multi-contact slide switches and you built 'logic' by using the jumpers between various contacts. Fran Blanche did a video on one of them, though based on her reaction I think she forgot about what it really was until she got it out of the box and started playing around.

 The original chicklet keyboard PETs - we had those in physics lab in college, they were pretty much obsolete by then (around 1985) but no one had the time to rewrite the programs used for various experiment data gathering in some other BASIC. So the PET soldiered on.

 
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Offline Nusa

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #308 on: October 26, 2018, 10:40:11 pm »
I think most kids start with some version of an abacus. Even today.
 

Offline MK14

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #309 on: October 27, 2018, 12:21:33 am »
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.)

That computer (HP 9845) looks really cool (to me).
HP seemed to have, in some cases, put together some very desirable computers.
Some of the vintage computers (in general), still look amazingly desirable.

I suppose the PC computers we use today, will look really old and only be in museums one day.
They have already partially gone out of fashion. With some people I know (especially younger people), only using/having laptops/tablets and mobile (smart) phones, as regards their own personal computing devices.
 

Offline Herr R aus B

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #310 on: October 27, 2018, 04:14:50 pm »
I had one of those, although it was the Radio Shack/Tandy version. Same basic thing, they were just multi-contact slide switches and you built 'logic' by using the jumpers between various contacts. Fran Blanche did a video on one of them, though based on her reaction I think she forgot about what it really was until she got it out of the box and started playing around.

 The original chicklet keyboard PETs - we had those in physics lab in college, they were pretty much obsolete by then (around 1985) but no one had the time to rewrite the programs used for various experiment data gathering in some other BASIC. So the PET soldiered on.

So did IBM mainframes :-) We just got rid of our trusty 370 4 years ago ;-) And what did they do? Set up windows servers running ADABAS and ported all the NATURAL code stuff... darn  |O
 

Offline bob225

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #311 on: October 27, 2018, 05:41:36 pm »
I think most kids start with some version of an abacus. Even today.

only if its a phone app  ???
 

Offline Wolfgang

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #312 on: October 27, 2018, 06:03:08 pm »
The first computer I programmed was a Siemens 4004 Mainframe (/370 architecture clone) in the early 70ies, in FORTRAN.
My first "computer" I owned was a TI-59. My first PC was an IBM XT. So - guess how old I am :)
 
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Offline SilverSolder

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #313 on: October 27, 2018, 06:43:58 pm »
I suppose the PC computers we use today, will look really old and only be in museums one day.
They have already partially gone out of fashion. With some people I know (especially younger people), only using/having laptops/tablets and mobile (smart) phones, as regards their own personal computing devices.

If you use mobile/tablets only, you are probably mostly a consumer of information (web sites, movies, etc.)

If you are a designer, artist, financial trader, etc. that needs large screens and powerful computers with massive power and storage capabilities...   you are still a customer for a PC!

The size of PC is definitely shrinking though.  For example, the Dell Optiplex SFF size units - they take up little space yet can be filled with fairly serious capability that would have required at least a mid sized tower previously.
 

Offline MK14

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #314 on: October 28, 2018, 01:43:59 am »
If you are a designer, artist, financial trader, etc. that needs large screens and powerful computers with massive power and storage capabilities...   you are still a customer for a PC!

Not always though.
Some people go an in-between route, whereby, although they only have laptops (perhaps very powerful and expensive ones), they can be plugged into full sized monitors or big TVs etc (with external mouse and even keyboard if necessary).
Effectively giving them a "sort of" PC, anyway.
 

Offline MK14

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #315 on: October 28, 2018, 01:51:53 am »
The first computer I programmed was a Siemens 4004 Mainframe (/370 architecture clone) in the early 70ies, in FORTRAN.
My first "computer" I owned was a TI-59. My first PC was an IBM XT. So - guess how old I am :)

Yes, the TI-59 would have been a nice "computer". I liked playing with calculators (programmable), like that one.

http://www.h-peters.com/siemens_1970/index.html

It is amazing how different, computers look, compared to the 1960s/70s. I wonder how fast that computer is, compared to Dave's latest $0.03, 3 cent one ?
It wouldn't surprise me, if the 3 cent one is faster. I think most people would agree, it is a fraction cheaper, smaller and uses less power as well.

 
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Offline SLJ

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #316 on: November 06, 2018, 01:08:56 am »
1980/81 built a a Ferguson Big-Board computer that was offered by Digital Research Computers as a bare board, a kit, or a ready-to-go populated board. Just add power supplies, 8 inch disk drives, a keyboard, case, and monitor. It was powered by a Z-80 processor with 64K of RAM and ran the CP/M operating system.
Since home computers had not arrived yet, or at least any that I could afford at the time, I decided to build the "Big Board" so I could do work at home. Started with just the unpopulated board and parts list. Tracked down all the parts, machined the panels and keyboard case, built the chassis, found a bare keyboard and 8" drives, and power supplies. Took me a year. By the time I got it done they were switching to IBM/DOS computers. |O  I still have it and it still works.



 
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Offline brucehoult

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #317 on: November 06, 2018, 10:38:05 am »
1980/81 built a a Ferguson Big-Board

I remember lusting over BYTE magazine ads for those. As a teenager was infinitely far from being able to actually afford one.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2018, 10:23:34 pm by brucehoult »
 

Offline rrinker

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #318 on: November 06, 2018, 06:39:19 pm »
 I had a TI-57 programmable calculator. I never found it when I cleaned out my Mom's house, I don't know what became of it. But I DID have the manual for it. I got a lot of use out of that machine, even if the battery life was a bit limited (but it did use rechargeables). I lusted after the TI-59 but that was beyond what I could afford.
 
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Offline IconicPCB

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #319 on: November 06, 2018, 07:44:05 pm »
My first post abacus "computer" was a robot similar to this image.

Irt had a grid of numbers and electrical contacts along with  electrical probes and eyes that light up.

The probes were an " input device " and the eyes would light up when the correct product was identified by the user.

Vintage early sixties
 
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Offline MK14

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #320 on: November 06, 2018, 08:33:04 pm »
My first post abacus "computer" was a robot similar to this image.

Irt had a grid of numbers and electrical contacts along with  electrical probes and eyes that light up.

The probes were an " input device " and the eyes would light up when the correct product was identified by the user.

Vintage early sixties

WOW, just wow, that looks really neat and cool.
I would imagine, I would have loved to have had a toy like that.
It can even teach you to learn basic mental arithmetic.
Pure wired up logic. No microprocessors, digital logic, transistors or even any passives.

I guess a simple internal bell/buzzer (all electro-mechanical) could be included, to give further incentive for getting the right answer.

The basic concept, reminds me of these things :

 

Offline brucehoult

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Re: What was the very first computer you owned or used ?
« Reply #321 on: November 06, 2018, 10:33:43 pm »
I had a TI-57 programmable calculator. I never found it when I cleaned out my Mom's house, I don't know what became of it. But I DID have the manual for it. I got a lot of use out of that machine, even if the battery life was a bit limited (but it did use rechargeables). I lusted after the TI-59 but that was beyond what I could afford.

Same here. Although in 7th form the guy I was jealous of was the one with a TI-58C, because it had non-volatile memory.

No one in my high school peer group had a TI-59, but I went to a meetup where someone did. They'd actually hacked their '59 to run about 10x faster by snipping the lead of a capacitor on the board and soldering in a smaller value one! However this made the mag card reader not work.

My '57 was just big enough to do things like numerical integration with a reasonable function to be integrated. I used that a *lot* in exams to check I hadn't made an error. I knew the program by heart and could enter it quickly.

Another small program I used a lot was one to find the best fraction corresponding to a decimal number, using continued fractions. Usually I made it loop improving the fraction until the next term was bigger than 1000. So, for example, 0.33 would return 33/100 and 0.333 would return 333/1000, but 0.3333 would return 1/3. Another example, I liked 3.141592654 to return 355/113.
 
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