PCs

Cracking open the IBM PC Jr. and waxing nostalgic

In a fit of nostalgia, Mark Kaelin cracked open an IBM PC Jr. -- find out what he discovered.

As I mentioned in a previous Classics Rock blog post, I was once the proud owner of an IBM PC Jr. And while the Junior was not a market success for IBM by any stretch of the imagination, it did serve me well back in 1985 when I was a college senior trying to finish my last semester of term papers. That is one of the reasons I jumped at the opportunity to create the Cracking Open the IBM PC Jr. Photo Gallery.

The PC Jr. was IBM's attempt to tap in to the budding home personal computer market of 1983. While the PC Jr. had many positives with regard to the general home user, it also had several limitations that ultimately doomed it in the marketplace. I bought my PC Jr. in 1985 from my older brother, who never quite figured out what to do with it.

As you can see in the Cracking Open Photo Gallery, the PC Jr. had several internal design innovations that eventually made their way into common practice. There are also several design innovations that should have become widely adopted but never were. Overall, I have nothing but fond memories of the PC Jr. Of course, at the time, it quickly became obvious that I was going to need a more powerful PC. And I have been chasing better performance ever since.

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

3 comments
twobrats64
twobrats64

When the PCjr was phased out, I was able to get one for free by purchasing their bundled software. It was one of my earliest experiences with a PC, and I had a blast with the wireless keyboard and Flight Simulator. I subsequently tried to upgrade it (with a 10MB HDD!), but it was PCjr's simplicity that made it great.

Scott Lowe
Scott Lowe

Man, this brings back memories. The PCjr was my first PC as well and it was a great machine to have. I learned to program in BASIC and was even able to program room-filling 3-voice sound! My PCjr also got me into the whole BBS thing... at a whopping 300 baud. I'll never forget how much fun I had -- and how much I learned -- from this machine.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

What is the personal computer that fueled your passion information technology and computing?

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