Franklin Ace 2000 series
Nicole Bremer Nash is Director of Content and Social Media for HuTerra, where she uses SEO and social media to promote charitable organizations in their community-building and fundraising efforts. She enjoys volunteering, arts and crafts, and conducting science experiments at home. Nicole has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Transylvania University, and has experience in copywriting for education, print, business, and the web. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter via @HuTerra.
My first computer was built from the plans provides by Popular Electronics and called the COSMAC Elf. 1802 processor and 256 bytes of memory. I expanded the memory to 1024 bytes of RAM and 1024 bytes of ROM later in its life. I still have it squirreled away in a box someplace in the garage.
My dad bought me my first computer, a Commodore 64, when I was 15. Anytime my parents were out home, I used to open the case and look the circuitry inside. I remember clearly trying to control a junk step motor through the modem port, sending those great 'poke' commands to toogle the pin voltages. Next day, with an angry dad barking me to explain the technician how I blew up the C64, I was amazed at how they replaced the dead IC and brought the computer back to life in just minutes. Decades later, there must be quite a few kids out there, blowing things up on their hobby circuits designed by me. The loop is closed.
Comm64.. What a beauty..I did an entire "Scarab 38ft" boat costing (575 separate parts) on one of these.Slow but got there in the end...
This was my first! I was s suprized when I saw the pic. I didn't think anyone else ever owned one of these. Bought from radio shack around christmas "84. It was top of the line having 2 Floppy drives. It was an apple compatible computer and I primarily used it for word processing. My roommates were glad I had it too. Sold it about "92 to someone who just needed a word processors. I included my 9 pin dot matrix printer. It got me through school.
I learned to use a computer on the Apple II, at Genesis Club in the early '90s, and jumped at the chance. I'd been fascinated with computers ever since they came on the market (late '80s). Although I couldn't really say I'm a geek - am very technically challenged: attracted to technology, but don't have the ability.
In the early 70's I used the IBM 1130, IBM 360 and PDP-8 computers at San Diego State. I had to carry boxes of cards from my classroom to drop off at SDSU. In 1973 my SD Community College classroom received a Wang 600 programmable (http://www.oldcalculatormuseum.com/wang600.html) calculator so we could program right in the classroom. The term microcomputer or personal computer had not yet been invented, but we used the Wang 600 to teach scientific and commercial programming. In addition to the 2K memory, we had the cassette tape drive for data and program storage. We also had a drum printer and an IBM Selectric typewriter for I/O. We used machine code to program everything. A few years later, the school bought a locally manufactured computer based on the Motorola 6800 chip that could address 64k of memory. BASIC in ROM was placed at the 32k boundary because who would ever need more than 32k? It had a TTY with paper tape for I/O. The first pc that I owned personally was one manufactured in Texas that had 3 processor cards - Z80, Motorola 6800 and 6502. Depending on boot choice, we could run CPM, DOS, MDOS, Unix or Apple programs. My second pc was a 1986 Radio Shack IBM PC compatible. I still have both. I booted them up after the year 2000 and both had no trouble with the Y2K problem, unlike some of my later devices. Great memories!
I still have a Compaq like the one pictured. Still have the original 5 1/4 disks containing Lotus 1,2,3 and work processor programs too. Still works too. I also had a VIC 20 my Dad bought for me back when the came out in the early eighties. Those were heady days. Being able to write your own programs and play games (remember "picking and poking"?).
Kind of a screw-up... What about the Altari 8800, the IMSAI 8080, and the SCELBI-8H? They were around before any you showed, and were available in both kit and finished form. "First" 18 computers - indeed...
I think you should add the word Personal in the title. The first 18 were mainframes - Colossus, Eniac, Maniac, Atlas etc.
The Digi-Comp was the very first computer that I had as a youngster and enjoyed programming it with the plastic pegs and enjoyed making it count up and down in binary.
Now THAT was a TI-99 system!! I'll bet he had full voice synthesis with that get up. I always borrowed my buddies once and a while for basic courses. The voice programs I wrote were creepy!! They sounded almost a good as today's synthetic voice! It was easy to program the inflections to make it sound like a real human was talking!! I bought almost everything for my 1985 IBM Convertible too. I even got the optional monochrome monitor. Looking at the green lettering puts me in a trans like state now. The memories flooding back!
I remember the Apple 2 Europlus in school. we used to open the top and plug the game paddles directly into the mobo. Our physics teacher was constantly unplugging the paddles :)
The first computer I used at my job was not a PC, it was, I believe, a Burroughs, (don't remember the model #,maybe L5000?) but it took up a whole room, read a strip on 9x13 cards, had a separate reader and printer and the computer itself was huge. That was in the early 1970's. We've come a long way, baby!
The first computer I got to fool with was a PDP-15, followed by a 360/25 and then the university's gigantic GE-635. . . (200K 36-bit words!) and the last of the pre-PC computers I used regularly was a Data General S/250. In addition to the custom programs I worked on, the S/250 supported over a dozen simultaneous WordPerfect users up through version 4.05. I wasn't impressed by PCs much 'till they got powerful enough to run WordPerfect. . . That wasn't 'till after the IBM PC came out. . . Then I got one of the very first "white label" PC-XT clones. Does this make me a fossil?
Sanyo (MBC-550) and TI both created machines that were 'almost' IBM compatible. The Sanyo one were inexpensive and ran quite a bit of IBM software but not all which doomed them. TI made a very good, very expensive high end machine with gorgeous graphics for the time. Being less compatible than even the Sanyo they quickly marched to oblivion. My manager had one, only because his brother worked for TI & he got it really cheap. The Tandy 1000 may qualify here, ran a 80186 chip so it was faster than a bog standard XT, booted to DOS from ROM as well I think. Suffered from odd compatibility glitches.
Started with a ZX81 then progressed to a Dragon 64 - made in Wales I believe. Advanced for its time - but the company went bust - bad management. Had tape plug in and ability to pload from a solid state cartridge (basically a large usb :-)) Then an ATARI STFM with built in disk AND GUI
Was pleased to seem an image of the Kaypro. Bought one in San Francisco in 1984 & brought back to Australia. Started what has been a 25+ year adventure in IT. However the Kaypro was probably the first of a series of bleeding edge bad bets. I have made a number of incorrect choices at the beginning of new technological developments - but hey, that's how you learn.
In all these looks at old computers I have yet to see a photo of the SB-180 which was produced by a small firm in Connecticut. Does anyone recall this and is there a photo out there somewhere? llh
I still have my TI 99/4 A in a box in my basement.. Can't wait to show my 1 year olds what daddies first computer looked like in a few years!!!
If you like re-living old memories about your days writing program onto audio cassette, or if you just long to create stacks of punchcards, then perhaps oldcomputers.com is the site for you. I stumbled across this site a while ago, and every now and then, glance back at what once was high tech. It's amazing how much they look like junk now.
There are two computers I remember starting with. One of them was a Texas Instrument computer that used cartridges and the other was a Commodore-like computer that had two floppy drives and no hard drive. That one I have especially fond memories of since we had games for it like "New York Adventure," "The Golden Wombat," and "Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade"(the most graphically advanced game we owned). Man, I loved that computer. If anyone else remembers any of those games, would you happen to know where I could find a copy of "The Golden Wombat?"
Oh I loved the Commodore 64 had the whole nine yards.. the tape drive.. two hard drives (lots of 5 1/4 flippies).. the Commodore monitor.. spent lots and lots of hours writing programs and games for this one.. still have it packed away..I always thought at the time that I would NEVER fill up the 64 ram of memory :) Dave Wilson
The Heathkit H-29 is the display monitor only. The computer in the picture is the H-8. email@example.com
The Apple ][ was the first Apple computer that was not a kit. Although the base unit came with 4K of RAM, I immediately opted for the 48K version when I purchased it in 1978, so I could do meaningful work. Apple's Integer Basic was built into the ROM of the machine, and it came with a tape cassette for loading / saving programs, and I also purchased a black-and-white 9" monitor (not an Apple product, as their original computers were meant to be plugged into your own monitor or TV). The operating 8-1/2" x 11" manual was maroon colored with white writing on the cover. Inside, the pages looked like they had been typed on a typewriter (not typeset), and there were hand-written margin notes by the Apple engineers. I still have that computer, and the manuals that came with it, and was happy to pay the $3500 asking price for this amazing piece of technology. As time progressed, I upgraded the memory to 64K, added a Z80 card, and eventually two floppy drives (140K each). About four years after purchasing the basic unit, I added a Corvus 5MB hard drive (price of the drive in 1981 was $5,000) and created my first Point-of-Sale software using Ashton Tate's Dbase II database language.
Wang 2200 series (straddling the prog calculator and a computer); the Altos range (running Unix); the Datapoint machines with the very first networking connection AND the first VLSI (the RIM chip, Resource Interface Module; the networking part of the computer). They are company who sold Intel the 8008 instruction set and Intel eventually squeezed it onto a chip. And the rest is history ...
With my first real job, one that I got myself, parents did not help at all. I used my second paycheck with my savings to buy and Atari 800 computer. Half the price of an Apple and I already owned an Atari 2600 Video game. Then after playing only games or writing Atari Basic (very much like HP Basic) I started to use the 4 joystick ports as two 8bit I/O ports. After having them switch on/off red LED's (the only color in 1982). I hooked them to 8bit Digital to Analog converters to move motors to angle mirrors to aim laser beams like at the Laser Light shows. The audio input was from the cassette tape data recorder, it was only a 1 bit sampler but it input the beat rate of the music to change the mirrors (two angles) to aim the beams of red lasers. Later for a blue Krypton 5 watt beam that we aimed at the moon and could see at night. They had yet to make an affordable green laser so we could not do RGB full color.
I remember back in 1977 helping author Rescue from the Death Star. Our TTY text adventure went over the 256K the HP time sharing system allowed each school to have for storage. We to store and backup programs had to use the 7bit Ticker tape to keep copies of programs. Over time the game got so popular we were given our own member area of a huge 512K. Over time it became 37 programs with 54 data files holding maps and data. In time with compacting and pruning the code we used 362K with 442 rooms and could have 63 people playing at the same time. The game got removed from the system in 1981 because it was using to much of the time sharing time slots. The problems of making a program be so much fun.
So do you remember ever waking from a daze, after your physics teacher hypnotized you into a trace over Apple junk believing it was great. And spending money on anything but Apple stuff was like a sin to the all mighty Steve Jobs.
I've only seem photos of those old computers, it seems like they still used tubes and the silicon parts were in inch's of size mot fractions of an inch. And punch cads held data, even before ticker tape
@rjmnet Don't forget Robin and the PDP-11/V03
I was taking my secomd year of physics, and one day a fellow student brought in his fathers kit. Every one was fascinated by it. My teacher was admazed by it, The last comomputer he saw was the size of the Industrial frig in the back of the room the Biology class keep their experiments in. And it had a big red skull and cross bones on it to warn you about it.
Only ever was one in a Byte Mag ad. But when it vanished many Byte readers wanted to know why such a cool name vanished. The Z-80 SX computer made great controllers for things like home made Robots, but never seemed to make it into the media environment. But processing the step by step actions of decisions, some thing that cost less than a bengy and needed a human to pick the correct action. That was far cheaper that a person who would suffer boredom thus costing big bucks to employ or a good flow of replacements.
It is not that you made the wrong pick, you made the right pick with new innovative technology. It was the company that made the tech you bought the ones who made the bad choices. What you selected may not have been a good and wise selection, but in America you are educated to believe you always make the right selections. And if you get blamed for bad happenings you blame someone else. You can see this culture flaw every where today. There use to be a I made the choice and am proud of it because I was man enough to make a choice.
Are you going to have your one year old baby watch some Dinosaur films first. So your child has the concept of old. Or make grampa and gramma play video games against you so your baby knows what old is. Because age to a one year old is like how do you get to the moon for a grade schooler.
I recall a few years back when I use to get PC Mag. One of their Sites they recommended was this old computers site, most likely the same place. It was like digging in the Colorado hills (other states they would be mountains by here a 1000 foot mound of dirt and rock is a hill) for dinosaurs bones. And finding your old computer stuff was like finding a new kind of Dinosaur. And the few years was actually more like Turn of the Century time, so a decade ago. But those old clunkers were marvels of technology at there time. Almost like finding the first Trilobite fossil.
The first Texas Instruments computer I recall is the TI-99 and I think Radio Shack sold them locally in Denver for around 6 months, then the Trash 80 (TRS-80) Model One came out. Remember 16k to start and a 32x16 text screen on TV. Next year came the TI-99A and plenty of expantion options, even a S-100 like clone box but think it only had a 50 pin bus. Do not recall the CPU, but it was a rare kind. It even had a drawing tablet, some thing like a 4x3 inch pad, and a thermal ink printer. TI had computer things but never got big or any more popular than My dad worked for them and got me this computer at employee discount prices.
Reading the description on Golden Wombat reminded me of Infocom Games. We had tons of those because my brother (the boy genius) played them. We even had the good ole "Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy" which I tried my hand at but couldn't get very far. We had the official "Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy" book but it didn't help me. The only one I got close to solving was one of the first one's with a female main character. Can't remember what it was called, but it had something to do with pirates. But those were games where you actually had to use your brain!
Haven't downloaded it myself but I'm sure you've got safeguards in place to make sure you're protected from malware. http://www.darkneon.com/copy/various/wombat/wombat.html
In 1983 when I upgraded to an Atari 800XL it allowed memory bank switching, simular to the 40K to 48K that the Atari switched in and out as cartridges where added or removed. With the bank switching of the 256K chips I could have 216K of free RAM, less if you used the memory as a RAM Disk. And made finding the closest and easiest fraction to use as PI. Today on today's 32/64 bit machines that week would happen in hours. But the clock rate of half the TV channel band with of 3.58 MHz was speedy back then. Now days it's 1000 times faster in the Giga not Mega range. How long until the Tera range.
A friend of mine had a home built Heathkit 8080 system that he upgraded to a Z-80, and loved the CP/M OS. He first started with an Altar 8080 system built on proto typing peg boards with wire wraping connections. When the IBM PC came out he was first in line to order one. Then when Windows 3.0 came out he was proclaiming 'Apple stuff this' I used Win 3.0 for 4 months on my old AMD K-6 (386 but better and faster) PC that I built by collecting hardware parts I put in a full tower case.
It seems the editors of the posting here are Apple fans. When I picked Atari over Apple in 1980. Atari was a far better game and graphics with sound system. Really began to hate them when the Atari ST started. Wondering why everyone was so dumb in picking a B/W small screen with no real joystick or game ability's. And saying I ever owned a Apple computer is as insulting to me as saying I'm gay or HIV+, so please correct your error so I only feel insulted once not every day. But I do not hate those that pick a MAC, because as the 80's band DEVO once sang 'It's a Freedom of Choice' in the song 'Freedom of Choice'. P.S. But I guess it's the System Controllers (SysOps) here choice also.
Hi Found a link on Wikipaedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon_32/64 for the Dragon 32 and 64. Interesting that it talks in present tense like its still in use ! Its got some picture as well
I loved Infocom games, managed to get so much atmosphere into text-based adventure games! I still have Hitchikers and Wishbringer. I still occasionally play them on my iPod Touch using Frotz. You also got great extras in the boxes. Hitchikers came with pocket fluff, a microscopic space fleet and 'Don't Panic' glasses! :) Russ
A Dinosaur of the industry going back to the 50's told me, Everytime I work on my MacTel, I drink several shots of booze, so I can loose 100 IQ points. I don't know how many FCP users I've asked, what codec are you rendering to, and they can not tell me. I know there are many Mac Pros, have no doubt and seen some great things, I'm just astonished Jobs still wants to sell an OS for 2k. The iToys is their bread and butter, I like the new iPhone, but they have shot themselves in the foot to not bring OSx to the PC world, they must wear special shoes! LOL
I think you were a postman in it weren't you? I had the stone, it was nice little clear crystal in a velvet drawstring bag but I think the dog ate it! :) Got a letter and map in there still though. No one else ever gave you the great stuff in the box that Infocom did as far as I know.
That was the only one I actually did solve. If I remember correctly I liked that one because it came with a Wishbringer "stone". :D