Dinosaur sightings: The Commodore 64
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So many good memories
For many of us in the baby-boom generation, the first computer we can remember having in our homes was the famous Commodore 64. In the early 1980s, this was a very successful home personal computer. It was the first computer I had that not only played games but also had word processing and a modem for downloading free and shareware applications. In many ways, the Commodore 64 was the pioneer of everything we take for granted in a personal computer world today. After soaking in some nostalgia, we plan to Crack Open this C64 to see what makes it tick.
Found it on eBay
Cara Reynolds found our Commodore 64 on eBay. Because it included the original box we couldn’t pass it up.
It does it all
The C64 was a true computer — not only entertainment but productivity applications too. There wasn’t really an operating system — the C64 loaded up a flavor of basic and waited for you to load a program.
Are we there yet?
Even in the early 1980s, computer makers were trying to create a friendly user experience.
Not impressive by today’s standards, but surprisingly engaging in its day.
Note the emphasis on sound — sound consisting of more than beeps was revolutionary.
Now that's a keyboard
The keyboard layout has changed much in over 20 years, but there is one thing different about the C64 version. Note the ASCII and color labels on the keys when in the function mode. Sometimes the best graphics when programming in Basic were created with clever use of ASCII characters.
The Commodore 64 has a simple yet memorable logo.
The label says control port, but they are really just the holes you plug your joystick into.
Connect to the outside world
The large connection is where you would hook your external modem. Yes, even in the early 1980s there was an online world to tap into. Back then we referred to them as electronic bulletin boards.
Now that is a power brick
It took a lot of power brick to make the right amount of power for a Commodore 64.
The C64 power brick is a monstrosity when compared to the power bricks you see for electronics today.
No coupler needed
Our C64 came with two 300 baud modems. This is the first one.
How fast is 300 baud? Well, if a snail equals 300 baud, you have to consider the speed of the Earth hurling around the sun to be Gigabit speed.
I had a modem like this
What could you download at 300 baud? Text mostly. At this speed, you received text at about the same speed you could read it.
To see what a Commodore 64 displayed you had to hook it up to a television. We plan to see our C64 in action before we take it apart. Stay tuned.