pglaubitz
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Re: What was your first computer?

Sat Jan 28, 2012 7:03 am

Never realized how many started as I did, on a ZX81...

rmpel
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Re: What was your first computer?

Sat Jan 28, 2012 9:26 am

First computer in the house; A Sony MSX. We had it for about 3 hours. It didn't work properly. Wouldn't load any software. We traded it in for a Commodore 64.

My father would keep a record of his car-milage on it. My mother would play Solitaire and other card games. Myself, I was programming software on it. Not very impressive back then and certainly no mentionable software either . I was 8.

A few years later I purchased, from two years of saving, my very own computer. A Commodore PC 10 - III. switchable between 4,77 , 7,14 and 9,54 MHz . Amazing feature from a press of a few keys on the keyboard. Anytime, in any piece of software.

The goal of this machine was to prepare me for University programming, however, I was misinformed; the machine was ok, but it had the wrong OS. Years later I would be programming on Unix. The bliss of owning a computer overshadowed it's original goal and that very same goal was lost until actually getting on University.

I fastly grew out of my twin-floppy machine, being only 8 bits, no hard disk. My uncle presented me with a machine for my birthday; a quarter the size, roughly 8 times as powerful; an Amstrad PC7386-SX80. OH MY. 25 MHz, 80 MB hard disk. 'Pure bliss' was redefined. It had VGA screen (about 10 inches of it, in color). No sound though.

With the help of my dad I created a Disney Sound Source, for hooking up to the parallel port and playing music with a ModTracker. Didn't work in games though. So one year - on a quite large event (HCC Dagen, for the Dutchies) - I purchased a Creative Sound Blaster 2.0. Mono, but great clarity of sound. Playing Prince of Persia gave me the goosebumps again

The great thing of this machine was; it fit in my backpack It's footprint was smaller than any other computer I owned after that.

Next up; a Laser 486 sx25. Can't remember the model but it was flat, as wide as my HiFi components little more depth, but it stacked nicely. Upgraded it myself to 486DX66. Took some soldering on the mainboard to replace the 25 MHz crystal with a 33 one. Running Windows 3.11 fW.

And then I discovered music (on computers, that is). I had loads of equipment coming and going. Not chronologically; two Pentium 133 computers, AV digitizers, iomega ZIP drives, then two Pentium II 233 machines overclocked to 266, more video editing hardware and much, much more.

It all ended.

I reached age to get to university and I got into programming. At home, no more programming. I was done with it; 6 hours a day was enough, so home time was about games. My 233 MHz machines quickly grew old. A PIII machine was never in sight and I stepped into the realm of Pentium4. Two machines; one with a Linux server, and one Windows 98 machine.

Years later, about 4 computers later, I saw Macintosh OSX for the first time. I was not impressed. Unfortunately that was only because of my years-of-windows-indoctrination. I had dealt with os8 and os9 machines on the University but that was a rare occasion. IBM OS/2 Warp also didn't cut it. Ran great, but what to do with an OS without software. Running Win/Dos software had to be emulated, quickly negating the performance gain of OS/2.

I continued to enjoy the realm of Microsoft/IBM compatibles, until I started to work with my current employer. In an all-Mac environment I was quickly converted. No more Linux, no more Windows, just OSX. I can do anything with it. I use it for development, server, workstation, gaming, blogging. Me happy. Never going back to Windows.

To conclude the topic; the First computer, hereby my last (or rather; latest) computers.

My trusty Macbook Pro 17" (L'08) is getting replaced soon with a Macbook Pro 17" (L'11) only 8 days waiting left... I can hardly wait It will be the perfect companion for my 27" iMac

Next up; an R-PI-B. Oh, the plans I got with it ....

MikeyT
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Re: What was your first computer?

Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:42 am

In my earlier post, I forgot that the first computer I actually used, as opposed to owned, was in about 1970 or 1971, at what was then North Staffs Polytechnic.  I have no idea what the computer was but we were taught Polygol70, a subset of ALGOL.  I missed out on using an English Electric Leo Marconi machine at Birmingham University when I was there in 1966 or 1967 – a KDF9 if I remember correctly.  I think it was somewhere in the bowels of the Great Hall.  Anyone remember this?

I have only briefly been a programmer but the thing that gave me the most pleasure was taking the BASIC listing of a program, published  in BYTE magazine, the winner that year of the readers' competition and re-programming it in Turbo Pascal.  The program was a flight simulator and I did not own a BASIC compiler so in BASIC it ran in freeze frame mode!  It flew beautifully in Pascal but it only flew in real time so I would take off last thing Friday night from Heathrow and then get up early in the morning to land at JFK.  Sometimes just to crash and burn and that hurt!  Then I discovered MUD at Essex Uni.  But that's a whole different thread!

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khisanth
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Re: What was your first computer?

Wed Feb 01, 2012 10:28 am

A lovely beautiful Amstrad CPC464 with colour monitor. Got it in either 1984 or 1985, need to check.

Christmas morning, went back to my bedroom and oh my god there was the machine all setup and running Roland in the Caves!

Thus my career in IT was set.

rj999
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Re: What was your first computer?

Wed Feb 01, 2012 1:08 pm

RCA Spectra 70-15...

G7KES
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Re: What was your first computer?

Wed Feb 01, 2012 1:46 pm

My first computer was a Nat Semi 8073 SC-MP II, running NIBL (National Industrial BASIC Language). It was a very restricted BASIC, with only integers between -32768 and 32767. Character strings were possible, but not very nice.

The hardware consists of three boards: CPU board, EPROM board and RAM board. I think that at least some of these boards came from the Elektor magazine. It certainly used an Elekterminal (15 rows of 66 characters) to talk to it, and for a monitor, an ICL 7561 mainframe console monitor I still have it all, but the last time I switched on the ICL monitor it started to smoke

There was no storage. You were expected to have an ASR-33 to save stuff on paper tape. I didn't come into contact with one of those until I went to Southport Tech and played on the PDP-11

Since then I have had all sorts of things, but my favorites are probably the Beebs.

Best Regards,

Paul.

fmdao
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Re: What was your first computer?

Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:34 am

I had imagined and built my own computer based on an 6809 CPU.

SneakerMonkey
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Re: What was your first computer?

Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:52 pm

started off doing C programming on a BBC Micro....

I dont really feel that old if I'm honest

Borg 1.0
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Re: What was your first computer?

Thu Feb 02, 2012 1:23 pm

What a wonderful blast from the past! Isn"t it amazing to know how much all us geeks have in common?

My first was a Super80 – a kit computer published by Electronics Australia in 1978. 2 MHz Z80, with 16k DRAM and a 64x20 display (from memory). Cassette storage using the Kansas City Standard (1200/2400 Hz). A horrid kludgy BASIC without arrays, floats, and non-renumberable lines. I loved it!

I actually hid it under my bed while I built it, to show mum & dad that I could follow something important through…

Then a Motorola D2 kit -a 1MHz 6802 with 2k SRAM, a hex keypad and 6 x 7-segment displays. And it all fit in a monstrous black suitcase! I still have it, and yes, it still works beautifully.

Next was an Epson QX10, courtesy of my new job as a computer salesman. Magical keyboard, beautiful.

Then a Beeb Model B, that I had upstairs (I lived in a flat above the shop, so I was never allowed to be late!), followed by a cast-off Apple Lisa, with 2 SSSD 8-inch floppies, a big step down from the Beeb!

Then I built a Little Big Board, courtesy of Electronics Today International, an Aussie staple of the 80"s. I liked it so much, I got a job with the manufacturer! It was an STD bus-based 4MHz Z80, with 64k DRAM, built-in FDC (WD1797), 2 serial terminal ports, RTC, running CP/M 2.2, and later TurboDOS. I still have two working, with 1.4M floppies, and a 20MB Tandon TM262 – the world"s first commercial 3 1/2" hard drive! That still works too, although the bearings are shot and it has to be manually rotated to start up these days! (a bit like me in that respect…).

I still develop and maintain code on it, in Turbo Pascal 3.01, MBASIC, DBASE II, and Wordstar 3.1. M80 and L80 still compile all my assembler code.

I remember being paid the princely sum of $200 by the Pulsar boss for designing an upgrade for the LBB, using a 10MHz (yes, ten!) Z80H and 256k (I nearly wrote M!) bank-switched memory, and a digital PLL for the floppy…

Then I got into designing AT motherboards, and lost my love of life… It"s been nothing but beige since then, I"m afraid, which is why I keep the LBB system running smoothly!

Oh, and a few side-tracks : a Microbee 64k Premium (and I"m about to receive one of the new Coldfire/Z80 "Bees from the new Microbee developers, woo hoo!); an Amiga 2000 (which I had to leave behind in our last house move ), an Apple IIC that I did bring with me, and plenty of self-designed Z80 single board computers, plus PIC, Atmel, and even a 512k ARM SBC at one time…

And you know, I"m more excited than I can say about my soon-to-be RPi-B!!!

I do like my silicon. I think many of us are truly "silicon connoisseurs"!

rpt
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Re: What was your first computer?

Thu Feb 02, 2012 2:36 pm

My first computer was a Science of Cambridge MK14 with 256 bytes of RAM and 512 bytes of ROM. It had a hex keypad and calculator type display. Over time I added more RAM, a cassette interface and even a video display. This just mapped the RAM so you could actually see the data in your program change on screen.

I was originally meant to get the MK14 for Christmas 1978 but it took ages to come and it wasn't until sometime in 1979 that I could actually build the kit. It didn't work so it had to go back to the manufacturer. After another long wait it came back working with the news that the reset resistor was the wrong value.

The first computer I used was a PDP11 (I think) that was accessed over the phone from school. The machine itself was at Hatfield Polytechnic (now the University of Hertfordshire). At school we had an ASR33 teletype connected through a 110 baud modem (rented from the Post Office). You'd prepare your program offline on paper tape to limit the cost of the phone calls.

After this I built a UK101 with a friend. This didn't work either but I discovered that the PCB hadn't been etched properly and two tracks were shorting. After cutting this it sprang into life, much to the surprise of my friend.

Next was a BBC model B and eventually a PC (386SX, 4M RAM, 100MB HDD). Since then it's been a succession of home built PCs and soon a Raspberry Pi...

Nyoneno
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Re: What was your first computer?

Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:04 pm

My first experience was at school in first grade with my school's lab of Apple IIgs.  My classroom was next to the lab and my teacher loved teaching with the computers so we got lots of time to play.

At home I took over my dad's old TRS-80 model 100.  Sadly I was using it in 1994.  My dad did keep enough books and magazines to keep me interested for a few years.

After that my family got our first PC, windows 95, and it was a series of PCs past that.

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Re: What was your first computer?

Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:32 pm

MikeyT said:


I missed out on using an English Electric Leo Marconi machine at Birmingham University when I was there in 1966 or 1967


One thing that has always intriged me about Birmingham Uni. My Chemistry Professor at college always claimed that the beds in the student accommodations were 4" thinner (not as wide) as the beds in other university student halls of residence. He said it was because they didn't want students "sharing" their beds while living on the campus.

Any idea if that is in fact the truth either the beds or the reasoning?

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liz
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Re: What was your first computer?

Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:45 pm

That was certainly the case at St John's College at Cambridge in the 1990s. (If it was meant to discourage bed-sharing, it certainly didn't work…)

Going to Cambridge was what precipitated the purchase of my first PC; at home we'd had a Beeb, then an Amiga; after that I used school and library computers. I built that PC myself; didn't know much about it at the time, but I was buggered if Tiny (remember them) were going to sting me for the cost of a preassembled one.
Director of Communications, Raspberry Pi

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ukscone
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Re: What was your first computer?

Thu Feb 02, 2012 6:06 pm

The beds in the halls of residence at Loughborough Uni. were massive. Almost too big for the rooms. Definitely twin size. Never understood why they'd make them so you almost couldn't fit a desk in there as well but I wasn't complaining

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Jongoleur
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Re: What was your first computer?

Thu Feb 02, 2012 6:58 pm

ukscone said:


The beds in the halls of residence at Loughborough Uni. were massive. Almost too big for the rooms. Definitely twin size. Never understood why they'd make them so you almost couldn't fit a desk in there as well but I wasn't complaining


Wellllllllllll   Loughborough was a sports college, wasn't it?  All those big, beefy sportspersons need a bit more space, and there really isn't much need for a desk in those circumstances….   

@Liz:  I was gifted a Tiny – a damn awful heap of third rate components, everything was glued into the sockets.  Even the PCI boards.  (Hmmmm was it PCI or were we still on ISA then???)  Anyhow, it took ages to lever the flaky video card out…

ps If you really want crap, anyone remember Escom????
I'm just a bouncer, splatterers do it with more force.....

Zaonce
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Re: What was your first computer?

Thu Feb 02, 2012 7:21 pm

My brother built a Tangerine, that was the first computer I ever handled.

The first computer I owned was a ZX Spectrum 48k, for which I etched & built an 8 port relay output card at college.

Then my brother "borrowed" an IBM PS2 50Z from work for me.

Several Atari ST's later I got into P.C's and it's been downhill since then…

[edit] I'm using the old PS2 keyboard on my Sandybridge machine.

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ukscone
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Re: What was your first computer?

Thu Feb 02, 2012 7:45 pm

Jongoleur said:


ukscone said:


The beds in the halls of residence at Loughborough Uni. were massive. Almost too big for the rooms. Definitely twin size. Never understood why they"d make them so you almost couldn"t fit a desk in there as well but I wasn"t complaining


Wellllllllllll   Loughborough was a sports college, wasn"t it?  All those big, beefy sportspersons need a bit more space, and there really isn"t much need for a desk in those circumstances….   



Wellllllllll It was/is mostly a sports university although they did have other well respected departments. I'll drop my at the time Bath & Oxford graduate girlfriend who also went to Loughborough a line and let her know she didn't need a desk when she was there

If you don't hear from me for a while then i'm probably still extracting a computer from my nether regions

Borg 1.0
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Re: What was your first computer?

Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:33 pm

Is anyone else surprised by the wide range of fascinating machines that didn"t "do" all that much (by today"s standards), but are so warmly remembered (if not preserved!); whereas the IBM clones that we rely on so much (for so many things) are just a stream of "beige"?

I mean, I remember a few PCs that I built or collected over the years (Apricot, Nimbus, Osborne), and I"m still a *little* bit excited when I buy or put together a new system - but not to the extent that the weirdos make me feel!

I guess it"s a bit like the difference between your first Morris Minor, or Ford Thames or whatever, and the family coupe or station wagon (sorry, "estate" ). You"ll climb in and under one, getting to know its quirks, while the other barely gets a second look, even if you do change the oil, water, spark plugs, and air filter at the recommended intervals (if you"re so inclined).

I wonder why that is? Lack of time? Familiarity breeds contempt? There seems to be a real parallel there, but I"m darned if I can explain it.

Anyway...back to your regular program(ming)!

Prometheus
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Re: What was your first computer?

Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:00 am

Cephas Borg said:


Is anyone else surprised by the wide range of fascinating machines that didn"t "do" all that much (by today"s standards), but are so warmly remembered (if not preserved!); whereas the IBM clones that we rely on so much (for so many things) are just a stream of "beige"?


Not a bit! Each of the fondly-remembered machines all had some form of community surrounding them - be that in the letters pages of magazines, via BBSes, on the school playground, or wherever - whereas the "beige boxes", in my experience, have never seemed to have that.

In years to come, I'm quite certain that the fully-grown youngling geeks of today will ask the same question, with the context of the Raspberry Pi being one of those warmly-remembered machines.

ReCreate
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Re: What was your first computer?

Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:41 am

I'm a fairly young, My first computer was one of my dad's laptops, a Compaq Presario with a 400Mhz AMD K6, 180MB of ram, and a 4-8GB HDD, it had XP. x3 Around 2006,2007.

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johnbeetem
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Re: What was your first computer?

Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:57 am

Cephas Borg said:


Is anyone else surprised by the wide range of fascinating machines that didn't "do" all that much (by today's standards), but are so warmly remembered (if not preserved!); whereas the IBM clones that we rely on so much (for so many things) are just a stream of "beige"?


My first computer was a Heathkit H-8, which I built from a kit with help from my fiancée.  The only pre-assembled part was the CPU board, which was just as well.  Everything else — front panel, backplane, 8 KB RAM card, serial I/O card, power supply, chassis, were all soldered and bolted together.  The most time-consuming part was making custom ribbon cables.  Heathkit documentation was excellent so it all worked the first time.

I go into detail about this not because I'm a senile old fart who can only remember the past, but because IMO when you build something from a good kit — such as a Heathkit — you really get a feel for how everything really works together.  I suppose it would be like building a car from a kit.  I would call it a sense of "partnership" where the designer and the builder are together producing something useful.  I was very sad when Asian manufacturing and SMT (Surface Mount Technology) made Heathkit no longer viable.

You buy a PC?  It's just an appliance.  The original Apple II was marketed as an appliance — not a hobby computer.  IMO it's one of the reasons Apple was so successful.  It was an appliance for running Visicalc, not a plaything for a mad scientist.  You don't get a sense of partnership with an appliance.  You just buy it.

Modern consumer gewgaws are far worse.  If you can even manage to take them apart at all (did you hear Apple has a new kind of Torx screw just to annoy people?) it's really not useful since it's a bunch of micro-pitch SMT which you'd never be able to repair or even probe.

jafo
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Re: What was your first computer?

Tue Feb 07, 2012 7:24 pm

My first computer was (and still is) a sinclair ZX81 with a 16KB memory expansion pack and an interface module. Later on I soldered on 'normal' keyboard to it and placed it in a selfmade casing.

Since it was my first computer I still own it

ReCreate
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Re: What was your first computer?

Wed Feb 08, 2012 12:50 am

This idea has quite possibly already been mentioned in this thread. But just imagine. 20+ years from now, People could be posting on threads like this, that the raspberry pi was their first computer. Will that be cool or what? x3

JarkoV
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Re: What was your first computer?

Wed Feb 08, 2012 11:42 pm

I have always been kinda different so when everyone else was playing on C64's I got myself a (smuggled through customs) Sinclair QL. As a sub-10 year old kid I did not know anything of programming so by just going throught the english manual I even managed to FORMAT one of the MDV drives that had some valuable stuff in it.

Since the QL I've been on PC front, tried MacBook for a while but my wrists did not like the edges of the keyboard layer so gave it away.

Eager to get one Rasberry Pi! I have had my devkit experiments with FreeScale MXC and TI OMAP3430 and now with TI Pandaboard - the latter was using a MeeGo... If I manage to get one Rasberry Pi I've already got the Qt5 stuff ready for it....

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Re: What was your first computer?

Sat Feb 11, 2012 9:53 pm

DEC PDP-8

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