Heater
Posts: 14433
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:02 pm

Re: What was your first computer?

Fri Jan 17, 2020 7:02 am

Anyone remember the Starlider game by Jez San's Argonaut Software on the Atari ST circa 1986?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starglider

Image

As you played that your "Starglider" would inevitably get destroyed and the game would give you a score and a ranking as a Starglider pilot. Starting at "rookie" and working up as your game improved.

After some days and many hours of play I managed to hit the maximum score of 100, 000 points.

At which point the game ended and showed me my ranking. It said "Cheat"

I was so miffed at that, I never played it again or any other computer game since.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

ejolson
Posts: 4249
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:47 am

Re: What was your first computer?

Fri Jan 17, 2020 7:18 am

Heater wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 7:02 am
Anyone remember the Starlider game by Jez San's Argonaut Software on the Atari ST circa 1986?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starglider

Image

As you played that your "Starglider" would inevitably get destroyed and the game would give you a score and a ranking as a Starglider pilot. Starting at "rookie" and working up as your game improved.

After some days and many hours of play I managed to hit the maximum score of 100, 000 points.

At which point the game ended and showed me my ranking. It said "Cheat"

I was so miffed at that, I never played it again or any other computer game since.
It would appear time to install an Atari ST emulator on the Pi to see if you can achieve that high-score again.

Heater
Posts: 14433
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:02 pm

Re: What was your first computer?

Fri Jan 17, 2020 7:39 am

No way. I don't have the patience for that anymore.

I remember being fascinated by the real-time 3D graphics of Starglider. Perhaps the first time I had ever seen such a thing. No filled polygons, just line rendering, hidden line removal an all. Jez San was one of those guys who could do in assembler what no compiler could do.

What I did not know until checking just now is that Jez San also helped Nintendo develop the Super FX Graphics Support Unit (GSU) for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES).

Was that the first 3D GPU in the world?
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

Rapscallion
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2020 2:11 am

Re: What was your first computer?

Tue Jan 21, 2020 2:17 am

My first PC is the Acer Aspire 4752Zg Laptop.

CPU: Intel Pentium B960 (2.2 GHz, 2 MB L3 Cache)
Memory: 2 GB DDR3
HDD: 600 GB

Strongsoul
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2020 9:59 am

Re: What was your first computer?

Tue Jan 21, 2020 10:16 am

My first computer was like that
Image
It was a present and I remember my first PC games for this od friend.

ejolson
Posts: 4249
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:47 am

Re: What was your first computer?

Tue Jan 21, 2020 3:10 pm

Heater wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 7:39 am
What I did not know until checking just now is that Jez San also helped Nintendo develop the Super FX Graphics Support Unit (GSU) for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES).

Was that the first 3D GPU in the world?
Maybe the first 3D GPUs were the Geometry Engines shipped in the Silicon Graphics IRIS 1000 and 2000 workstations.

http://www.sgistuff.net/hardware/graphics/iris.html

Wikipedia tells me they were introduced around 1984. I think the first personal experience I had was around 1987, but I don't remember the model---maybe a 3000. Today, we have OpenGL and the XFS filesystem, which descended from those workstations. Somehow the only thing I remember is the wacky 3D menu system, the spinning demos of a VW Bug or teapot and a flight simulator. It would be amusing to see some of those running on a Raspberry Pi.

George441
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2020 4:13 pm
Location: 571 Willow Oak Dr 36695, Mobile, AL, US

Re: What was your first computer?

Tue Jan 21, 2020 4:30 pm

hp- Intel Pentium 4 - 2.8GHZ / 1GB Memory.

Pytha
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2020 2:23 pm

Re: What was your first computer?

Tue Jan 21, 2020 7:34 pm

Translation by moderator (mahjongg) with Google Translate from the German post:
Huiiii, I built my first computer myself, at that time IBM didn't even know that it would one day
would sell a "PC". There were already CP / M systems (extremely expensive) with Intel 4004 (2235 transistors),
8008, 8080 and Z80 processors, ... and memory circuits with 1/2/4/8 KILOBIT
The computer memory address space was a maximum of 64 kilobytes.

My first (small) computer had an 8-digit seven-segment display and 256 BYTE! I wrote 2 games on it.
The larger self-construction was made of self-designed, woven-wrapped boards in an 8 "rack, up to a TV interface
64 lines of 64 characters. Programming in machine language (which could handle up to 600 hex commands from the Z80 processor
I memorized over time - I obtained knowledge from the first two (American) computer magazines
Dr.Dobb's Journal and Byte, which I had until my "tons" of waste paper disposal from No.1.

The first computer I bought was a SUPERBRAIN, green screen with 25 lines of 80 characters, no graphics,
but with TWO thick floppy drives with 5.25 "floppies at 160 kilobytes. On it (under CP / M) ran the first text
processing program WORDSTAR. Companies like ALTAI, IMSAIR, INTERTEC came and later became thanks to IBM
gone again. Commodore PET, Tandy, Apple were the "first". There were no hard drives yet, the first ones
thick, big and heavy, had 5 MEGABYTE storage, my first HD had 20 megabytes.

When PC boards etc came up, I built about 15PCs myself, but then gave up because finished PCs came cheaper.
Back then I had a lot of games, especially the first graphics games from SIERRA, Leisure Larry, Kings Quest, Space Quest ...
gigantic resolution of 320x160, then 640x480 in SIXTEEN colors.

For years I have been working on Medion PCs, notebooks and tablets, I know all programming languages ​​(started on large computers
with FORTAN), ADA, PASCAL, BASIC, UNIX, LINUX, tens assembler, systems CP / M, DOS1, ..DOS6 ... Windows 1 (with 2 rigid windows),
Windows 3.1, WinXP, Win95, ... Win7, Win8, Win8.1, Win10.

My current PCs are over 5 years old, run like clockwork, nobody comes into the house, I have tested all of them
Operating system (Win8 ... Win10) felt as a fart, deleted - and now everything runs under Win7 Ultimate.

THANK GOD is no longer supported as of yesterday Win7, finally no more updates! The PCs + accessories have me in the
last 40 years surely cost well over € 100,000 - worse: 100,000e hours, mostly night time, mine
I already work as an author of specialist reports in German and American journals (well over 250)
hung up 20 years ago.

Hello people - don't get me wrong, I do NOT want to show off, but the "computer" probably has a lot of nice ones
Cost 1000 hours of my life (nobody should imitate it!). Studied at the Technical University in Vienna ... later Switzerland,
there I sat at the Technikum Winterthur (long without knowing it) at the armchair / table the previous decades
Albert Einstein sat before going to the patent office in Bern.

For me, PCs run 24 ... rather 25 hours a day ;-) ... I am also on the road, I live in the most beautiful area of ​​Austria.
Other "passions" (my wife died, my children live in California, Bern ..) are currently photography
(I have around 100 cameras (IDIOT!)), 3D printer (only 4), laser engraver, 5 Raspberry Pi ...

Handy / Smartphone??? Why - my phone for € 11.90 with a prepaid card is enough.

So that's enough ... was a bit more than my first computer ... you can also overdo it :-(
My first - bought ... 32KB RAM, Z80 CPU 2.5 MHz, 2x floppy 160 KByte, no graphics,
text only 80x25 characters

Huiiii, meinen ersten Computer habe ich selbst gebaut, damals wusste IBM noch gar nicht, dass sie einmal
einen "PC" verkaufen würden. Es gab schon CP/M Systeme (schweineteuer), mit Intel 4004 (2235 Transistoren),
8008, 8080 und Z80 Prozessoren, ... und Speicherschaltkreise mit 1/2/4/8 KILOBIT
Der ComputerSpeicher war maximal 64 Kilobyte gross.

Mein erster (kleiner) Computer hatte eine 8-stellige Siebensegmentanzeige und 256 BYTE! Darauf schrieb ich 2 Spiele.
Der grössere Selbstbau war aus selbstentworfenen, gewirewrappten Platinen im 8" Rack, bis hin zu einem TV Interface
64 Zeilen zu 64 Zeichen. Programmierung in Maschinensprache (die an die 600 Hexbefehle des Z80 Prozessors konnte
ich mit der Zeit auswendig - Wissen bezog ich aus den beiden ersten (amerikanischen) Computerzeitschriften
Dr.Dobb's Journal und Byte, die ich bis zu meiner "tonnenweisen" Altpapierentsorgung ab No.1 hatte.

Der erste gekaufte Computer war ein SUPERBRAIN, grüner Bildschirm mit 25 Zeilen zu 80 Zeichen, keine Grafik,
aber mit ZWEI dicken Floppylaufwerken mit 5.25" Floppys zu 160 Kilobyte. Drauf lief (unter CP/M) das erste Text-
verarbeitungsprogramm WORDSTAR. Firmen wie ALTAI, IMSAIR, INTERTEC kamen und wurden später dank IBM
wieder gegangen. Commodore PET, Tandy, Apple waren die "ersten". Festplatten gab es noch keine, die ersten waren
dick, gross und schwer, hatten 5 MEGABYTE Speicher, meine erste HD hatte 20 Megabyte.

Als PC Platinen etc aufkamen, habe ich etwa 15PCs selbst gebaut, dann aber aufgegeben, da fertige PCs günstiger kamen.
Spiele hatte ich damals viele, vor allem die ersten Grafikspiele von SIERRA, Leisure Larry, Kings Quest, Space Quest ...
gigantische Auflösung von 320x160, dann 640x480 in SECHZEHN Farben.

Seit Jahren arbeite ich auf Medion PCs, Notebooks und Tablets, kenne alle Programmiersprachen (begonnen auf Grosscomputer
mit FORTAN), ADA, PASCAL, BASIC, UNIX, LINUX, -zig Assembler, Systeme CP/M, DOS1, ..DOS6 ... Windows 1(mit 2 starren Fenstern),
Windows 3.1, WinXP, Win95, ... Win7, Win8, Win8.1, Win10.

Meine jetzigen PCs sind über 5 Jahre alt, laufen wie geschmiert, neuer kommt keiner ins Haus, habe alle getesteten
Betriebssystem (Win8...Win10) als Furz empfunden, gelöscht - und nun läuft alles unter Win7 Ultimate.

GOTTSEIDANK wird ab gestern Win7 nicht mehr supported, eeeendlich keine Updates mehr! Die PCs + Zubehör haben mich in den
letzten 40 Jahren sicher weit über 100.000€ gekostet - noch schlimmer: 100.000e Stunden Zeit, meist Nachtzeit, meine
Tätigkeit als Autor von Fachberichten in deutschen und amerikanischen Fachzeitschriften (weit über 250) habe ich schon
vor 20 Jahren an den Nagel gehängt.

Halle Leute - nicht falsch verstehen, ich will NICHT angeben, aber der "Computer" hat mich vermutlich viele schöne
1000 Stunden meines Lebens gekostet (keiner solls nachmachen!). Studium an der Technischen Uni in Wien ... später Schweiz,
dort bin ich am Technikum Winterthur (lange ohne es zu wissen) am Sessel/Tisch gesessen an dem Jahrzehnte zuvor
Albert Einstein sass ehe er ans Patentamt nach Bern ging.

Bei mir laufen PCs 24 ... eher 25 Sunden am Tag ;-) ... ich bin auch unterwegs, wohne in der schönsten Gegend Österreichs.
Sonstige "Leidenschaften" (meine Frau ist gestorben, meine Kinder leben in Kalifornien, Bern ..) sind derzeit Fotografie
(habe sicher an die 100 Kameras (IDIOT!) ), 3D Drucker(nur 4), Lasergravierer, 5 Raspberry Pi ...

Handy/Schmartföhn? Wozu - mein Telefon um € 11.90 mit Prepaidkarte reicht.

So das reicht ... war ein bisserl mehr als mein erster Computer ... man(n) kanns auch übertreiben :-(
Mein erster - gekaufter ... 32KB RAM, Z80 CPU 2.5 MHz, 2x Floppy 160 KByte, keine Grafik,
nur Text 80x25 Zeichen

https://www.google.com/search?q=interte ... 47&bih=759

Heater
Posts: 14433
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:02 pm

Re: What was your first computer?

Tue Jan 21, 2020 10:28 pm

ejolson wrote:
Tue Jan 21, 2020 3:10 pm
Maybe the first 3D GPUs were the Geometry Engines shipped in the Silicon Graphics IRIS 1000 and 2000 workstations.
Durp, durp, yes, I was forgetting such things.

But wow! I mean holy s**t, when I said 3D GPU I was thinking of a single chip or integrated into the SoC as we have today. Not this beauty:

Image

And the other 5 similarly huge and complex boards that went with it!
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

ejolson
Posts: 4249
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:47 am

Re: What was your first computer?

Wed Jan 22, 2020 4:29 am

Heater wrote:
Tue Jan 21, 2020 10:28 pm
And the other 5 similarly huge and complex boards that went with it!
That's a fantastically sharp image. I can read the markings on almost all of the chips and recognize them. Here is what a GPU looks like today:

Image

Interestingly, boards like this still go along side 5 similar boards in high-performance applications.

Heater
Posts: 14433
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:02 pm

Re: What was your first computer?

Wed Jan 22, 2020 1:48 pm

ejolson,
That's a fantastically sharp image. I can read the markings on almost all of the chips and recognize them.
I was checking that out too. An ocean of run of the mill 74 series logic chips and dynamic RAMS. Pretty much jelly bean parts for the day. Except for those 4 big AMD 2903 bit slice chips, with their beautiful ceramic packages and gold plated lid and pins.

Of course there is no need to obfuscate any of that, all the magic happens in the custom chips under those blue heat sinks on the GF2 board.
Last edited by Heater on Sat Jan 25, 2020 10:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

User avatar
bensimmo
Posts: 4226
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2014 3:02 pm
Location: East Yorkshire

Re: What was your first computer?

Sat Jan 25, 2020 6:50 pm

Heater wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 7:39 am
No way. I don't have the patience for that anymore.

I remember being fascinated by the real-time 3D graphics of Starglider. Perhaps the first time I had ever seen such a thing. No filled polygons, just line rendering, hidden line removal an all. Jez San was one of those guys who could do in assembler what no compiler could do.

What I did not know until checking just now is that Jez San also helped Nintendo develop the Super FX Graphics Support Unit (GSU) for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES).

Was that the first 3D GPU in the world?
I would guess starglider was the precursor to StarFox on the SNES.
Something you can emulate easily and even buy and play on a Nintendo switch/wii-u today.

As an note, the Super FX was a RISC chip.

HvdW
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Jun 17, 2014 12:41 pm

Re: What was your first computer?

Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:51 pm

Nice story @Pytha
Especially the time spent and the time lost for living a normal life.

First computing experience feeding the mainframe computer with punchcards @university.
First owned TI-99/4A
Second Amstrad PC1512
Spent very much time on an old 80486 computer with Freesco freesco.info as a router to protect my LAN @work.
Most loved RPI 1, RPI 2 and now RPI 3B

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