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beakaboy

Early Computers

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beakaboy
On 11/5/2018 at 8:33 AM, Waisneed said:

It is indeed.

But only a small one. A so called C64 mini.

I still have my fully operational  C64 computer with a cassette player hidden away in a cupboard. I could never afford a disc drive at the time. Sadly, I think my cassette games got chucked out.

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chadbag
3 minutes ago, beakaboy said:

I still have my fully operational  C64 computer with a cassette player hidden away in a cupboard. I could never afford a disc drive at the time. Sadly, I think my cassette games got chucked out.

 

My dad has a stack of Atari 800 computers and a couple disk drives stashed away.  Along with a bunch of cartridges and disk games.   1 of the computers is the one we had when I was in HS, and the others I picked up for him as spares at a local thrift store back in the 90s for like $5 each.  He used to take them out for the grandkids to play on, but it has been awhile.   I need to go over and get them and set them up.  That is (one of) the computer I learned programming on (including 6502 assembly).

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cteno4

wow 6502 assembly, thats a blast from the past!

 

jeff

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Welshbloke

I have a couple of BBC Bs lurking in the attic. Neither is standard, one came from a family friend along with a spare expansion board for extra ROMs, which I repaired and fitted to the other (which came from a lab clearout at work). The first one has a reality-bending 64k memory thanks to a Watford Electronics 32k RAM card on top of the factory 32k, and a 5.25" disk drive. I also have a broken double disk drive and another 32k memory upgrade board which I occasionally try to fix and persuade to work on the second.

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cteno4

First computer right out of high school was a Sinclair zx80. Whopping 1k of ram with a 3k expansion! Used a micro tape recorder for storage.  Was cool as so small, just needed a tv!

 

jeff

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beakaboy
10 hours ago, cteno4 said:

First computer right out of high school was a Sinclair zx80. Whopping 1k of ram with a 3k expansion! Used a micro tape recorder for storage.  Was cool as so small, just needed a tv!

 

jeff

My first computer was a ZX81 with 3k Expansion, but it kept having problems with the ram port ? where the 3k plugged in and having to restart or similar. Drove me crazy and managed to part trade for the commodore

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chadbag
14 hours ago, cteno4 said:

First computer right out of high school was a Sinclair zx80. Whopping 1k of ram with a 3k expansion! Used a micro tape recorder for storage.  Was cool as so small, just needed a tv!

 

jeff

 

A friend of mine had either a ZX80 or ZX81.

 

I was lucky enough to get asked by the PTA president to help him teach a "talented and gifted student programming class" on Apple II computers at the elementary school when I was in junior high school, so while I was learning the material a week or two in advance of helping teach the young students, I was given basically free access to the elementary school's Apple II lab (which had like 4-5 computers).  This was like early 1980 or thereabouts. Soon thereafter one friend got an Atari 400 and another later got an Atari 800.

 

My dad worked for DEC and they offered a PDT11/150 computer for employee purchase for a "cheap" price (1981 or so money) of around $1100.  My dad got one.  This was an LSI-11 chip (single chip PDP-11 design) in a "busless" desktop with a VT52-class terminal and a floor mount paper terminal (with full keyboard).  So I then transferred my programming to that.  We also bought an Atari 400 (16k and cassette) when a local toy store had a blow out sale for like $79 for the basic computer.  We updated it with a 3rd party "real" keyboard and aftermarket 48k RAM.  After a couple years my dad decided that the PDT11/150 should go as he was hearing from other employees that there was no special DEC-employee repair rate set up and if you needed a repair, it was big $$, so he sold it to another employee who had missed out on the original, and we upgraded to the Atari 800 with floppy.  It just got better from that point 🙂

 

My high school was the first (or one of the first) Commodore educational launch partners for the C64.  Our HS was flooded with them (1st gen/1st release -- different color case/keys from what was later the standard), and the big brass from Commodore HQ in Pennsylvania came to our school for a big launch ceremony, speaches, catered food (the best part), etc.   Those of us in the Atari club looked down on the whole thing but we did volunteer to help due to the food.

 

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cteno4

I got to start playing with the school district’s mainframes in jr high and high school (pre pc). Big old clunky teletype units and any storage was paper tape (hey it beat punch cards and they were still in use at the cheap end!). Use to always have a baggie of little paper rolls in my back pack, other kids had baggies of pot... at the end if high school I got the ZX80 as it was all I could afford for $200 (trains were taking a back seat to girls and computers in spending)

 

first year in college got to play with an early Apple II first year in college so saved the pennies for a year to get a basis 108 with a Z80 and 6502 so I could be Apple and CPM. Was a very cool machine. Ended up with 128k ram and a 256k ram disc I had set up do auto download on boot up from the two floppy drives, I was way cool with the variety it could do and it’s speed. Lasted until second year of grad school, doing papers and qualifying exams, I was the only one that could do that stuff at home at the time! Let a few friends do all their qualifying exams with it as well so they could work at home. Then the Mac hit and then a new track started. 

 

My mom actually got a kaypro II as she did a lot of writing and editing. Last year I finally let it go when I cleared their house out, almost brought it home... I think the estate sales person got $100 for it.

 

jeff

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chadbag

Our high school had a couple PDP-11s in it before all the Commodore stuff hit.  And some Apple II types IIRC.  But luckily we had magnetic tape on the PDP-11s.  I remember as a kid going with my dad and generating paper tape output on the PDP-11s and similar he had at his work.

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cteno4

Yep our school district had two pdp-11s, bip and bop. Getting much ram and processor time was tough as a student, but luckily there were only a handful of us playing with it and ours was the only high school wirh a programming class in the district then. The tape drives were for the district admin use so we always had to use the paper tape on our local teletypes. Old school press in the phone handset modems of course!

 

later in grad school we were tossing the pop-11s in the dumpster (even in Berkeley at that time there was no real electronic recycling) as no one wanted to bother with them anymore and anyone that would want one could not afford to ship the monsters. It was sad. They were too big to keep one...

 

in early 1980 I was in college and working part time at the Monterey bay aquarium while it was being designed and mr Packard (the Packard built the aquarium) came in one afternoon and plunked down a fresh off the line hp85 on my desk! He had I think seen my puny little ZX80 as I was playing with it drawing 2d projections of 3D sea shells for fun to see if there were some fun geometric looking patterns we could use somewhere. But was tough with 4K or ram! The 85 had a whopping 16k! Cute little 5” screen that was about as good as most on a tv and a nice tape drive that you didn’t have to fiddle with like audio cassett and a little thermal printer. Quite fun to play with at work. Of course the Apple II blew it away.

 

cheers

 

jeff

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chadbag

In 1984 I worked a summer job as a night operator at DEC, at their main Corporate Software Engineering facility at Spit Brook Road, in Nashua NH (ZKO for  any former DECcies in the audience).  One of the groups there developed RSX11M operating system.  My job was to go around with my cart of mag tapes and do nightly backups.  Mostly VMS systems with a couple TOPS-20 and a few PDP 11 with mostly RSX11M.    One night I logged into an RSX PDP-11 and the system message was telling everyone to migrate their work/files/data to other machines as this one was going to be decommissioned over the weekend and shipped to the computer museum in Boston.  Friday used for real world.  Monday in the museum.  I thought it funny.  You expect that there is a long period of time between being used for real work and being a museum piece.  

 

Another time on a much bigger PDP-11 system I was having some problems and was looking in the manual for some help when I noticed all the examples in the manual were actually generated  on the machine I was working on and trying to fix. 

 

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cteno4

That was about the time we lugged a few pdp-11s to the dumpster. Ugh, haven’t thought of VMS for a while! Now where’s my wordstar?! You kids get of my digital lawn!

 

jeff

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Welshbloke

I remember Wordstar. We had DR DOS and GEM Applications along with a series of menus dad had adapted a batch file for, so you'd boot the PC and get "Press 1 for Wordstar, 2 for Supercalc...." in a box on screen. Didn't encounter Windows until 3.1 or .11 was standard.

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cteno4

^PB^PI^PUYES!^PB^PI^

 

I find my brain from time to time slipping back into the the the old word star commands when writing some html. Fullwrite pro was the zenith of word processors for me, it really was versatile for the day and got my butt thru doing my 500 page dissertation.

 

jeff

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kvp
2 hours ago, cteno4 said:

I find my brain from time to time slipping back into the the the old word star commands when writing some html.

Well i do use joe (Joe's Own Editor) for my daily work when i write c/c++ code. It's a wordstar compatible console editor for linux and other unix like systems, even the tinyest embedded ones.

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