VectorLinux

The Vectorian Lounge => The Lounge => Topic started by: M0E-lnx on May 21, 2009, 07:27:28 am

Title: What was your first computer?
Post by: M0E-lnx on May 21, 2009, 07:27:28 am
Just for fun, let'd go down memory lane and remember how it all started for us. Let's give it a go... shall we?

First computer I operated was around 1999-94 maybe.
This happened while taking a very expensive computer operator course (I dont even remember what it was called) in a school. I can only vaguely remember I was taught to insert your floppy disk, and secure the lever down (remember that?) and then start it. Once it started, you saw the DOS prompt and the teacher showed us a few DOS commands. I also learned the wonder that was the old "edit" in DOS .... Remember that?
That beast was the text editor we were learning.
Of course, we only got like 1hr of hand-on computer time, the rest was just books.

The first computer I owned was some early model of the acer aspire. This was around 1997-98
I bought this thing for about $2,000.00 (that was a great deal for that beast @ the time) at a local best buy. It had a 15" color CRT monitor. Something like 64MB ram, and 5GB hard drive, and something around a 8-12X CD ROM drive. CPU speed was something like 300-400MHZ IIRC


Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: nightflier on May 21, 2009, 08:10:46 am
I came into the computing world in 1991. I was doing some consulting work that required me to write some manuals using the company's 286 DOS machine. After spending three hours typing, using the "LFP" method, I decided to run spell check. The machine went unresponsive. I contacted someone to ask some advice. He helpfully instructed me to press three keys simultaneously and the thing rebooted fine. My next questions were: um.. where is my document?? What do you mean save regularly, not just on exit?? You knew it always locks up on spell check and didn't tell me??

I decided that if I was going to use such a tool, I needed my own. I found a screaming deal with a small local startup. For $1300 I got a 386SX-25 with 4 MB of RAM, a 100 MB HDD, 5.25" and 3.5" floppy drives, and a 14" CRT. DOS 5.0 and Win 3.0 was included, as well as a DOS office suite called 8in1 (I think). I had to pay extra to upgrade the memory from the standard 2 MB.

Almost immediately I figured out that a willingness to experiment and self-educate was a great asset with such a new product. I bought a joystick to go with some shareware games that my kids liked. It didn't work. I took it to the store and plugged it into one of their machines where it worked. Back home I carefully took the cover off the box to see what was inside. Traced the cable from the game port to the m/b and found that the connector fit both ways. I plugged it in the other way, closed my eyes and started the machine up. Voila! Game on.

Several more repairs/fixes/upgrades followed the first successful foray into the box with all those parts plugged into each other. Once hard drives dropped below $1/MB I added a 245 MB hard disk. Unlimited storage! Another couple of hundred dollars added a sound card and a double-speed cdrom drive. Yay! Time to spend lots more money on cdrom based encyclopedias and packages of "shovelware" games. Four hundred more got me an upgrade to an AMD 486-40 and 8 MB of RAM.

The only surviving parts of that original machine are the 3.5" floppy drive and an IBM style, mechanical click keyboard. I used that keyboard for a flight simulator setup where I hardwired homemade brake and flap controls into the corresponding keys. Those were the days.
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: M0E-lnx on May 21, 2009, 08:18:56 am
Wow... sounds like a lot of fun.
I still remember when I paid $400.00 for my 2X CD-RW upgrade for my acer aspire. I'll never forget it...
The box was black, and they only had the drive in white... so you can imagine how it looked, but despite that.. Did not mind waiting the occasional hour and a half to burn a cd. Or to find out the burn had failed in some cases ;)

When I saw the CD-RW thing, I thought we'd be seeing flying cars within the year!
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: tomh38 on May 21, 2009, 09:16:41 am
ENIAC

Just kidding ... Commodore 64.  Back in college.  I loved that machine, since it meant I got to throw my crappy manual typewriter in the dumpster.

nightflier
: I got a "Das Keyboard" which does a fair imitation of the old IBM Model M, (at least the "clicky" part, it doesn't weigh 200 pounds  :)).  I still miss the Model M I used to have.  The whole keyboard thing is one of the reasons I'm not overly fond of laptops.

(http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c16/tomh38/abesimpson.jpg?t=1242922454)

EDIT:  Does anybody remember those Atari computers with the crazy flat keyboard (maybe there was more than one model with that) ... anyway when I was a kid a friend of mine had one of those and the keyboard broke in about two weeks.
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: dawnsboy on May 21, 2009, 11:14:07 am
Commodore 64 with a blazing fast 1 MHz processor.  Came with a 1541 disk drive and a daisy wheel printer.  My first word processor was Speed Script.  I got it when the developer printed the code in a computer magazine.  I typed it to screen and saved it to a 5.25" low density floppy disk.  After a time I had the local Commodore guru install Jiffy Dos. 

Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: rbistolfi on May 21, 2009, 11:21:09 am
My first computer was a Timex Sinclair,  developed in UK by Sinclair and licended to Timex in the USA. My dad bought it to a Spanish co-worker, who was selling it to buy a brand new 286.
It had a super fast CPU at 3.5Mhz (yes, that is an "M"), and 16kb of memory (again, that is a "k" and a "b" ;D). The operating system was a BASIC variant developed by Sinclair. I wrote my first code in it, was a small virtual pìano (well, was just a set of keybindings to the BEEP command, but was a real BASIC program).

Here is a photo:

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/77/Didaktik_M%2C_ZX_Spectrum_clone.jpg/180px-Didaktik_M%2C_ZX_Spectrum_clone.jpg)

You had to plug it into the TV, and the storage was a regular tape recorder.

It has a wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZX_Spectrum
The best games were Emilyn Huge Soccer, Gianna Systers, Wonder Boy and a few others.

My mom put it in the garbage, I will hate her forever >:[
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: M0E-lnx on May 21, 2009, 11:35:48 am
Very nice rbistolfi... Interesting piece of machinery you had... I've never seen anything like it.
Where did you insert the tape for that thing?
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: rbistolfi on May 21, 2009, 12:45:39 pm
The PC had two 3.5mm (miniplug) jacks in the back, one for recording and one for reading, you connect it to the mic and to the line out or headphones jack of the tape recorder. If you play the tape, it sounds like a modem. To save a program, you press play & rec, and send some kind of basic instruction, I already forgot about which one ;D.
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: Lyn on May 21, 2009, 12:59:22 pm
Ah yes I had a speccy as well, fun little machine with rubber keys.... then moved on to a BBC B machine... loved Repton on that, especially Repton 2...
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: nitehawk on May 21, 2009, 01:42:26 pm
Ah,...my beloved 286.  I had used my brother's Commodore64,...but the 286 was mine!!!  I bought it used for about $100 in 1992.  EGA monitor, 1mb ram,...and a whooping big 10mb hard drive!!!  So much space, I hardly knew what to do with it all.  I used dos on it,...but had just oodles of my own dos apps, utilities, and stuff.  It wasn't until I upgraded to a 386,...that I went to windows 3.1, and the internet.  Not much was on the 'net then,....(lots of black backgrounds full of colored letters to get your attention). 
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: GrannyGeek on May 21, 2009, 06:09:24 pm
My first computer was a Tandy 1000SX with 384K of RAM and two 5-1/4" floppy disk drives. No sound card, no modem, no hard drive, no mouse. The monitor was a 12" green and black thing. I also got a 9-pin dot matrix printer. I think we paid between US $1200 and $1500 in 1987. Its operating system was DOS 3.2 and I used it primarily for WordStar. We did some upgrades: added 256K of RAM for an unheard of 640K; got a bus mouse; had a 20 meg hard drive installed.

By 1991 the Tandy was totally inadequate for what I was doing, so I got a 486/33DX Gateway with 4 megs of RAM and a 200-meg hard drive, no sound card, no modem, no CD-ROM (they were fairly unusual back then and *very* expensive). It came with a 13" or 14" COLOR monitor. We quickly upgraded to 8 megs of RAM. It ran Windows 3.0. The price of the system was nearly $3000! We did numerous upgrades along the way, upping the RAM to 32 megs (at about $40 a meg!), adding a 2x CD-ROM drive and a modem in 1993. We did a BIOS update--dangerous back then, as you had to physically replace the BIOS chips and if you made a mistake, your computer would go POOF! This BIOS update enabled us to install a hard drive larger than 512 megs.

It's fun to reminisce but frankly, I'm glad those days are gone. Everything was SOOOO EXPENSIVE! And those impossibly slow modems--ugh. But there was a certain excitement as things got better and faster and computers could do more and more.

The Tandy 1000SX made its way down the family food chain, as did the upgraded Gateway. In fact, I've never thrown a working computer away. I've always found someone who wanted it.
--GrannyGeek
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: tomh38 on May 21, 2009, 06:43:18 pm
Things are a lot better now.  Still, I can't think of one single other piece of technology that has improved my day-to-day life as my first computer did.  Everything since then has been incremental - that was a huge leap.

Wait, I'm going to let that stand, but I'm going to qualify it.  I felt it as a huge leap, but maybe I've just become accustomed to these amazing changes.  Everything is rushing forward, but after a while one can get used to even that.  My first CD burner was 2x ... I don't remember exactly how much it cost me but it was in the hundreds.

My dad, who wrote software for machines that used punch cards, never did adjust to the widespread use of computers.  He never wanted one of his own, it was supposed to be something you operated and coded for at work.

"ENIAC contained 17,468 vacuum tubes, 7,200 crystal diodes, 1,500 relays, 70,000 resistors, 10,000 capacitors and around 5 million hand-soldered joints. It weighed 30 short tons (27 t), was roughly 8.5 feet (2.6 m) by 3 feet (0.91 m) by 80 feet (2.6 m by 0.9 m by 26 m), took up 680 square feet (63 m²), and consumed 150 kW of power." - from the Wikipedia article on ENIAC, citing this site:  http://ed-thelen.org/comp-hist/BRL-e-h.html (http://ed-thelen.org/comp-hist/BRL-e-h.html).

I don't know where we're headed, but we're going there awfully fast.

Tom
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: rbistolfi on May 21, 2009, 07:20:52 pm
Things are a lot better now.  Still, I can't think of one single other piece of technology that has improved my day-to-day life as my first computer did.  Everything since then has been incremental - that was a huge leap.

Wait, I'm going to let that stand, but I'm going to qualify it.  I felt it as a huge leap, but maybe I've just become accustomed to these amazing changes.  Everything is rushing forward, but after a while one can get used to even that.  My first CD burner was 2x ... I don't remember exactly how much it cost me but it was in the hundreds.

My dad, who wrote software for machines that used punch cards, never did adjust to the widespread use of computers.  He never wanted one of his own, it was supposed to be something you operated and coded for at work.

"ENIAC contained 17,468 vacuum tubes, 7,200 crystal diodes, 1,500 relays, 70,000 resistors, 10,000 capacitors and around 5 million hand-soldered joints. It weighed 30 short tons (27 t), was roughly 8.5 feet (2.6 m) by 3 feet (0.91 m) by 80 feet (2.6 m by 0.9 m by 26 m), took up 680 square feet (63 m²), and consumed 150 kW of power." - from the Wikipedia article on ENIAC, citing this site:  http://ed-thelen.org/comp-hist/BRL-e-h.html (http://ed-thelen.org/comp-hist/BRL-e-h.html).

I don't know where we're headed, but we're going there awfully fast.

Tom

Hell
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: rbistolfi on May 21, 2009, 07:31:02 pm
Ok that was a joke :D

I dont feel nostalgic about those old computers either, we did learned a lot with them though.
I am not very optimistic about the future, I cant see anything too exciting. All the modern UIs are pretty much the same imho, and I prefer minimal stuff, as many of you know. A programmer visited us at #vectorlinux, and he implemented a nice UI with the mouse for his WM, based in Pie Menus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pie_menu). That is maybe the only interesting thing I have seen lately, if you dont count some coding stuff that kidd teachs me here and there. Here is his page: http://home.pacbell.net/rklement/
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: Lyn on May 24, 2009, 02:02:53 am
I think that the computer revolution have made major differences to access and information, they have also revolutionised the way that small community organisations work.  I remember when Amstrad produced a machine that ran CP/M and included a word processor, spreadsheet and a card index type database.  This was a revelation.  For the first time a machine that could be used by someone who had no computer experience could turn out mail merged documents and newsletters with ease.  It made the life of club and community group secretaries much easier, and the Amstrads were half the price of the IBM equivalents. Plus instead of the laborious process of typing a stencil to run off copies via a duplicator, an amazingly tedious process to do it accurately or expensive via a print shop, you could just produce the document and then feed the stencil through a dot matrix printer with the ribbon removed and you could cut the stencil yourself.  Then it was easy to run off multiple copies via a duplicator (photocopiers and photocopying were prohibitively expensive).

If you want to see the impact that computers had on real life revolutions you only have to look at the coup in the old Soviet Union against Gorbachev - the tanks rolled in and the media was controlled by the plotters.  An independent news sheet was produced by the Moscow Gay Group, using a photocopier and a computer and software donated by Western gay groups.  This became an essential tool in alerting and mobalising the people to resist the coup.  History might have been very different without that home computer kit. 
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: tomh38 on May 24, 2009, 09:11:56 am
The other day the mother of a friend of mine asked me if I could "run off" a copy of a DVD I have for her.

...
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: Triarius Fidelis on May 24, 2009, 11:59:09 am
My first computer was a neural network based model I received as a gift when I was born. It has approximately 100 billion nodes, advanced computer vision, diverse databases on many subjects, can execute a number of useful algorithms, and has occasionally even passed the Turing Test
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: Witek Mozga on May 24, 2009, 12:56:32 pm
Commodore 64. 

Mine too.

You might have heard that there are websites hosted on a commodore 64 machine, for example this one:
http://www.c64web.com/

There are also unix-like systems for C64:
http://www.c64web.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contiki

including among others multitasking kernel and TCP/IP networking, including IPv6

Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: Tommy599 on May 24, 2009, 02:57:58 pm
I got my first PC pretty late so it was an AMD Duron 850MHz Spitfire, 256+128,20GB

It's still running today, my parents use it. XP SP3 is on it, it runs like a snail. The spitfire I think is starting to spit blood, the cmos battery is weak (the date and the hardware keep dissapearing from BIOS settings) but it's still running! I wonder if I can get a new cmos battery for a 7 old motherboard?
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: nightflier on May 25, 2009, 08:12:02 am
I have replaced several CMOS batteries using standard watch batteries. Take the old one out and find the voltage. There is a good chance you will find a suitable replacement at your local drug or grocery store.
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: Bjrnarlinux on May 25, 2009, 09:53:11 am
The first computer i ever touched was a laptop, i was something like five back then, so i barely remember it. The first computer i related to was one my father bought at the end of the nineties. It was a beast in its day, 6 Gb of strage! 256 Mb Ram! It was awesome. It ran windows 98, but i mostly ran games on it, heroes 2 mostly.
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: Tommy599 on May 25, 2009, 10:29:25 am
I have replaced several CMOS batteries using standard watch batteries. Take the old one out and find the voltage. There is a good chance you will find a suitable replacement at your local drug or grocery store.

I'll have to give it a try, thanks!
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: Windozer on May 25, 2009, 10:48:02 am
Oh boy, M0E ... looks like I get the "old fart" award here...

My own first computer-like thing was a homebuilt "adder" using discrete 7400 TTL chips (AND, OR gates, and a latch).
It had 4 toggle switches, 2 push buttons, and 5 transistors driving 5 light bulbs.   (And cost me probably $120)

It worked like this:

Power on, reset.
Press one button to enter a number,
enter 4 binary digits on the toggles for first number,
press the button again to enter second number,
enter 4 binary digits on the toggles for second number, and
press the button again to add and show result.

Then the light bulbs would light the resulting binary value.

(And the geeky trivia question: why were there FIVE light bulbs instead of four?)

The next thing, that really was a computer, was built on top of that last thing:
An 8080 microprocessor on a breadboard that had a whopping 128 bytes of memory, an address controller, some more latches and what not.
Eight switches for loading in the code (seriously), and a gob of transistors driving lamps to see what it was doing.

Needless to say, I never filled that code space - got tired of clicking switches.

The first REAL computer I worked on was and IBM 360 doing BAL Assembler ("Branch And Link") and FORTRAN
--- Using punch cards

(And the second geeky trivia question: what is the "Bit Bucket"?)

cheers
Howard
(Feeling Old and Somewhat Cranky)



Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: M0E-lnx on May 25, 2009, 02:40:33 pm
Wow. Definitely a story!. And no... I have no idea why it would have 5 lamps instead of just 4.

If I had to guess I would say the fifth was some kind of status indicator
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: rbistolfi on May 25, 2009, 02:43:53 pm
signed numbers?
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: tomh38 on May 25, 2009, 03:28:36 pm
Oh yeah!?!  Well I helped Charles Babbage work on his Difference Engine!  We never finished it ... but ... so there!
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: Triarius Fidelis on May 25, 2009, 06:07:46 pm
Oh yeah!?!  Well I helped Charles Babbage work on his Difference Engine!  We never finished it ... but ... so there!

I built the Antikythera computer
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: Windozer on May 27, 2009, 05:24:07 pm
As Tom would say,

Neeener Neeener Neener ! :P
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: Windozer on May 28, 2009, 02:38:38 pm
This might be my NEXT computer:

http://www.gaj-it.com/8306/asus-eee-pc-keyboard-no-monitor-required/

 :o
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: gamfa on May 28, 2009, 04:50:12 pm
My first was a VIC 20. I later upgraded to to a Commodore 64. After the first Intel AT chips came out I built my first Intel box on the 8086 chip from parts bought through Computer Shopper.
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: lagagnon on May 29, 2009, 02:46:39 am
The first computer I ever used was a PDP-8 in 1968. The first computer I owned was an Oki Electronics IF-800 CP/M machine, at the time a very cool all in one unit with inbuilt printer...

http://www.classiccmp.org/dunfield/miscpm/h/bif800.jpg
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: M0E-lnx on May 29, 2009, 04:38:49 am
Wow. I had never seen anything like this. Interesting design.
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: Windozer on May 29, 2009, 12:58:31 pm
Quote from: lagagnon
... The first computer I owned was an Oki Electronics IF-800 CP/M machine, at the time a very cool all in one unit with inbuilt printer...

Oh Darn, Larry! I was hoping I could hand off the oldy-but-moldy award to you,  :P  but the Z-80 came after the 8080, if memory serves correct.

Hey, what a hummer - it had TWO Z-80's in it!
Yeah, Man, dig that printer - it looks like a retrofit typewriter. :-)

 ;D ;D
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: Pita on May 29, 2009, 07:56:06 pm
I did my first computing on a TI-59 programmable calculator. Great machine.
Made even some money on it. Suddenly I got a check over 2,000 $$ from
my company since my programs were used region wide.

Then I got a HP-75, could cal it the first laptop. I just loved it. Rewrote the programs
of the TI-59  for the HP-75 and sold them to other companies. Mostly
statistical analyses.

And I remember I bought for my secretary the first IBM AT PC which had a double clock
speed of a dizzining 8 ?Hz and cost $3,000.- if I remember correctly, just the machine,
no monitor or printer yet.
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: sledgehammer on May 29, 2009, 09:45:45 pm
Wang.

Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: StrayBit on June 01, 2009, 06:50:35 am
OSI
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: unicyclist on June 05, 2009, 05:07:48 am
C64, then Amiga and C128.
Machines are still up and working.
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: Colonel Panic on June 18, 2009, 03:33:08 pm
A Dell 486-66, back in 1996, with 8 MB of RAM and a 520 MB hard drive. I was able to surf the net with that one, in DOS using Arachne and Lynx.

I had a lot of enjoyment from that one but I couldn't easily have posted online on a forum like this one with it, and I do a lot of posting on different forums.

Two computers I wish I'd had were an Acorn Archimedes and an Amiga 1200, but sadly both have been left behind by the PC despite in some ways being more advanced designs for the time (the Acorn had better graphics than the PCs then available, and the Amiga had on board chips to handle multimedia functions).
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: OU812 on June 22, 2009, 12:47:16 pm
I signed up for two semesters of computer programming at my high school in the early 80's. I learned commodore basic on a commodore pet computer, and I saved my programs on a cassette tape.

The commodore 64 was very popular at the time, but I couldn't afford it. So I bought a commodore 16 (the commodore 16 and a machine more powerful than the 64 came out after the 64 but before the 128; I think they both bombed). After using it for awhile, I realized there wasn't any software being developed and so I traded it in for a commodore 64 (the prices had come down). I used it mostly for games and the occasional term paper (my first printer had neither kerning nor descenders, so readability was poor). At the end of the 80's, I ran a BBS called NightShades in San Diego. Not long after my power supply died, I switched to the 128.

As I took more college courses, I moved up to the amiga 500 (was final writer or final copy the king of the amiga wp's?). And it served me very well - until I started taking programming courses at a junior college in Oakland in the early 90's. Then I bought a used ibm 286 and I've stuck with that series of computers ever since.

john
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: flip city on August 06, 2009, 02:18:10 pm
All Right ! I found it. What ? The invoice for my first PC.
dated 4/03/99.
SYSTEM specifications:
CPU - 100Mhz Pentium
RAM - 16 Meg
Video - 4 Meg PCI video card (Jaton 67ctv)
HD - Maxtor 850 Meg
Modem - Generic 14.4
CD-ROM - Imes ICD-E8x 8 speed
Sound - Axra 3D sound card
Generic speakers
Monitor - 14" AST svga
OS - Microsoft Windows 95
cost = $375.00

There it is. ::)
   
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: M0E-lnx on August 06, 2009, 02:30:42 pm
Wow, sounds like you got that one cheap for what it was...
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: flip city on August 06, 2009, 03:42:42 pm
Wow, sounds like you got that one cheap for what it was...
Well, maybe, all used parts I believe, and a close friend and former roomie, built it fo me.
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: M0E-lnx on August 07, 2009, 04:49:25 am
Ah-ha! That. ExpliIns the pricincg. If I remember correctly, technology has never been the cheapest thing
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: The Headacher on August 07, 2009, 07:14:25 am
My own first computer-like thing was a homebuilt "adder" using discrete 7400 TTL chips (AND, OR gates, and a latch).
It had 4 toggle switches, 2 push buttons, and 5 transistors driving 5 light bulbs.   (And cost me probably $120)

It worked like this:

Power on, reset.
Press one button to enter a number,
enter 4 binary digits on the toggles for first number,
press the button again to enter second number,
enter 4 binary digits on the toggles for second number, and
press the button again to add and show result.

Then the light bulbs would light the resulting binary value.

(And the geeky trivia question: why were there FIVE light bulbs instead of four?)
It's a shame nobody answered this yet. I suppose I'll do it then, it's not like I've got something better to do ATM  ;D.

You need the extra lamp to display results bigger than 1111. The biggest value you can make with 4 bits is 1111 (15). If you add 2 4-bit numbers, then you can get a maximum of 11110 (30). So 5 lamps are needed.


"My" first computer was a 186 or 086 (not sure any more), we got it second hand. Me and my little brother really wanted some gamesystem, but instead my parents got us a real computer. I sure spent a lot of time playing those classic games. Just boot from a floppy, and start the gaming fun.

Since then our family had a couple of computers, the only one we bought new was a 486-DX2 (66 MHZ, with a 2 speed cdrom drive, a soundblaster pro {8 bit} soundcard, and I think it had a modem too). It was at the beginning of the windows 95 era but ours still had dos + windows 3.11. Even then it was nice to be able not to boot into Windows and use resources for the programs you really wanted to play  ;).

Since then I bought only laptops, on the first one (a second hand Compaq Armada m300, p2 300) I meant just to make music in Fasttracker II (which also ran great on my old 486!), but I soon started using it for other things too. Thus my love for laptops was born. I bought the same but slightly newer and improved model (a p3 600) from a friend. Both these laptops are still in my posession and never really gave trouble.

The newer laptops I've owned so far have all had defects, and I don't wish to talk about the trouble I had with ASUS laptops and their customer service. My last ASUS laptop was stolen when we got burgled, so I bought the desktop replacement laptop in my signature. Never would've dreamed something like that could ever exist when I was playing Commander Keen on my old XT....
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: M0E-lnx on August 07, 2009, 07:43:13 am
Ohhh... Commander Keen was a good game..

I remember that one .....
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: nightflier on August 07, 2009, 09:18:07 am
Ohhh... Commander Keen was a good game..

I remember that one .....


Yes! It runs great in dosbox. I installed it on my daughter-in-law's MacBook. My son immediately became nostalgic and started to show her all the hidden secrets and tricks. It was a touching moment.  :'(
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: M0E-lnx on August 07, 2009, 10:30:25 am
I might need to hunt down a copy of that for myself. ;)
was one of my favorites back in the day.
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: brokndodge on August 07, 2009, 07:34:36 pm
my first was an atari 600 xl.  we even had the optional cassette tape data storage drive.  yeah it took game cartridges.  but it had a keyboard and if you turned it on with out the cartridge in, it booted into a BASIC operatic system.  i remember my dad tried to write an amortization scheduler on it.  he spent a week working on it before he ran out of memory.  he used the whole 16kb.  the only game we had was frogger.  i can't tell you how many time i got that poor frog killed. 

second machine: lazer xt 8088.  we had a whole 640 kb.  that machine was upgradable to a whopping 1mb.  tho we didn't have the money for that.  no hard drive, they were in the thousands at that time just for 10 mb.  we started out with one 512kb 5 1/4 inch floppy.  the monitor was monochrome orange.  but that was the kewlest color i had ever seen.  total cost: $800! the biggest day of my young life was when dad brought home the second floppy drive and installed it.  it wasn't the same color as the other one, but i didn't care.  that meant i didn't have to swap disks anywhere near as much.  the machine was so big that we didn't have a table it would fit on, except the dinner table.  mom wouldn't let us keep it there.  so dad cut some 2x4's for legs.  when people said desktop computer, thats what i thought they meant for years.  cause ours was the top of our desk.  my wife finally threw that old desk out a few years ago.  made me so mad.

then we got a champion 286 as a hand me down.  that was one blazing fast machine. a friend made me copies of his 3.5" floppy disk copy of windows 3.0.  man now that was kewl.  we could run windows!  or a program, but not both.  we had vga, 256 real colors!  not 16 shades of orange!  the champion was so small it fit right on top of our lazer xt desk.  wow how technology had progressed.  that was my first experience at scripting.  tho under dos 5, it was called batch files.  i wrote a small shell menu that listed the 5 programs that my mother used.  we had all kinds of space on our huge 20mb hard drive.  even had a modem.  started out with 300baud.  gradually moved up to 1200.  then a big jump, the 14.4 kbaud modems got cheap.  i finally got my first 386sx-33 about when when 3.11 fwg came out.  dad lost his job and it got repossessed.  but man, i had hit every bbs in the area by then.  i started working about that time, throwing papers and doing yards around the neighborhood.  i saved up enough for a used 486 dx 4-100 mb.  i put 4 mb of ram on it.  had a huge 120mb hard drive.  couldn't afford windows and my old boot leg disks had gotten corrupted, so i hunted down a copy of minix on the schools computer.  that was my first experience with a unix environment.  i fell in love.  i could change anything i wanted.  had xwindows and could run programs at the same time.  saved up teh $300 for a us robotics 56k hardware modem.  around 1993 i found linus's kernel and stallmans gnu tools.  it was 95 before i got linux running.  that was an early red hat i think.  i've been through so many linux distro's since then that it's hard to keep em straight.  i stuck with red hat for a long time tho, then i found mandrake.  does anyone here remember back before they changed the name to mandriva? 

my first real ,linux distro was red hat, my mother bought me a 2 inch thick book all about linux system admin in like 95, had red hat on a disk in the back.  had to go buy a used cd rom drive to use it.  i think i still have that book here somewhere.  seems like around 1997 i discovered cheapbytes.com.  that was awesome, i didn't have to spend a week downloading my next upgrade.  i could just buy it.  my first purchase was mandrake, my second was debian.  once i got that installed and patched i was totally hooked on the whole apt-get scheme.  my life had been dependency hell for some 5 or 6 years at that point.  all of a sudden linux was user friendly.  i resisted ubuntu for several years.  finally made that leap about 4 years ago.  i discovered vector linux around 5.8 i think.  it seemed to work on anything i put it on, so it became my old standby.  if i couldn't get ubuntu or debian installed, i'd throw vl at it till i could get the kinks worked out.  finally one day after 6.0 came out, i realized that my "old standby" really should be my main distro.  if it works on anything, i should be running it full time.  haven't looked back since. 

all these years of being a die hard linux devotee and i never got deeper than a few bash scripts.  just a few short cuts so i don't have to type so much.  or manually configure something everytime i want to use it.  whish i had discovered minix earlier tho.  would have been really kewl to have that on my old champion 286.  but the AOL wouldn't have worked.  thats what got my mother to use a computer. 

that trip down memory lane was fun.  i think it was computers that got me and my dad close.  i remember looking at my half of the 400 page computer shopper magazine one night ( dad always tore it in half so i could look at part and he could look at part).  i saw an ad for a 2gb hard drive for a mere $4000.  i said "hey dad, check out this 4 gigabyte hard drive!" we were still using twin floppies.  he said, "boy... you wouldn't use that much hard drive in your entire life!!!" 

remembering the good ole days makes me feel a lil better about using this old antique laptop.  by comparison, this thing is a super computer.  man, i really should have turned everything off before that storm last month.  lost a couple thousand dollars worth of hardware. 
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: GrannyGeek on August 07, 2009, 08:12:50 pm
i stuck with red hat for a long time tho, then i found mandrake.  does anyone here remember back before they changed the name to mandriva? 

Sure. Mandrake was the first Linux I tried way back in 1999 or 2000. It was pretty primitive back then (though supposedly one of the most user-friendly distros then available) and I finally gave up in frustration after several months.
--GrannyGeek
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: M0E-lnx on August 07, 2009, 09:07:32 pm
I too started with redhat around 97 or 98.
I still remember paying something like $70 for a box that had the redhat Cd, a bootable floppy with LILO and a really big book.

I tried to boot it, and of course I got nowhere, and I was not going to read the ginormous book to get it going, so I gave up on it. Until one day, I started getting bored @ work, and began playing with a couple of debian based distros that ran inside windows. After a couple of months using that, I moved to VL.
That was in the days of 5.1 (I still remember when the login manager had the floating penguins)
Have not used much anything else since.
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: brokndodge on August 07, 2009, 10:29:38 pm
My experience was that old RH cd was better.  But I already had a few years of minix and Linux from scratch under my belt.  That old RH cd, seems like it was something in the 4.x series, was the first time I had gotten a clean install.  Still took some effort to get X11 setup.  And of course, dependencies were a beach.  But after a few day's I had it the way I wanted it.  Ran great, till I got hacked.  Root kits were rampant at that time and the kernel was worse than swiss cheese.  I remember the excitement I felt when X finally started.  I only worked on that config file for two days.
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: Lyn on August 08, 2009, 03:41:04 am
Comander Keen was one of the games that we installed on the Freedos machines that we distributed at my recycling charity :-) I think the third one in the series...
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: nitehawk on August 08, 2009, 08:29:12 am
Quote
does anyone here remember back before they changed the name to mandriva? 

Ooooh, yes!  I still have my boot floppy for Mandrake 9.1 here (keepsake).   And I have a floppy of "Commander Keen" around here somewhere, too.   Can't find my  "Johnny Castaway" screensaver floppy, though,..(gotta be around here someplace)....
And remember that fantastic (for the time) random graphics screensaver "Dazzle" (still got that, too).
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: Hiero2 on August 10, 2009, 12:42:17 pm
Hehehehehe! Windozer, lagagnon, I'm gonna give ya a run for ur money. My "first computer" was time share on a teletype terminal, on a GE something in 1968, using a version of Basic developed at Dartmouth, called X-Basic. I got an A in my high school junior year algebra only because I kept trying to figure out how to run the homework problems through the computer, and get the computer to solve them. I don't think I ever succeeded, but I did learn those homework problems!

Then I went to college, and was immediately back in the stone age with a card-reader. Gag me, what a completely disgusting experience that was. The time-sharing teletype terminal emulated the modern PC environment - more or less real-time feedback. With the card reader I usually had to wait days, sometimes weeks, for my stuff to hit the bottom of the queu. Then I'd get a reply, only to find the program didn't run because I had a typo on line 26! Barf.

After that, I abandoned computers for the most part, until 1992. I had seen the Sinclairs, and thought about getting one a lot. The price was right. I expected it would be slow, tho, magnetic tape readback is not a time-efficient i/o method. And difficult, since I figured you'd probably have to use machine language to program them, and I'm not THAT good. Other boxes were always so proprietary - I just didn't think they had that great a future. The Apple IIe came along and looked pretty good, but, man, they were expensive. I saw the first "Peanut", a pre-laptop portable, in prototype. It came in a travel case like one of those big boxes airline pilots carry. You unlatched the top, which was the keyboard, and unfolded the rest. I think the screen was all of an inch or two tall.

So not until 1992 did I seriously pick up a keyboard again. PC's. Windows 3 moved to Windows 3.1, and then wonderfully to Windows 3.11. wow. Netware 3.14 (I think) in 1995. WordPerfect 5.4 DOS (wonderful) to 6 Win (gag me, a real pig). Lotus 123, but I liked Quattro Pro for Windows much better. It was far better than Excel, too. Harvard Graphics, DB2 (or whatever it was at the time). PCAnywhere, Norton Commander. A fifteen inch monitor was a luxury, and probably set you back 7 or 8 hundred. Flip City's $375 box? It was probably 1500-2k if he'd bought it new (if memory serves). Sound cards were a real bitch, but it sure was nice having real sound! And then there were Doom, and Castle Wolfenstein for when the boss wasn't around. But it was alright - the boss was a Tetris addict.
 ;D
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: M0E-lnx on August 10, 2009, 12:47:59 pm
the boss was a Tetris addict.


LOL
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: brokndodge on August 10, 2009, 07:56:11 pm
ohhh, tetris.  forgot about that one.  i think i owe my bad grades in 6th, 7th and 8th grade to that one.
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: Trex on August 10, 2009, 08:07:02 pm
It seems so long ago,now...1985...Tandy TRS80 CoCo2 64kb, absolutely huge...added a floppy drive and printer..

That lasted a couple of years and then lost interest to a degree until 91 when a 386SX25, 40mb HD and 4mb of ram took its place, have been upgrading hardware ever since. Now dual core, 4 gb of ram and two 320gb HDs with lots of toys to hang off it..:-)
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: blackbelt_jones on August 10, 2009, 08:40:13 pm
Commodore 64 with a blazing fast 1 MHz processor.  Came with a 1541 disk drive and a daisy wheel printer.  My first word processor was Speed Script.  I got it when the developer printed the code in a computer magazine.  I typed it to screen and saved it to a 5.25" low density floppy disk.  After a time I had the local Commodore guru install Jiffy Dos. 


YES!  My first computer was a C64 which I purchased for less than 200 dollars in 1987, just before starting college, and Speedscript was my first Word Processing software.   Speedscript was all I ever ran on it, except for an alien invaders type game called Ad Infinitum.  Speedscript was operated by keybindings, not menus...   and you know what that means... hard to learn, easy to love once you learned it.  Microsoft Word and all those similar menu-driven Word processors are junk next to powerful  key-driven word processors like Speedscript and the Late lamented PC WRITE.

The great thing about my C64 was that I couldn't do anything with it other than write, and play 1 decent game. So I wrote a lot.  In fact, I actually wrote a novel on that computer.  It wasn't very good, but few first novels are.  I'm not that interested in fiction these days, but I'd still like to write.  However, I'm not going to do it on a machine that Is bursting with news, internet  radio, porn, TV shows, YouTube clips, porn, enraged political arguments, and porn.

So I got myself an ooooooold laptop over the weekend. (Pentium 2, 96 MB RAM)  intend to not get a wifi card (It's got an ethernet card. I want to use it online sometimes, but not all the time.)  I plan to keep it in text mode most of the time, and to concentrate learning emacs, which I think holds out the most hope of recapturing the power of Speedscript.

Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: dawnsboy on August 12, 2009, 01:36:15 pm
Quote
So I got myself an ooooooold laptop over the weekend. (Pentium 2, 96 MB RAM)  intend to not get a wifi card (It's got an ethernet card. I want to use it online sometimes, but not all the time.)  I plan to keep it in text mode most of the time, and to concentrate learning emacs, which I think holds out the most hope of recapturing the power of Speedscript.

I remember PC Write as well.  I think I still have a copy.  I ought to crank up my old Commodore and check it out.  And for what it's worth I think that you've had a good idea there.
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: M0E-lnx on August 12, 2009, 01:40:50 pm
You think that hing still boots?
Title: Re: What was your first computer?
Post by: dawnsboy on August 13, 2009, 03:46:21 pm
Quote
ou think that hing still boots?/quote]

I have two Commodore 64 computers, one 1541 disk drive, one monitor and one mps-1000 printer.  One of the computers, the disk drive and the monitor are used.  They all worked fine when I boxed them up.  One of the computers is brand new in the box.  The printer was taken out of the box but never used.  So I guess it would be worth a try. 

Wouldn't that be great?  Set up a brand new C-64 and find that it works "out of the box"!