Prometheus
Posts: 308
Joined: Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:09 pm

Re: What was your first computer?

Tue Dec 27, 2011 5:12 am

I keep noticing this in most people's introductions, so I figured that I'd make a thread about it here in Off Topic. I've looked through the entire section, and can"t find a pre-existing topic in this vein, so…

What was your first computer?

Mine was a Commodore 64 (the later off-white coloured model), which I got when I was about five or six years old.

Whilst I never really got my head around programming (I don't have the mindset for it – I seem to struggle with learning any sort of second language, for some reason ), I learned several valuable lessons from having a computer of my own, like the need to treat things with care, the value of trying new things, and the very basics of telling a computer what to do from a command-line. The latter is what sometimes causes me to get a bit confused when I encounter people who have a fear of command-lines, as I just can't see what there is to worry about. (I didn"t really deal with GUIs until 1996, when my family got a computer with Windows 95 installed, and I remember all too well how incredibly confusing and unintuitive I found it.)

What was everyone else's?

Xovan
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:13 pm

Re: What was your first computer?

Tue Dec 27, 2011 5:41 am

The first computer I ever touched was my Mom's Apple Macintosh 512K enhanced which I only used a few times before I rediscovered it earlier this year.  The one I'd really learn something from was the next computer a Compaq Presario that came with Windows 3.1 and the Tabworks shell replacement.  Wonderful machine, played all sorts of retro computer games on it as well as my first experiences about how to use a word processor and spreadsheets.  The first Mac I used regularly was my middle school's G3 IMac, it was the last version that was a dark grey and came with superior parts.  That one was great because it was my first exposure to Mac Os (that is Macs after system 7)  The first computer I owned was a Toshiba Satellite M35X  Laptop with a Pentium M processor clocked at 1.4Ghz which came with windows XP and I upgraded the machine to have more ram so I could increase its life span.  That machine is the one I learned to program on.  Was a great machine up until its fan went out and it fried itself.  The first computer I pieced together by myself is my current one which is the one I started using Linux with.

I find that my knowledge in IT comes because of the variety and culturing of my knowledge with computers rather than a singular computer driving my efforts.  I am proud to say that I am very dynamic and enjoy the learning experiences I've had because of the availability of the technology rather than a single device.  This is why I like the Pi, its an attempt to make the technology available.  Though there is only a single device involved it opens doors that would have otherwise been left closed and locked.

Prometheus
Posts: 308
Joined: Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:09 pm

Re: What was your first computer?

Tue Dec 27, 2011 5:45 am

Xovan said:

I find that my knowledge in IT comes because of the variety and culturing of my knowledge with computers rather than a singular computer driving my efforts.  I am proud to say that I am very dynamic and enjoy the learning experiences I've had because of the availability of the technology rather than a single device.  This is why I like the Pi, its an attempt to make the technology available.  Though there is only a single device involved it opens doors that would have otherwise been left closed and locked.

It's been the same for me, too. The value of that cannot be overstated, I think.

MikeL
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Dec 24, 2011 10:43 pm

Re: What was your first computer?

Tue Dec 27, 2011 6:10 am

I consider myself lucky to have 'grown up' during the 70s/80s. So many variations of a theme of home computing. So, my experiences were,

ZX81 > ZX Spectrum > BBC B > Amiga 500 > PC (various) > Mac

My fondest memories are of BASIC programming on Sinclair/BBC offerings.

Sadly, I never took it up career-wise, but then who wants to be sat in front of a 'VDU' all day

Mike

macrob
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Dec 27, 2011 6:14 am

Re: What was your first computer?

Tue Dec 27, 2011 6:33 am

I played with  uk101 ( around 1975-1976) then a south west technical then apple II on to the IBM's

dattaway
Posts: 20
Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2011 11:41 pm

Re: What was your first computer?

Tue Dec 27, 2011 6:56 am

I still have the soldering iron used to assembly my ZX81...from 1981!

I'll never forget the joy of expanding memory with 16KB.  and finding a bad memory cell within the first 2KB on the memory map.  :(

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Jongoleur
Posts: 1179
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2011 12:47 pm
Location: O'erlooking the sea, and all those effin windfarms...

Re: What was your first computer?

Tue Dec 27, 2011 6:58 am

My first computer was a Science of Cambridge Mk14, though learning to program using SC/MP machine code in 256 bytes of memory was a challenge.  After a while, it was sold and I was computerless until I got a ZX81.

Thereafter I had a C64 (beige case), an Amstrad 1512 and several "self built" PC clones with 386, 486 and Pentium processors.  Aside from the main sequence I've also had (for specific purposes) an Archimedes 3010 and a Mac Mini (which was a disappointment).

Currently, a box with an AMD thingy lurks under my desk and I've a laptop and netbook elsewhere around the house. I tried an android tablet but gave up in disgust (cheap ones are no good and expensive ones are too expensive!).

7+5?  Oh come on....
I'm just a bouncer, splatterers do it with more force.....

Arpee
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Sep 13, 2011 8:38 am

Re: What was your first computer?

Tue Dec 27, 2011 7:45 am

Hi there,

being an East-German I had no access to Commodores or Sinclairs when I was a young brat. So my very first computer was a Robotron Z1013 which came as a bunch of components and a PCB for DIY-soldering. Even the BASIC Interpreter came as a printed listing and I had to type in the Hex-Codes to make it work. Storage was an old cassette recorder and Display was my 10 inch b/w TV. Later I created an interface to turn my girlfriend's electronic typewriter into a printer (I printed my diploma thesis on it). After this I owned a C64, an ACORN Archimedes and some MAC's (Classic, Performas) and -of course- several PC's. Today I'm back to MAC again.

So I'm quite exited to have a RaspberryPi and get somehow the old times feeling back.

Happy 2012 to all!

Edit typo.

whiteshepherd
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2011 7:59 pm

Re: What was your first computer?

Tue Dec 27, 2011 7:51 am

My first computer I on was a huge Mainframe at a Burroughs.  It did business work but the techs had "Adventure" stored in it's memory which could be played from any of the terminals.  I remember as a child sitting next to a giant tape reader (big disk the size of a small wheel filed with magnetic tape) playing text Adventure on a term while my dad worked.

My first computer at home was a "Interact" with 4 colors and a tape reader for saving basic programs you wrote.  Way ahead of it's time but never met anyone else who even knew of them.  Then got a TI 49/a sold by Bill Cosby for Kmart (did a lot of basic programing on that).  Got a Apple 2+ and an introduction to "Apple Ciders" software disks.  Got a Apple IIe and my first virus from low cost software sold by my local collage.  Next got a XT, AT 12Mzh (these were advertised as so fast they would NEVER go obsolete).  A Cyrix 486DLC (as I could not afford a Intel 486DX).  Pentiums to a AMD K6-333 (used this computer for MANY years as it was fast enough to do many tasks for a long time) and on upward to modern PCs.

bsimpson888
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:50 pm
Contact: Website

Re: What was your first computer?

Tue Dec 27, 2011 7:59 am

Hello,

my first computer was a Commodore C64 which was a gift from my godfather in 1986 at an age of 10. My first programming experiences i had on this where 1988 when I was 12. As you could expect it was BASIC and assembly language

I directly moved on from the C64 to an IBM Xt with an Hercules graphics card which was a small step back from 16 colors to no colors at all But the resolution was good, hehe . But I didn't move before i was sure that Sid Meier's Pirates and Bard's Tale III was available on PC. Because as a Kid you want to play with the computer as well, and that were my favourites.

tank
Posts: 64
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2011 5:51 pm

Re: What was your first computer?

Tue Dec 27, 2011 8:58 am

My computer history is,

ZX80 kit

ZX81 Kit

BBC model B

BBC Master with 6502 second processor

Archimedes 310

Archimedes 540

Risc PC 600 (later upgraded with SA card)

Iyonix (still in use)

Devkit8000 (with RISC OS)

Beagleboard (with RISC OS)

I have had to go to the "dark side" for media centres and a server for them...

Bootsy
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Dec 24, 2011 10:52 am

Re: What was your first computer?

Tue Dec 27, 2011 9:11 am

My first was a PC, I used it for t'interweb browsing and playing games. That was less than 10 years ago.

I still use a winbox 'o' mystery today, that's why I'm looking forward to the R-Pi so I can actually learn what makes a computer work.

SeanD
Posts: 121
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2011 12:25 am
Contact: Website

Re: What was your first computer?

Tue Dec 27, 2011 9:25 am

The first machine I had real access to was an Apple ][ Plus that my father had.

The first machine I owned was a ZX81, I saved up and ordered a ZX80 and received a ZX81.

The first machine I was paid to work on was RML 380Z

The first big machine I worked on was an IBM 4381J (which I shared with one other guy - massive step up from Z80 based machines)

The first PC I used was a PC XT with a 3270 emulator card to connect to my 4381

VSid
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Dec 27, 2011 9:27 am
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Re: What was your first computer?

Tue Dec 27, 2011 9:44 am

Ha ha ha, im jealous of all you guys that got to grow up in the 80's and learn on those computers... Im 18 and studying computer science. Things now a days are so much more complex. My first computer that I actually bought is the one I have now, a Hp mini netbook, though the first computer i used, bought by my parents was an NEC tower that ran windows 95 purchased new for almost a $1000 :O.

G4GUO
Posts: 12
Joined: Sat Dec 24, 2011 11:11 am
Contact: Website

Re: What was your first computer?

Tue Dec 27, 2011 9:46 am

Wireless World Comp 80 running BURP

(Basic Using Reverse Polish)

jacklang
Posts: 166
Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2011 10:59 am

Re: What was your first computer?

Tue Dec 27, 2011 9:54 am

I'm ancient so my first computer was ACE (valves, mercury delay lines, magnetic drum), then at NPL around 1960, then an Elliott 803 (transistor and magnetic core), then a PDP 7 (with an early graphic display) and 8K memory in which I wrote a GO playing program, the Japanese game. It played lousy Go, but it beat the only other GO program of the time....

hansp
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Aug 28, 2011 1:26 pm

Re: What was your first computer?

Tue Dec 27, 2011 9:58 am

Seems like I'm a real old-timer here!

The first computer I programmed was an Elliott 4120 in about 1968. It was a room sized computer at Huddersfield Technical College (now Huddersfield University). I obtained permission to use the ASR-33 paper tape machines after school to write my programs which were run whenever the machine operator had nothing else to do. The only output was printed listings.

Obligatory link to Monty Python Yorkshiremen sketch omitted

tonycollinet
Posts: 38
Joined: Sat Dec 10, 2011 4:12 pm

Re: What was your first computer?

Tue Dec 27, 2011 10:06 am

First computer I saw was a newly installed mainframe where my dad worked. It had a room dedicated to it, and had a whole 32kB or RAM.

My first computer was a spectrum (16kB later upgraded to 48). I went through a phase on this of analysing the copy protection of games (I started because I wanted to copy them, but actually never played the copied games, instead moving onto the next form of copy protection - it became an end in itself). Most of these protections involved reading a "loader" program from tape which then loaded the actual game using non standard tones/protocols. If you stopped the tape after reading the loader, it was possible to disassemble the loader and work out what was going on. The last one I cracked actually used non documented op codes of the Z80  which were not recognised by the disassembler I was using. I had to work out what they did by comparing the bit pattern of the code with valid op codes. I learned a LOT from this exercise (My Uni final year project used a Z80 micro), but gave up, because it was an arms race I could not win.

I later moved on to an atari ST (I bought the "hi res" monocrome monitor), and finally financed my first PC on the back of some freelance electronic and firmware design work I did in my spare time (control panels for some gym fitness machines - I was working as an electronic engineer at the time). That cost me £1100 for a 25MHz 486sx with 4MB ram.

stan4th
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Dec 27, 2011 10:25 am

Re: What was your first computer?

Tue Dec 27, 2011 10:34 am

The first one I saw was my brother's ZX80 which he had hacked for uni course.

My first the ZX81.

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daveg
Posts: 137
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2011 9:36 am

Re: What was your first computer?

Tue Dec 27, 2011 11:44 am

My first computer was the legendary BBC model B.

Ah I loved my beeb and spent many many hours playing elite, what a game.

From there got an Amiga 500, then an Amiga 1200 before turning to the "dark side" and getting a PC with Win95 on it. Been stuck with PC's and "Windoze" ever since due to work and gaming.

fdufnews
Posts: 289
Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2011 5:37 pm

Re: What was your first computer?

Tue Dec 27, 2011 12:24 pm

My first computer was a TRS80 (from Radio Shack) a good machine. The motherboard was in the keyboard (a real mechanical keyboard).

My second was an Aplle ][

After, I  bought a canon X07. The first laptop in my opinion. A good QWERTY keyboard, a small LCD screen, memory card with a file system on the backside of the unit. It was working on 6 AA cells for many hours.

Till that time I am using PC.

And from time to time Arduino and Friendly Arm boards

Joules
Posts: 87
Joined: Sun Dec 25, 2011 8:50 pm

Re: What was your first computer?

Tue Dec 27, 2011 2:51 pm

My first was a Sharp PC1211, more like a calculator you could program in basic. Then I went for a Sharp MZ-80k. Learn"t a lot from that machine, but hated the tape back-up idea. I wrote shop window demos for the Laskey"s group that sold them at the time.

Finally bought my Apple II and never looked back on getting into computer hardware hacking and modding. Plus I loved the convenience of 5.25" floppy drives!!! LOL we have come on a bit since then.

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johnbeetem
Posts: 944
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Location: The Coast
Contact: Website

Re: What was your first computer?

Tue Dec 27, 2011 3:32 pm

The first computer I ever programmed was a DEC LINC-8, a PDP-8 variant.  Programming language was FOCAL (FOrmula CALculator), an interpretive language part way between Fortran and Basic.  I/O was ASR33 teletype.

The first computer I owned is a Heathkit H-8, a much better design than the S-100 bus machines popular at the time both in terms of hardware and software.  Octal front panel.  Very elegant thermal design which conducted waste heat from the linear regulators to the chassis.  Everything was kit form except the Intel 8080 CPU card, which I eventually altered to help implement PC-relative addressing.  16KB of memory on two 8KB memory cards.  1200 Baud cassette tape storage, with Heathkit silly-scope handy to monitor playback signal level.

I once took the Heathkit factory tour in Benton Harbor, Michigan.  It was a sad day when SMT mass production made Heathkits impractical.

orangekeeper
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Dec 26, 2011 9:33 am

Re: What was your first computer?

Tue Dec 27, 2011 3:34 pm

My first computer was a Spectrum in the late 80's. Friends had all manner of other machines so my brother and I would occasionally get use of C64's, Amiga's etc and whatever the console of the day was...

I've always been a gamer though, never a programmer. Like OP I have never been naturally good with programming and it seems like the same reason too. I too have difficulty learning any other language than english... Short of some VB that I normally piece together with the help of Google, I'll get the basics of a lanuage and then get bogged down once I start trying to get into any level of detail....

I'm still interested though and hopefully the Pi might help me start to get my head around learning something that I wouldn't have been able to comprehend back when I was growing up with the machines above.... This'll be my first Linux machine (And second and third probably) when production starts and I'm already learning something new with Virtual Box and a Debian install...

Mike

AndyG
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2011 6:02 pm

Re: What was your first computer?

Tue Dec 27, 2011 4:04 pm

My first computer was a 'rubber' keyed ZX Spectrum (speccy) 48! wild finger contortions for the programming to press the 'right' keys.  Wait 20 minutes for games to load from tape; some of which even came with copy protection in the form of the 'lenslok' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lenslok) - Fantastic!!  Mind you they didn't always run - even after loading from tape with the classic modem noise coming out of the tv speakers all the while!!!

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