In the beginning
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    In the beginning

    In the site supporter thread, the topic of our first computers came up. I thought I would start a new thread to start a walk down memory lane. Is anyone else watching Halt and Catch Fire? I have enjoyed this show as I remembered a lot of the events they are tying together into that story.

    My first computer at home was a Time Sinclair 1000 I even had the 16K memory expansion. I remember how much that membrane keyboard kicked my butt. The best part was, my machine (bought used) seemed to have a bad internal connection and after spending hours typing in a program, a bump to the side of the box would often result in a reset! I still thought it was cool. I then spent time on a Commodore 64. On the Commodore I spent time on private bulletin boards in addition to being active on Quantum Link. The funny part is, I had no idea that it evolved into AOL. I was never an AOL user. I had lost interest (or bandwidth) before the transition from Q-link to AOL.

    I graduated to an original IBM AT. The case took up my entire desk and it had a whopping 20MB hard drive! I don't know how old that thing was when I got it, but I would say it was already out of date when it hit my desk. I guess, you could say, the rest is history. Computers went from being a toy to a tool. Replaced the AT with a clone. I really wasn't online (at home) very much between '90 and '95. By the time I was online, I was using the AT&T internet service rather than AOL.


    Lee
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    Captain Hook Kennyd's Avatar
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    Great thread idea Lee!

    I also had a Timex Sinclair 1000, it worked till my sister dumped a fresh load of laundry out of the dryer on it, I guess the static killed it dead. Oh well moved on to an Atari 800 then upgraded to a 130xe machine. Had the tape drives, 5-1/4 floppys, 3-1/2 floppys, dot matrix printers, 150/300 baud modems...wow how far we've come.

    And yes, Pong was my first video game too.

    My other hobby at the time was CB radios, had a 5/8 wave on the chimney, a realistic base station, and of course a silver eagle mic "I saw it all on the radio"
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    Great idea for a thread!

    Work had a single console connected to an Unisys mainframe. There was a full time operator and we peons weren't allowed access. Our first standalone workstations were IBM ATs that were used for basic word processing - mostly the making and storage of lists. My first home computer was an Asian manufactured 386 that I purchased in 1993 from BJs for a bit over $2000.00. I still have some old receipts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kennyd View Post
    Great thread idea Lee!

    I also had a Timex Sinclair 1000, it worked till my sister dumped a fresh load of laundry out of the dryer on it, I guess the static killed it dead. Oh well moved on to an Atari 800 then upgraded to a 130xe machine. Had the tape drives, 5-1/4 floppys, 3-1/2 floppys, dot matrix printers, 150/300 baud modems...wow how far we've come.

    And yes, Pong was my first video game too.

    My other hobby at the time was CB radios, had a 5/8 wave on the chimney, a realistic base station, and of course a silver eagle mic "I saw it all on the radio"
    You know, I wonder if it was not a physical connection issue or a static issue that was causing my TS to reset! I was thinking the other day about those dot matrix printers that did not even print descending characters. The "g" looked like a "9".

    Good times.
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    Quote Originally Posted by OxPath View Post
    Great idea for a thread! I'll see if I can move my post over here.
    I wasn't trying to steal your thunder, just thought that this topic may take a life of its own. I find myself referring to this site much like I would have Q-Link back in the day. This forum and its members are much bigger to me than just a resource for tractor help.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ljnelson109 View Post
    I wasn't trying to steal your thunder, just thought that this topic may take a life of its own. I find myself referring to this site much like I would have Q-Link back in the day. This forum and its members are much bigger to me than just a resource for tractor help.
    You're not stealing my thunder! Yours is a great idea for a thread. I went off-topic in the other thread only after others did. I was a follower. This is a better place for my post.
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    My first computer was a TI99-4a. If I remember correctly, it had 4k of RAM. I couldn't afford the external disk drive system, so I made do with a cassette tape drive. I never did too much with it although it did get my feet wet doing a little BASIC programming.

    I graduated from high school in January of 1980 and went to work in a couple of different jobs before I went back to college in '83. One of the jobs was as a toolmaker's helper in the largest toolshop in town. We did a lot of IBM work and one of the jobs I worked on was for a "start / stop tester". It was a machine that IBM used to test the read/write heads on their 13" hard disk drive platters. It was pretty high tech at the time. I have some snapshots of it somewhere around here. If I can find them, I'll scan them and post them.

    When I went back to school I had to take a "business applications" class that started me on the path to what I do now. In 10 weeks we learned MS-DOS commands, word processing (Word-Pro), spreadsheets (SuperCalc), and databases (dBase-II student edition limited to 75 records in a table!). We used IBM PC's with dual floppies. There was a single (approx $5000) HP LaserJet printer in the corner. When class started, we had to power up the computers 1 row of seats at a time so we didn't pop the breakers! The computer labs on campus were stocked with NCR PCs (with NCR being headquartered here in Dayton at the time). I found out the hard way that MS-DOS formatted floppies weren't compatible with CPM based PCs and that you could easily lose a lot of work if you didn't check the operating system that particular computer lab was stocked with! That was back in the days when an entire operating system, word processing system and a quarter's worth of term papers would fit on a single 360k floppy!

    I also took a few programming classes in school. The first class was FORTRAN and we used IBM punch cards (1983).

    That was also back in the days when a printout of X's, O's and *'s could comprise the outline of a female figure and everyone thought it was "naughty"!

    After the TI99-4a, my major computers were...

    Wang-PC with a 30MB hard drive - 10MB formatted for Wang-DOS and 20MB formatted to IBM-DOS ($3500 used)

    IBM PC with 20MB hard drive (bought used for $????)

    Ultra 9" COLOR Laptop - 30MB hard drive, 640k RAM, Windows 95 ($5000 new)

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    Does anyone remember "daisy wheel" printers? My first printer was a Juki 6300 daisy wheel. I turned out some pretty impressive looking term papers with that thing!
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    Quote Originally Posted by ljnelson109 View Post
    You know, I wonder if it was not a physical connection issue or a static issue that was causing my TS to reset! I was thinking the other day about those dot matrix printers that did not even print descending characters. The "g" looked like a "9".

    Good times.
    Ah yes, my old Commodore 1525 printer did that. It was obnoxiously loud unless you had the cover on and only printed in one direction.

    I received bad marks on a college paper I typed and printed, because the teacher thought they were nines instead of a g. I explained that's how the printer worked and got it corrected. It's funny now, but back then, nobody had a clue about personal computers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mark02tj View Post
    That was also back in the days when a printout of X's, O's and *'s could comprise the outline of a female figure and everyone thought it was "naughty"!


    Does anyone remember "daisy wheel" printers? My first printer was a Juki 6300 daisy wheel. I turned out some pretty impressive looking term papers with that thing!
    Yeah, I remember having "strip poker" on my Commodore 64. Wow, those graphics were bad. And then, Leisure Suit Larry on the PC. My favorite on that game was the "boss key" where you could change the screen to graphs and charts to look like you were doing work!

    I never owned a daisy wheel printer, but am definitely familiar.

    Lee
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    Quote Originally Posted by TickTock View Post
    Ah yes, my old Commodore 1525 printer did that. It was obnoxiously loud unless you had the cover on and only printed in one direction.

    I received bad marks on a college paper I typed and printed, because the teacher thought they were nines instead of a g. I explained that's how the printer worked and got it corrected. It's funny now, but back then, nobody had a clue about personal computers.
    Wow, flashback there! I totally remember that. I was typing papers that did not need to be typed. My handwriting was always that bad. Here I thought I was giving the teacher a break and I was also marked down for the typographical errors.
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