Oh, right, I forgot about the Sinclair, I bought one of those, too. In fact, I still have it along with the Osborne 1 and all the Commodores. I also have my original Compaq Deskpro 386-16 with a monstrous 100 MB drive and 4 MB of RAM, which together cost $10,000 at the time. I did sell the Altair 8800 years ago and I've been kicking myself ever since.
Commodore 64 with Steinberg "Pro16" midi sequencing prog.
Then Atari 1040st with "Notator" then the 2Meg version of the Atari (whatever that was called) with Digidesign "Soundtools" which allowed me to see the waveform on-screen, ripple-edit a section out of it and it only took 20minutes to do the maths!
...still, that was better than filling out the cardboard computer cards with a HB pencil and waiting for the maths teacher to bring back the result the next day!
(...and the abacus (real one with beads and sticks) I received as a kid in Hong Kong!)
Ti 99 here, anyone remember "sprites"?
Then a Ferranti with two 5.25" FDDs, no HDD, running MS DOS 3.1 with a "suite" of "Perfect" office applications, later it ran dBase II and I developed a database system on it that ran for over 20 years after migration to dBase III and then as a compiled app using Nantucket's Clipper. What's rather amazing is Clipper is still very much alive and kicking.
"...compiled app using Nantucket's Clipper. What's rather amazing is Clipper is still very much alive and kicking.I had a "love affair" with Clipper. The most fun app I ever wrote with it was the scoring system for the McDonald's LPGA golf tournament.
We had a cadre of data scoring folks with who would input hole-by-hole scores from walking scorers via cellphone. Separate display apps would feed the leaderboard to TVs around the course as well as CBS & Tokyo TV.
As I recall, the complicated part was conceiving a record locking scheme as we had multiple inputs & multiple outputs to/from a central networked database. Clipper had record locking functions, but they weren't automatic.
I remember taking it back to my supplier to have a bigger hard drive fitted. (I hadn't yet started assembling my own.) The salesman's comment is probably still relevent today. "Gee, that's an old model, it must be at least 12 months old. We don't make them that way anymore!"
It had 8 MB memory of Dual in Line ICs on the motherboard. I am too embarassed tell you how much I paid for the RAM because it still sounds like a lot of money even today.
@John Cline: We are dating ourselves here. Mine was an IBM PC-XT clone with outfitted for digital music composition in January of 1986. It had a Roland MPU-401 and an MIF-IPC to allow MIDI to interface and emulate into the computer for musical notation and music sequencing. It was truly a renaissance period for computers that was suppose to be designed just for business and then look what happened.
I my first rig featured a whopping ten MB hard drive (drive C), two 5.25 in. floppy drives (drive A and B). MS-DOS 3.1, WordPerfect, and an Epson Digital Matrix printer with tractor feed. Cost was about $1000.00 and the beast weighed in at 52 pounds shipped. The monochromatic monitor was amber in color and 13 inches. I can still remember the keyboard cardboard cutouts for the 12 function keys to assist in using different commands. I also had a mouse even though everything back in the day was designed for keyboard shortcuts.
Sinclair Z80. My Mother-in-Law won it in a competition and had no idea what to do with it, so she gave it to me. That was followed by a Commodore 64 and then a home-built 8088 with a whopping 1 MB of RAM (two FDD's and no HDD.)
Gateway in 1995. Worked with several industrial computers in the 90's including 21 different types at work. Also converting old machines to work on small 12 channel computers and programming them. My most famous quote in 1976 was "Digital will never work"
C64. First one I bought myself was an Intel 486-DX 33 with 32-bit slots in it (never used them). I later popped a Cyrix DX2 80 CPU in that MB. Bios only said it ran at 60mhz but all the benchmark programs said 80mhz. Was that thing fast.
C64 survived flying out a car window during an accident. My grandfather sent me a 300bps modem for it years ago. I managed to log on to a WWIV BBS I ran with it. That was very very cool. :)
Atari 800 w/disk drive and Assembly Editor Cartridge.
The good one, with 16kb RAM.
Ahh the good old days. 1 bit 320x192 screen resolution. One color on the odd scan lines and a different one on the even ones. Or 4 colors at 160x192, plus four player-missiles (like sprites), and of course the clever vertical blank interrupt trick of changes color registers during the vertical blank interrupt. When I got my first PC I absolutely could not believe it could address 640x480 screen resolution with 4 bit per pixel! 16 colors at that resolution was crazy!
The COSMAC ELF, heavily expanded and modified from a 1976 Popular Electronics construction article.
Followed a bit later by a MOS Technology Kim-1, a Sinclair ZX-81, several Timex-Sinclair TS-1000s (American version of the ZX-81), Timex-Sinclair TS-2068, Apple II+ clone, Morrow MD-3, Radio Shack TRS-80 (with 4 8" floppy drives), Kaypro 4-84, and finally a succession of Windows machines that continue to this day.
I kinda-of disagree with those who dismiss the Sinclair ZX81 as a toy. It had a very intelligent version of BASIC built into 8K of RAM, and it had the Z80 bus hanging out in back, allowing you to design & build accessories and then write the software to run 'em. I learned peek & poking and Z80 assembly language on that thing and had countless hours of fun.
Hmmmm.... fun.... guess it was a toy after all. But it was a great one! Since getting my first *real* PC, I haven't written a single program.
My first was the Apple ][ bought in 1979 ( not the ][+, but a plain ole' ][ ) It had 16k of memory. External storage drive was an audio cassette. No floppy or hard drive. It had COLOR when used with a color TV (with a modulator)
I upgraded this and upgraded that .. and it lasted for 10 years ... before I bought my next computer .. the Amiga 500
After that it was various "PCs"
My Apple ][ cost me $1200 (in 1979 dollars) ... now you can get an amazing increase in computing power for the same money .. and if you correct for inflation .. even more!
EDIT: Not that anyone asked .. but my first printer was a dot-matrix that cost $1000 and it's dual claim to fame was graphics and descenders.
"I kinda-of disagree with those who dismiss the Sinclair ZX81 as a toy."I guess I called my Sinclair a "plaything". I didn't mean to imply that the BASIC wasn't "very intelligent" - and certainly had no intention to dismiss it. The reason it was a "plaything" for me was that I couldn't touch-type the keyboard and the display would not update realtime. Didn't mean to imply it was a "toy" (subtle difference between a "plaything" and "toy" - a Ferrari could be a "plaything", but is hardly a "toy".)
The first computer I actually bought was in 1993 (when I was 19), a 486 DX 33Mhz with 16MB of RAM (maxed out MB) and a 340MB HDD. It also came with Windows 3.1 which I later replaced with OS/2.
At the time 540MB was the largest on the market and the fastest CPU was a DX2 66Mhz.. I remember a (non-genius) friend commenting right after I showed it to him, "wow, so you could store the entire CIA database on that, probably".