musicvid10 wrote on 10/26/2011, 10:58 PM
As a first-year college student in 1966, I may just have you all beat.
A hand-designed punch-card system I dreamed up to sort hundreds of student survey results by multiple combined response iterations, and a straightened coat-hanger as the sort tool of choice. Beat the heck out of a hand-written spreadsheet. I was pretty bright at seventeen, quite unlike more recent ventures . . .
Serena wrote on 10/26/2011, 11:32 PM
In terms of personal ownership I was quite late into the business. Mine had 1Mb RAM and I lashed out for a 30Mb HDD. Can't recall the make.
ushere wrote on 10/27/2011, 12:22 AM
an abacus...
musicvid10 wrote on 10/27/2011, 12:47 AM
ha! Leslie,
That has got to be the all-time, best-ever, 100th post in a thread on any forum!
And so true. A guy sitting cross-legged at an abacus could probably beat a few of the models mentioned in this thread.
PeterDuke wrote on 10/27/2011, 1:12 AM
The first abacus I saw (well it was like an abacus, at least) was on the fence of a baby's play pen. If that was yours Leslie, you really did start young!
originalbob wrote on 10/27/2011, 7:45 AM
the Commodore 3032. Commodore was based in nearby West Chester PA
and my slide rule is packed away in basement ... somewhere.
rs170a wrote on 10/27/2011, 8:23 AM
Leslie, was that a typo and you really meant Abekas?

Editguy43 wrote on 10/27/2011, 1:26 PM
Ha Ha Kelly, :-)) I forgot about the old 8" I meant 3.5" :-) but it would be cool if I could have put an 8" monster in.

Paul B
Guy S. wrote on 10/27/2011, 1:40 PM
Amiga 2000 w/Video Toaster
John Gordon wrote on 10/27/2011, 2:28 PM
Commodore 64, then it was an Amiga 2000 with a whopping 2 MB of RAM, no hard drive.... would've loved to had a video toaster system back then.... alas now it's PC, Sony Vegas, Boris Red...... ah the memories though......
jazzmaster wrote on 10/27/2011, 7:23 PM
My first computer was a KAYPRO and it was wonderful. Cost me about $1,400 and I was very happy with this 5" floppy machine. There were even simple games that came with it. The printer was just an ordinary typewriter type and looked great. I wrote a book on this computer! The KAYPRO never crashed and was made to go somewhere. The military used them all over. I bought the KAYPRO in 1984. I'll be 79 in January.

I also had one of the first Video Toasters (Amiga 2000, 2500, 4000) and wrote the "Toaster Post" column in Video Toaster Magazine. My new Video Toaster system used an Amiga 4000 and cost $6,000! But it was worth every penny. I made commercial after commercial on it--once 8 in one week. A Hollywood post production studio called me one day and said, "Burt, you spent $50,000 with us last year, but nothing this year. What's up?" I said, "The Video Toaster. I can now do a page turn in my second bedroom!" And the guy says, "Well, it's probably just as good as ours, too."

As for software, Windows 3.1 was the most stable of them all!
CorTed wrote on 10/27/2011, 7:39 PM
"As for software, Windows 3.1 was the most stable of them all!"

Jazzmaster, you are so right !!
Back in the day none of my programs crashed ever,
never on my Apple ][, and never on my PC's in those days...... oh well....
ushere wrote on 10/27/2011, 8:33 PM
Leslie, was that a typo and you really meant Abekas?

well mike i actually meant the counting frame (could use one of them but never got the hang of a slide rule), but i suppose starting out with the a42, zeno, a52, not to mention editing online with a cmx600, and then nle with a emc2 i suppose you could say i was into computers before i realised i was in to computers ;-)

the truth is i've never really been interested in computers per se, just what they could do with video. i don't think things have changed that much either. i might build my own, beta test software, etc., but at the end of the day they're of no more importance than any other tool i use, and like my car (subaru outback), i buy what seems appropriate for the job, not what some salesman / ad agency / geek / et al tells me i need ;-)
PeterDuke wrote on 10/27/2011, 11:53 PM
"never got the hang of a slide rule"

Ah, yes, the old slipstick. One bloke I knew could effectively use one that was missing the cursor (easy when you are multiplying but not so easy for division). I had (still have?) one with an adding machine on the back that was operated with a stylus.

In those days, electronic components typically had a tolerance of 10%, so a slide rule was more than precise enough. One lecturer once said that in electronics, 10% was near enough and 1% was exact.
fausseplanete wrote on 10/29/2011, 10:22 AM
UK101 in 1981. 4k RAM. BASIC & Assembler. Just a circuit board with on-board keyboard. User manual was how to solder it together. Interfaced it to 2m ham radio transmitter to share live game-play (eg lunar lander) with old school-friend ham. Sinclair programmable-calculator before that.
JohnAsh wrote on 10/29/2011, 11:31 AM
I had a ZX80, swiftly followed by a second ZX80. Timex, in Scotland, who made and, I assume, distributed these wonderful machines were inundated with orders. I'd written to complain that I had not received mine so I guess they sent me another, just in case. If you pressed the keyboard too hard, the power was cut and you lost all your work. Not much change there, then.

These were swiftly followed by the Sinclair Spectrum with Microdrives. Wow! And with this I was able to access Prestel. A great precursor to the Internet.
hazydave wrote on 10/29/2011, 3:11 PM
As a kid, I played the original "Colossal Cave" adventure, which inspired the Scott Adams adventures, as well as Zork.

I also had two program tapes published back in 1979, though Create Computing Software, for the Exidy Sorcerer. But I was into video-ish games by then, nothing as passive as the adventure games.

I sold these to about 10% of all Sorcerer users in the USA... sadly, they only sold about 5,000 units. To make matters worse, I met a guy in college who had a similar success, only the TRS-80. Ouch!
amendegw wrote on 10/29/2011, 3:40 PM
Re: Scott Adams

The guy had a sense of humor. In Pirate Adventure, I had an ANCHOR on a SANDY BEACH, so naturally I "WEIGH ANCHOR", the response, "ABOUT 20 LBS, TRY SET SAIL" (or something like that).

...Jerry (why to I remember this stuff?) SAY YOHO!

System Model: Alienware Area-51m R2
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Installed Memory: 64.0 GB
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Overclock Off

Display: 1920x1080 144 hertz
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USB: Thunderbolt 3 (USB Type-C) port Supports USB 3.2 Gen 2, DisplayPort 1.2, Thunderbolt 3

Canon R5
Canon R3
Sony A9

biggles wrote on 10/30/2011, 3:00 AM
First I used was a HP9830. I used to write software for the local doctor and in return I got to take it into the classroom to teach programming to my Yr 11 math class. This in 1975(ish). ZX81 was the first PC I personally owned.
hazydave wrote on 10/31/2011, 2:08 AM
Some dialects of basic had a similar computed goto construct, only it jumped based on an index starting at 1:

ON X GOTO 10, 20, 30, 40, ...

There was also an

ON X GOSUB 10, 20, 30, 40, ...

construct commonly available. I guess you could get the same behavior as that FORTRAN with this:

ON SGN(IX)+2 GOTO 10, 20, 30
hazydave wrote on 10/31/2011, 2:16 AM
Commodore was based in nearby West Chester PA.
Actually, in the days of the PET2001 and later the C= 8032, Commodore's engineering group was itself was mostly in Santa Clara, CA. The corporate HQ was still in Toronto I think. The chip group, MOS Technology, was based in Norristown, PA, and that's why the main base of operations in North America move to West Chester in summer of '83. I joined the company that October.

At the time anyway, the West Chester building was the largest in Chester Co. PA and did all the final assembly for North America. The building is currently the HQ for the QVC shopping channel.

cybercom wrote on 10/31/2011, 5:51 PM
Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 1.

Programs were loaded using audio cassettes. Data was saved back to same.

That part of it worked about 60% of the time.

Eventually upgraded to a TRS-80 Model III with two 5-1/4-in floppy drives and CP/M.

Used Wordstar, Supercalc, and Datastar. Still have a vivid memory of the first time I printed out letters and mailing labels on an Epson MX-80 dot matrix printer using selected fields from a database to mailmerge.

Programmed in CBasic which compiled assembly language code from a Basic-style language. Wrote an accounting package to run my business.

Anyone remember the AutoCad Space Shuttle drawing? That became my graphics benchmark when I started building 286's with 256MB of RAM for people... :-)

How far we've come!!!