Jan 31, 2014

What was your first computer?

I still remember my first computer, an IBM PCjr. I taught myself BASIC using a book that came with it, and played my first computer game, King’s Quest. I was thinking about it today, and I’ve always been a “PC guy” instead of an “Apple guy,” probably because the PCjr was my first computer. Do you still remember your first computer and does it still influence your preferences?


I think it has significant influence for many people. Of course, how that influence manifests itself is likely to very different for someone who started off with an Apple II versus a Commodore 64. I’ve known one of my friends since we were kids, and I still remember his Apple IIe. To this day, the only brand of computer that he has ever owned is Apple. As a former kid with a Commodore 64, there is not the same residual brand loyalty, for obvious reasons, but it still had a lasting impact. I also learned how to write simple programs in BASIC on my C64, which were then saved on audio cassette tapes. Another lasting impact was that he C64 introduced me to the fact that there were communities of enthusiasts that shared their expertise and love of the machines, which may seem like no big deal now, but in those days before the internet became reality it was a different and sometimes isolated world. 


First one used, 1958, owned by others, rented by firm I worked for in summer job: IBM 704;

first one programmed, 1959, owned by others, rented same firm: IBM 650;

first one used in a programming course, 1960, U. of Texas, another IBM 650;

first one owned by me: Timex/Sinclair 2068 (1983).


Wow, you might get the "old timer" award! It must have been fascinating to have watch everything develop since 1958 - what a different world. 


I haven't heard Timex/Sinclair mentioned in a long time. I remember wanting a TS1000 sooooo bad as a kid. I would have been green with envy over a TS2068 back then!


My first computer was a Radio Shack COCO Color computer,  it had 8 colors,  and you had to set each pixel with a line of code to draw something, and each line was numbered ,  with subroutines,  it had no disk drive, or even floppy drive, or mine didn't , I  only had the box, and  you had to type in a program to run it. It did have some kinf of ROM cartridge  plugin in back but I only had one game  that I aquired with the used computer. I loved the basic  and learning , I even eventually made  some "video games"  before video games were cool ;-) I remember adding music, you had to set thefrequency and , duration by means of a loop, etc it took me thousands of lines to get a game that I could drive a car I drew and when it crashed it played "Taps"  . Strangely enough, I do not like any games these days.
 It had a whole 32 KB of memory!  and  you could type "motor on" command  to control a cassette tape recorder and store your programs on cassette tapes, so many of the tapes in my car sounded like a modem if you rewound  to the start of the tape. I still have a Commoore 64, but i really  wish I had kept my old COCO though. How times have changed!

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