What was your first computer?



  • Continuing the discussion from Where did your user name come from?:

    @M_Adams said:

    Oh! Memory Lane! Used my paper route money to order this nice piece of kit from some magazine back in the early 80's, got the DIY version. 1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZX81

    Reading this I thought: now that would make a nice new topic - on what machines did this community start their adventures in computing land?

    My first computer was a EG2000 Colour Genie by EACA, bought shortly after its arrival on the german market in August 1982.

    Although the machine itself was great, the manual was crap - I didn't mind too much that it was in English (or at least some sort of translation-in-a-hurry English), but it was rather flimsy and the information it offerend about the internals was sparse and sometimes just plain wrong.

    Nevertheless the Genie provided hours and hours of fun and late-night programming :-)


  • Banned

    I had a zx-spectrum which was technically the first computer I had:

    However I only started copying computer programs from books on to computers when I go my spectra video (around 1983)


  • Banned

    And then

    The Adam was in many ways a worse computer, but it had tape drives, and a printer included. Fun fact! There are still yearly Coleco Adam conventions. Which is so beyond the pale.

    After that, the Apple //c, and then Commodore Amiga, which was (and still is) awesome.


  • :belt_onion:

    Oh, bloody hell, I'm gonna be so lame now next to all these cool retro machines... I didn't have a computer around as a young child, but I was always fascinated by them. The first thing I had was a PC, sadly... And I don't mean a DOS PC, I mean a boring Celeron 633, 64MB RAM, running WinME beige box of cheapness.

    I am, however, planning on a proper retro computer collection once I move to a bigger place. I really don't have any room to keep extra hardware in atm.



  • When the Colour Genie broke down after a while (faulty power supply killed the video chip), I took some time out but started again some years later with a used HP 9831A. That was sold together with a separate printer and a separate 8'' floppy drive.

    The programming language was some strange mixture between BASIC and Assembler, but since I had a box full of documentation, I managed to do some stuff on the machine:

    1. Mastermind (the game) to have some fun.
    2. Mandelbrot sets. 400 x 400 resolution with 256 calculation threshold. A typical image would take 48hrs to calculate, and since I had to print it directly to the external thermo printer, I had to move the entire stack (computer, floppy drive and printer) to the kitchen because the fans were just too noisy.
    3. Then I embarked upon a 8085 emulator (don't ask). A NOP took about 1 second, but before I could get far enough to do more than just the most basic operations with it, the floppy drive broke. The build-in cartridge drive (or the cartridges) couldn't cope with the code size any longer, so I had to give up that nice experiment.

    After that I bought a 486-33 which was running Windows 3.1 and had a whopping 240MB harddisk which at the time (1993) was quite a decent machine.



  • My first computer was a MicroBee that my father brought home from the school where he worked when they replaced them for newer stuff. I was like 5 years old or something and was trying to pay the educational games that came with the computer. I think I learned some math from some kind of Pacman-like game. There was also some game starring E.T and a program describing how a car engine works.

    I managed to "break the computer" while just trying stuff. All of a sudden all the programs were gone. I guess I wiped the floppy or something. Before throwing the computer away I was allowed to open it and see what it looked like inside.

    I later got a C64 for paying games on. I didn't try any programming until I was about 12 years old, then in dos with qbasic.


  • Banned

    Interesting, I had never heard of the MicroBee:


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @sam said:

    I had a zx-spectrum which was technically the first computer I had:

    I've still got one in a box somewhere. As machines go, they were pretty crappy, but they had a great manual.

    Memories…

    (My first computer was a 16kB model, but we got an upgrade to 48kB when the first one failed during warranty and the small model had effectively been discontinued in the interim. After that, been PCs for years, running DOS, Windows and various versions of Linux. And OSX laptops too.)



  • @sam said:

    I had a zx-spectrum

    I also had a spectrum, followed by an Amstrad CPC-464:

    Then an Amiga 500+:


  • Banned

    All you cool kids with your Amigas and 32 colors, SO JEALOUS


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    I also had an Amstrad CPC 464, that was my first computer. But not the fancy colour one that you had, mine had a green screen.

    I spent many an hour in front of that beast!

    Many years later, my next computer was a Tiny PC that ran Windows 98 second edition.

    Once that beast started to get a bit old and creaky I got into building my own PCs and then a few years later I accidentally became a programmer.

    I remember that the first PC I built had an Intell Prescott Pentium 4 processor. It was a total POS that ran way too hot. I remember sweating my balls off in summer because that bloody thing was trying to melt me.


    Filed under: the keyboard was more colourful than the screen


  • I remember Windows 95 on 800x600.

    Good times.



  • @Onyx said:

    Oh, bloody hell, I'm gonna be so lame now next to all these cool retro machines... I didn't have a computer around as a young child, but I was always fascinated by them.

    Pretty much the same. The first computer I’ve used was a Power Mac 7200 (circa 1996). 32-bit, 1024x768x256 color screen, 16 MB of RAM (I think), internal 500MB hard drive, built-in CD-ROM drive, built-in Ethernet. Today’s kids could probably master it in seconds.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    Mine was 1024x768. I had to have the refresh rate on as high as possible, too low and it'd give me a migraine.

    LCDs were a game changer for me.



  • The first computer at home was a whitebox 286 with 512kB RAM, 40MB hard disk drive, 5.25" floppy with Hercules graphics (with a black-and-white display - not green or orange). Over time this was upgraded with 3.5" floppy drive, a mouse (and Dr. Halo III drawing program), and Trident VGA (with 512kB of video RAM - yup, the same amount as the computer had for itself). At some point I got QuickBasic 4.0 and started programming (I learned mostly by borrowing books made for Commodore and Spectrum, then trying to get those programs to work).



  • I had 16k ZX Spectrum which I upgraded to 48k. I loved it and, despite its technical limitations, it had some great games. For playability it's hard to top Elite, Bombjack and Halls Of The Things.

    From there I moved on to Amiga 500 and then an Amiga 1200. Both excellent machines.



  • @DoctorJones said:

    it'd give me a migraine.

    60Hz CRT was never a problem for me. 75 and 80 were better, obviously.


  • sockdevs

    32 colours? Eh. Most Amigas had two extra modes. EHB and HAM.

    EHB wasn't on all the Amigas but it gave you an extra bitplane to play with where all colours were half brightness (Extra Half Bright) compared to the preceding bitplane.

    Then there was HAM. Hold And Modify. Bastardly clever engineering trick whereby you could take a colour at 4 bits per pixel and adjust any one of the RGB channels by the very next pixel in the same scanline. Going from black to white meant three pixels of horizontal transition but careful drawing could mean you wouldn't really be limited by this (or if you had smart software that could handle the transitions decently, I seem to remember DPaint IV being not bad at this) which could give you 4096 colours on screen... and this would have been before VGA was a thing. Scrolling, of course, was out.

    The later Amigas (1200, 4000) sported the shiny new Advanced Graphics Architecture which would throw around 256 colours on screen even with full screen scrolling and had a super-sized variant of HAM that could handle the same principle as regular HAM but instead of 4 bits per pixel (thus 0-15 per colour register), you had 6 bits per pixel (thus 0-63 per colour register) for a total of 262144 possible on-screen colours. And this was in 1993.

    I miss the Amiga.



  • A ZX Spectrum +2. It had 128K and an integrated tape recorder!

    We also had two SJS1 joysticks.

    I learned variables and trigonometry off the ZX manual, years before being taught functions at school. My program for drawing concentric circles of various colors is, however, forever lost in time.

    PS: I recently replayed a remake of Head of Heels. I still hate that robot.



  • @dhromed said:

    I remember Windows 95 on 800x600.

    I still remember you could have the Start menu focussed and press Alt+- to call up its context menu. You could then select Move (and drag your mouse left and right) or Close for comedic effect.


  • sockdevs

    You could also edit the executable and change the wording on the Start Button in them days, too.



  • Science of Cambridge Mk.14:

    Which I soldered together myself from a kit:

    I was 11 at the time, IIRC. It wasn't the first one I'd used, just the first one I owned; already had some hands-on experience with KIM-1, PETs, TRS-80s, various other of the similar first-gen home micros and the DEC-10 at the polytechnic where my mum was a lecturer.



  • Timex Sinclair 1000. It was technically my grandfathers. I have no idea why he had it, but he gave it to me when I showed interest. And I think he had no use for it. I still remember the keyboard, which sucked, except that the keys were also shortcuts for BASIC commands.

    It wasn't too long after that when I got my C-64. Good times.



  • @Arantor said:

    You could also edit the executable and change the wording on the Start Button in them days, too.
    I don't recall ever having done that, but I did change my boot up screen to have a broken window glass and my shut down screens to read "Please wait while your computer shuts up..." and "It's now safe to shoot down your computer".


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @dhromed said:

    60Hz CRT was never a problem for me. 75 and 80 were better, obviously.

    Anything below 80Hz would give me problems. :frowning:

    I don't miss those days.


    Filed under: Crippling pain and photosensitivity

  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    First:

    Second:

    Third:



  • @boomzilla said:

    Timex Sinclair 1000. It was technically my grandfathers.

    You're ruining my view on the digital age.



  • @Keith said:

    You're ruining my view on the digital age.

    Thinking back on it, I suspect someone got it for him as a joke, or he got it to actually give it to me.



  • My first computer was a Spectravideo SVI-738:

    which I still have after all these years - quite possibly in a working condition, though I have no monitor/TV to connect it to and check. Came with built-in 3.5" drive, which allowed me to look down smugly on folks getting tape load errors. :wink:

    After that, I went through a series of PCs, starting with an XT model (continuing my line in getting non-standard, over-specced-in-the-wierdest-of-places kit, it had two 5.25" HD -1.2MB - FDDs), going up to a 486DX2 several years later and then just replacing gubbins as time went by.

    Anyone else get the impression that software vendors just don't give a damn anymore? My copy of MS-DOS 4.0 for the XT came with a set of books long as my arm, detailing pretty much the entire architecture. These days, all you get is a quick-start manual that tells you "Press this button to start the computer".


    Filed under: Get off my lawn!



  • Mine was a Tandy 1000. Had to boot of 5.25" floppies into MS Dos because it didn't have a hard drive. Ours was one of the fancy ones with 2 floppy drives!


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @PJH said:


    We had those at school; I wrote my first IDE on one. (I remember having major problems because the add-in floppy drive only supported DFS, which could only store 31 files per disk, which wasn't enough because I needed to page in machine code from disk in order to fit it all in…)

    A couple of years later I was programming on an early Linux distro…


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @dkf said:

    We had those at school; I wrote my first IDE on one. (I remember having major problems because the add-in floppy drive only supported DFS, which could only store 31 files per disk, which wasn't enough because I needed to page in machine code from disk in order to fit it all in…)

    We must have been lucky, because we had Econet and a file server running NFS...



  • My first PC was some kind of budget eMachines with some kind of Cyrix "Marketed-To-Compete-With-The-Pentium-2-But-Performs-LIke-A-Fast-486" processor and I think an integrated NVIDIA TNT GPU, running Windows 98. I think it had 64 MB RAM.

    Yes I'm young.



  • I had a Commodore 64 (and later a 128) and my grandfather would routinely make copies of things like the GeOS disks he was subscribed to and give them to me. I've still got the 64 in my attic, and my 128 is sitting in his.

    A while after that, my parents bought a Windows 95 computer and nothing was ever the same again.

    LOAD "*",8,1



  • @dkf said:

    We had those at school

    Same here. 'Twas then that I started to appreciate standards as a way of enforcing the Principle of Least Surprise.


    Filed under: now I complain about how everything is homogenized and same-y


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election



  • @e4tmyl33t said:

    LOAD "*",8,1

    Remember loader accelerator cartridges? Those were the best.



  • @mott555 said:

    Yes I'm young.

    This is TDWTF forum; it is ok to rub it in. Want the salt cellar?



  • @faoileag said:

    start their adventures in computing land?

    First computer I ever used:
    +

    4k 12-bit words of core memory
    No OS other than resident BASIC interpteter.
    Start up procedure:

    • Power on
    • Make sure switches are set to 04008 (or 0200, I forget)
    • Press switches STOP, LOAD ADDR (set program counter to switch value), START
    • BASIC interpreter prints "READY" to TTY

    Boot procedure, if BASIC interpreter got corrupted or overwritten:

    • Toggle boot loader machine instructions from book using front-panel switches.
    • Spend a half-hour loading the BASIC interpreter from paper tape (at ~5 byte/sec).

    First computer I ever owned:
    Generic 80286 w/ 1MB memory and whatever version of MS OS was current in 1987-8 (I don't remember, and can't be bothered to look it up).



  • That picture of the PDP reminded me of the Altair 8800, which might well classify as the first homecomputer to be commercially available (learned about that from computer magazines in the '80s).

    My original plan back in '82 had been to buy a ZX81 kit and assemble it myself since that was all my personal fortune allowed for at the time. But I managed to get additional funding from the usual sources (my parents).

    Thank goodness my parents had no idea what would come out of it in the short run: that I would stay up until 3 a.m. trying to hack programs like "Frankenstein Adventure" into the machine.
    I can still recall my fathers incredulous face when, on a 3 a.m. visit to the bathroom, he saw some light from under my room's door, looked in and asked "you are still awake???" (my dad had to get up at 5 a.m., I could sleep until half eight and then again in high school).



  • First owned computer was a Microtan 65. Was given it, it was a failed build. Resoldered, worked a treat. Followed by a Vic-20, then a 520STFM, then an SE FD/HD.

    First used computer was an Altair 8800. 256 bytes WOOOOOOOOOOOO



  • @HardwareGeek said:

    4k 12-bit words of core memoryNo OS other than resident BASIC interpteter.

    OKAY you win. Geez.





  • @boomzilla I had same one in senior K. G, but I was unable to make use of it.



  • @Nagesh said:

    @boomzilla I had same one in senior K. G, but I was unable to make use of it.

    (Channeling @blakeyrat)
    WTF IS SENIOR K. G. WHY CAN'T ANYONE FUCKING DEFINE WHAT THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT INSTEAD OF ASSUMING WE ALREADY KNOW.



  • I have to admit that as a child I never really learned how an abacus works. I had one, but I just had fun moving the beads around. When I got older, we simply used numbers and dots and such for counting and calculations.



  • @boomzilla said:

    WTF IS SENIOR K. G. WHY CAN'T ANYONE FUCKING DEFINE WHAT THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT INSTEAD OF ASSUMING WE ALREADY KNOW.

    more channeling @blakeyrat
    WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU AMERICANS? WHY CAN'T YOU HAVE NORMAL EDUCATION LIKE REST OF THE WORLD?



  • @Nagesh said:

    senior K. G,

    The fuck is senior KG.



  • @Nagesh said:

    WHY CAN'T YOU HAVE NORMAL EDUCATION LIKE REST OF THE WORLD?

    Because our education is run by the US Government. So it's guaranteed to be fucked up.


  • sockdevs

    It's not just the US. The UK is pretty messed up too.


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