8 Bit Computers
#1
Did anyone here ever own a personal computer in the late 70s/80s? While it was well before I was born, I find the technology of that era fascinating, computers like the Commodore 64 or the TRS 80. I myself once found an old Texas Instruments PC for sale at Goodwill and bought it up fast. Sadly the power supply was no good, and the whole computer ended up being lost to the garage due to my negligence. I am hoping someday I can find a real working computer from that era.
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#2
(04-02-2020, 11:17 PM)Orthodox Andy Wrote: Did anyone here ever own a personal computer in the late 70s/80s? While it was well before I was born, I find the technology of that era fascinating, computers like the Commodore 64 or the TRS 80. I myself once found an old Texas Instruments PC for sale at Goodwill and bought it up fast. Sadly the power supply was no good, and the whole computer ended up being lost to the garage due to my negligence. I am hoping someday I can find a real working computer from that era.

I've seen a Commodore 64 but my first was a 486DX. The 486 had a 33 mHz CPU and 4MB of RAM. LOL!!!!!!!!!
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#3
My little brother had a Commodore VIC 20 that ran off of cassette.

My first PC was an 8088 IBM clone with 640K of ram, a 10MB hard drive, and a 5 1/4 floppy drive. I had a VGA monitor as well. It was a pretty good setup in 1987. My OS was MS-DOS 3.3 and I had a 2400 baud modem. It was so cool. :)
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#4
So the first professional application I wrote was on an 8 bit PC (~1982) with remote connection from a TRS-80 (TRaSh-80 as well called them) the remote onnection was for sales guys to call into the app using an acoustic coupler on their phone and dump their sales info. The company was Codex so I had bleeding art connectivity 2400 baud modem with MNP

The PC was state of the art it had a new 10 MB hard drive. At the the time was also writing embedded code on Motorola 68XXX processors and 8" floppy disk drives running CP/M.

And in school, I was the 2nd class graduating with a Comp Science degree, we ran RSTS/E on a DEC PDP-11 (also 8 bit). No punch cards though.
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#5
Wink 
When my dad worked for Singer-Link, we'd have block parties (early early seventies) in the neighborhood where friends of the family who worked for IBM would bring old punch cards for all the kids to play with.

My family's first was an Apple IIe, with an amber-on-black display, dual floppy drives and 128k of ram. To the best of my knowledge, if it's not been given away they still have it. My next younger brother and I fired it up 8 or 10 years ago, and it still booted, and the floppy disks of 1980-81 still worked. That thing eventually got both he and I into fields related to computing. Crazy.
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#6
The first computer I ever operated, or more accurately, accessed, was an IBM 360-50 which was while I was working in Inspection at Lockheed Aircraft, back in 1969 and working on the L-1011. We had to book time on it as other departments used the device that took up a couple of floors at a building in the plant complex. It had 'computer games' on it, but the most complex one was 'tic tac toe', no chess yet and I think the programmers had other more important programs to write then.

My first PC was a Sinclair 2000, in around 1980 or so. It had 2K of internal memory and you could add on a 16K plug-in that fit too loosly and would dump your entire program if you moved the setup wrong. There were no programs and you had to use 'basic' and write your own. It stored data on cassette tapes that I wrote on with an old portable cassette player.

Then I bought a Commodore 64, with a whole 64K of internal memory and a disc writer/player with a number of games and apps, including one word processor that worked well. It even had a spell checker. It was fun to use and the kids loved the games.

Up to this point, all these computers used your TV as a monitor through an RF trap on the antenna input.

Then came out the HP devices and my first of those was using a dual core 486 chip, running at 100 bps, with a 500 MB hard drive on Windows 95. That lasted for a while, until I started making my own computers, like the one I'm using now.

Ah the good old days when you felt needed by the computer.
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#7
(04-02-2020, 11:17 PM)Orthodox Andy Wrote: Did anyone here ever own a personal computer in the late 70s/80s? While it was well before I was born, I find the technology of that era fascinating, computers like the Commodore 64 or the TRS 80. I myself once found an old Texas Instruments PC for sale at Goodwill and bought it up fast. Sadly the power supply was no good, and the whole computer ended up being lost to the garage due to my negligence. I am hoping someday I can find a real working computer from that era.

I own several vintage computers from the early 1980s onward.  I love collecting these vintage machines and playing with them.  It is really too bad about your Texas Instruments PC.  Fixing the power supply isn't usually a difficult task.  Even if other components were also bad, the machine could have been stripped for parts to repair (or even build) another machine.  Retrocomputing is a lot of fun and I highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in tech.
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#8
(04-03-2020, 11:00 AM)Zedta Wrote: The first computer I ever operated, or more accurately, accessed, was an IBM 360-50 which was while I was working in Inspection at Lockheed Aircraft, back in 1969 and working on the L-1011. We had to book time on it as other departments used the device that took up a couple of floors at a building in the plant complex. It had 'computer games' on it, but the most complex one was 'tic tac toe', no chess yet and I think the programmers had other more important programs to write then.

My first PC was a Sinclair 2000, in around 1980 or so. It had 2K of internal memory and you could add on a 16K plug-in that fit too loosly and would dump your entire program if you moved the setup wrong. There were no programs and you had to use 'basic' and write your own. It stored data on cassette tapes that I wrote on with an old portable cassette player.

Then I bought a Commodore 64, with a whole 64K of internal memory and a disc writer/player with a number of games and apps, including one word processor that worked well. It even had a spell checker. It was fun to use and the kids loved the games.

Up to this point, all these computers used your TV as a monitor through an RF trap on the antenna input.

Then came out the HP devices and my first of those was using a dual core 486 chip, running at 100 bps, with a 500 MB hard drive on Windows 95. That lasted for a while, until I started making my own computers, like the one I'm using now.

Ah the good old days when you felt needed by the computer.

You got to work on the L-1011? That's one of my favorite aircraft to learn about! Was it really true that it was safer than the DC-10?
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#9
Commodore 64 and Apple IIGS is what I first learned on.  My first computer lab in '86-'87 were all good old Commodore 64's. I've got fond memories of MSDOS, and to this day I still love the Command Line or Terminal.  Part of what drove me to Linux was the fact that so much could and should be done on the terminal.  It reminds me of my late 80s childhood computer classes! 

One of these days it'd be cool to get an old Commodore 64 to tinker with.  

It's not exactly the same but a few weeks back I spent some time in Michigan with my brother and we broke out the old Nintendo from '86 and played all our old 8 bit games together, stuff like Pinbot,Duck Hunt,Bad Dudes etc. I love the old school.  Funny enough I never got into PC gaming much beyond 80s and early 90s stuff.  I think that old early 90's "Red Baron" was probably the last PC game I ever played.  Heavy duty graphics cards and all that jazz these days doesn't impress me or excite me.
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#10
(04-03-2020, 02:23 PM)SeekerofChrist Wrote:
(04-02-2020, 11:17 PM)Orthodox Andy Wrote: Did anyone here ever own a personal computer in the late 70s/80s? While it was well before I was born, I find the technology of that era fascinating, computers like the Commodore 64 or the TRS 80. I myself once found an old Texas Instruments PC for sale at Goodwill and bought it up fast. Sadly the power supply was no good, and the whole computer ended up being lost to the garage due to my negligence. I am hoping someday I can find a real working computer from that era.

I own several vintage computers from the early 1980s onward.  I love collecting these vintage machines and playing with them.  It is really too bad about your Texas Instruments PC.  Fixing the power supply isn't usually a difficult task.  Even if other components were also bad, the machine could have been stripped for parts to repair (or even build) another machine.  Retrocomputing is a lot of fun and I highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in tech.

My knowledge of electronics is still very limited. What little I know came from this gem of a book my dad got at a garage sale years ago:


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