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Re: My first computer was...

by blaisedec (Initiate)
on Jul 03, 2003 at 19:09 UTC ( #271258=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to My first computer was...

I answered 8080 because that was the closest the list had -- it was actually a Z-80 with 64M RAM and dual 5 1/4" floppies.

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Re: Re: My first computer was...
by hawtin (Prior) on Jul 04, 2003 at 08:24 UTC was actually a Z-80 with 64M RAM...

    I suspect you mean 64k RAM (how soon we forget)

      64k? HA! Boy, my second computer was a ZX-81 with but a single measly Kilobyte of memory. I drooled over a the ZX-81 expansion pack for a full 16K.

      Uphill! Bothways! Etc! In the days when computer were less cool than Ham Radio's, and assembly was a high level language! How soon we forget!



      Light a man a fire, he's warm for a day. Catch a man on fire, and he's warm for the rest of his life. - Terry Pratchet

        My first was a ZX-80, my second was a ZX-81 with 1K memory. My Dad (who worked for ICL at the time) came home one day with a 2K chip, suddenly my horizons were expanded 100%. A few weeks later over a weekend he built me a 16K RAM Pack, giving me 18K RAM ... the limits seemed endless.

        Peeking and Poking memory locations was the height of fashion back then :)

        Barbie | Birmingham Perl Mongers |

      >> was actually a Z-80 with 64M RAM...
      > I suspect you mean 64k RAM (how soon we forget)

      This sketchy description sounds very much like the Osborne 1 or the KayPro 2 (with the the two 5.25" floppies).

      It was an interesting time. The OS booted in about 5 seconds, Wordstar took about 20K of memory (using overlays to swap in code), a single floppy could hold the OS, an application, as well as some data.

      "Computeri non cogitant, ergo non sunt"

Re: Re: My first computer was...
by dws (Chancellor) on Jul 04, 2003 at 16:30 UTC
    My first was an S100-based Z80 system (with 64K of RAM) and dual 8" floppies, running CP/M. And a Heathkit H19 terminal, lovingly hand-soldered. Ran the BDS C compiler, and the Mince (Mince Is Not Complete Emacs) editor. I got 2 1/2 years of use out of it before getting the first IBM PC.

      BDS C, now *that* brings back some memories. I remember absolutely *hating* to put printf in my programs because it made the executables 4K larger. It was incredibly fast, too. You'd just have a few of clink-clunks (disk accesses) and your program would be compiled. Until Turbo Pascal, it was the hottest thing going (for me, at least).

      On that node, anyone wanting an AMPRO or two, complete with manuals, CP/M manuals and disks, just let me know and pay shipping. (Ampro: a single board computer that you would solder together. Z-80 based, the board was the same footprint as a 5-1/4" floppy drive, so you could attach it to the side of a drive to make a small embedded system. They were pretty fun toys.)


        Was that before or after those C compilers that automatically linked one of two versions of printf according to whether the program uses floating point numbers?

Re: Re: My first computer was...
by David Caughell (Monk) on Jul 13, 2003 at 19:40 UTC
    My first computer was a 286 compatable hewlett packard. I was either 10 or 12 when I got it, and I used that thing until the first pentiums came out!

    When we finally replaced it, it wouldn't boot every time you attempted to do so, so you had to turn it off and on about 20 times before it would finally work. There were little tricks, like pressing the button slowly, etc. that had to be used also.. it's pretty funny, looking back on it.

    Anyone else have stories like that?

    I started programming a little QBASIC on it, but I never managed to get very far. I did have a lot of fun on it, though, and I learned to use MSDOS (it was exciting when I upgraded DOS versions and there was a move command -- no more copying then deleting for me!) and a basic gui that was currently in use at Ontario Hydro.

    In high school, I learned Turbo Pascal 5, and I've enjoyed computer programming since then.

    My father's friend trained new employees at his company on computer use, and he was a lot of help to me.


    "For fate which has ordained that there shall be no friendship among the evil has also ordained that there shall ever be friendship among the good." - Plato / Socrates
Re: Re: My first computer was...
by jdtoronto (Prior) on Jul 17, 2003 at 02:37 UTC
    Well, in about 1974 (I think it was) I was commisioned to design a system using the then VERY new Intel 8080, not even an 8080A! I had a Teletype model 33 which was not being used for anything else so I wire wrapped a board with the 8080, the support logic, 4 1702A EPROMs and some 1103 (I think) dynamic RAM chips, all of 512bytes of RAM as I recall.

    The 1702's were programmed in a programmer of our own design which was run by an Interdata Model 70 which we purchased in 1972 as I recall.

    Interstingly we need floating point capability for a project only a couple of years later. For this we made our own hardware floating point box using a MOSTEK calculator chipset (I think it was from an HP calculator as it worked in Reverse Polish Notation) which we interfaced to the later 8080A based design which by then had the 8224 and 8228 support IC's (clock generator and bus support logic as I recall) available.

    All of this time the mass storage on our 8080 machines was paper tape and EPROMs supported by the Interdata 70 and a Data General Nova which also had an EPROM programmer and an 9 track tape drive.

    Now I wonder how we did it all! From there it was CP/M in about 1976 and eventually we built some systems using MP/M and MP/M-II. We retired the MP/M systems in 1998, but at last check there are still two of our very original 808 systems still in service, and at least one of the 8080A/Calculator systems. Boy this poll made me nostalgic!

    For those interested, I will be 50 this year so I suppose I have been working throughout the entire micro/personal computer revolution! Especially as a hardware designer.


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