TI 99/4a, ah, that takes me back. You hooked it up to the TV and used a cassette deck to store programs. Shortly after I got mine, Dragon Magazine
published a BASIC program for generating D&D characters. Needless to say, I geeked out immediately typing it in and debgging it. The next month, I realized that other gamers were into computers as well, as almost every letter in Dragon
had a bug fix or improvement to the code. Sadly, the editors decided only to print the headers of each letter without the code, explaining that they were a gaming magazine, not a computer magazine. In retrospect, it should have occurred to me that I didn't have a printer and I had no way of printing out the characters I created. Ah, well.
A few years later, I got an Apple II+. 64 MB RAM, dual 5 1/4 floppy drives, a printer, and even a 96 baud modem. The modem was key, as it was my first experience with a BBS. I remember thinking "Wow, this is really klugey. Seems like this could be done far better." And that's how I invented the internet. Wait, that wasn't me, that was Al Gore. Sorry, I confuse them a lot.
In 1988, I bought a Mac Plus. It's the smartest thing I've ever done in my life. It had 1, count em, 1 megabyte of RAM, a 30 MB Hard drive ("30 Megs! I'll NEVER fill that!") and a dot matrix printer. I was able to write all my papers for school, recycle them for other classes, and having the spell checker was worth a full letter grade. Using that tiny box, I learned MS Works, Pascal, and first used Prodigy. This also insured that computers would still be part of my life when I left college, setting me on the path to, uh, spending my Saturday nights posting on Perl Monks. Damn you, Steve Jobs!
"What do I want? I'm an American. I want more."