in reply to I started with...:
My dad bought a Heathkit kit...basically it was a box with a few LED's on front. We both started out with machine code since that was all you could do. It had a Zilog Z-80...back in those days Byte magazine came with circuit diagrams.
Then we got a TI 99-4/A..a huge step up. Graduating to cassette tape storage was huge:)...
Update: I am installing Cygwin via a dial-up connection, and the progress message box reads "0.4 kb/s". If memory serves that equates to 400 baud. That's about the speed of the modem that I had with the TI-99/4:(
Yet another update: First year CS program, the professor sits us down in front of Apple II's and says we need to write some 6502 assembler code. Blech!