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Old guys and their computer history...

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#1
The Smoke

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I thought it would be great to start a thread about the old days of the computer.  There are some guys on here that were around when it all started.  Me for one.  So this is what I remember of those first days.

My first real computer was a Commodore 64.  It came with nothing.  No monitor, no tape, no floppy, nothing.  All it did was allow you to type stuff, but there wasn't anything to store it on or print it on.  I bought it at Wards for about $300.  The second thing I bought was the printer.  A 9 pin basic printer.  With that I made a DOS program that would print checks.  The next thing I bought was a cassette recorder and some basic programs.  It took over 15 minutes to load a basic program into the 64K of memory it had.  You had to use a black and white 13" TV (not monitor) to use with it.  But it was so much fun to play with.  All in all I had about $1000 in to it.  The next thing I bought was a Commodore 128 and a colored monitor from Sears.  Then I bought a 5 ¼" floppy drive and man that was such a wonderful thing to have.  Now you could load programs in just a minute or two.  Then the most awesome thing to ever come out for the computer;  a 1200 baud modem!!!  The world was at our hands and we were masters of the universe.  In those days we didn't have the actual internet yet.  But what you could find were BBS servers.  These were Bulletin Boards for people to post stuff to and you could download copies of it.  My first black hat hack came from one of them.  The infamous "War Dialer".  I found lots of servers with that thing.  The problem in those days was the constant telephone ringing.  Your phone would ring, you go over and answer it, and click, it was gone.  It was horrible for many years.  I joined a group up in Portland, that exchanged hacks and programs, and we were together for over 20 years.  Back then the software wasn't encrypted and protected like it is today.  So people had copies of everything.  That's what it was like back then.  The Amiga was the top of everything, but they were really expensive.  It came with full motion, full color animation.  The programs were very expensive but the first POV shooter game was an Amiga product.  It looked very similar to Wolfenstein 3D.  This was about 1985.

1987 saw the IBM AT and XT start taking command of the PC world.  The IBM PC Jr. came out.  It had two floppy drives and Lotus 123 and it was used mostly for desk work.  All these machines still used DOS 3 to DOS 5.  1989 saw the birth of Windows 3.0.  The world went ballistic.  The birth of true PC accessories started then.  I bought a new PC that came in a box.  It was an IBM 386 and it had a HDD, 3D video, 3½ floppy, Windows 3.1, 13" Color Monitor, Keyboard and mouse.  IT WAS AWESOME ! ! Somewhere around 1991 or  1992 the CD came out.  It required special connectors and audio hookups.  So now instead of 10 - 20 floppy disks for a program you had 1 or 2 CD's.  The writeable disks came about 1994 or 1995.  The PC went to 486 later.

The PC that changed everything came in 1996 or so.  The first Pentium 586 as it was called then.  It was about 90-100MHz then came the newer ones 133, 166, 200, 233, etc.  Then the Pentium 2 came out.  Along with the very first true server board from intel.  It had two P2's running at 233MHz in Series.  The P2 was also the first true dual cpu with a dedicated math coprocessor.  The P3 was the first dual processor running in parallel with a co-processor.  This was huge.  It made the game makers step up and use the full potential of the cpu.  About this time Duke Nukem came out and was an actual brain melting game.  At this time I owned my own PC business and was building game systems by the hundreds.  A company came out with Sound Blaster 16 in order to take control of the 16 bit audio that the games were using.  A huge program came out 1995 or so called Flight Simulator.  So Sound Blaster came out with a complete setup of pedals, steering wheel and true to life feel.  I built over 20 systems just for this one program.  It had an airplane in it that was the exact match to the one they used for test and pilot practice where I lived.  Many guys passed their flight tests by using that thing.

From that point on most of you know the rest of the story.  Apple got big, PC's went into the GHz speed and memory got cheaper and bigger and better.  My first 386 had 8mb of memory which cost me almost $200.  Now I can buy a thumbdrive of 32GB for 19.99.  Harddrives were listed in MB in levels of 20MB, 40MB, 80MB etc.  Now 4 Terabytes is the norm.  It is funny to think that the original Pentium 100 was used up to the Quad intel cpu.  It was just sped up beefed up and multi-cpu's were installed into a single chip.  I will be amazed when the next generation of PC cpu's come out, that are built on AI and not transfractional thinking.  The speed of those chips will be warp 10 compared to what you use today.  But the software is the key to speed.  Always has been.  We have to surpass the 1's and 0's of digital thinking. 

 

People have asked me what I thought the biggest thing to computer history was, to me ?  I would have to say the burnable CD and DVD.  It gave us so much.  Storage, cheaper programs, faster and faster access to data.  It gave us a way to safeguard our precious memories and documents without the worry of losing it in magnetic space.  It gave us the ability to watch super HD movies in the theaters,  thanks to lasers and laser disks.

 

Let us build upon my little story here.  I would love to read about Red Baird's history and others out there.  Maybe someone remembers the K-loc or had one?  I would love to hear the story of their Apple stuff.

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#2
Gravemaker

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Hello, 'Ol Smoke

 

                                    A blast from the past for sure to see the pic above. My first PC was the Radio Shack MC-10. Then the Color Computer II after that. I sat till '98 and bought a HP 233 Pentium. Then after that was outdated, built my first PC from parts. Been doing that ever since, mostly new parts now. I had acquired an old Macintosh SE in 2009, that was used for call signs for my 2-way radio logs. My MC-10 had a skiing game that I modified to play music when the game was in action. Even wrote a journal program with a password to get in. Not very hard to do, but was only 11 at the time. Like George Lucas, I waited till technology got better. Now it amazes me to see games we have today, since I played the original PONG game a a kid. 



#3
Masa_1964

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First own program was done with Sega 3000 in ~86 but there was no place for storing it, so needed to write all over again whyen it was turned off. There was Commo or Vic 64 around friends at same time with C caset
recordera and players. That Sega story was short maybe 1-4moths cause it was so booring to write with out storage. Waited few years quit job and started study again (engineering) and bought pc (~87) with 8088 with
20Mb hard disk and EGA monitor, cost was around 10000Fin mk's (1500euros) which was realy big money at that time. Studying and then needed to use draving program ACAD in pc but could not use cause it reguired
mathprosessor (which cost aroung 2000 fin Mk ~300e) student did have not such money so needed to think other solutions (remeber there was no internet and not even connection or knowledge of such things).
Somewhere I did get my hands on emulating program which fooled ACAD to think at there is mathprosessor (Intel 8087). But it was terrible slow. One year there was -88 modem cource kept by techer where we connected on CERN
and that was my first connection actually on so called internet, with 300baud modem :)

Needed to keep that set up untill -89 when got job in big company (in finland pow). There was active computer hobby group and gained more info. Started buying UK and US based PC hobbyist newspapers and sometimes
there was instersting addtional programs in disks. Floppys stared to get to be smaller, jumping 160kb one sided 5,25" to double sided 360kb to 1,2mb 5,25 to 720kb 3,5" and 1,44Mb 3,5. Hardisks was still high priced
and 40Mb to 80Mb 5,25" was main. That time I started repairing HD and doing salvages for damaged HD (just for hobby) and sometimes gained bigger storage for my self also. Then I get access on storage where was
a lot of original IBM PC's with 8088 and equipped with 8087's. Fidling with those year or two I started building PC's, first for my self and then some for sale. This was still on dos side and some windowing programs
was seen like 4.11 and windows 2.0 as first climbs. Then 1991 I saw some IT people using browser in Unix side (Netscape first version with rotating globe in corner) and of cause it was no available on PC :(
I keep looking and waited when windows 3.0 was available in company and stared looking browsing program. (surely there was a lot of learning with windows and there was not so many programs available to run
actually in windows. Most programs started still on dos window. Some where 91-92 I get first test version for netscape (IT persons did help me to dl it and then It was tranferred by ftp to my pc.

And that was real someting first pages was of cause still ascii based but it did open world to me. Surely I was using modem earlier and that time so there was some basic info gained.
found altavista and other search places. Made first own web page in -92 or -93. HW was intel sx386 and 80Mb and Vga 14" at that time (build on IBM PC chassi) (I'll add picture on my gallery -> ).

Story continues from -93 later...

Masa_1964

Ma 1992

 



#4
RendeL

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I used to have the C64 too, it was around -88 or so. Had the casette station, 15" colour TV and soon got the floppy disk. I remember how I used to record games from a friend with tape recorder, it took hour to copy, just to realise after first try, that it was corrupted record...and try again on another tape. Had it about 2 or 3 years and then I discovered that the girls on my school had became young ladies, so my interest was somewhere else than on computers :D



#5
Raw64life

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First computer was a 286 I got when I was 4 or 5 years old. Wolfenstein 3D was one of the first games I ever played and a big part of why I got into ET. I remember getting a Doom shareware demo and not being able to run it on my computer.

 

In 1996 I got a Sony VAIO that was top of the line at the time. Almost $3,000 for a PC with a 266MHz processor, 128MB of RAM and a 4GB hard drive. Really puts in perspective how fast technology is advancing.

 

A couple of Dells after that and then I finally wised up and started building my own computers around 2007 or so.



#6
Achiyan

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wow, this hit me in the feels lol. im only 27 and dont quite remember the first PC my grandparents had. i do remember playing old doop-doop-doop games off the 5 1/4 floppies. then may granddad upgraded to windows 3.11 i was about six or seven and thats when my life changed. he taught me how to remove viruses using cmd prompts, executing files using the /run, /install, /setup, etc. he had that old flight simulator you were talking about. joystick and all. i couldnt get into it tho. i was hooked on Diablo, MegaRace, Duke Nukem, Doom, and Wolfenstein. oh, and skifree. by the time windows 95 came out, i was a PC pro for that age. man, Windows Navigator with the virtual house you can click through to get to your programs in a different way other than the main desktop. the memories!!!



#7
Almondo

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Maybe let's start from that that i'm not "old" only 35.:D

 

Started with Commodore 64(my first steps in programming lol,BASIC) + tapes, than i got a PC from my uncle it was AT 286 with EGA graphic card 12 Mhz CPU and 1 MB or RAM, 40 MB HDD(DOS on it and Norton Commander). I remember that i played Elvira, Prince Of Persia, Ugh!, and Prehistoric games (my favorite:)).  After that i bought 386 DX 40 Mhz and than 486 SX  CPU + Voodoo GPU = Doom, Quake... ;)...ahh lovely times :)



#8
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a lil bump up :)



#9
Chameleon

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  Wow brother we took almost the exact same path in pcs..  I started out with a C64 with the cassette drive and then went straight to the Vic20.. I loved the little instructional book they came with, there were a few little programs you could follow to make the goofiest things in the world.  One of my favorites on the C64 was this like 3 page long program you could do that would make a small hot air balloon scroll across your screen.  Granted now that means nothing but at the time it blew my mind and I felt like a full on pc programming nerd, and loved it!

 

  We also had a BBS here called The Strawberry Patch, it was amazing.  Inside there were only a few options, but the first one I decided to dive into was The Pirates Cove. I felt like I was a full on hacker getting small programs and my first look at softcore porn haha.  The only bummer would be when I was about half way in to getting my pic of some hot chick and boom, the telephone rings and cuts me off.  There was no resume, it was start all over :/

 

  I had a 386/486 as they came out and then bought my first power PC, I Packard Bell 120mhz monster.  It had a 1 meg video card, 4 megs of ram a 26.4 modem which also had the sound card built into it and a huge 15 inch crt monitor.  I learned how to overclock the cpu with the jumpers on the board and got it up to 166mhz but could only get it to run stable at around 144.  There were no fans on anything at that time so overheating was an issue. I upgraded that thing as much as I could because at the time everything was so expensive.  Aded 4 more megs of ram, got a 4 meg 3d video card when it came out, and bought another 850 meg hdd to go with the one it already had.  I will never forget the guy at the pc store telling me, "This is all the space you will ever need" lol

 

  Like you said, soon there after things just started to explode, you could buy a top of the line pc on day and 3 weeks later you were already behind the curve.  It was fun though being a part of the beginning and hopefully guys like us will be around for the next big thing.

 

  Glad you made this topic, this was a fun stroll back in time :D



#10
berlinerbol

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My first love;

commodore_64c_1_s.jpg

Then

ti-994a.jpg

Had this one but the keys where awful, but it came with my first ever (thermal) printer!

_79537162_4a0714e0-c584-4271-98f2-b8dbb0

And when I was older and had more money this was the dog's bollocks;

amiga500.jpg

 

 

After that the PC age began, my first was an IBM ofc.xtsystem.jpg



#11
Anton Chigurh

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Apple 2E , ZX 80 , C64 and 286



#12
+ no'paine

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cool to see but my first pc was C64

 

the time of new stuf and pc grow se fast in the 20 years i now .

playstion 1 and 2 like xbox 360 and now xbox one  it nice to look back ;)

 

grts be activity



#13
Barnesy

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My first was a Timex Sinclair copy.  Then the Vic 20 after which I jumped into the twilight zone with the Coleco Adam.  Then a used Franklin 2GS, Leading Edge 8088, Packard Bell 286 12 mhz 20 MB HDD, from there it was a bunch of gaming machines and Mac video editing machines.  It all lead to an IT career and a great paycheck.  I still enjoy learning everyday with them.



#14
-=HipKat=-

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Commodore Pet for me.... Those were the great days!



#15
Shoes

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Also started with a C64. 2 floppy drives and a 64 baud modem. Pre- internet. BBS!!






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