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Computer Memory Lane
Old 01-02-2010, 07:42 PM   #1
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Computer Memory Lane

Found this website about old computers:

Old Computers - rare, vintage, and obsolete computers

Was fun looking at some of the oldies. Plus, the old adds are fun to read:

Old computer ads


I remember doing lots of "researching" on what was a good computer to get that would last me a lifetime
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Old 01-02-2010, 07:57 PM   #2
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Or this old laptop.

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Old 01-02-2010, 08:09 PM   #3
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I had a PCjr in 1984. Looking back, what utility did it provide for the amount of money that it cost? - this says $669, though I think I paid more.
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Old 01-02-2010, 08:12 PM   #4
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I can remember when I was buying a new machine that had a hard drive and trying to decided if I wanted to spend the extra money for 20megs. The shop owner said, "Get the 10, you'll never fill up 10 megabytes in 10 lifetimes."

It was a huge upgrade from the CP/M 80 dual floppy machine I had been running, or the $99 Timex Sinclair I bought on sale at Walgreen's.
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Old 01-02-2010, 08:23 PM   #5
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I remember many times skimming through the Popular Electronics magazines during my college days and reading the ads. I had narrowed down my choices to three first computers. The Timex Sinclair, Vic-20, or Atari 400. Finally, I went the the Timex Sinclair (it was the one I could most afford). I ending picking one up at Sears and treating the computer like a fragile newborn when I got home for fear I'd somehow break my new investment.

Even to this day, I have some buyer's remorse as the Vic-20 and Atari 400 were more of gaming machines than the Timex.
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Old 01-02-2010, 08:43 PM   #6
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As Mr. Spock would say, "Fascinating". I still have a Commodore 128 down in the garage. Haven't had it plugged in for years so I don't know if it still works or not.
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Old 01-02-2010, 09:33 PM   #7
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I had a Commodore 128, too. I went all the way--two floppy drives (no slow tape drive for me!) and a Star color dot matrix printer.
Later they cae out with a GUI for the C 128 called "GEOS" that was actually pretty darn good. It used a mouse and had a suite of office software that worked well.
I sure wish the software hadn't gotten fat along the way. Sure, my present laptop is way more capable than my C128. It has 500 times as much RAM. But somehow it takes even longer to boot up.
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Old 01-02-2010, 11:21 PM   #8
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My college 'computer club' built an IMSAI 8080 in about 1977. Lovely LEDs and switches on the front .

I remember buying a Mac 128K in 1985, and the Apple dot matrix printer. The combination was $2,990. That'd be something like $6K in todays dollars .

Steve
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Old 01-03-2010, 01:14 AM   #9
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I had a Commodore 128, too. I went all the way--two floppy drives (no slow tape drive for me!) and a Star color dot matrix printer.
Later they cae out with a GUI for the C 128 called "GEOS" that was actually pretty darn good. It used a mouse and had a suite of office software that worked well.
I sure wish the software hadn't gotten fat along the way. Sure, my present laptop is way more capable than my C128. It has 500 times as much RAM. But somehow it takes even longer to boot up.
I have the GEOS operating system and two 5-1/4" disk drives, and some other programs too—a spreadsheet and I don't remember what-all else. would imagine anyone who still likes to tinker with Commodores is probably reduced to a tape drive, because where can you get a 5.25" disk any more? There was a 3.5" drive too, but I don't have one. I don't remember if I have a mouse for it or not...I don't think so. Then, there are, some of the old computer magazines with the type-in programs, and a book on machine language programming, which I even (think I) understand. That's more than I can say about the inner workings of my Mac.
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Old 01-03-2010, 06:46 AM   #10
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Our first was in 1990, an IBM clone from a local shop with a blazing 386 processor and I paid extra for a 110 MB hard drive and $110 for a 2400 baud modem, although I wasn't quite sure what I'd do with it. I'd read that "BBS" existed but wasn't really sure what they were or what they did. The computer was $1,600 and several hundred more for software.

The reason we bought it was that I was interested in Modelcad, a program for designing radio control model airplanes, and DW was just learning Lotus 123 at work and wanted to practice at home. Neither reason by itself justified the expense but since we both wanted it we splurged.

Worth every nickel, as I became fascinated at the potential and it launched me into a fascinating career path that at the time was straight out of science fiction. Who knew that bits 'n bytes would solve a murder?
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Old 01-03-2010, 09:44 AM   #11
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First computer was a TI 99-4A, replaced by a blazingly fast Tandy 1000...
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Old 01-03-2010, 10:01 AM   #12
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I had this one:



and one of my first jobs was implementing some copy protection scheme on this one:

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Old 01-03-2010, 10:35 AM   #13
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Of all the classics I would have owned over the years were the Timex/Sinclair, Tandy 100 laptop, and Mac Plus (newer model, not the original). I remember in college one for a class project one my teachers had a Epson HX-20 Laptop. As part of the project we programmed it to score wrestling matches as he was a wrestling coach.

This laptop was great all-in-one system, had a little LCD screen, microcastte
recorder, printer that used adding machine paper.

Epson HX-20 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 01-03-2010, 12:25 PM   #14
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For a university class project in summer '76 we wrote a cross assembler for an Altair 8800 that the EE department had acquired. It was quite challenging as the assembler ran on a 64K Digital PDP-9 (completely different platform), and the generated object code ran on the 8800. The class was actually a PDP-9 assembly language class -- the EE Professor that taught it always had a number of projects in the pipe, of which this assembler was one.
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Old 01-03-2010, 12:32 PM   #15
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I'm afraid I fell for some of the same hype regarding "the last (device name) that you'll ever need".

Way back... when the VGA video standard was introduced, the best (and maybe first) monitor to display VGA was the NEC Multisynch. I bought one for about $450 along with the required specialized NEC video card for another $500. That was almost $1000 on just the video..... but it was the best at the time.

"Last monitor I would ever need" ... BS!
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Old 01-03-2010, 12:42 PM   #16
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Worth every nickel, as I became fascinated at the potential and it launched me into a fascinating career path that at the time was straight out of science fiction. Who knew that bits 'n bytes would solve a murder?
So can you tell the story?
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Old 01-03-2010, 12:43 PM   #17
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DW tries to throw out my fully functional Coleco Adam every so often. I keep thinking as a working antique, it should be worth some money someday... The innovated game cartridges were very futuristic.
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Old 01-03-2010, 01:04 PM   #18
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At last, SO has just dubbed me "Geek." But you all are way ahead of me, I didn't buy a computer until 2008. Up until then I was just a user, back in the '80s our department called ourselves dBased. What stands out in my memory was that manuals were hard to get ahold of and I went to a lot of trouble to find out what I wanted to know.

I'm still falling for the hype, and believe my system will last three years or so.
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Old 01-04-2010, 07:51 AM   #19
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So can you tell the story?
To grossly oversimplify, the case was a murder-for-hire to gain the insurance settlement for a paralyzed little boy. The "hit man" killed the little boy and his nurse (she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time). The computer of the guy who was to gain the settlement produced recovered deleted files that showed correspondence between the hit man and the guy who hired him, and Internet searches for methods of murder and of covering his tracks. The guy who did the hiring made sure to have a solid alibi for being elsewhere at the time of the murder but the computer provided the link. To my knowledge both are still in prison.

Prior to that time it was rare for investigators to look at home computers since home PCs were then very uncommon. Looking at the PC was inspired by a yet more brutal kidnapping/murder for ransom in PA, also solved by recovering deleted files. The investigator in that case had to write his own software because at the time not even Norton's Utilities had been even thought of.

There are now several highly sophisticated forensic software applications available, such as Encase. With a 10 MB hard drive it was feasible, if tedious, to manually look at every sector on the drive. With terrabyte drives that's obviously impossible.

Computer forensics can also exonerate: Another early case involved a nurse accused of administering a lethal overdose to a patient and the system administrator was able to show that she didn't do it.
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Old 01-04-2010, 07:11 PM   #20
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My first computer was in 1962. You "programmed" it with wires. We had great fun with it.
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