Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 02-01-2014, 11:50 PM   #21
Moderator Emeritus
aja8888's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: The Woodlands, TX
Posts: 7,186
Quote:
Originally Posted by ziggy29 View Post
In 1984, after a year of working and saving money, I bought an Apple IIe computer with a 14" color monitor and a dual 5.25" floppy drive (called a "duodisk").

It set me back something like $1,600.

And there's probably 10,000 times as much overall computing power in my $200 phone than there was in that thing.

But at least I was able to write most of my programming assignments (in PASCAL!) on that thing so it saved trips to the campus computer lab.
I had the exact same Apple IIe with a dot matrix printer that would wake the dead when it started printing. I ran an income tax program on that computer and did people's tax returns. I eventually gave the computer to a grammar school near by.
__________________

__________________
aja8888 is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 02-02-2014, 06:04 AM   #22
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
clifp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 7,451
My first computer was the original Apple II back in 1979 complete with 48K RAM, and cassette tape. I quickly add a floppy drive.

But actually I started with personal computers even before that. My best friend bought an IMSAI 8080, which was clone of the Altair computer that got Bill Gates and Paul Allen interested in.

In the late 80s I figured vintage computers someday would be valuable so I leaped at the chance to buy a couple of Xerox Alto circa 1974 computer,for $500 each. The Xerox Alto that was a full ten years ahead of its time and with some work I actually got them running, although they eventually died.

When I moved to Hawaii I donated them to the Computer History Museum in Mountain, where you can see them today.
__________________

__________________
clifp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2014, 07:25 AM   #23
Moderator
Ronstar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: A little ways southwest of Chicago
Posts: 9,372
Like others here, I had an Apple IIE in the early 1980's. Then I got an IBM PS2. I wish I would have taken the money I spent on the IIE and invested it in Apple stock. Then I would have had no problem buying a mac pro and macbook pro from the proceeds today.
__________________
Ronstar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2014, 11:20 AM   #24
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 3,873
Here are my earliest memories of computers I used.

In the late 1970s through 1981, when I was in high school, we had to dial into a central computer system using a rotary phone (of course) then quickly place the handset into a modem after which we would get a login message on a terminal which had a continuous feed paper supply beneath it. I recall if someone wanted to mess with you, he could tap the phone in the modem which would result in some mumbo-jumbo getting printed. I learned how to program in BASIC.

Around 1980 or 1981, my high school added a Commodore Pet which was a stand-alone PC which included a monitor and keyboard all in one. It wasn't connected to a printer.

Also in that time, a friend of mine had an Atari but I forget the model number. It needed a cassette player to load the programs although I recall he later bought a floppy disk drive (those 5" floppies) to load programs more quickly.

Some time in the early 1980s, my parents bought a Commodore 64 which included a keyboard and floppy disk drive. The monitor was an attachment to a TV with one of those adapters. I wrote some programs in BASIC even into the early 1990s. They also bought a dot matrix printer, an OKIDATA 180. I still have these items.

One summer, 1983, I worked at a day camp and one of my roles was the computer specialist counselor. I don't remember the make/model computers we had, but they included cassette players to load programs and large monitors the size and weight of 19-inch color TVs. I had to haul 4 of those large babies from a storage closet to the classroom 2 days a week. I taught the older kids some simple BASIC programs which was kinda fun, a preview of my teaching coworkers how to program in SAS 5 years later. For the younger kids, we had game cartridges we popped into the back of the keyboards.

Fun stuff.
__________________
Retired in late 2008 at age 45. Cashed in company stock, bought a lot of shares in a big bond fund and am living nicely off its dividends. IRA, SS, and a pension await me at age 60 and later. No kids, no debts.

"I want my money working for me instead of me working for my money!"
scrabbler1 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2014, 12:20 PM   #25
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Rustward's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,573
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nodak View Post
That is real familiar. The first Megacorp I worked for in Minneapolis had an IBM 370/155 the next model up from what you showed. That "Emergency Pull" knob always fascinated me. I was told that if it was pulled it cut power to everything.

I always felt sorry for our on site customer engineer; IBM required them to wear white shirt and tie always. He frequently had to work on line printers and would get shirts badly stained with ink from the machines.
That knob is sometimes called Emergency Power Off (EPO) and it did indiscriminately cut power to the whole machine. It was intended for true emergencies; a standard power off procedure required gracefully ending all running work (mainframes sometimes run work that goes for hours and hours, even days), shutting down all the subsystems, then entering the End Of Day command to the operating system (Z EOD), assuming one of the "OS" operating systems. The machine enters a disabled wait and can then be powered off using that red Power Off button. This could take from a minimum of a a few minutes, to a very long time. But the EPO just cut power to everything, and made everything from the hardware to the software much more difficult to restart.

The EPO pull is just connected to a toggle switch behind the panel. This toggles a very large relay that cut power. The EPO required a field engineer to reset. I knew of one case in the late '70's in which a (not very good) operator was instructed to power off the system for a scheduled outage and he chose the EPO. That was his last act in that data center.

The printer story is familiar. For a while I was in a place that used Xerox 1200's (printers usually came in multiples because they required a lot of TLC). One of these, for whatever reasons, was particularly buggy. The FE had a mat that was about 6x8 feet in size with a diagram for all the parts, and as he would remove a part he would place it in its respective place on the mat. IIRC it seems like he rebuilt that machine onsite about every six weeks. The 1200's got replaced with IBM 3800's, which squirted out paper at 30.5 inches per second.
__________________
Rustward is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2014, 12:40 PM   #26
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 243
My earliest interaction with computers would be in 1977. At my Dads accounting business in Kansas City he had some huge ribbon tape type of computer. As a kid my job was to vacuum up all the tiny freakin colored dots that it would spit out all over the floor and itself. I remember that the punched tape roll became the memory. Hanging chads would have been a bad thing lol.

Then in 1980 he got a Harris with a green font monitor. That was the first time I was able to play games on a computer.

Good times.

Sent from my HTC One using Early Retirement Forum mobile app
__________________
Turboslacker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2014, 01:00 PM   #27
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Nodak's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Cavalier
Posts: 2,317
The first computer I programmed on was a Bendix G15 that my college acquired from military surplus. It had 500 tubes in it and used the Intercom programming language. The operating system was on paper tape and when it was powered up one had to be ready to reach in and give the drum memory a nudge to get it spinning.
__________________
"Don't take life so serious, son. It ain't nohow permanent." Pogo Possum (Walt Kelly)
Nodak is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2014, 02:38 PM   #28
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
braumeister's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Northern Kentucky
Posts: 8,633
In 1976, I did a short (one year) gig at a megacorp and saw they had an IBM 360/70 that seemed to be just sitting there idle. I asked about it, and was told that the previous VP had bought it, but nobody knew how to use it.

I asked if I could "fool around" with it a little, and they said sure, it's not like you could hurt anything.

So I went to a terminal and quickly found that full instructions were available within the machine, and I printed everything out and started reading. It also included tutorials in PL/I, which was the language used to write programs on it.

Within a few weeks, I was the company's only computer programmer, and I was having a ball with it. No other duties assigned, they were just kind of amazed that someone could figure out that big hunk of iron.

For the rest of my year there, I wrote about six or eight different programs to improve their logistics operations, and they were still running happily every month for who knows how long after I left.
__________________
braumeister is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2014, 03:56 PM   #29
Moderator Emeritus
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 4,929
The first one I bought was an Apple IIe, with dual floppies, and the extended memory, for a whopping 128 kilobytes total.

The first one I used was a Malmstadt-Enke analog system. Plugboard, rack full of vacuum tube op-apms, 'function generator' to send triangular or square waves through the system...

The oldest machine I currently have is an Intel Intellec 8, with the 8080 upgrade kit installed. Yes, it boots.


I also have some newer (but still old by computer time) NeXT machines and Macs.
__________________
M Paquette is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2014, 10:31 AM   #30
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
NW-Bound's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 19,449
The very first computer I used was an Intersil IM6100 development board, back in 1976. It was a teaching aid for a college class where I learned about digital hardware and machine language programming. This Intersil chip emulates the PDP-8 instruction set (12-bit machine!), where the subroutine return address is stored at the top of the subroutine (no re-entrant code!).

See photo linked in from the Web.


__________________
"Old age is the most unexpected of all things that can happen to a man" -- Leon Trotsky
NW-Bound is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2014, 11:10 AM   #31
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 660
I owe a big debt of gratitude to the first two pcs that I owned. The first was a TRS-80 4k machine from Radio Shack. It's likely I would never have gotten interested in computers except for that machine, but objectively speaking it was a piece of junk compared to pcs already being sold or soon to be available.

My second pc was a Commodore 64. Even though it was marketed as a games machine, it was comparable in power to the Apple II and the early IBM pcs. I wrote a Forth compiler using the C-64 assembly language, so by the time I outgrew my C-64 I considered myself to be a rather sophisticated programmer. I went on to make IT my profession for the last three decades of my career.
__________________
karluk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2014, 06:08 PM   #32
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Rustward's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,573
Although the curriculum was directed toward systems programming for the IBM "OS" operating systems of the era (OS/VS1, OS/VS2 Rel 1 (SVS), and OS/VS2 Rel 2 (MVS)) on S/370 hardware, I was required to take some EE courses. One of those courses featured a PDP-9 and its assembly language. The EE department had recently acquired an Altair 8080. For a class project, the prof, kind of a mad scientist looking guy, but very astute, made us write a cross assembler for the 8080 that ran on the PDP-9. Most of us thought this was double duty, but we got through it. The PDP-9 had 64K core memory, paper tape reader and punch, two Hazeltine CRT's, two TTY's for hard copy. For faster, more readable printed output, one could punch a tape and walk it over to the Friden Flexowriter and interpret it. Words are insufficient to describe a Flexowriter in action: Friden Flexowriter on Vimeo

Another project on the prof's wishlist: interfacing the Flexowriter directly to the PDP-9. Don't know if he ever did it, though.

I was told there was a PDP-8 in storage somewhere -- not sure I ever saw it.
There was also an older Univac system (tube based) that was somewhat operational but only on a limited basis and not for any real work. What I remember being told is that there was never enough air conditioning capacity to use it nonstop, but every now and then there was a demo. The AC was normally off and the room locked, but for a demo, the air was run for about 8 hours, then the machine was powered up and ran about 4 hours before the machine would thermal check, and that was the end of the demo. IIRC, I never saw one of these demonstrations, but I did see the machine. I probably heard this from an old timer who was telling me how things used to be.
__________________
Rustward is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2014, 09:12 PM   #33
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
clifp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 7,451
Quote:
Originally Posted by M Paquette View Post
The first one I bought was an Apple IIe, with dual floppies, and the extended memory, for a whopping 128 kilobytes total.

The first one I used was a Malmstadt-Enke analog system. Plugboard, rack full of vacuum tube op-apms, 'function generator' to send triangular or square waves through the system...

The oldest machine I currently have is an Intel Intellec 8, with the 8080 upgrade kit installed. Yes, it boots.


I also have some newer (but still old by computer time) NeXT machines and Macs.

Oh a working blue box cool. I don't think the one in the Intel museum works. Interestingly enough despite my many years at the company, I never used one.

I was tempted to get a Next Cube, but all those old computer take up so much room..

I do regret getting rid of my original 128K Mac, with the signatures of the original Mac team inside the cases.
__________________
clifp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2014, 09:43 PM   #34
Moderator Emeritus
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 11,044
The first computer I ever used was an Amstrad CPC (owned by a cousin), circa 1986.

I bought my first computer only in the late 1990s. It was a Compaq Presario 5660.
__________________
FIREd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2014, 01:05 AM   #35
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: San Jose
Posts: 607
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rustward View Post
Words are insufficient to describe a Flexowriter in action: Friden Flexowriter on Vimeo
Very cool stuff! Thanks for posting. It's fun to see old computer gear in action.

My first job out of college was maintaining mainframe applications on MVS, and I must have had a knack for understanding complicated JCL and assembly, because people would come to me for help on those two things. I couldn't understand CICS to save my life, since my systems were more batch oriented, so I'd hit them up whenever I needed CICS help.

I still remember the days of trying to explain JCL to mainframe newbies. They'd want to know what the IEFBR14 program did, and I'd tell them "nothing". It's the program that does nothing. That would blow their minds
__________________
LoneAspen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2014, 08:49 AM   #36
Full time employment: Posting here.
GalaxyBoy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: The Beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains
Posts: 861
My first computer was an Atari 400. I actually upgraded it to replace the membrane keyboard with a "real" keyboard, and I upgraded the 16k RAM to 64k. Both were third-party add-ons.

Dear Old Dad got into computers around 1964 for a major railroad. He tells tales of a mainframe with 4k (!) of RAM, and they had to translate the code from assembly language to hexadecimal by hand because there wasn't enough overhead in the computer for an assembler. He wrote the first payroll program for the company because at the time you didn't buy software, you sent a bunch of people to computer school and got a bookshelf full of manuals. He says that in the late '90s they tried to call him back to do Y2K work, but his response was, "None of my routines have that problem!"
__________________
GalaxyBoy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2014, 09:30 AM   #37
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 332
Bought a TI-99/4A for $200 in 1982. Cassette for storage and tv for monitor. Had add-on Extended Basic. Also had a speech add-on that you could program to speak. You would buy games/programs on cassette.
In the mid-sixties my high school offered a programming class. You got a huge box of pre-printed computer cards. You pulled the cards to create your program. They were sent offsite to be run. God help you if you ever dropped your box of cards. It was always tedious to put your cards back in the right place (they were numbered). Don't think we learned much programming.
__________________
Idnar7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2014, 10:58 AM   #38
Recycles dryer sheets
Beststash's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 145
My first computer (other than mainframe at school) was a DEC PDP11/40 at work. You would load the bootstrap addresses with front panel keys and then load the boot device (cake platter for us).

What was really cool was we had the Unix System III source code (written in C) available also. I remember the only type of editor was ED and when VI came out we thought we were in hog-heaven. Very cool times writing shell scripts and modifying the c-code to write our own commands. We also had all of the machine language docs available so we could set traps, etc. to isolate runtime problems.

I was definitely a command line person and remember well when the GUI programs first came out remarking that they would never be for anyone in engineering environment. Because CC (Unix compiler) available as part of the OS there were lots of on-the-job apps written by everyone.

Exciting times.

Peace
__________________
Beststash is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2014, 12:56 PM   #39
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
NW-Bound's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 19,449
Quote:
Originally Posted by NW-Bound View Post
The very first computer I used was an Intersil IM6100 development board, back in 1976. It was a teaching aid for a college class where I learned about digital hardware and machine language programming. This Intersil chip emulates the PDP-8 instruction set (12-bit machine!), where the subroutine return address is stored at the top of the subroutine (no re-entrant code!).

See photo linked in from the Web.


Forgot to say that the above development kit was the 1st computer that I could touch and interact with.

Prior to this, I learned Fortran programming, which was required of all engineering students, not just EEs. However, the Fortran programs we wrote were submitted on punched cards, and the output was via wide 132-column printouts. The big Univac 1100, a 36-bit machine, was behind close doors, which we did not get to see.

The university also had several PDP-11's with teletype terminals. Again, the machines were behind close doors.

In 1980, I did buy a Sinclair ZX-80, then later an Mattel Aquarius. Both used a Z80, and I was going to add more memory to them but never got to do that.

My next computer purchase was in 1985, and that was a really superior PC XT clone made by Mitsubishi, and that ran with a 50% faster clock (Turbo mode!). I was able to run MS Fortran compiler on this machine; a real scientific computer, and not a toy. Hog heaven!

A year or two after having that 1st PC, I took the risk to unsolder the Intel 8088 CPU and replaced it with a NEC V20 which was a bit faster still. And I bought the 8087 math coprocessor for it (was $200!).

After that first PC came at least a dozen of PC machines, with CPU from the 80386SX (had to buy the expensive 387 math coprocessor too!) to the quadcores that I am still using now.
__________________
"Old age is the most unexpected of all things that can happen to a man" -- Leon Trotsky
NW-Bound is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2014, 03:51 PM   #40
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Rustward's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,573
Quote:
Originally Posted by LoneAspen View Post
They'd want to know what the IEFBR14 program did, and I'd tell them "nothing". It's the program that does nothing. That would blow their minds
You have probably heard this one already, but IEFBR14 did have an APAR opened on it. It was simply BR 14 and was not clearing the return code in R15. Don't remember how they cleared the return code (doesn't really matter much), but it did add one instruction.
__________________

__________________
Rustward is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Vintage electronics thread Gumby Other topics 105 03-14-2014 04:53 PM
Selling old vintage books??? Orchidflower Other topics 12 07-17-2010 08:22 AM
Awesome vintage pinup collection calmloki Other topics 34 04-27-2009 05:41 PM
Vintage Leica Camera Midpack Other topics 8 01-01-2009 12:42 PM
Aluminum cleaner for vintage coffeepot? Orchidflower Other topics 3 01-25-2008 07:20 AM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:22 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.