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A little PC time-travel (18 Nov, 2019)

PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 5:25 am
by aardvark_admin
This column is archived at:

It is truly amazing how far computers have come in less than four short decades.

It is also amazing just how much fun we got from those early microprocessor-based computers, given how limited their speeds, memory, graphics and storage were.

Tell us your fondest recollection of those early days.

Re: A little PC time-travel (18 Nov, 2019)

PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 6:20 am
by roygbiv
I vaguely remember the Computer Program - on BBC 2 - thanks for the link, I will have to watch the series again.
My first delve into what a computer is was the purchase of BBC 'B' which had 32K of RAM, plus I bought an attachment for it a 5.25 floppy disk which made the 'micro' far more usable and stop that horrible screeching of the cassette player. And the 20 minutes or so of screeching was reduced to 10 seconds of silence to load up a game or something.

Re: A little PC time-travel (18 Nov, 2019)

PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 7:30 am
by GSVNoFixedAbode
I loved my old (Jan.1984) BBC B - and after more savings, the Sideways RAM board and 5 1/4 disk drive (DSDD disks no less!). Sideways RAM was such a clever workaround of the memory limitation and put the Beeb well ahead of the competition. Even better was the Printer 'Rom' image that turned the MX80 printer (clone I think) from a 9-pin dotty text printer to an image printer so instead of a line of characters, it printed a line of an image - a higher resolution line of characters, more than doubling the dot resolution of the text. My wife used this config to type in, edit, and print her Masters thesis no less.
Disk file system: Watford DFS
Word processer: VIEW (then later Wordwise)
Spreadsheet: ViewSheet
Database: ViewStore
Game: Elite, with the Spitfire flight sim coming a close second

Goodness, that's dredged up some memories!

Re: A little PC time-travel (18 Nov, 2019)

PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 9:00 am
by namartinnz
My first computer was the good old 16KB Sinclair Spectrum. An awesome machine, once you got over the rubber keyboard. I remember later upgrading to 48K for around $400-500 at the time and marveled at the little tape disk drives they brought out (but I couldn't afford to buy). My big upgrade after that was buying a PC clone when doing my Engineering degree in the later 80s. Amazing how far we've progressed...

Thems Were The Days

PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 11:59 am
by Perry
Bit of a late-comer, I was . . .

An Amstrad PCW256 with dot matrix printer and fanfold paper. It also ran CPM/+. No mouse; no hdd; no colour, all CLI stuff; paper manuals (eeek!). A later add-on was an imported-new-from-Britain pulse-dial modem @ 300 baud full duplex; Starnet for emails . . . .

Nary a mention of the word "Internet."

Re: A little PC time-travel (18 Nov, 2019)

PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 2:02 pm
by paulw
My first home PC was a Sega SC3000 with 16K of RAM. When I had some spare money I was able to upgrade it to 32K Such an improvement. Then the old audio cassette player was upgraded to a data cassette machine. Such luxury. This was the mid 1980s. Used to go the Farmers computer section at their Hobson St store and drool over the Sega floppy disk drive for $800 which was the same size of a 1980s VCR with a 720K 3.5" floppy disk. The workd would fit on one of these disks. Never got one though. Waited to the early 1990s to get a 2nd hand MS DOS 286 PC that someone had locked with a key and no one new where it was. By passed the keylock wiring and it lasted for about 4 years.