This question was asked on one of the forums that I visit. It brought back many memories!
Mine was an Apple II+. I had the choice of a standard Apple II or the + with AppleSoft basic. I added two floppy drives and a card so I could run CP/M programs.
The major programs were VisiCalc and Apple Writer.
We had a user's group consisting of 3 guys that would get together once a week share our latest findings and computer tricks.
Our wives knew that we would usually miss a night's sleep.
There were numerous magazines such as Nibble and Softtalk that were dedicated to the Apple and I subscribed to one that came on floppy disks.
Mine was an Apple IIE. Sold it a few years later for half what I paid for it and was glad to even get that.
I still have and use my first computer, my fingers. I can double the processing capacity by removing my shoes and socks.
Here is a picture of mine:
1982 Timex Sinclair
2KB of memory expandable to 16KB.
Programs were saved/loaded with an external cassette tape recorder (sold separately).
I wrote my first computer program on this and have been writing software ever since.
Read about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timex_Sinclair_1000
IBM PC Junior 64kb in 1984
Henry, that reminds me of the old gag, "He's so dumb he has the be naked to count to 21."
Timex Sinclair also. Mine was 8K. Some of the programs I wrote took 20 minutes or more to save and reload the next time I went to use it. Great little machine to learn Basic. Then there was the Commodore 128 and finally a real 386 DX pc.
I had a TRS-80 with cassette data recorder in 1980 or 1981. According to Wikipedia, it cost $599 then or $2,339 in today's dollars.
We've come a long ways. Today my wifi enabled light bulbs probably have more technology in them than that old computer did!
My was a Unimatic which morphed in to a Incoterm. The early '70's when they were first introduced to the business world. What a absolute pain in the posterior they were...
TI-30 calculator if it counts. cost $120 in 1974. Before it went out of production was down to about $12. the university had a computer that you had to hand punch the cards to put in and run. My first real computer I don't remember much of, aside that I bought it after residency in 1985
I had one of these. _Not quite sure what to call it, but the thing, sort of related to an abacus, was operated with a stylus.
They were quite the rage when I was in grade-school.
Early 1983 I bought a Commodore 64 with a disk drive for $1500. Ouch! I learned BASIC over the first year after getting very bored with playing mostly awful games. The next year I decided to tackle Machine Language and it was major wall, but one day everything suddenly made sense and I was on my way. The only game I ever really liked became my first target and I modified it. I would later combine computers with my electronics hobby and made an interface to run our outside Christmas lights. My neighbor said he'd get dizzy if he watched them for too long. All the local kids liked to sit on the snowbanks and watch. Since I only ever used harddrives I removed the tape drive routines which made room for extra custom commands. I also made cartridges for custom commands. I really got my moneys worth out of that computer. Still have it ... all boxed away somewhere along with the Christmas light controller and software, and a Promenade eprom burner. I also made a capacitor tester that plugged into the data port. Ahhhh, the good old days!
My son is the traitor in the family and only uses Apple. He also collects early Apple computers and hardware.
Dennis, in a way, your wit beat me to it. I was gonna reply, my first computer was my brain! It became obsolete I would say sometime around age 45.
Home made 8088 pc with a smoking 300 baud modem so I could login to school and do my Fortran homework.
The first one I worked on was a BiTran-6. It was a training machine used in the US Army Computer Maintenance school. Used transistors and ferrite core memory. You could swap the individual components on fairly oversized circuit boards. Lots of contact points to check with a voltmeter or scope.
First one I bought was a Commodore 64 and I even spent the bucks to get the floppy drive. Went on to play with just about every x86 level PC with most levels of DOS and Windows from 2 (waste) through 8.1. Will go to 10 one of these days. Toyed with an Apple II for a bit, preferred the IBM PC, liked my wife's one Mac laptop even less, everything about it was expensive and it didn't do anything we couldn't do with a Windows machine.
My first "computer" was a mechanical one that could be programmed for Yes/No and even and/or, but what I figured out is you needed to know the answer to program it! was plastic & metal and you cycled it to make it "run" An "educational toy" I think I got about 1967. Long gone. Next one was a TI Business Anaylist II hand held that cost about $150 as I recall, You could use it to figure out interest rates, loan costs, monthly payment-all sorts of stuff. Still here, somewhere in a box. When I went away to college (1971), the college computer was a time-share with a mainframe elsewhere; our 'terminal' was a Teletype machine with a paper puncher/reader which was put in a broom closet in the basement of the college's main building. Next I got a TI 99A for $300 around 1982 I think. Memory was a cassette tape recorder! Monitor was your TV set. You could get an add-on box to add memory. Then I moved up to a LOBO Max80 with 128K of memory (double the RS 4's memory), and we used8.25" floppies that could hold 360K I think--been too long! The LOBO was a Radio Shack 4 clone, that ran under CPM or Basic 8, I think. The chip was an 80a, and we thought we were screamin' fast!
After that, just IBM clones and various windows operating systems--way before Win 95! I remember when the internet was just for academic information sharing, but some of us railfans were allowed some time on the system to share information on locomotive moves, etc. I believe that was the first "consumer" use of the internet. I was going to CSU, Chico, and one of the professors would let me use his computer to get on the net--but under very controlled circumstances--no one wanted to be denied services for doing "unauthorized communications."
Don't forget, average modem speed at the time was about 24k (I get a little better than that at my home, about 38 to 42K, depending on ??), text was all we had.
I worked at Radio Shack from 1979 to 1987. I got to be a part of the home computer revolution. We sold many TRS-80 Model I, Model II, 3,4. Then the "PC Compatible" Tandy 2000 came out in December1983.... That's when I bit. $3500 for that piece of crud. Never really worked with the IBM software. Tandy never really supported it .
I didn't get a real computer until the early 90's when I stepped up to a Gateway 2000.
My wife worked at the local school and would bug me to no end about how we needed a computer to which I would reply "for WHAT?"
I had recently formed a Thresheree Club and did a lot of record keeping in the early years so I did break down and bought a Panasonic word processor which had a 6" BW crt screen and a floppy drive.
Later the school offered evening computer time for area residents a night or two a week.......and I got hooked.
My first computer was an IBM Aptiva with the blazing K6 AMD cpu which ran at 266 MHz and was LOADED with 128 MB SDRAM which cost $1400 for JUST the tower.
I enlisted the help of a 16 year old neighbor geek who taught me the basics and I ran with it.
I upgraded the IBM myself and went on to build my next two machines.
Those were the days when you could build cheaper than buy.
(Message edited by cahartley on February 12, 2016)
(Message edited by cahartley on February 12, 2016)
Compaq 64. Then IBM PS2.
My first 'Computer'in 1945 was a Slate and a Slate-pencil.
Programmable TI calculator that could run a whopping 17 command lines - given to me for my 13th Bday
Then, gained the ability to use a timeshare that was programmed via punched paper tape reel, 17b total memory avail to run
Then, a 128Kb MAC
(at the other end of this is my brother who got to use a Cray to computer model intake manifold air flows for "an automotive manufacturer other than Ford". He always got the good stuff)
Commodore 64, I had $1800.00 in it a long long time ago.
Jeppesen-Sanderson rotary flight computer, it was much like a slide rule but in a round format and could make more computations with out having to do math.
I bought my first computer in 1979 - an Ohio Scientific 4P 6502 machine, 16k static ram, 8k Basic in ROM, tape storage. I still have it, and it still boots up. I ended up automating two pan-and-zoom projectors with it for the planetarium here in Portland. 6502 assembly language was kind of fun, and a whole lot simpler than anything today.
My grandparents bought me a Radio Shack TRS-80 in 1979 or early 1980. It had a regular portable tape cassette deck for the external memory. Did it even have 64k of RAM?
My next computer, which was a real one, was an IBM PS2 Model 60. I think that meant it had a 60 MB internal hard drive. It came with an early version of Windows. I bought the computer, monitor and dot matrix printer at the San Jose State U book store on IBM credit. I think it cost me around $6,000 by the time I paid it off. But hey, I had a REAL computer. I used to mock my fraternity brothers who were playing with those silly first generation Apple MacIntoshs. Oh well, now I work at Apple!
Compaq 64 with a Daisy wheel printer. When printing a document, very slow and sounded like a machine gun.
Forgot that I had a programmable Texas Instruments calculator too, mounted onto the printer (it's also around here somewhere).
You're right Bruce. I think the best fun starts of with:
Don't know what year, but I had an Adam made by Colecovision. Would do some word processing and would play Pong on it. Had to program it with X and O's for hours on end to get it to do anything.
My HS graduation present in 1972 was a hand held calculator from Sears that did 4 things. Add, subtract, multiply and divide. Could hardly figure out the display n umerals. Cost $125 at the time. It broke shortly thereafter and had to send it back to Sears for replacement. By the time it came back, I had completed my freshman year at U of M and calculators were $4.99 and on your watch.
Does anybody remember analog computers ? They had programming panels that looked like an old time telephone switchboard. No keyboard; just a bunch of jumper cables that you plugged into various sockets on the board. The one I worked on for a class in the early 60's was called a TR-10.
Twenty years later my employer offered to send me to grad school. USC said all applicants had to have an undergraduate class in computers. When I showed my counselor the transcript that indicated I had taken a class in "Analog Computer Programming", he didn't know what it was. After explaining it to him, he told me to just go out to the local community college and take any computer class.
So I did. My wife and I decided to do it together. So we went through the Jr. College catalog to see what was available. We wanted the simplest, most basic course possible. So we signed up for "Basic Computer Programming".
Boy, did we work out behinds off. Nobody told us that "Basic" didn't mean basic. "Basic" was a computer language.
I've had a basic fear and distrust of computers ever since.
I wonder how many of you really started with this.
I remember the old IBM accounting machines with the wired boards in school. It was about the size of a Smart car. It read punched cards, added columns and printed a report. Each printer column had its own vertical bar with the alphabet, characters and numbers. It had a single print "hammer" across all the bars that would imprint the characters through an ink ribbon. As it printed, each bar would rise with a ratcheting sound to the character then the hammer would cluck. It sounded like a rock crusher when running. It printed something like 20 lines a minute, IIRC. Not very fast but it beat hand writing journals. We had to program it in school but I'm glad I never had to work with one in the real world.
My first paid programming job was on an IBM 360 Model 20 with 8KB of "core" memory. That was all RPG and Assembler around 1973 for an Accounting Firm (CPA). My first PC was a Timex Sinclair but I don't have many found memories of that. I quickly went to the "Commode 64" then a Compaq Desktop. I loaded Windows 1.0 on that system. I've been on Windows ever since.
I bought a new Atari computer but can't remember the model. But I replaced it later with a Commadore 128. But the first 1 I really got use of was my PC-3 .I loved that thing. But it got busted and I bought a PC-8. that thing was just not as good. I gave the PC-8 and a Mathbox calculator to a friend of mine that is a computer collector.
My first pc by todays terms was a Compaq I bought in 1999. Worked great till the power line coming into the house had a limb fall on it and it caused 220 to go thru half the house!
When I was in my 11th grade year in high school they got some of those TRS-80 computers and put them in the new computer lab. All was well until a country boy that was fixen to graduate felt like the computer was the ruin of the world so he loaded them all up in his truck and threw them in the river! Just about did not get to graduate that year. Just before he did this he was voted most likely to succeed in his class.
In college I was taught Basic on Apple 2 E's.
My first "computer" was moving beads on a wire behind the pool table in a local bar. than a Picket slide rule. First "real" computer was in 1961--a Heathkit EC-1 analog vacuum tube unit I built. Kinda neat for the time. You designed your math problem and interconnected the 9 opamps with patch cords and discrete components (resistors or capacitors) to define the problem. Hook up an oscilloscope and watch the fun. I still have it in working order. After the Heathkit I got a Commodore 20 and things went downhill from there. I know nutting about dis thing I am typing on now. :-(
My first computer was a Commodore 64 and I splurged and bought a dual disk drive for it (MSD?). Also had a 300-baud modem to log onto a couple of local BBSs. The text came in at about the speed someone could type it.
My first computer was a Gateway that arrived in a "cow box"
Apple IIe with as many memory cards as I could pack into the empty spaces.
My first computer was a MicroAce kit. It has a Z-80, 2K of RAM, a membrane keyboard, plugged into a black and white TV, and programs were stored on an audio cassette tape.
Those were the days ...
In college, I used a slide rule (still have it somewhere) like George above. The first computer I used in the late 60's was an IBM 1620 that used punched cards for input. My first personal computer was a Compaq "portable".
Slide rule in the 7th grade.
I still have it in the case for my belt, with the instructions.
Its fun to pull it out for the kids while watching Apollo 13.
Not sure about the name but the # 286 comes to mind. It took floppy discs.
I built my first computer it was a kit sold in the back pages of Popular Science the Sinclair ZX81 $79.00 with only 1K of memory later up graded to 16K and added a full sized key board same basic computer as the Timex one
First computer was a Commodore PET around '79. A year or so later I replaced it with a Commodore CBM. Full size keyboard, bigger screen, 32K with outboard dual disc 5 1/4 inch drives and a dot matrix printer. The high life.
I can't let that happen, Dave. The mission is too important.
I remember taking computer programming in college. Fortran and Cobalt. Carrying around thousands of IBM punch cards and hoping the rubber band didn't break before the final exam.
Open the airlock, HAL.
I remember spending evenings in college punching cards for my next computer program. The room with the punch machines had hard walls and a hard floor, man it was loud in there!
The next room over had a bunch of teletype printers, it was nearly as loud.
You fed your punch cards into the reader, then waited an hour or so for the attendant to place your printout into the delivery bin for pickup so that you could see if your program ran correctly or not.
Ah, those were the days!
Eagle 2E. I briefly worked in a store that sold them and a couple of others. I loved that Eagle, because its keyboard was a clone of the IBM Selectric typewriter, which fit my hands perfectly. It had two floppy disc drives (what were they, 5 1/2 inch?), one for the program and one for the data.
One day the display stopped working. I discovered that Eagle had used an integrated circuit to drive the display, that was built onto the "mother board" and was found to be defective and was no longer available, with no replacement made by anybody, and the computer couldn't be repaired.
I had to "retire" it to the back of the closet, and I miss it to this day.
Eagle came out with an IBM clone shortly thereafter. We sold some, but then IBM sued Eagle for patent infringement, and shut down the company. Eagle eventually went bankrupt and closed.
If only they had stuck with the original unit, and fixed that one problem.....
A slide rule.
IBM 1401 with 4K core memory. Programmed in Autocoder!
COBOL was the language of business. it is one of the most verbose languages ever invented.
BTW ... HAL (of 2001 A Space Odyssey fame) is a one letter offset of IBM.
E-6-B. Still works great
E-6-B And it still works great
I keep a slide rule on my work bench and still use it [just for fun], instead of my phone, when I need to figure area.
Commodore 64 color but the one I first used in the Navy was a Xerox 860 with 2 floppy drives, I AMAZED A LT. When I discovered how to draw vertical lines using a wide bed "Daisy" wheel printer. His boss (thankfully) didn't like the time it took to do this and told the Lt. if he wanted vertical lines grab a pen and ruler!
IBM PC Jr.
My wife, and she still pretty much is. I can do simple things, like writing a few words on the forum, and looking some stuff up on my dell computer
First Slide Rule and Log Tables.
Then a Heath-Zenith desktop that I build from a kit; used a CPM operating system.
Then a Mac 512. 20 or so Macs later I am still happily in that domain. (I paid more for a 512K memory upgrade than I did for the first Mac; I initially thought, how would I EVER use all that memory. Ha!!)
Slide rule, Mac at work and then commodore 64 at home.
I still have my slide rule and still have my Texas Instruments SR50 in a box in the closet. Computers were making a toehold and we went from slide rule accuracy to six digits past the decimal overnight. I remember turning the SR50 on at night and wondering if they could make LEDs bright enough to light a room.
Then on to Timex Sinclair, Coleco Adam with the optional 5.25" floppy drive and daisy wheel printer. Then a Franklin, then ComputerVision where I learned the CVMAC language. I used to marvel at 500mb hard drives as well as the meter diameter 20mm thick glass disk that served as our main data collection system. That disk is now an ornament on a stairway where I work.
In college, I did the decks of Hollerith cards and worked with Fortran and Waterloo Fortran IV (WATFIV). The only thing cool about the punch cards was that I learned they were the same size as old US currency.
I also started with an abacus. Then in high school I got a little plastic slide rule... quickly migrating to this one which was easier to carry in a pocket:
Apple II+ in 1979. Cost about $2000 as I remember. My current laptop has a 17" screen, which I have just replaced and cost $64.....
After the slide rule I got a Commodore Vic 20
entire memory was less then that used by on photo now.
Here is my pen holder. It's an IBM promotional item from back in the day.
Most people don't know what it is.
My first was a TI-99/4A. Bought it used in 86 for a song.