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Digital Retro

There's an interesting list of early PCs and gaming systems at the web site for Gordon Laing's book Digital Retro (another one for the wish list...). It looks like I've used quite a considerable number of these beasts in the past - and owned more of them than I'd thought.

I've bolded those I've used, and underlined those I've owned. And by used I mean more than typing "10 Print "Hello World": Goto 10" on a machine in a high street shop!

MITS Altair 8800
Commodore PET 2001
Apple II
Tandy Radio Shack TRS-80
Atari VCS
Nascom 1
Atari 400 / 800
Sharp MZ-80K
Acorn Atom
Texas Instruments TI-99/4(A)
Mattel Intellivision
Tangerine Microtan 65
Hewlett Packard HP-85
Sinclair ZX80
Sinclair ZX81
Osbourne 1
Commodore VIC-20
BBC Micro Model A / Model B
Commodore 64
Sinclair ZX Spectrum
Grundy Newbrain
GCE Vectrex
Dragon 32
Compaq Portable PC
Apple Lisa
Oric 1
Jupiter ACE
Mattel Aquarius
Nintendo Famicom / NES
Acorn Electron
Apple Macintosh
Sinclair QL
Amstrad CPC-464
MSX / Sony HitBit
Tatung Einstein
Atari 520ST / 1040ST
Commodore Amiga 1000
Amstrad PCW 8256
Sega Mark III / Master
Acorn Archimedes
NeXT Cube

So how about you. What were your training wheels for the world we have today?


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 6th, 2004 12:10 am (UTC)
one day, my love, I will take you down to Bletchley Park with a cross-section of people and we will wander around the computer museum there. I believe you can date people near-scientifically by how far they get down the bences before they stop in front of their first computer and go 'wow, I haven't seen one of those for...'. With a random selection of journalsits it was like an abstract opera of exclamations...
Nov. 6th, 2004 09:05 am (UTC)

sbisson's never been to Bletchley Park? This must be rectified.

(BP fulfils two of my passions - the other is the collection of cinema equipment owned by the Projected Picture Trust)

Nov. 6th, 2004 12:08 pm (UTC)
Sinclair ZX81, Commodore64, Amiga 500/600/1200.

Touched an Atari 520ST, (Little bombs all over the display!:), and spent about a day programming a PC AT of some description or other using Q-Basic. That I know all the names in that list except for the GCE Vectrex and Tatung Einstein shows just how many computer mags I read in the 80s! :-)
Nov. 7th, 2004 02:02 pm (UTC)
But but but...they're all small computers. Didn't anyone but me use exclusively Grown Up Computers before affordable useful micros?

My list

CDC Cyber 72
Pr1me Somethingorother
Unisys Somethingorother UNIX box
ICL 2900
VAX 11/780
Sun cluster
Nov. 7th, 2004 09:51 pm (UTC)
The first home computer of any sort I saw was a friend's Science of Cambridge MK14. Not long afterwards, I got access to the small network of Commodore PETs in our school's computing lab, which were soon augmented by a BBC Model A and then some BBC Model Bs. (I remember the joy of another pupil when the latter turned up and he could play with all the *FX commands that didn't work on the A). I learned to program in BASIC on the PET, and also learned the fundamentals of 6502 machine code - hand-assembled and entered in hex! The Beeb had more structured BASIC (ah, good old DEFPROC) and that handy inline assembler that made mcode a lot easier. Our solitary Apple II had UCSD Pascal, and that was my first introduction to a proper structured language; after that I went to uni and had to learn FORTRAN 77...

The first machine you could program that I owned was a Texas Instruments TI-57 programmable calculator. That died after a couple of years and was replaced by a Hewlett Packard HP-33E, which in turn was replaced by a vastly more powerful HP-41CX. Now that was a Real Pocket Computer.

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )