View Full Version : My first computer

October 7th, 2003, 07:12 PM
Back in the early days of personal computing I was a fairly typical Jr. High School student who had a bit of a leg up in computing from the fact that my dad was a programmer.

What that meant was that I had access to manuals, magazines and other computer info that most people didn't.

With my interest in computers I taught myself a lot and got to the point where I really wanted my own machine.

Back in 1980 or so I started saving up hard for one.

By the summer/fall of 1981 I had just about enough money to buy the machine I most wanted - an Atari 800 with an 810 drive, etc.

Just before I broke into the piggy bank my dad stopped me and proposed a deal. He'd match my money if I agreed to get an IBM PC.

I jumped at the opportunity and by early December 1981 we finally got the PC we'd ordered in late October. (I swear it seemed like 10 years at the time).

I spent every minute I could at that machine for months and months. If I wasn't at school, blasting through my homework or asleep I guarantee you I was writing something in BASIC, playing Adventure, MS Decathalon or one of any number of other early PC games.

I actually missed the machine when I took a 2 week trip to Florida to visit my grandparents.

Eventually we traded that machine for a PC AT which I took to college.

Upon graduation I bought a loaded 386. Then a 486 and so on.

I still regret losing that first PC, though, even with a nearly identical replacement in my collection.

At least I still have the original manuals and reciepts.

That and the memories.


October 9th, 2003, 06:15 AM
I actually have the first "real" computer I ever owned. I had owned a TI-99-4/A but it was just to limited on power to do what I wanted it to do and then was discontinued before I could buy all of the pieces to upgrade it capability. So I replaced it with a Tandy 1000SX and HD pair. I networked them with a product called Box1, a serial protocol network, ran at around 230k as I recall. I used that system for eight years to run my electrical contracting business. Finally, I had upgraded them beyond all economic sense, so I replaced them with a pair of 486's. The 1000HD was too slow for anyone to want so it was placed in closet storage. The 1000SX with the PCT286 turbo board was given to a friend who used it, who gave it to his son, who gave it to a friend, who gave it to a cousin's child, who gave it to the nephew of the original friend I gave it to, who returned it to my friend, who returned it to me. Confused yet?

I still have it. I replaced the external 10mb drive with an internal Tandy 20mb hard card I picked up at a flea market for $10, the 286 card still works, and it's on the internet with the TCP/IP stack stolen from the Microsoft Workgroup Companion package. You can't do much with what is left over from 640k after drivers, IP stack, etc loads, but it's on there.

So I can say I still have the first computer I even owned. I could have had the very first one, the TI, but my ex-wife disposed of it in an act of spite. She also disposed of my DVI for my Model 100 and my Tandy 1400LT.

October 9th, 2003, 11:11 AM
I could have had the very first one, the TI, but my ex-wife disposed of it in an act of spite. She also disposed of my DVI for my Model 100 and my Tandy 1400LT.

... and you didn't dispose of your wife immediately afterwards?

LOL, just kidding.

*pictures his wife sharing the same trash can that his computers were tossed in*

October 9th, 2003, 07:54 PM
My first computer was a timex sinclair 2068 and its still here somewhere (found the box but it was empty). I got the unit new from kmart before christmas of 82 or 83. Of course I got a c64 a few years later since it was actually supported and had alot of good games.

October 12th, 2003, 08:03 AM
Actually we were already seperated, so you might say I had already disposed of her....actually she filed first so I guess she disposed of me!

That image had me ROLTFLMAO all night. Poetic justice!

I could have had the very first one, the TI, but my ex-wife disposed of it in an act of spite. She also disposed of my DVI for my Model 100 and my Tandy 1400LT.

... and you didn't dispose of your wife immediately afterwards?

LOL, just kidding.

*pictures his wife sharing the same trash can that his computers were tossed in*

Jon Jarmon
July 17th, 2004, 03:09 AM
Hey Unknown_K
I too purchased a Timex Sinclair 2068 in late 1983 at a KMart store.Shortly later in 2004 I believed Timex pulled out of the computer market abandoning their relationship with "British" Sinclair.It was a nice inexpensive color machine with better graphics than the Commodore 64.
Only 60,000 were ever made or sold in the U.S. and they were slightly more powerful than the British Sinclair Spectrum model.

In fact I found a second TS2068 at a thrift store recently.I have quite a few game titles for the TS2068,also I have an early G.U.I. program called "Artworks" a drawing program using a joystick and it's buttons rather than a computer mouse.

A good website about these machines is called Planet Sinclair.

Terry Yager
July 17th, 2004, 06:16 AM
I could have had the very first one, the TI, but my ex-wife disposed of it in an act of spite. She also disposed of my DVI for my Model 100 and my Tandy 1400LT.

... and you didn't dispose of your wife immediately afterwards?

LOL, just kidding.

*pictures his wife sharing the same trash can that his computers were tossed in*

Wow, deja-vu! I just had to double-check the name on this post, to make sure I hadn't written it. My ex too, disposed of about half of my collection, (after we'd separated) including TI stuff, Model 100 DVI and all my CoCo stuff, but not the Tandy 1400 LT. I gave that away myself to my nephew, who used to work at Radio Shack, and "always wanted one", but couldn't afford it on RS wages. (In a fit of nostalgia, I picked up a 1400 HD on eBay last week, coz I "always wanted one").


Tim Wellman
August 14th, 2004, 03:12 AM
Just found the forum, figured this would be a fitting thread for my first post :-)

My first computer was a Vic 20 around 1981... before that I was an electronics hobbiest, making little noisy things, the vic could make cool noises without burning my hands with a soldering iron... I was hooked! And the only software I had was the Adventure cartridge... never did get through that game... from there, I had a couple CoCo's, a couple C-64's... but, my first 'real' computer was a brand new Tandy 1000hx... kinda came by it in an odd way... it was 1985 or 6, and at the time American Express thought it was a good idea to give college students credit cards... and they'd send out ads each month with the bill... well, one ad was for a tandy 1000hx system, complete with CGA monitor and Tandy printer... for 1795.00... but, you could get it for payments of under 50 a month... so, I think it was the happiest day of my life when those boxes came (The computer is long gone, but I actually still have the shipping receipts). The first software I bought was Kings Quest 3 (from my local radio shack... and yeah, I still haven't finished that game either :-)

The computer also had a certificate for a few free hours on Compuserve (the original, not the AOL wannabe). Of course, it was around 6.25 an hour after the free time... a month after I got the computer, I'd charged over 300 dollars on my amex card from Compuserve usage... they cancelled my card, and my dad ended up loaning me the money to get out of that debt and to pay the computer off. After the 'compuserve fiasco', I discovered local BBS's and I pretty much lived on those for years, even running my own Wildcat board for a while.

I remember drooling over the pages of Computer Shopper while all the other guys my age were drooling over Playboy :-) I went on to study computers, and I work on them now for a living... and I've ended up with a few rooms full of old computer 'junk' just because the cost of those old dreams are now within reach

Just recently I found a nice Laserjet Series II and it's sitting here on my desk right now... yeah, it's old... but, back in the 80's when this thing cost as much as some people were making in a year, it was the dream machine, the brass ring... every time I look at it I remember the good old days of computing... and when I'm not online, I'm sitting in front of a dos prompt on an old IBM XT still cursing because you have to empty a directory before you can RD it... but it's pretty nice sometimes to be able to use all the computing power I need, instead of the power I'm now told I need by all the manufacturers... and I honestly got a lot more work done on computer back before windows made things 'fast and easy'... dos booted in 10 seconds, pcwrite took 5 seconds to load... and I was off and running.

November 14th, 2004, 06:07 PM
OK, so this is the "about my first" thread for those of us who started with a PC clone. Mine was a NEC MultiSpeed, a laptop with two 720K floppy drives but (in my option) no HD. It had an LCD screen, a battery about the size of a brick, and a bunch of nifty ROM software built in. Processor was an 8088 or 8086 and I think the RAM was 640K. I seem to remember paying more than $1000 for it. I got my money's worth out of it, installing an internal modem and doing hours of online (dialup) research and writing while working a job that required me to "be there" but not do anything unless and until called upon. The portability was key. I bought it in the latter half of the 1980s after I stopped going to sea and, yes, I still have it--MINUS that gigantic NiCad battery (speaking of memories...). Maybe one of these days I'll dig out the AC adapter and boot it up.

(A decade before I had a personal computer, I was in a high school computer club where we had access to a remote HP mainframe for use in programming in BASIC. This was around 1975. The big pain was memory limitations on the size of programs we could wrote. Threw a wrench in a few games I had created and was developing, as I recall.)

February 20th, 2008, 01:28 AM
I am really thrilled to read this message. You have taken me on a nostalgic trip , a few years back. Right now, everything is judged by its mobility and access. Mate,now everything seems to be working which we all might have felt that this is impossible.

February 20th, 2008, 05:06 AM
I'm the weirdo here...

Before the late 90's, I had no access to a computer of any sort outside of school, mostly because they were too expensive to afford.

Anyway, 1997 came, my second oldest sister was graduating college and moving to the bigger city to find work, and gave me her dad's old computer, a 1986 Tandy 1000 SX, with all the original manuals, a huge (to my eyes at the time) black box of 360K Diskettes, mostly filled with business software of the time, and Microsoft Adventure. I had used this computer long before this (actually, it was the first computer I fooled around with when I was 8). I also had a very very very old BASIC programming book and a Tandy DMP-12 Dot Matrix printer.

As for the specs on this machine - 8088/6, no co-processor, no additionnal cards, dual 360K floppy drives, no hard drive, PC Jr. Video, 3 Channel Sound, and the proprietary keyboard and Tandy CM-5 (the white bordered version) color monitor.

I can remember we put this thing in the back bedroom on a desk that it just barely fit, and I spent HOURS on it, usually sitting behind the keyboard, guitar in my lap, beverage on the desk, record player headphones in my ears listening to Police albums, a big honkin' Ultima V or VII map push-pinned to the wall, playing a pile of old DOS games I had procured from a friend who lived in the neighborhood where my siblings spent their college years. Ultima V was one of those games, and later Ultima VI, when I dig through Radio Shack's outdated catalog and got a 640K memory upgrade kit for about $40.00.

That computer lasted me till 2000, taught me some rudimentary BASIC, and played loads of games and did quite a bit of school work on it. The final death blow to the machine was when I'd turn on the power and get no POST, but an "Error I/O of 8253" message. I knew nothing about repairing computers at the time, so I stupidly chucked it out because everybody around me was telling me to "get rid of that damn boat anchor and get a REAL computer". I wish I had not, I could have fixed it.

After the Tandy, I got to talking about that machine with the father of an ex-bandmate back when I joined his son's metal band, and that's where I got the machine that really got me going, a 1992 Flight 386 SX whitebox clone, with an Addonics MON7C4B 14" VGA monitor, and a big clackety 101 key AT/XT keyboard. I STILL have the original case and PSU of that computer, as it has been used and upgraded and traveled to hell and back over these years. It's had about 5 motherboards, most 80486 boards, and been everything from my main machine to the computer I use to make youtube videos of vintage game systems and computers. I've done just about everything with that machine that was done more in depth onn other computers from functional case modding (sawed up drive cage, additional frontal LED's for a multi-channel IDE card I added a few years back),

It was the first of mine to go on-line (via AOL 3.0/AOL 4.0 running Windows 3.1 w/ a 56K modem). I will forever remember the hilarity of using a 56K V.90 faxmodem on a uni-directional parallel port. Apparently it heated things up quite a bit, so I created a "water cooling" solution by putting a rag and ice cubes in a glass, and sticking the rag, and glass of ice cubes on top of the modem....it seemed I got kicked off AOL a whole lot less with that goofey setup, me and my liquid cooled USR 56K, and it's anti-condensation rag.

February 20th, 2008, 05:11 AM
I still have my first "real" computer, the IBM 5150 (8088 based machine) I recently refurbished it and got it working again. Cleaned it up, runs great! =) I've owned it for ... more than 15 years, its survived neglect, flooding, .. yea So I take every opertunity I can to play with it. =)

February 20th, 2008, 08:57 PM
My first computer was a TRS-80 COlor Computer 2, 64K.

Yup - still got it.


February 20th, 2008, 11:08 PM
My first computer was the Luxor ABC 80 a TRS-80 inspired swedish computer. Of course I still got it! Got it in 1983 or so.

// Z

February 21st, 2008, 01:59 AM
My first was in 1981. A Dick Smith System 80 (TRS-80 Model 1 clone).

(see http://www.webweavers.co.nz/system-80/rationale.htm )

I've been stuck on them ever since.

February 21st, 2008, 03:24 AM
minme was a klh or an apple 2gs cant remember which was mine
since i was maybe 1years old lol

February 21st, 2008, 04:47 AM
Mine was an AT&T 6300 when I was two. From ages 4-13 I was seperated from it, but at 13 1/2 it was sent back to me. Even got the keyboard I drew on as a child! Luckily it was only a few marks, presumably with red and blue crayons:p. Darn thing has suffered a mobo death. I need to ship the mobo out of my other AT&T (I have 3, 2 here, 1 in WV)--Which is in West Virginia! I will have to convince my mom to pull it out...Probably have to make a step-by-step video or sumthin.


February 21st, 2008, 06:04 AM
Mine was a gateway 2000 486 DX2!

February 21st, 2008, 06:22 AM
Well, since we didn't have computers in high school (didn't have the separate building required or the tons of cash) and when I worked for Tandy I just took home whatever of the computers I wanted since we had one of everything for test-jigs, the first computer I owed was a clone 386-33 by FujiKama.

My first company was nice enough to buy it for me and even splurged on a Maxtor 8380(?) and WD ESDI controller (2 grand for the drive and controller).

I still have PARTS of it around

nige the hippy
February 21st, 2008, 06:51 AM
I got a sinclair ZX80 kit for combined 14th birthday & christmas, I'd spent a few years drooling over superboards, nascoms, and the UK101, built it late into the night, and lo-and-behold it didn't work! Ended up sending it in for a fixed-price 10 repair.
my first PC was a real frankenstein's monster. Apricot Xeni286 motherboard (with co-processor!!!) 20Mb Hdd, 720k floppy (I paid 20 for second-hand!) and a sirius1 monitor cannibalised to work as a hercules mono. The pc parts were all built into a really nice aluminium graphics terminal box (ex-dump) with good 5V & 12V power supplies, but no -12V, so I made a -12V supply using an old 5V powered rs232 driver module hard wired to "mark".
I was still using that in the mid 90s.

February 21st, 2008, 10:53 AM
...the first computer I owed was a clone 386-33 by FujiKama.

My first company was nice enough to buy it for me and even splurged on a Maxtor 8380(?) and WD ESDI controller (2 grand for the drive and controller).

I still have PARTS of it around
FujiKama - now there's a name from the past. I've still got a few of their boxes that I'd built and sold to clients and then got back when they upgraded; in fact, just threw one out yesterday. Need any parts to recreate that special "first computer" of yours?

Although I got to play with various Burroughs systems as a contract programmer, the first computer I actually bought was an 8K 2001 PET; still have that as well.


February 21st, 2008, 11:03 AM
Wow.. bet Erik didn't expect this thread to come alive out of nowhere lol. I've said it a lot of other times so I won't go into detail but yeah our first computer for the family was a Zenith Data Systems 8088 (a 151 dual floppy desktop). Now it has a 40 or 60MB drive (I think it's actually a 40 that I ran stacker on). But the important thing is yes, I still have it so I'm one of the lucky few to still own my first computer as well.

- John

February 21st, 2008, 07:18 PM
Nige, ever think of just building a house at the dump?

I'm sure land values would be low and it'd save a lot of travel time. :)

Mike, I have the original case and a couple of the original motherboards (don't know where the hell the second one came from, but they are the ones that you could put 12MB of 1 MB SIMM (got those too) and 36 1MB DRAM (also have these) in to get a whopping 16MB)

I don't have the Maxtor 340MB ESDI but I do have a ESDI controller but not the original (I think) Adaptec.

With the drive, I could put the (mostly) original system back together and stick all those magnetic advertisements you get in the mail on them LMAO.

Dwight Elvey
February 21st, 2008, 09:10 PM
My first was a Poly88. It could run a tape at 2400 baud.
I had both TinyBASIC in ROM and a 8K BASIC I loaded from
tape. It was not a MS BASIC either.
Then, I suspect this system was before 90% of the people
on this list( maybe 95% ).

March 5th, 2008, 08:35 AM
Ok, well my first computer was a Osborne 1 (DD/DS disk drives) running CPM.
My father purchased it to use for his company, and of course not knowing anything at all, he thought the portability of the system was important since he travel a lot (sales).

Just after I got back from the Army, he picked it up, and after a week or two of him trying to do everything on it, he made it my job to set up his company on it. Right around the same time my girlfriends Dad bought an IBM PC, which I wanted, but I was pretty stuck with the Osborne. Not that it wasnt a great system, but I hated the keyboard and the screen.... lol.

Anyways, after a couple of months I picked up a Eagle PC for myself, and I was off and running. Sold the Eagle and got a PC/AT and a C64 for playing on. I had moved on from working for my Dad and I was working as at a car repair place, and leaning Dos at night. My first computer job was supporting several Dos apps (DoubleDOS, Disk Optimizer,).

Somewhere along the line I got addicted..... errrrr interested in collecting them. :)