45 replies, 43 voices Last updated by John Gaynor 3 weeks, 2 days ago
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    • #48409

      KimKomando
      Keymaster
      @KimKomando

      Tell me about your first computer, where you got it, what you used it for, the best thing about it, the worst thing about it.

      Mine was a Compaq luggable. Compaq Computer Corporation introduced the first IBM-compatible portable computer in November 1982. It weighed about 25 pounds but it was sweeeettt.

    • #48425

      TeamKomando:John
      Participant
      @264458

      The year was 1997, Grandma gifted the family this Packard Bell multimedia machine. She wanted to make sure we were ready for a digital lifestyle. 🙂

      I remember setting up a camcorder to capture the process of re-installing Windows 98 with Best Buy support on the phone! Because you know, I had to break it a few times to figure out how it worked.

      Processor – 133MHz Pentium Processor
      Memory – 16MB, Upgradeable to 128MB
      Hard Drive – 1.2GB
      Graphics Chip – S3 64v+, 1MB Video Memory, upgradeable to 2MB
      Sound Card – Standard Packard Bell Sound/Modem Card
      Optical Drive – 6x NEC CD-ROM Drive
      Optical Connection – IDE/Atapi
      Floppy Drives – 1x 1.44MB 3.5″ Floppy Drive
      Expansion Slots – Unknown
      Operating System – Windows 95
      Navigator Version – Navigator 3.6

      Packard Bell

      • #49785

        Martin
        Member
        @jmartin37066

        Requires Time travel. Radio Shack sold them. It had a math coprocessor button (Woohoo!). I can still “see” the cursor on the monitor. Done inputting? Double-check, yes! I’d push the “button.” Time… I did not sit and wait for the results. It would take maybe twenty minutes before I could print out the inventory information. From spreadsheet to databases and still using spreadsheets. We have come a long way together. Great question, Kim. Fun, dredging up old memories.

    • #48434

      BetaGary
      Participant
      @BetaGary

      My first computer was home-built with a 286 motherboard and DOS 3.1, later upgraded to Windows 3.1. It had 64K of RAM and a 20MB hard drive. It was built by another ham radio guy in trade for a ham radio antenna in 1992. My son taught me how to use it as he was in the 5th grade and had a Commodore 64.

    • #48438

      Walt
      Participant
      @128395

      Commodore 64.
      and I learned to program on it.
      That is that!!!!

      Move over Froger

      • #50104

        Barney Lerten
        Participant
        @barneylerten

        Did any C-64 user (like my late brother Pete) EVER buy software? I don’t think so;-)

    • #48552

      Thomas Wypa
      Participant
      @xray10

      Gateway. I bought it from HSN about 2001. Previously I had WEBTV.

    • #48690

      Dave Nicholson
      Participant
      @dknicholson

      TI-99/4, the first 16-bit home computers – I did not want the TRS80 (8-bit). Before IBM’s PC.

    • #48699

      Edward Cones
      Member
      @EdInArk

      Mine was an 8088 clone. Darned if I can remember a brand. A friend put it together for me, and I used to to start my career as a Clipper programmer. Before that I was a bookkeeper, and that little 8088 jump started my career in computers. That was in the early 80s, and I retired in 2013 after 30 years in the computer field, the last 21 working support for a regional bank. That little 8088 was a life-changing experience.

    • #48866

      Karen Richards
      Participant
      @kmrdprdk

      My first computer was a birthday present from my husband. It was 1990 and we lived in Cairo, Egypt. My husband thought it would help me pass the time. There weren’t any computer shops there at the time, so the guys at his office built it from parts ordered from the states. It had a 1 mg hard drive and I can’t remember how much memory it had but it was in bytes not megabytes. No pictures, only typed words. I learned a lot on that computer. I also learned how to take it apart and put it back together and add components. I don’t miss it. By the time we came back to the states I was using Windows.

    • #49127

      Jim Robbins
      Member
      @JRobb

      My first computer was a commodore 20 with dos as Windows did not exist and we were excited to play pong on it. It was hard to do much when you had to educate yourself every step of the way.

    • #49181

      Mark Etzler
      Participant
      @mtech

      My first computer was the Tandy TRS-80 Color Computer, bought with my paper route money for $399, included 4k ram, later upgraded to 32k ram.

    • #49182

      cfi512
      Participant
      @cfi512

      Commodore Vic20, connects to TV as a monitor.

    • #49201

      Amiga Nerd
      Participant
      @AmigaNerd

      TRS-80, the time was during 2 yrs of electronic school. Later had an Apple IIe, then a Commodore 64. Also dealt with the Amiga 500 and the 1200.

    • #49237

      Gwen Werner
      Participant
      @Gwen Werner

      It had to be about 1982 or so. One of the first IBM desktops made….big box with a screen not so big.
      My boss came to town….set it on my desk….and left me with it. No training no book. The spreadsheet program then was Lotus 123. I figured out how to get into the program, but could not figure out how to exit for the longest time…. just had to turn the power off. Been learning all I can ever since. Of course, the most important thing I have learned over all these may years is….just about the time you catch on….they change it.
      Kim, you are the best!!!!

    • #49238

      Bob Praetorius
      Participant
      @NYCBob

      My first computer was the first TRS80 that was made. I used it with the phone modem , and visited many bulletin boards and made some friends. I played Scott Adams adventures, which was a lot of fun. I remember thinking my computer was broken when I subtracted.18 from 1 and the answer was .81999999 . I expected .82 as the answer I also purchased and subscribed ro Cload which sent me a cassette tape with programs on it on a regular basis. I don’t know how I was satisfied with just 16k of memory and wrote many programs in Basic. Someone said around that time that one day everyone would have a computer and we thought that would never happen

    • #49263

      Mike Sparks
      Participant
      @Msparks

      My first computer was a Timex Sinclair 1000 with expansion memory, thermal printer and a audio cassette recorder for media storage.

    • #49400

      Dan
      Participant
      @WiGuy

      My first computer was the Atari 800 I purchased in the early 80’s for almost $1000. At first I mostly played games on it like Star Raiders, but eventually bought an Assembly language cartridge and learned assembly language programming on the old 8-bit 6502 microprocessor.

    • #49502

      Susan Waters
      Participant
      @Icondoit

      My first was an IBM PC in 1990 with 1 MB of Ram. We made a big upgrade after a year to 2 MB of Ram. We were rich!!!! I was lucky because my son was a genius at computers. He created a program that used keyboards to make music. If it weren’t for him, I would still be typing!

    • #49628

      Diana Miller
      Participant
      @pharmacymom

      My first computer was a PC Jr, made by IBM. It was a hand-me-down from my sister in the early 90s. my children learned about computers and the 5 1/4 floppies used to run it.

    • #49656

      David Morgenthaler
      Participant
      @Tanker7901

      Texas Instruments 99/4a until TI troubles
      Followed by Commodore 64 until company went away
      Followed by Radio Shack 4P had two 5.25 floppy drives in it
      Several others

    • #49719

      Ebaldwin001
      Participant
      @Ebaldwin001

      I had a Atari 400. Games is all I remember and some programming. Moved up to Atari 800.

    • #49881

      cfi512
      Participant
      @cfi512

      First Computer; Commodore vic 20.

    • #49921

      Gerald
      Participant
      @108448

      Commodore Amiga 500. First bought it in 1988 great machine.

    • #50049

      Raymond Spangler
      Participant
      @WiscoKid

      The first computer I used for work was a compact lugable with the 9″ green CRT. It was a great computer. I ran data aquistion software, terminal emulation software, and some industrial automation programming languages. I remember how cool Xtree pro was. At about the same time I used a “Lunch Box” style computer as well. That one was a 286 and it was before mice were being used. They existed, but almost no programs supported them. I used my digitizer board as a mouse. Did you ever run a fractal video program to see how good your monitor was?

    • #50103

      Barney Lerten
      Participant
      @barneylerten

      Ah, bygone days. My cute lil Tandy 1000 (costlier than any computer one would buy now!) — with Deskmate, a color screen, a 300-baud modem (and you paid an arm and a leg to go online!)
      I was not too much later a beta tester for America Online (and who here remembers a great program called GeoWorks Ensemble).
      For those who I deal with in a rowdy comment section at our TV station who think everything was better 20-30 years ago, I say, ya know why? You were 20-30 years YOUNGER! Of course it was “better” in the eyes of youth.
      The stuff we have now is downright amazing – but that sense of discovery I shared with my late great brother Pete… was just wonderful

    • #50307

      Jerry E Boyd
      Participant
      @Jerryeboyd

      My first computer was an IBM 5110, 2 2.4 mb disk drives and 120 character printer at a cost of $20,000. Used in my CPA practice to do bookkeeping and prepare financial statements. I also thought that IBM would expand the use to home computing but they went the PC route. My next computer was a Compaq luggable at a cost of $3450.

    • #50479

      124629
      Participant
      @124629

      TI 994a 16 bit . Still have it and some of the program cards

    • #50655

      Ralph Celento
      Member
      @Ralph_TX

      Mine was a Hong Kong special (I was in Japan) and I bought in 1987 a PC that everyone was buying. At work, we started off with CROMENCO and CPS Word Processors both had 8″ disks.

      The CROMENCO had a 10MB hard drive, 640K RAM, the box was 3 feet by 2 feet by 18 inches tall.

      Later the DoD purchased Zenith 100s, then 240Z. In 1991 while in Korea a Packard Bell for Home.

    • #50847

      David Hill
      Participant
      @dzhill

      # IBM-1130
      # I didn’t own it. I couldn’t touch it. I could sort-of see it through layers of special glass at my college.
      I could type out punch cards, which white jacketed (and masked?) techs collected.
      My clumsy Fortran IV card deck would return to my mailbox marked “syntax error”.
      The computer was a leased IBM 1130.
      The punch card chaff (punched out pieces) made terrific confetti.

    • #50897

      Wally Otting
      Participant
      @Wally

      My first computer was an IBM Aptiva from Radio Shack. Very slow. Little memory. 28K modem. But some very nice Bose speakers that I still have. Half hour to connect to the internet and up to two days to download a single picture. Used AOL to connect and that slowed me down too. I am on my forth computer now. HP notebook. $1200 computer for $747 at Sam’s Club. Not bad. Need to find out how to upgrade my processor in order to get Windows 11.

    • #51049

      Linda
      Participant
      @suzieq

      Mine was an E machine. I think it was in early 90’s . I absolutely loved hearing the sound of my phone connecting to the World Wide Web. Boy, have we come far. I am 68 yrs old

    • #51449

      David Haas
      Participant
      @192895

      First computer was a TRS 80 with 2 5 1/4 floppy drives and a whopping 64K of memory. I used it for spreadsheets on a program called Visicalc (I’m an accountant) and games. I took it to my job and it was their first PC.

    • #51571

      johnscooz
      Participant
      @johnscooz

      Mine was a Tandy TRS-80 (all-in-one):) Gotta love the sound of the floppy discs working so hard.

    • #51588

      Edward Wardingley
      Member
      @CivilEngEd

      Kim,

      My first computer was an Apple 2E. It had double 5-1/4 floppy drives. I don’t know why I bought it and it was expensive at the time. I used it for playing some games. Not much application software was available at that time. That was in 1984.

      My second computer was a PC with a 286 matchco processor. I needed the mathco processor to run AutoCAD. Thank god for the 486 a couple of years later. LOL.

      Ed

    • #51784

      glen comstock
      Participant
      @daremo

      It was a 8088 clone computer .
      with 2 5 1/4 HD floppy drives, 640k ram monochrome monitor.
      Was great at the time dos 3 and GW basic used for gaming and continued to learn programing

      Glen

    • #51815

      Norman Harris
      Participant
      @Norman Harris

      I bought my first computer on October 14, 1987 and it was probably the only whole computer I would buy for years, into the 2010s . $599.95 . It was a RAKOA Rk-6 which was an IBM-PC XT clone. It had one full size floppy drive, 512 KB of ram, I think MSDOS 2.1 and a monochrome monitor and card, I think it had Hercules graphics. I became an upgrader from then on, going to CGA, putting a used Seagate ST-225 20 MB Hard drive I bought for $200 {retail was $299.95} . I used a writing program called Wordstar which was site licensed to The Ohio State University and of course, GW-Basic. I put some Borland Products on it including Turbo Pascal, Turbo Basic and spreadsheet Quattro and eventially got Lotus 123 and Wordperfect. I upgraded to “286-10 ” in 1989 and bought a case and also had my hard drive up to a Walloping ONE HUNDRED EIGHT MEGABYTES, a hard to comprehend size by putting the Perstor ARRL controller on a 60 MB MFM Hard drive. I recall that I put the 8088 back together with the 20 MB and sold it at the time. Later on 1991-386 SX {Windows 3.0} → 1992→Windows 3.1 Ami Pro Wordprocessor 8 MB of ram and 486-33 1995 up to the AMD 586 -133 that was really a 486-DX4 that ran clock quadrupled at 133 mhz and nearly approached a Pentium 75 in performance.

    • #52534

      Denver Johnson
      Participant
      @dj1950

      A Sinclair kit, from England. It used a tv for a monitor. Second was a “portable” suitcase all-in-one– I don’t remember who made it. Those were fun days in the computing world…

    • #52635

      sjr1sjr1sjr1
      Participant
      @sjr1sjr1sjr1

      My first computer was made by Alpha Micro in Irvine, California — about 1980. It used 5.25″ floppy drive and supported a VHS tape drive for making backups. I don’t recall the sized of the hard drive, but it was adequate. One of the nice features was that the operating system supported multiple users simultaneously. Each user had their own dumb terminal, and they were hardwired to the computer.

    • #52922

      Norman Harris
      Participant
      @Norman Harris

      My first computer was a Rakoa RK-6 which was an IBM Clone, a 4.77 mhz 8088 that looked like and functioned like the IBM PC XT . When I purchased it for $599.97 {six hundred bucks} it had 512 KB of ram, one 360k 5 1/4 floppy and a monochrome monitor with a Hercules graphics card. I upgraded it while I owned it with a 20 mb Seagate ST 225, a CGA monitor and card. I used wordprocessor Freestyle {site licensed at Ohio State University, Lotus 123 spreadsheet, and lots of GW-Basic. For my second, I went to a computer show summer 1989, bought a 286-10 AT motherboard and a case and moved my hard drive over. I think I had the Perstor RLL controller by that time formatting the 20 MB Hard Drive to 38 MB. Story would get long at this point if I detailed upgrades. I will highlight processors here. 8088→ 286 10→ 368SX16{1990}→486-33{1992}→486DX2-66{1994}AMD586-133{1995}→K5-75{1995}→K6→133{1998}→K6-3-450 {1999}→Several Athlons, Phenoms 2000-2009→ Several AMD FX’s 2010→2015 then my current computers are Sandy Bridges, IVY Bridges and one i7 Haswell. I’ve went through a whole OS sequence from Dos 2.1 to Windows 10.

    • #53045

      Bruce Kosbab
      Member
      @Waucbulletin

      I purchased my first computer in 1984. It was a Texas Instrument TI99/4A. I was a big fan of Compute! magazine as there were a lot of type you could type in. It came with no data storage. I used a cassette recorder to save any of my work. There were game cartridges you could purchase. In 1987 I purchased a used Apple IIc with only a green display. I immediately joined a local computer user group, of which I have been a member for 35 years It has been amazing to see how computing has changed in all those years.

    • #54228

      Michael Golan
      Member
      @MITMike

      I also started with a luggable – but on a tighter budget – a Kaypro Z-80 based machine.
      I can’t recall exactly when I got it but it got me through grad school par-time nights – in 1986 I got an MS in Computer Science from RPI.
      I bought a Pascal complier so I could work from home instead of schlepping to the lab that was about a 30 minute drive.
      I wrote my master’s thesis on it and printed it on a dot matrix printer and glued it to galley sheets and RPI bound it into a softcover book for a symposium put on by us students.
      I used the spreadsheet it came with to calculate amortization tables when we were doing a re-fi – I think it took like 1/2 hour to calculate and print a 30 year amortization table.
      After that a series of Intel PCs, then in 2010 a MacBook Pro, then in 2021 an M1 Mac Mini and a few months ago an M1 MacBook Air too.

    • #54383

      Henry Tabb
      Participant
      @USNA70

      I was working as an IBM office products (typewriters, copiers, word processors) salesman when I bought my first computer in 1979 or 1980. It was an awesome Radio Shack Color Computer. I think it had 4K memory which I upgraded to 16. My storage was a cassette tape recorder and my display was a Panasonic TV. I remember I programmed Hammurabi on it in BASIC. That was fun. Now, compare that to my Apple Watch 7 😉

    • #54681

      Rick Brooks
      Participant
      @RMChief91

      Used: (1988) Zenith 250 desktop. No internal hard drive (dual floppy disks), orange monochrome display, and encased in a metal box to process classified data (it was a Tempest thing).

      Owned: (1992) Gateway Nomad(?) laptop. 4mb RAM, 78mb hard drive, and 64 shades of grey display. I still had it up until 2020 when I cleaned out my man cave.

    • #55175

      Jet Anderson
      Participant
      @256219

      A Radio Shack handheld with 8K memory. It was amazing at the time, I learned enough basic to program it to calculate
      water treatment product dosages, this was in about 1978….. what and change since then. Too little memory.

    • #55232

      John Gaynor
      Participant
      @OrangyJohn

      I bought a Timex sinclair 1000. It connected to a t v set. It was slower than a slug and recycled everything before printing. It takes space in my attic. after that I bought a Adam Cpleco. It came as a complete package and had a five inch disc drive. I was plodding without a guide into computing. I needed help seriously. I still need help.

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