Discussion in 'Computers' started by zuben el genub, Dec 30, 2013.
Technostalgia: Remembering our first computers | Ars Technica
That first one brought back some non-computer memories. I lived about 10 minutes from Longwood High School. After my father died, my mother gave the house to my brother (I had already bought my own) and she moved to Middle Island. A neighbor and friend was a history teacher at Longwood for many years. BNL? Drove past it many, many times over the years, because one of the main roads went past it. I had friends who worked there (one of whom was supposed to move to Waxahachie, but the SCSC project was killed).
The computers? One of the companies I worked for in the US actually ported some of our programs to one of the Acorns. We had one in one office.
I still have an Apple ][e packed away. For what, I have no idea. Maybe so some paleontologist in 5,000 years can ask "what the heck was that supposed to be?" And I still have the Hayes modem, the Z80 card, all the software, including the data files, for ... what the heck was the BBS software called? RCPM? The one that you ran an executable named bye. Probably still have source for Modem7 and WModem. ZCPR. A few different BIOSs.
We programmed on the bare metal in those days and crammed an accounting package into a 64k machine. These days, it takes more than 64k for the banner screen before the program even runs.
Was that the wipeout? It seems to be just one instruction wrong. I remember it as only 2 lines of code and you can't push an immediate value.
In IBM 360 Assembler: ZAP pne, -1 would move 0x00 to the 132-character printline.
The first computer I owned, purchased with my cash - was an Ohio Scientific C4P.
6502, 16K RAM ( it had the upgrade ), one channel D/A converter (never used that), and eventually I installed the color board.
What surprises me now, but I didn't understand at the time: I bought that computer on credit at age 16! The physics teacher at the high school had a small computer shop. He let me take the machine home for $20, and a deal to pay on it every week.
I paid it off in 4 weeks (I had a fairly good job for the era), but he was prepared to let that take a year.
Imagine doing THAT today!
It was also the machine that first turned me into a "programmer" - I claim that because I actually sold a game I made for that machine for $5, to the store that sold the computer to me - loosely based on the first Star Wars film - the Death Star run. 3D wasn't really possible (it didn't have individually addressable pixels) - but I managed to create a reasonable illusion (compared to PONG).
Ohio Scientific never "made it" to the big leagues. It wasn't an Apple II - it wasn't even a TRS-80 level of success. They made, perhaps, 8 models - one of which had a 74 Mbyte drive before 1980 (it also had 3 processors, a 6502, a Z80 and one other I don't recall).
The first computer I used regularly, but was actually my father's, was the TRS-80 Model 1. At first it had 16K, but was upgraded to 48K. It was a touchy thing - reboots just because the phone rang. They keyboard had a notorious bounce (you'd hit 1 a, you'd get 20).
The first computer I owned and used in my career (I'm a software engineer / developer ) was a Sanyo MBC-550 - an IBM clone of sorts. I was 21. It served me well, but it was a bit of an oddball. Slightly slower than the PC, physically small - it looked more like a piece of stereo equipment than a computer of the era. The keyboard felt nice, though, and it worked flawlessly for 8 years.
The MOS Tech 6502 made a huge impact in my childhood, thanks to the fact that it powered the venerable Nintendo Entertainment System.
OSI - back in 1980 I started to write a 6502 BASIC compiler for that thing - not the C4P, but the monster with the 6502 and Z80. Never got around to finishing it - real life got in the way. I did eventually write a CP/M compatible OS for 6502, though. At least as far as the disk structure. The architectures of the machines were too different - using the first page on a 6502 the way Gary did on the 8080 would have been a crime.
That's impressive. Any possibility that the code would actually execute on the NES, or even an emulator for that matter, assuming for the moment you somehow got the whole thing in a valid ROM format?
Because cp/m on that machine would be a sight to see.
It was on a standard CP/M format disk. I never even looked at NES, so I have no idea how they boot, what they need, etc.
And the disks for that code are probably now in a landfill somewhere on Long Island - all my 5" floppies (and the 8" ones too) got left behind in the move. It's not difficult, though, since ZCPR is pretty translatable to 6502, if you allow the 6502 to use Page 0 as it was intended to. The BIOS was always something you made to fit your hardware, so the code in the NES is probably usable. It's just the BDOS that took months duplicating. (And I only did that because of an apparent bug in CP/M - which turned out to be a bug in the manual. CP/M didn't work the way the manual said it did. [User is masked by 0x0F before use, not 0xFF, so user E5 doesn't work unless you rewrite the BDOS - which was an unbreakable copy protection method.])
Mine was the commodore 64. Many hours typing in code from the magazine we got from the library.
oldest i've seen was a defunct AST Mentor (some kind of server?) used as a coffee table at an older airport. it had a R-12 freon cooling unit in it to keep the CPU cool. had some then-cut old serial cables that must have been rigged into dumb terminals, some had their ports intact--my guess is that it ran into the walls and the terminals just plugged in to the walls. this thing must have had a location somewhere. whatever it ran it was ancient to me....series of lights on the front indicating various things, at the time, and my more modern life, far above my head! all the employee could tell me is that it was their main system like in the '70s and was replaced when they embraced IBM PCs and later PCs running Windows. there were a couple old terminals lying in various places in the back...
Apple IIe + Oregon Trail...ahh the memories. How I loved that game of few pixels. Just seeing that pic brought back some memories.
Consequently, that's about the last Apple product I used religiously.
Apple //e computers were all over grade school. Oregon Trail was the most 'popular' game (mainly only due to the vastly lacking other titles available) and many loved inputting the names of classmates to 'kill them' by various methods, often dysentery or typhoid as the game randomly used to kill off characters. sometimes, kids would intentionally attempt to ford the river knowing the entire caravan would fall underwater and end the game. at the end if you lost the last team member would input an epitath on the tombstone and various phrases, some i cannot mention, were done. Oregon Trail eventually got a PC Port, but it was inferior, lacked color, and ran in CGA-only mode. the Apple //e version had all four colors and shades of grey, and the Apple IIgs port was even better looking. there were only a handful of disks available so kids would 'attack' the disk tray if first in line like a ravage of hungry lions descending onto a gazelle and it was not pretty. the disks did hold up well. often though, some disk would malfunction resulting in the iconic sound of an Apple // disk drive making that awful chattering noise.
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