Your First Computer and Internet

Discussion in 'Technical' started by Pax Mentis, Jan 14, 2017.


  1. Pax Mentis

    Pax Mentis Philosopher King |RIP 11-4-2017

    A post I made in SMs Geek Squad thread got me started thinking about my first computer and first Internet.

    MY first computer was in response to Apple's 1984 Super Bowl commercial. It was what was called a "Fat Mac"...a full 512K of RAM and the big 800K "floppy" drive, the new 3.5" one. There was no internal HD, but I got the biggest external they had...a full 10 Megs, Topped it off with a 24-pin dot matrix printer, PageMaker, Word and Submarine Battle command and immersed myself in all three. Interestingly, the immediate benefit was that my work reports improved substantially and were probably a large factor in a substantial promotion. I got it as a toy. :whistle:

    My first modem came along not much later, a blazing 4800Baud that I used mostly with bulletin boards and direct contact with people I knew modem to modem. Real Internet came probably around '93-'94ish with AOL dialup...I think I was up to a 36KB modem by then and hit the big 56K shortly after. It was '96 when I went over to a real IP.

    Another year or so and I will have lived with computers as long as I did without.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2017
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  2. Tempstar

    Tempstar Old and crochety Site Supporter+

    Radio Shack TRS-80 with cassette recorder "hard drive", 300 baud modem, and 5 1/2" floppies. After a year I bought an IBM AT desktop (I was about 14 and mowed a lot of yards) and became a Trade Wars fanatic for the next 10 years on BBS' all across the country. Also spent a lot of time reading posts on DARPANET until going internet in 95. About a hundred computers later here I am...
     
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  3. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    My first computer booted up with a DOS prompt "CLOAD"........which I presume meant cassette load....no such thing as a hard drive....just audio cassettes for loading programs.

    one of my first computer programs was "Elite"

    upload_2017-1-14_21-55-0.
    Man, docking at the space station without a docking computer was a PITA. Good for developing hand eye coordination though.....

    Elite (video game) - Wikipedia


    There were no web browsers as such....and no facebook, twitter or Instagram.....just bulletin boards...
     
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  4. Altoidfishfins

    Altoidfishfins Monkey+++ Site Supporter+

    I got in somewhat late in the game. The first computer was owned by my company and I used it for printed circuit board layout. It was a whopping 386 25 mhz, Compaq running a CAD package. The machine could boot from the internal hard drive to DOS, but the CAD package had to be loaded using a 5 1/4" floppy. Fighting sleep was a real challenge.
     
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  5. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    I started with a really heavy white IBM computer that had Wordstar. I recall taking a computer course in college that taught Wordstar and I became really good at it. The old printers were something. Having to line the holes up with the feed. I cannot even remember what they were called.
     
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  6. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Might have been a so called tractor feed? The output from the IBM 360 at school used one of those, and we were admonished to NEVER, EVER touch it, there was a captive tech that did all the work on the machines while us students tried to learn Fortran.

    It was years after that till I got a 'puter of my own, maybe 91 or 92. It was a Packard Bell tower loaded with W3.11 and a starter kit of M$ software, including an abbreviated form of Word. Back then, the business I was in preferred WordPerfect, so I got a copy of that and (with much groaning, swearing, and gnashing of teeth) got it to run, and did some report writing at home. Uv cuss, that was the sneaker network era, so a lot of traipsing back and forth with 5-1/4 floppies got the exercise requirements out of the way.
     
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  7. Bandit99

    Bandit99 Monkey+++ Site Supporter+

    My first personal computer was so long ago that I hate to think about it... I think it was a Sinclair computer ZX8 or something like that. I had to build it myself. It was a small computer something about the size of a Netbook today. Ugh! That was long ago.
     
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  8. VHestin

    VHestin Farm Chick

    First computer I remember using was my dad's, Apple II GS. Can't remember the specs on my first very own computer, I think it was Windows 95 or 98 though, maybe Windows ME, and we had dialup. Oh wait no, my first computer I think had Windows 3.1
     
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  9. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    My first computer wasn't mine, it was a UoW Mini/Computer (DataGeneral) and my Partners were designing a Cheap to Produce Terminal/Modem combination, that connected to a 300Baud Dialup, to allow Medical Students to do their 4th Year of Course-Work, On-Line, while spending their time in the UoW Clinics and Hospital for Practical Experience. The DataGeneral was used as a Front-End Processor, for the Brand New DEC10 in the basement of the Health Sciences Building... That Machine was connected to the UoW Admin Boroughs Computer, which had a Direct Tie-Line to the Twin Boroughs @ Berkely, and Livermore Labs.... AlaskaChick and I were the Testing Dummies, that ran the Systems looking for Bugs and Issues. We had the original Prototype of the Terminal in our house, and spent a lot of time running around inside the DEC10, along with some High School Kids, from a Private High School in Seattle. Can you say "Billy Gates" when he was a Geek Kid... This was all before DARPANet was even a dream in so Livermore Labs Techies fantasies... When Apple was looking for Beta Testers for the Original Mac, our group was asked if we were interested in helping out.... DUH.. and we got a couple of PreProduction Prototypes to play with, connected to our DataGeneral using Our Modems, and running a custom Terminal App, one of my partners wrote. When the Original Macs came on the market, we bought one, and gave it to our children. My Youngest learned to "Mouse Around" when she was 2 years old. We got Pre-Production Prototypes for the MacSEs, and SE30s as well. Been a Mac Fellow for decades.... I type this on my 27" iMac 5K.... Internet started with the DataGeneral/DEC10, and DARPANet, and then Internet when it was commercialized. Then when we moved to Alaska, FullTime in '91, we had a Dialup connection there the UoA School of Fisheries in Juneau. Soon thereafter StarBand started SAT Based Internet Service , and I was the first adopter in my region... That connection went thru a number of iterations, over the years, and ended, in Oct 2015, when we went to 4G Cellular Data, and NOW a second connection thru a USFS/Private ISP deal on 5Ghz Terrestrial Microwave, via Hoonah Mtn and out of Juneau... a Long and distinguished Career, in Data Comms, Self-Taught, and bering involved as the Technology was born, and grew up....
     
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  10. Pax Mentis

    Pax Mentis Philosopher King |RIP 11-4-2017

    It was probably a tractor feed dot matrix type...my first was also tractor feed. Had to be around 2000 before I got a sheet fed printer.

    When I was in Vietnam in '68, I visited a High School friend who was a "Data Processing Specialist" at US Army Vietnam headquarters in Long Binh. He showed me the IBM 360/50 system he worked on. As I remember it had 5K of RAM and was about the size of my house...with a price tag around $250K (1968 dollars). Storage was a room full of reel to reel tapes. It was about as powerful as an adding machine and was fed data updates from punched cards. I envied his air conditioning and hot running water in quonset hut showers. They even had flush toilets.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 14, 2017
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  11. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    My experience with the 360 was pretty limited after all the troubles that Fortran gave me (in 1960). The machine was in a dedicated room about half the size of my current house, and reading the signage sorta said that any student that had the temerity to open one of the doors to that room would be instantly vaporized. IIRC there were tapes and multiplatter disks stacked all over the place. Once I found out that slide rule accuracy was good enough for classes I stayed clear of 'puters. Witchcraft and magic hovered over the initiates, and I preferred the feelings of wrenches to those of keypunchers.
     
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  12. ditch witch

    ditch witch I do stupid crap, so you don't have to

    TI99 4A. IDK the specs. Had some other, forgettable ones after that. Black screen, green text, all I remember.
     
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  13. Mountain mama

    Mountain mama Monkey

    My first was an Apple II
     
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  14. techsar

    techsar Monkey+++

    Vendex 8088 PC XT w/ 640k RAM running @ an amazing 4mhz with 10mhz "turbo" button. Star Micronics 9pin dot matrix printer...color even! Had 4 color ribbon. No HD, just two 5 1/4" floppies, but at least they were DSDD. Got the upgraded CGA monitor as well. Came with DOS 3.22 "Remove the disk in drive A and replace with disk 2" - I think I did more data transfer than it did!
    First internet was through a 1200 baud modem...thought it was blazing fast when the 14.4kb cards came out...and again when 56(52)k became available.
    It did get me started though...enough to get lassoed into doing a write-up as Marine Corps Integrated Maintenance Management System Security...By that time WfWG 3.11 was the going thing.
    Glad I missed the punch card era ;)

    ETA: How is it I can remember all of that crap, but can't remember where I set my keys down?
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2017
  15. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    They say that long term memory is the last to go....I'll start worrying when I start remembering thoughts from in-utero. :eek:
     
  16. 3M-TA3

    3M-TA3 Cold Wet Monkey Site Supporter++

    Mine was in 1984 - a Heathkit PC XT compatible that I soldered together in a single 24 hour period after bringing it home. I had my construction "assembly line" all set up and ready to go before I left for the Heathkit store in Vancouver, WA. It had 640K RAM, an 8087 math coprocessor, and 5 1/4" floppies. A week later the hard drive controller board showed up as did the 20 MB Miniscribe hard drive. I programmed the controller to "talk" to the hard drive and vice-versa. I did my software programming in MS Pascal, and used MS Assembly to write a video library for use with that. I also had an Okidata Ml92 dot matrix that for several years chugged out mailing labels for a newsletter that my Dad wrote for a statewide sporting association. I think we replaced the print head four times.
     
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  17. VisuTrac

    VisuTrac Ваша мать носит военные ботинки Site Supporter+++

    First computer used. 1978 Commodore PET 2001. 1Mhz 4Kb ram with integrated cassette storage . It was awesome!
    First computer in family (Uncle) 1981 Osborne 1 portable 4Mhz 32kb ram. It weighed damn near 30 pounds.
    My first computer. 1991 PC clone 80387 (math co processor) 33Mhz and 4Mb RAM! It cost me just a little over 2K.

    Way too many computers have passed through my doors since that time.

    (note: I wish I had the Osborne 1 today)
     
  18. hot diggity

    hot diggity Monkey+++ Site Supporter+++

    I still have that first one I got from Dad under a desk somewhere. He had been into computers since long before we went to the moon, and had built it from leftover parts some time around 1990. It's off-white and lays on its' side, unlike the later towers, and that's all I know about it. That was my first home computer. I had a Macintosh 512k at work for awhile. I got along better with it than most of what came later. It was the replacement for my very much despised IBM Selectric II.

    I feel no nostalgia for any of this junk. It came about at a time when I had been doing just fine with a stubby pencil, a field message book, and a young Private First Class to deliver the message.
     
  19. Homer Simpson

    Homer Simpson Monkey++

    The first "real" computer I started with was a well used 8088 in the early 90's. I remember it had 640k of ram with a 5mb hard drive, and was running DOS 5.0. Before that, the only "computers" I had an interest in ate my quarters. In 1996 we went to CompUSA, (remember them?) and not knowing much dropped a ton of money on an Acer with the "shotgun holed case". A blazing fast P166 with 8 mb of ram and a 1 gb hd. We got it home and got Almost On Line with it's 28.8 modem.

    Now days, I have somewhat of a computer graveyard out in my building, of worthless old junk, including most of that old Acer. I dabbled with apple and mac, back when they ran on their own hardware, meh, never developed an interest. These days I buy parts and pieces, and put my own junk together.
     
  20. Tempstar

    Tempstar Old and crochety Site Supporter+

    Hmmmm. I've been looking for a DOS machine in the 33 mhz range to program radios...
     
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