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Old 01-16-2019
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Default Old PC Technology

Many of us have worked in "IT" or a related field. All of us at one time or another have been affected for better or for worse by the "offerings" from Microsoft, Apple, Cisco, Motorola, etc. or the many PC manufacturers who have come and gone through the years. Thought it might be fun and different to share experiences with some of the earliest technology that you have used. Feel free to post anything--good or bad...

I got my start with computers long before I was ever in school by helping my dad with reports and calculations for his work (Sales Executive for GM). He had a "T1" line and if I was "good" I was allowed to spend time on it. It turned out to be good experience for what I do today. One of my earliest memories is using '"Lotus 1-2-3". Perhaps the "granddaddy" of all PC-based business applications. The first version I remember ran under "DOS" and used the "CGA" graphics color scheme.

(Note to younger members... The "82" on the chart refers to "1982.")
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Old 01-16-2019
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The first computer I used was a Commodore 64. It had two 5-1/4" floppy drives. One ran the program in use and the other was used for saving files. The monitor was a portable tv. I only used a very basic word processor, but I thought it was just the greatest thing ever and much more fun to use than a typewriter.
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Old 01-17-2019
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In my office, I have an antique IBM PC/AT motherboard, 20MB Hard Drive, Paradise "EGA" card, and 1.2Mb floppy drive from my first "real" computer that was passed onto me by my Dad way back when... The "AT" used an Intel "286"processor running at a blazing 8Mhz. We added the "287" math co-processor and extra memory through an "Above Board." DOS's limit was 640K but Lotus 1-2-3 could taake advantage of it. The Hard Drive has been disassembled and has the date "1985" stamped on it. I'm going in later today, I'll take some pics. Why I kept it I'll never know. The computer is almost as old as I am... My students are amazed that that they had computers back then.

By the way, ila's "Commodore 64" with real floppies was quite advanced for it's time. My very first computer was a "Vic-20" with cassette drive my mom found on sale at K-Mart. One Christmas I got a "Microcomputer Trainer" from Radio-Shack that taught "assembly language." So that's how a career was born.

My Dad had a Compaq DeskPro 386 (about $10,000 back then) and a "T1" line paid for by General Motors. I used to help him with stuff before I was even in school. If I was "good" I was allowed to use it for fun. Not that there was much to do then (alt.binaries.erotica). The "T1" was a digital phone line and would be like the 80's and 90's "high speed Internet." They are still around.

God I feel old that I even remember what all this stuff was.

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Old 01-17-2019
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In the early '90s I was moving into a job that involved a lot of work on computers. My Commodore knowledge wasn't enough to get by in my new position. I was advised to take some courses to get me up to speed so I went on a course that was conducted on weekends only. For a long time I thought that the computers we used on the course were Atari, but I'm not so sure anymore.

The course taught DOS, a pretty basic word processor, Lotus 1-2-3, and db III+. I really hated db III+ as it was the most awkward program to be able to do anything.
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Old 01-17-2019
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These antiques should bring back memories both good and bad...

IBM "AT" motherboard. This "monster" had an Intel 286 processor running at 8mhz. Considered "blazing fast." For 1984...

Paradise "EGA" graphics card. An "upgrade" from the awful Cyan Magenta White palette of "CGA" this standard allowed 16 colors at a time (if memory serves me) from a total of 64. Enough to show "dirty pictures." Well almost...

IBM thought a "High Capacity" 5 1/4" floppy would be enough for the future. They were wrong... The date of manufacture? May, 1985.

Computer Science textbook from 1969. This was given to me by a professor who retired the year I first started teaching. It means a lot to me and occupies a special place on my bookshelf. Interestingly, the algorithms, data storage concepts, and system design principles are still valid 50 yeas later.

Anyone know what this is? There was a time that everyone had to access the Internet through a "Dial Up" connection. If you know what "RS-232" is you get an "A". Class dismissed...

How about these? Know what they are used for? No, of course not. Everything is wireless now. The date on the case says "June 2001."
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PCATMotherboard.jpg   ParadiseEGA.jpg   OldFloppy.jpg  

CSBook1969.jpg   Modem.jpg   ToolKit.jpg  


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Old 01-17-2019
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It looks like I get an A. Make that an A+ as I not only know what an RS-232 cable is, but I used them and repaired them.

I know the tools in the tool case quite well as I've used them for work and not just at home for my own purposes.

To go back a really long ways (for the computer age) I remember when base 2 arithmetic was introduced in the primary grades at school. We were told it was because we were now in the space age and not the iron age. At the time no one (teachers and pupils) knew that the arithmetic was to be the basis on which we were to learn all about computers and computing. Of course at the time computers weighed a few tons, occupied complete rooms, and were only used by big corporations and utility companies.
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Old 01-20-2019
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ila View Post
The first computer I used was a Commodore 64. It had two 5-1/4" floppy drives. One ran the program in use and the other was used for saving files. The monitor was a portable tv. I only used a very basic word processor, but I thought it was just the greatest thing ever and much more fun to use than a typewriter.
My first computer was also a c64, but with a tape drive still...
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Old 01-20-2019
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ila View Post
It looks like I get an A. Make that an A+ as I not only know what an RS-232 cable is, but I used them and repaired them.

I know the tools in the tool case quite well as I've used them for work and not just at home for my own purposes.

To go back a really long ways (for the computer age) I remember when base 2 arithmetic was introduced in the primary grades at school. We were told it was because we were now in the space age and not the iron age. At the time no one (teachers and pupils) knew that the arithmetic was to be the basis on which we were to learn all about computers and computing. Of course at the time computers weighed a few tons, occupied complete rooms, and were only used by big corporations and utility companies.
Ila gets an "A+." Well done.

My own students (college) don't know "Base 2." They also don't think we landed on the moon. I help my nieces (8 and 10) with their homework. They are both very smart. But the math problems are like "circle the picture with five cats." Or "count to 100." The 10 year old is starting to do multiplication and division.

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Old 01-20-2019
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Originally Posted by liesjeversteven View Post
My first computer was also a c64, but with a tape drive still...
You and ila both have me beat. My "first" was just a lowly "Vic-20" hooked up to an old color TV via an adapter that attached to the antenna. Like you, I had the "tape drive." I am jealous of ila that he had an actual disk drive.

Did either of you have the "VIC-Modem"?

The "oldest" computer I have ever used was a "NorthStar" running "CP/M." Its case was made of wood (Hehe..hehe...hehe he said "wood"). It belonged to one of my professors in grad school. He said he bought it in 1979. It was still running after all those years! He let me try using "WordStar." I wrote a memo to him updating my research proposal then printed it off on an equally ancient "dot matrix" printer.

(Fun fact: WordStar used the S, E, X, and D keys for "cursor movement." )
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Old 01-20-2019
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Originally Posted by liesjeversteven View Post
My first computer was also a c64, but with a tape drive still...
Quote:
Originally Posted by a9127 View Post
You and ila both have me beat. My "first" was just a lowly "Vic-20" hooked up to an old color TV via an adapter that attached to the antenna. Like you, I had the "tape drive." I am jealous of ila that he had an actual disk drive.

Did either of you have the "VIC-Modem"?

The "oldest" computer I have ever used was a "NorthStar" running "CP/M." Its case was made of wood (Hehe..hehe...hehe he said "wood"). It belonged to one of my professors in grad school. He said he bought it in 1979. It was still running after all those years! He let me try using "WordStar." I wrote a memo to him updating my research proposal then printed it off on an equally ancient "dot matrix" printer.

(Fun fact: WordStar used the S, E, X, and D keys for "cursor movement." )
I didn't own the C64 that I used. It belonged to my boss. I asked so many questions about it that he told me to learn how to use it.

I've seen a couple of old tape drives, but I've never used any.

The first computer I ever bought was a Gateway 2000 486 33Mhz. I almost bought a 286 from someone I knew that was selling it, but then I saw an advertisement for a new 486 and it was cheaper than the used 286.

The first modem I ever used was on radio teletype circuits. At a guess I would say it was 15 inches wide by 10 inches high by 18 inches deep and weighed around 20 pounds. It wasn't a digital modem as radio teletype back then was analogue.

The first digital modem I had was when I got my internet connection. It weighted a couple of pounds (if that much) and was about the size of my two hands together. I've been through a few more versions since then with my current one being the size of one of my palms and weighing just a few ounces.

I've heard of Word Star, but never used it. My first printer was a wide carriage dot matrix and I had a 24 pin cable that connected it to my computer.
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Old 02-05-2019
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Back in 1954 this was one possible "vision" of what home computers of the future might look like.

Made by RAND Corporation, it was expected to be in use by 2004! According to the caption, it was "easy to use" with its Teletype interface and Fortran language.

My favorite part is the "wall mounted display."
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Old 02-05-2019
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Back in 1954 this was one possible "vision" of what home computers of the future might look like.

Made by RAND Corporation, it was expected to be in use by 2004! According to the caption, it was "easy to use" with its Teletype interface and Fortran language.

My favorite part is the "wall mounted display."
That "wall mounted display" looks like an old tv that I once had.

I got a laugh from what looks like a ship's wheel on the computer. I wonder if RAND thought their computer had to be steered.

I'll bet the energy consumption of that was measured in MWh.
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Old 02-06-2019
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I remember of seeing pictures of computers in the 50's. They were as big as a room.
My brother used a computer in the late 60's. He put in a program , punched in a long code of numbers and letters for what seemed like twenty minutes. Then pushed one more button and the screen went totally red for 3 seconds. That was the program !
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Old 02-07-2019
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Quote:
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That "wall mounted display" looks like an old tv that I once had.

I got a laugh from what looks like a ship's wheel on the computer. I wonder if RAND thought their computer had to be steered.

I'll bet the energy consumption of that was measured in MWh.

Somehow the prospect of watching Internet porn on that doesn't seem so appealing. Wait, there wasn't any "Internet" back then!

I wondered about the "ship's wheel" as well. It kind of reminds me of an old movie I once saw about submarines. Looks sort of like the "control room."

Thinking the same thing. Wonder how much power "one in every household" would consume?

(Also Fortran isn't exactly "user friendly" and was mostly used in engineering applications. I can see entire families sitting around this thing at night writing code together... Mom: "Andy what are you doing in your room with the door locked?" Me: Trying to generate a picture of Marilyn Monroe. "Just 1057 more lines of code left, mom!")

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Old 4 Weeks Ago
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Default My Very First Computer

My very first computer was a sliderule. They were quite good and fast for multiplying, dividing, and trigonometry. The C and D scales were especially useful. I'm quite sure I could find that when I was proficient in using one that I could multiply or divide two numbers faster than someone using a calculator.

I've attached 3 sample pictures so that those that are unfamiliar with a sliderule know what one looks like.
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Cisco 2500 series router. Have one similar to this sitting on a shelf in my office. Some company donated several to our school. I earned a CCNA years ago. Don't really work with this stuff anymore. Kept one just for fun. Who remembers "token ring"?
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Cisco 2500 series router. Have one similar to this sitting on a shelf in my office. Some company donated several to our school. I earned a CCNA years ago. Don't really work with this stuff anymore. Kept one just for fun. Who remembers "token ring"?
Token ring - now there was a flashback to a nightmare of trying to understand what was meant by token ring when the person explaining had no clue himself. 'And, by the way, there's a test on this tomorrow.' Talk about having to hit the books.
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Simple "token ring" example from 2001.

(My students find it amazing that computers once were connected with wires... )
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I remember those diagrams (not those particular ones, but similar).
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Not a PC, but certainly "older" technology. In 2004-05, the phone to have was the Motorola "Razr" V3. I had the standard "silver" one but my "ex" had to have a "pink" one. Just like Paris. That's either "cute" or "ick" depending on how you see it. Fifteen years later I'm strongly leaning towards "ick."

Word is now they are coming out with a "foldable" Razr V4 smartphone. Estimated price: $1,500 USD. Must have one... Must have one... Must have one...
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Before smartphones there were smart pagers. RIM kicked off the revolution in texting and mobile email access with their 900 series pagers with full text capability. My job at the time required me to carry a 950 model shortly after its introduction.
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Before smartphones there were smart pagers. RIM kicked off the revolution in texting and mobile email access with their 900 series pagers with full text capability. My job at the time required me to carry a 950 model shortly after its introduction.
I never wore a pager but I know many people who did. "RIM" would go on to make the "Blackberry" line of smartphones until they were beaten out by Apple and of course the "Androids." I had a Blackberry 9800 at one point. Everything I've owned since then has been a Samsung Galaxy.

But I think this guy has surpassed everyone for collecting old technology.
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I never wore a pager but I know many people who did. "RIM" would go on to make the "Blackberry" line of smartphones until they were beaten out by Apple and of course the "Androids." I had a Blackberry 9800 at one point. Everything I've owned since then has been a Samsung Galaxy.
I had an alphanumeric pager before I had the RIM. The advantage to having a rim was that it could send messages instead of just receiving them. RIM's innovation led to texting and email capabilities on phones and eventually to the smart phone as we now know it. The advances in portable computing (smart phones) were extremely rapid during this period.

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That's quite the collection of boat anchors that he has.
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