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Thread: Our Families first computer

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix

    Our Families first computer

    Back in 1980 we decided to get a computer for the household. We wanted something for gaming but also that could do other things. Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	55484This is the Commodore Vic 20 it had a 6502 processor and 16K of memory and used a tape for storage and had a 20 column wide screen support for letters. Cost in 1980 $300. The device in the top right hand part of the picture is a 3rd party memory expansion and a vidio expansion that gave you 80 columns and an additional 16K of RAM. I contracted and wrote a word processing program for the company that made the expansion card (Data 20 out of Laguna Hills) in 6502 assembler. I made $1000 for the program. I later wrote programs for other folks in 6800 assembler, 8080 and Z-80 assembler. Believe it or not this unit still runs.

    Oh BTW This unit still runs
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Portland, Oregon
    I started with the same thing, went on to the 64 then the 128 and finally the Amiga. I wish the Amiga had the financial backing that the windows and apple had, it was way ahead of it's time!
    Jesus was a Woodworker

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Tacoma, WA
    Don't know, but it possibly is worth some money now!

    That is really cool! I remember back in the mid to late 80's my dad had a compaq ( I think) that he basically gutted and remade how he needed. He added huge expensive things like a 32k ram and 512k hard disk! I recently found that 512k disk and it still works, but by golly is it slow!

    I would not throw that out for anything, that is really neat to see things like this that are still alive today!

    Thanks for sharing, times have sure changed and they seem to be changing even faster every day.

    That is one reason I like woodworking, it stays steady, fun, rewarding and you can still pick something up that was used 100 years ago and use it in a modern shop today.
    That's not even a smile! That's just a bunch of teeth playing with my mind!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Reno NV
    Very cool Don!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Lafayette, Indiana
    Somewhere around here I have an old "Timex Sinclair" computer. It is also from the early 80's. It came with a cassette player to "play" it's programs.
    It's not what you achieve in life...It's what you overcome!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    London, Ontario
    Started with an Atari 400 in 1983(?). Forked out to upgrade the ram to 48k(!).
    The 5-1/4 floppy drive was $450 or some similar astronomical number. Never made a dime off it, even though my major was CompSci... Good for you, Don!

    But had a lot of fun playing Zork with my nerd roommates.
    There's usually more than one way to do it... ........

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Tellico Plains, Tennessee
    My son started with a VIC20 that I got from a time share sales presentation... all it did at the time was play pong... but he was hooked and today in his house runs an array of computers.... when he built his house, he had the closet in his "office" specially air conditioned to keep cool the 6 or 7 computers he has in there in that array... he has 3 or 4 monitors on his desk. Between the VIC20 and the current set up he wore out two Commodore 64's, then wanted a Commodore 128 which he didn't like and I moved it to my desk... he then got an Amiga D.. also by Commodore.. he used the Amiga until he went into the Army and the army dropped the box with his computer in it when he transferred to Korea...smashed both the cpu and the monitor, so he switched to the IBM PC clones over there and has been on the PC since.... he used to update every few years and would give me his cast offs, but has stopped doing that, just updates and adds the cast-off to the array... I had to buy my own Dell a few years back... He just left IBM after a 5 years stint with them over some business issues that IBM wanted him to do that he felt were less than moral... they canceled a program he was working on, but told him he had to tell the customers that it was still being developed...

    My first use of a computer goes back to the mid '70's when TWA went computerized... don't know what the main frame was, it was located in Kansas City, but the monitors we used in San Fran were the old Raytheon green cathode ray tubes... after I left the airlines and went to work for a forwarding company, I shipped for about every computer company in the Silicon Valley... Amdahl, Telex, Four phase, HP, Memorex, Two PI, just to name a few... don't even know if some of these are still in business. A lot of these were huge units... controllers looked like refridgerators, disc drives were the size of washing machines... Two Pi was the first desk top I actually ever saw... it was an offshoot of an IBM division who wasn't interested in the desk top... they said it wouldn't catch on as no one would want a desk top computer.
    Tellico Plains, TN
    My parents taught me to respect my elders, but it's getting harder and harder to find any.
    If you go looking for trouble, it will usually find you.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    At that time I couldn't afford any of those, I deadly wanted a Spectrum, and I bought a book that showed how to make robots and control them with a Commodore 64. Never got any of them, never made one.
    Best regards,

    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _________________
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    I also dream of a shop with north light where my hands can be busy, my soul rest and my mind wander...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Hungary, Budapest
    I had such machines. Commodore 64, but the new form. I was in Austria. The coat during the COCOM list, because I was in Hungary. Was to have a floppy drive as well. I loved it.
    I love adventure. Therefore, I stay at home.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    The first computer in our house when I was growing up was a Xerox desktop machine running CPM that my mom and dad bought for their business in about 1981. It had Visicalc and Wordstar on it. Other than help them figure out how to boot it, I didn't do much with it at the time. A few years later I was working for them, and did learn the basics of using a word processor. About the same time, my then-FIL gave me his old TRS-80, complete with a non-working external floppy drive. (Using the cassette recorder for data storage was also real sketchy.) I played around in BASIC a bit with it, but didn't use it much. That's the first computer I owned, but by then I already was writing pretty useful programs for HP calculators to use in the testing lab and in the field. I was using IBM PCs at work by the mid-'80s, using spreadsheets and word processors for administering construction projects.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

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