Hardware of Yore

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by dstrauss, Feb 7, 2017.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. WillAdams

    WillAdams Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,024
    Likes Received:
    460
    Trophy Points:
    101
    Yeah, I had a Radio Shack PC-1 as well --- had a limited budget, and for some reason thought having a printer was incredibly important --- really wish I'd waited for the PC-2 with its tiny multi-colour plotter/printer. Used TRS-80 Model IIIs, an Apple ][, and Commodore 64s at school

    NEC had another small briefcase-size machine which had an integrated plotter, and I can still recall the Diconix 150 portable printer which I purchased ages ago.

    Bought a 128KB Mac and pretty much one of everything in the store --- still have my copy of the game _Through the Looking Glass_ (and once managed to get a perfect score of 999).

    Also splurged on a GRiD Compass III w/ solid state storage, and later had an NEC Ultralite (for which I purchased a leather laptop bag I still use), then a Toshiba T1200XE, then a Sharp PC-6220, then an Epson ActionNote 500C, then things resume at my signature and below.

    That said, the high-water mark of my computing days was an NCR-3125 running PenPoint, as a portable --- when I got home I cabled up over a serial connection to a NeXT Cube w/ 17" Megapixel display, floppy drive, optical drive, internal HD, and NeXT CD-ROM drive, and NeXT laserprinter and colour printer Wacom ArtZ graphics tablet and Microtek ScanMaker 600Z. All the SCSI cables were spray-painted black --- light would warp into the darkness of that corner of the living room. Later added Iomega Zip and Jaz drives. I miss Display PostScript, Services, worldwideweb.app and that wonderful keyboard and the perfect integration of everything.
     
    thatcomicsguy, Marty and dstrauss like this.
  2. dstrauss

    dstrauss Comic Relief Senior Member

    Messages:
    11,145
    Likes Received:
    9,753
    Trophy Points:
    331
    @WillAdams OMG - you are a rock star my friend. anyone who ever owned a Grid Compass and the NEC Ultralite is in the pantheon of geeks.
     
    Bronsky and WillAdams like this.
  3. XJ12

    XJ12 Scribbler - Standard Member

    Messages:
    442
    Likes Received:
    116
    Trophy Points:
    56
    wow, that looks so much like the calculator I use everyday sitting on my desk. Only on my second set of batteries in 30+ years. And the spare batteries came with the calculator. So technically, I'm on the originals supplied with it.
    [​IMG]
     
    WillAdams and thatcomicsguy like this.
  4. XJ12

    XJ12 Scribbler - Standard Member

    Messages:
    442
    Likes Received:
    116
    Trophy Points:
    56
    We lived without computer stores. First one we got in our town was ComputerLand. Salesman were like car dealers. You actually negotiated your price knowing they had a 40% markup. My first computer buy from these guys included a bundle as part of the negotiation. I talked them down to 2770 dollars in 1984-5 for a Compaq Deskpro if I paid $500 for a HP inkjet and $500 for a 2400 baud modem. No hard drive, only 256K on the motherboard. Had a turbo mode with twice the clock speed of a IBM XT.
     
    WillAdams and dstrauss like this.
  5. Marty

    Marty Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,493
    Likes Received:
    3,463
    Trophy Points:
    231
    These are great stories guys! I starting to feel like I'm nowhere near a 'true geek' status. This is all like another world!

    I briefly toyed with DOS (for early 90s games) and wrote a few BASIC games, but I started to only seriously get into PC hardware and software around the time of Windows 98 and when 56K modems became popular. Before you knew it, the internet took over and the world you guys talk of was forever locked away into the annals of history...thank you for sharing all this.

    I love that you still kept these! Ads like those are real treasures. I'd love to read an article excitedly talking about reaching 60MHz in some "monster" build.

    So regarding the 'geek community' in those days. How did you guys initially meet up? Was it through school, local news ads? Was it a weekly thing?

    Honestly, without forums like these, it's hard to imagine how I would indulge my tech nerdiness.

    Perhaps the atmosphere of everyone meeting in person, encouraged the DIY modding mentality back then...I love that excitement of exploration and creation, I wish we could bring more of that into modern times.
     
  6. XJ12

    XJ12 Scribbler - Standard Member

    Messages:
    442
    Likes Received:
    116
    Trophy Points:
    56
    oh, but we has bulletin boards. and modem pools. we could "dial in" and share with other users. tech journals would post phone numbers and manufacturers would have call in numbers.

    edit. we had acoustic couplers and 300 baud teletypes to phone into main frames. or if we wanted to program we would use punch cards.
     
    WillAdams likes this.
  7. dstrauss

    dstrauss Comic Relief Senior Member

    Messages:
    11,145
    Likes Received:
    9,753
    Trophy Points:
    331
    It really was as free-wheeling and fun as these forums - except it was face to face for a couple of hours a month (or sometimes weekly). Think modern board gaming clubs but drooling over motherboards.

    We also had internet/forum precursors - bulletin boards, which were a little more formal version of chats...Compuserve boys and girls.

    Still, those were not the "good old days" so much as more personal fun days. The state of the industry; the interplay we get on these forums; and vast knowledge available to all make these times the golden era of computing...it was fun, but I wouldn't trade what we have today for the days gone by...
     
    WillAdams likes this.
  8. Marty

    Marty Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,493
    Likes Received:
    3,463
    Trophy Points:
    231
    So was it set up like one big IRC? Did you guys have 'internet handles' (or whatever you called it back then). Did you create sort of 'account' or could you just post 'Anonymously'.

    And if it was text only, how did you guys post pictures of your sweet builds or give instructions on how to open stuff up?

    And if you phoned into one of the manufacturers and ordered stuff, was there any sort of warranty, or did just nail-in a cheque for a couple thousand hope for the best. :p
     
  9. XJ12

    XJ12 Scribbler - Standard Member

    Messages:
    442
    Likes Received:
    116
    Trophy Points:
    56
    bulletin boards sucked. they had trolls back then too.
     
    Bronsky and dstrauss like this.
  10. Marty

    Marty Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,493
    Likes Received:
    3,463
    Trophy Points:
    231
    I just watched this episode of TheFullNerd where Gordan Mah Ung recounts what it was like buying PC components back in the day (@5:50):



    Was buying from the "the dealers" really like that? Man, the things we do for our hobbies... :D
     
Loading...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page