Hardware of Yore

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

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  1. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    Ha! I was a bit too young to be able to connect with computer groups.

    But check this crazy story out...

    So, back in the day there was a computer magazine for the Color Computer called, "Rainbow Magazine". -My parents bought me a subscription for my birthday. It was awesome! I read that thing cover to cover each month.

    Anyway.., games were bought via mail order on tape cassettes. I bought a couple of them, ($15 plus postage & handling was a big investment on an 80's kid's allowance of $1 a week). The computer magazine had tons of people who wanted to share high scores, so the editors would publish a page with the popular games and the top 10 high scores for each. In like a 6 point font. Ha ha!

    The whole thing was run on the honor system; we didn't even have the technology to take screen shots. But I think people were pretty forthright about it all. I know I was when I sent in my high scores for some game or other, and they printed my name and the city I lived in.

    So I get a call one day from another kid living across town from me. -He'd gotten the idea of cold-calling people whose names appeared in the high score list. -Just going through all the last names in the phone book until he hit the home of the user in question. That's how we met!

    When you were a video game junkie kid with limited funds, trading games with other kids was the bonding activity. I ended up spending some really great afternoons hanging out with this guy. -He was a couple of years older than me and way more tech savvy on the hardware side. I learned a lot of cool things, and we stayed friends for years.

    When we'd meet through chance some other kid into computers, we'd take these huge bus rides across the Toronto landscape to weird neighborhoods to meet up in basements and geek out and trade games and learn. That was a really fun time to be a nerd!
     
  2. jvloyola

    jvloyola Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Even though i got to see (not use) big mainframes with tape "drives" and latter 25 meg drives the size of several dish plates stacked together inside a platic holder

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    nd even teletype terminals in refrigerated rooms with false floor full of fridge sized equipment at the IBM Scientific Center in Palo Alto Ca in the early 80'S My first computer was also an IBM PCjr which I still have tucked in a closet.

    [​IMG]

    Even though my choice would have been a commodore, my brother used tho work for IBM so that was it...IBM it was.I had a couple sidecars one that gave me like 700+ kb of memory... the extra memory was used for a ram drive which at the time was sweet.

    I was lucky to have the regular keyboard

    [​IMG]

    Additional to the stock chiklet one

    [​IMG]

    The keyboard was infrared so I could actually sit on the couch and play flight simulator on the tv since it had a composite video out

    I also remember vividly when I got to "meet" the IBM PC AT ( the 286 version) way before its release date... DId I mention my brother used to work in the IBM scientific center? LOL

    [​IMG]

    They sent one to each research facility with different faceplates just random images in place of the IBM logo in the metal plate on the front. That way if a picture leaked they would know where the leak came from.

    I did get very good at "programming" .bat files so each user of the computer got their own personalized start menu, even in different colors.

    And then there was this:

    [​IMG]

    And that was the start of a whole new era.

    Oh and for those that complain about slow Internet speeds you have no idea what a torture using a 1200 baud modem was! Or having someone pick up the pone in the middle of a BBS file download and having the connection drop... obviously losing whatever data was already downloaded and having to start over.

    Anybody else remembers simtel repository?

    Damn that was longer than I intended and I could probably go on and on...

    Sent from my SM-N920C using Tapatalk
     
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  3. Sweetpea8472

    Sweetpea8472 Scribbler - Standard Member

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    I remember being a student, living on my own for the first time (we don't have a campus like you have in the States, but rather students flats/houses, scattered all over town). I had a PC, a 386 and a 14K modem and I wanted a phone connection in my flat for that modem. The trouble I had to go through to get it done!
    After a few weeks, I finally had it all running. Ohh, all the things I could do! I had a CompuseServe subscription and I downloaded a lot of music and pictures and videos! (or rather mid files, some wav files, tiny gif images and animated gifs :p)

    There are still some soundbytes that will transport me back to that time...
     
  4. dstrauss

    dstrauss Comic Relief Senior Member

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    Ha ha ha - we had credit cards, even back then...early days were text only, and you described by part manufacturer - kind of a lingo to paint the mental picture...

    He was talking about buying a 486 motherboard - that's not "old times" that is neo-modern by comparison to that ad I posted above. Think Wright brothers vs first jet powered aircraft...

    Most the folks I knew (because we didn't live on the right or left coast) mail-ordered or went to swap meets...but it was teh ultimate in caveat emptor (buyer beware)...
     
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  5. dstrauss

    dstrauss Comic Relief Senior Member

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    I remember as a freshman at Colorado State, they were using a CDC 6400 (?) - anyway, had to wait for them to "load tapes" before they could run your punch card deck programs - heaven help you if you dropped that deck on the floor...
    [​IMG]

    You must have been the envy of all the geeks with your inside connection at IBM. I remember my law firm buying the first IBM AT for accounting - well north of $5000 with a 20mb HD - that's right - MB
     
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  6. AveSharia

    AveSharia Scribbler - Standard Member

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    I'm not as... experienced... as many of you guys, but I am old enough to remember when:
    • NetZero was literally just an 800 number you dialed with your modem to get free access to the broader web.
    • Replacing the modem with the newer, faster 56k one was hot ****
    • My brother would dial up a BBS (they were their own servers, you called them separately, rather than access them through your ISP) to play Legend of the Red Dragon
    • Editing the QBASIC code for GORILLA.BAS and NIBBLES.BAS to, among other things, get infinite lives, get bonus points, or just generally mess crap up
     
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  7. WillAdams

    WillAdams Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    My most notable memory from the early days was being in a computer store when a guy drove up in a black Trans Am --- told the salesman “I want a VisiCalc.” --- the salesman asked after his computer, &c., and the guy reiterated, so the salesman laid it all out, and pretty much sold him one (or two!) of everything in the store:

    - Apple ][+ w/ 64KB RAM
    - 80 col. card
    - two floppy disk drives
    - 132 col. wide format printer
    - VisiCalc

    and various other odds and ends --- we all helped the guy load it all up into his car, and off he went --- I think I met him again years later at the local Mac user's group, but not sure.

    Yeah, I'd've probably done a lot better to've bought stock instead of all the fancy gadgets, but they all seemed to make sense at the time --- on the bright side, for a long while now, I only buy a new toy when there's a freelance gig which will be worth at least twice what the toy costs.
     
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  8. Kumabjorn

    Kumabjorn ***** is back Senior Member

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    Birds of a feather....

    Lucky for us it doesn't take as much to clear that hurdle anymore.

    Twitter is to communications as haiku is to literature.
     
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  9. cutterline

    cutterline Scribbler - Standard Member

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    FYI, IBM model M keyboard with buckling spring (the noisy one) is still sought after.
     
  10. jvloyola

    jvloyola Scribbler - Standard Member

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    There are a bunch of them on ebay

    Sent from my SM-N920C using Tapatalk
     
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