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Topic: What was your first computer?

  1. #1

    What was your first computer?

    I began computer life with a Radiator Shaft TRS-80 model one unit. It was notorious for crashing because of a dinky ribbon cable that connected the keyboard to the CPU unit. Also, the copper connectors on both the keyboard and CPU developed tarnish constantly, which required frequent cleaning.

    This "computer" had an external cassette machine for transferring data to and from memory. Slow? Yes. Cumbersome? Yes. Reliable? No. I think that I had a grand total of sixteen kilobytes of RAM.

    The monitor was black and white. Actually, it was more of a ghastly green and black.

    From that dismal digital scene I advanced to a TRS-80 model three unit which was a slight improvement. The model three combined the keyboard and CPU in one enclosure which proved to be a bit awkward.

    Despite these digital "dark ages", we still wrote "computer music" with this ancient equipment. I used a software/hardware combination known as Orchestra-80 in those long-ago days. We were limited to five simultaneous voices and each of them sounded pretty much like an organ, but it was a good learning process.

    What is your computer history?

    Larry G. Alexander

  2. #2

    Re: What was your first computer?

    What a trip down the memory lane...... My first computer that I used to write music with Basic in 1982 was the Texas Instruments TI99. It too had an amazing 16 kB of RAM which I was able to upgrade to 52 kB of RAM. It had no hard drive only a regular cassette was used to save your things. It had no monitor but you used the TV screen..... Here is a picture I found of it on the net

    Good old days.....
    Kind Regards

    Louis Dekker
    My Music Site

    Pour être grand, il faut avoir été petit.

  3. #3

    Re: What was your first computer?

    I had this one

    Big fun.


  4. #4

    Cool Re: What was your first computer?

    Timex Sinclair 1K ram with a tape machine to load programs everytime you shut down

  5. #5

    Re: What was your first computer?

    My first computer was the Sinclair Z81. I ordered it from a British company Sinclair. It was a kit and the main circuit board (well actually the only circuit board) had to be hard wired and then put in the plastic case.

    Here's the description:

    In 1980, British company Sinclair released their ZX80 computer for $199.95.

    One year later, they released the new and improved ZX81. Compared to the ZX80, the ZX81 was much cheaper, at only $99.95, the first computer for under $100. The ZX81 has the same microprocessor and runs at the same speed as the ZX80, but it has a better BASIC programming language and is cheaper to produce, due to having fewer chips and a simpler design.

    Although cheap and quite popular, the ZX81 was, well, cheap. The keyboard is a 'touch sensitive membrane', a flexible plastic surface with the actual switches under the surface. While easy to clean and water resistant, it is very difficult and slow to type on, because you have to press hard and very deliberately to use the tiny, closely-spaced keys. Touch-typing is impossible. Resourceful users hacked into their system and added their own 'real' keyboard, external to the system.
    I started with the initial 2K RAM on the Mother board (if you could call it that ). I then (and quickly) bought the 16K upgrade RAM module. I did learn to write in basic on this and bought a Radio Shack cassette player to store my files on. I flew flight simulators as well as ran music programs on this baby. To load a commercial program from tape, you would turn on the tape player and let it run for 30 to 45 minutes in order to load the program.

    BTW, the boot up time was the fastest of any computer that I ever owned. Unfortunately, loading a program was the slowest of any computer that I ever owned.
    [Music is the Rhythm, Harmony and Breath of Life]
    "Music is music, and a note's a note" - Louis 'Satchmo' Armstrong


  6. #6

    Red face Re: What was your first computer?

    ZX spectrum and Commodore 64 were the nice toys of my friends, I was not able of affording yet...

    But later I had an Apple IIc running UCSD system and Pascal for University study, my cusin gave to me...

    Finally the first one I owned, the Macintosh Plus! Quckly updated to SE-HD.

    On my Mac SE - HD I did wonderful things with apps like Performer 1.0, Finale 1.0 and Trax.

    After the initial folgoration, Mac forever ...(LCII, Powerbook 180, Powerbook G3, Cube G4, Powermac G5, MacMini Core2duo...with exception of LCII sold and Powerbook G3 stolen, all the rest is in my personal museum, still running!)

    Now you know how old I am...not like columns like Larry or Poolman, but quite a bit...

  7. #7

    Re: What was your first computer?

    I also had the Texas Instruments TI99. Here I am proudly displaying my high score for a game called 'Parsec' back in 1982.

    It was a great machine in that the commercially available games were solid state cartridges that pushed in, so they played really quick, whereas the Spectrum and Commodore were stuck loading games into RAM.

    Unfortunately, almost every upgrade to the computer was via the cartridge slot. IF you wanted additional programming languages it was via a cartridge, additional memory was a cartridge, games were cartridges; the speech synthesizer was a brick that plugged in elsewhere, but I seem to recall you needed a cartridge to access its programming. And there was only one cartidge slot.

    The one reall great feature, though, was that you could directly specify the frequency of sounds that you wanted to play. I think the manufacturers saw this as some kind of limitation, and provided apologetic tables of frequencies for specific notes, etc. I loved it though, because I could play with wierd intonations (as long as I only wanted three sounds at a time).

  8. #8
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    West Seneca, NY

    Re: What was your first computer?

    A slide rule, pencil and a chalk board.

    Actually, an HP Vectra 150 with pink and while dingle balls, a ham a samitch and a cup o joe! I still have the Lazer printer and several full cartridges.

  9. #9

    Re: What was your first computer?

    Ahh, Larry, the Trash-80 (as we used to call it). The first view of one was at Radio Shack. My first experience with a computer was made of various pieces of plastic from Edmond Scientific in the mid 60s. As you moved levers, it counted up and down in binary. I enjoyed that for about two minutes and could not see the point or where it would eventually lead.

    My first "official" computer that I was finally able to afford was the wonderful Apple IIe. It was on this computer that I taught myself BASIC, which I found to be a lot of fun to learn. However, I did not become productive until I bought my first Mac Plus!
    Garritan on GarageBand '08 using Intel iMac with 1.5G RAM
    Listen to my collection here

  10. #10

    Re: What was your first computer?

    A Macintosh SE - 2 floppy drives - no hard drive until I later bought an Ehman 70MB HD - I thought I could never fill it! Later went from 1 MB of RAM to 4MB - I thought I was very cool with THAT much memory. Now I have 16 GB.
    MacPro 2.66 - Tiger & Snow Leopard / 16GB RAM / several TB of HD space/ Garritan Libraries / EWQLSO Platinum PLAY / Omnisphere/ Kontakt 2 & 3 / Finale 2010 /DP5/ a VERY patient wife!

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