From: Sam Ismail <>
Date: Sun Jan 11 11:31:55 1998

On Sun, 11 Jan 1998, Francois Auradon wrote:

> Here's a questionthat is probably going to generate some passionate debates:

No debates necessary on some of these as there were definite firsts. For

> first video game

"Computer Space" which was Atari's first video game. I think someone may
correct me and tell me it wasn't "Atari" yet, but it was created by Nolan

> first TV video game

The Odyssey. Came out in 1972. It used wafer carthridges for games that
weren't actually ROMs but actually just "patches" to re-configure the
console to throw different sprites onto the screen.

> first personal computer (I think I know that one)

This is harder to define. The question really is, who's definition of
"personal" are we referring to? Everyone's got their own. Some people
consider certain mainframes to have been "personal computers" because you
could actually sit down at the main console and have the computer all to

If the definition of "personal" is "integrated CPU, keyboard and video
output" then that would be the Sol-20 from 1976. This was first proposed
at the First Annual Vintage Computer Festival, and once you've done your
own research you will tend to agree. Some will argue that the Apple ][
was the first (by this definition). But the Sol-20 beat it by a few

> first portable computer

Again, same problem. Define "portable". Allison carted, what was it, a
PDP-8 across a bridge some years ago. She got funny looks, but she
"ported" her computer elsewhere. However, I believe this one goes to the
IBM 5100. However, did I hear grumblings of something portable pre-dating
even the 5100? Like something from HP in the early 70s?

> first laptop

Unless you had a huge lap, the only computer that could comfortably fit
there was, I believe, the Epson HX-20. It had a keyboard, display and
storage integrated into one unit which is the same size and weight as some
notebook computers today.

> first GUI

Correct my details if I'm wrong but I believe the OS was dubbed
"Smalltalk" and was developed by Xerox at the Palo Alto Research Center in
1972. Steve Jobs got his Lisa inspiration from his visit to PARC in, I
believe, 1979?

> first OS

Now this is another tough one. First you need to define "operating
system". But I won't even speculate a guess here because there are people
far more knowledgeable than I of the time period when the first "OS" would
have been created.

Sam Alternate e-mail:
Computer Historian, Programmer, Musician, Philosopher, Athlete, Writer, Jackass

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Received on Sun Jan 11 1998 - 11:31:55 GMT

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