Computers for children

From: Jason Willgruber <>
Date: Tue Jan 12 21:39:19 1999

I remember that *My* first computer was a 286-16 with 4 MB RAM, DOS 3.3, a
1/2 x CD-ROM and a 360k floppy.
The keyboard was missing a few keys, the case (XT) had gotten rusty from
sitting in a damp basement, and I had found the EGA monitor in the garbage
(I had to replace the power cord).
It didn't have a mouse, and when I finally was given an old mouse, I found
out that neither serial port worked.
I eventually bought a serial card for $1, and a copy of Windows 3.0 for $10
(on CD, in 1992). It was the first program that I ever had on CD.
It took 5 hours to install.
The printer was a Tandy DWP ][ that I was given by someone who got rid of
their TRS-80. Instead of buying a cable for it, I ripped the D-connector
out of the fried serial board and made my own cable.
I used Windows Terminal to connect to a local BBS with a 2400 manual-dial
Racal-Vadic modem that I found a Salvation Army for $3.
The computer was running up until two years ago, when the HD crashed
(heads?) and a cloud of tan/orange smoke billowed from the front of it. I
pulled the serial card, CD-ROM controller and video card. I gave the
monitor and vid card to a cousin that was building a computer, the
case/MB/floppy/HD to a computer recycler (since out of business), and the
CD-ROM is still chugging away on my 5170.

I think that entire system cost me about $20.

                 -Jason Willgruber
                  ICQ#: 1730318
-----Original Message-----
From: Fred Cisin (XenoSoft) <>
To: Discussion re-collecting of classic computers
Date: Tuesday, January 12, 1999 2:35 PM
Subject: Computers for children
>This'll probably offend many.
>I think that an 8 year old would be best off with a machine with CD-ROM
>capability.  And a good size stack of reference disks, including
>Encyclopedia Brittanica, atlases, and several collections of literature.
>There should also be WWW access, preferably with at least minimal
>graphics capability.
>If you really want to splurge, a cheap color inkjet printer.
>For programming, I would recommend BASIC, TO START WITH, followed by an
>introduction to C and assembly as soon as basic principles are understood.
>In the PC world, that would call for 386SX with VGA video, and DOS 3.10
>or above. (preferably 6.2x)  I would also recommend Windoze Notepad and
>Windoze Write for word processing.
>Once the kid has gotten thoroughly into it, THEN maybe a birthday present
>of a set of Linux disks?
>How much more than a C64 would a generic 386 AT cost?   Do you need some
>of us to contribute some parts?
>Fred Cisin            
>2210 Sixth St.                  (510) 644-9366
>Berkeley, CA 94710-2219
Received on Tue Jan 12 1999 - 21:39:19 GMT

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