First personal computer nostalgia

From: Ethan Dicks <>
Date: Thu Nov 16 10:30:03 2000

OK... my turn

1976, brief access to a computer at school that read mark-sense cards
      and had a "Lazy T" prompt (so the teacher called the sigil on the
      left edge of the one-line display). I remember virtually nothing
      else of it, so I have no idea what it was.

1977, weekly access to a pair of original 4K PETs at the downtown public

1978, A friend of mine and I discover a DECwriter w/integral acoustic
      coupler and unearth a dialup number and account to a RSTS machine
      somewhere with a full suite of BASIC games. Many trees are sacrificed.

1978, A year-and-a-half of savings plus matching funds result in me
      buying a 30-day-used 32K BASIC 2.0 PET and C2N tape drive.

1979, An older friend loans me his Quest Elf that he used to use to control
      a simple robot (he gets it back twelve years later)

1981, I build my own Quest Elf kit.

1982, I bring home a C-64 from my first job - my employer (Bruce and James,
      the creators of WordVision, a word processor for PC-DOS 1.0) received
      C-64 S/N 00002007 as a free development machine from Commodore. It
      is so flakey (I'm told there's a bug in the first rev of VIC-II chips)
      that we replace it at the dealer for S/N 00002345 (which I still have).
      WordVision is announced for the C-64. My demo of it shows at Comdex.
      The product is never started.

1982, I find a PDP-8/L at the Dayton Hamvention which takes two years of
      fiddling to fix (finally got a print set and had it working in days)

1983, I get a 300-baud VIC modem and discover BBSes.

1983, I rescue a PDP-8/i with a rack of DF-32 fixed-head disks because the
      owner doesn't want to pay to replace the burned-out front panel bulbs.

1984, Bruce and James folds and I keep the C-64 in lieu of pay.

1984, My next job is programming kids games under the Reader's Digest brand
      for the C-64 and Apple ][.

1984, The longevity of software companies being legendary, six months after
      I start on the kids games, Reader's Digest stops selling software and I
      get a new job working with MC68000s (the COMBOARD) PDP-11s (11/04, 11/34a
      primarily) and VAXen (11/750, 11/730). My first exposure to VMS is V3.6.

1984, My boss gives me a PDP-8/a that's rotting on the shelf. I learn the joys
      of being a hobbyist and buying from DEC resellers as I aquire an RX8E
      and RX01 (and eventually RL8A, RL01, KT8A, etc.)

1985, I get an account on a 2Mb 11/750 w/dual RK07s that runs three flavors
      of UNIX (4.0BSD, 4.1BSD and SYSV) depending on what customer bugs were
      being worked on at the moment. (I still have _this_ 11/750, too (S/N
      BT0000354), which I've upgraded to 8Mb w/new mem controller and wire-
      wrap wire). I begin to learn C.

1986, Amiga 1000 w/256K and one floppy. It doesn't become useful until I
      bump the RAM to 2Mb and get a hard disk the next year... a WEDGE 8-bit
      ISA adapter and Everex XT MFM controller w/ST-225 (for $15/Mb) - cheaper
      than a commercial 20Mb SCSI drive kit from CLtd - $1,000 at the time)

1986, I put up UUCP on an 11/730 at work and discover Usenet.

1987, I run UUCP on the Amiga 1000 at home (and am known to the world as
      ...ihnp4!cbosgd!osu-eddie!giza!kumiss!erd). I add a second ST-225
      to my MFM controller and learn the joy of buying new disks on a
      reoccurring basis (latest one - last week: 80GB)

It's all downhill from there


Even though my old e-mail address is no longer going to
vanish, please note my new public address:

The original webpage address is still going away. The
permanent home is:

See for details.

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Received on Thu Nov 16 2000 - 10:30:03 GMT

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