The very first personal computers - How many are left?

From: Tony Duell <>
Date: Fri Apr 11 13:23:11 2003

> > If the IBM 5100 is classed as an 'early personal computer',
> > why isn't the
> > HP9830 also included?
> Why stop there; why not the HP 9100A? As some may recall, Wired

The 9100 _is_ user-programmable, it does do calculations. It's also a
very nice machine.

However, a working definition that I use is that a 'calculator' is
keystroke-programmable -- there's a key marked 'SIN' say that calculates
the sine of an angle. If you want to use that in a program, you press the
SIN key, you don't type S,I,N.

A computer has an alphanumeric keyboard, and you do type out function
names, etc, like that.

It's an arbitrary definition, sure. And to be honest I don't normally
care about it -- I collect just about anything that computes/calculates.
Whether it's called a computer or not. But I was a bit worried that if
I'd suggested the 9100, then people would have had good reasons why it
wasn't a computer. There are no such reasons (AFAIK) for the 9830.

The other point is that the 9830 is fairly similar (to the user) to the
IBM5100. It's about the same size (albeit with only a 1-line display), it
runs a high-level language from internal ROM, it has built-in mass
storage, etc. And yet the 5100 is a bit later than the 9830. Why the
former gets all the glory is beyond me...

Received on Fri Apr 11 2003 - 13:23:11 BST

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