What was your first computer?

By | November 19, 2008

Commodore 64

I just stumbled upon this archive video of a show from 1988 called Computer Chronicles. It’s a feature program all about the Commodore 64, my second computer.

This brings back lots of good memories. My friends use to come over to my place to play Skate or Die, this was back when Tony Hawk was still a professional skateboarder.

The guests also talk about BBSing, which was something I was very much involved with in the 416 way back when.

TRS 80

The funny part is that my first computer wasn’t even the Commodore 64, it was the TRS-80.

I remember learning Basic on it, then recording my programs to the cassette recorder for storage. Good times.

What was your first machine?

Enjoy it? Please share it.

  • driver49

    My first computer was something called a “MicroDaSys,” hacked together by two guys in Hancock Park (LA) in 1979. It had a Z80 process that probably ran at like 2MHz. It had 32KB of RAM and two 8″ 256KB floppy drives (one for the program, one for data). It cost like $3k but it ran a word processor called “The Electric Pencil,” which could do bold, underline, italics, and, most importantly, rearrange blocks of text. I would have gotten an Apple II but the Apples were not yet capable of upper and lower case characters, and I wanted to publish a newsletter — desktop publishing 10 years before its time. A couple years later I got an Osborne 1 (the first “luggable”), and around '85 I got a PCXT (10 whole MB of hard drive!).

  • http://www.duthielearning.com/blog Andrew Duthie

    I wouldn’t have called it “mine,” but mine was also a TRS-80 Model I. We had a II, a III, and a 4P (‘portable’) after that, then finally a Mac 512k, which became mine when the Mac II came home. (Oh, and there was a TRS-80 Color Computer that was technically the first one that belonged to me, too. I once bought a game for it on audio cassette!)

    Ran a BBS on that 512k (with HD20!), but never got permission to open it up 24/7, and of course a BBS that can’t take calls all day is a BBS that never goes anywhere.

    Driver49: Pretty sure we had Electric Pencil on the Model I or II. I was, err, a bit young to give a dang about word processing, though I did enjoy typing out BASIC games from the magazines.

  • http://sleepydad.com Kieran

    Oh man, the Computer Chronicles! I remember that show– it was on public television, probably sometime just before Doctor Who came on..

    My first computer was a DEC VT180.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VT180
    My Dad worked at Digital Equipment and this was kinda sorta Digital’s first entry into the Personal Computing field. It was a monster… and I taught myself how to write in BASIC. We even had one of those War-Games style coupler modems so my Dad could call into work from time to time from home and send in these amazing things called e-mails.

  • http://www.duthielearning.com/blog Andrew Duthie

    I wouldn’t have called it “mine,” but mine was also a TRS-80 Model I. We had a II, a III, and a 4P after that, then finally a Mac 512k, which became mine when the Mac II came home. (Oh, and a TRS-80 Color Computer that was technically the first one that belonged to me… I once bought a game for it on audio cassette!)

  • http://kristent.wordpress.com kristent

    My first computer was a Commodore 64 with a small TV as the monitor. I used to play “Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?” and some game (don’t remember the name) where you typed in the command/directive for a prince or knight. “Zelda” is the closest type of game I can think of, though. I loved the Com 64.

  • http://www.fromoutoftheblue.com Peter

    My first computer was an Apple IIc – in service for over 9 years and it still works. Reading @driver49′s comment, I’m reminded, also, of my first DTP program called “Publish It” by Timeworks. The package said a mouse was not required, but it was, so that was another $99.00, and still a lot of physical cut and paste and kinkos. Modem was $595.00 and it never did do 1200 baud, only 300 baud. Compuserve, local bbs’s. I have lots more stories about that first computer. One little tidbit: The computer came with a bunch of little sample files. One was a midi of a Mozart jiingle. A friend of mine was an elementary school music teacher. I showed him the computer, played the Mozart piece. He said, with amazement, “It has perfect pitch!” I said, “What did you expect? it’s a computer,”

  • http://www.davemadethat.com Dave Delaney

    Wow! That's awesome. Do you still have the newsletters? What was it
    about?

    Cheers,
    Dave / http://www.davemadethat.com

  • http://rexblog.com Rex Hammock

    In April, 1984, I sold a car to purchase the first generation Mac.

  • driver49

    Dave asked (via e-mail, can't find the comment here): “Wow! That's awesome. Do you still have the newsletters? What was it about?

    It was called “Strange Times” and it was a lame attempt at a financial newsletter (log line from Billy Joel: “These are not the best of times but they're the only times I've ever known.”

    Published at the height of the Carter-era inflation, the first issue had a photo of a dollar bill going down the toilet. Seems even more appropriate now, huh?

    And, yeah, I've still got the few issues I turned out around here somewhere. I still like the title, but I've never used it for a blog because somebody beat me to the domain.

    –PS

  • http://idreamincolors.com/ Nico

    My first one was a C64 I shared with my brother (and technically my sister too, but she never used it). And now I have a C64 emulator on my phone :)

    Oddly, the first computer I had that was mine alone was my Powerbook, only a few years ago…

  • http://www.simsagency.com Simon Ashton

    I had a Sinclair ZX81 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinclair_ZX81), with 1K RAM. I couldn't afford the 16K add on. But then Christmas 83 Santa brought me a ZX Spectrum, with colour *and* a whooping 48K.

    Still my favourite present ever.

  • http://www.davemadethat.com Dave Delaney

    Ha, that's great. My BBS was run at night and when my mum wasn't home.
    With only one phone line, I use to drive her and my brother nuts tying
    up the line constantly.

    Cheers,
    Dave / http://www.davemadethat.com

  • http://techprgems.com vanhoosear

    Mine was a TI, complete with an old skool tape drive. My first BASIC program was a “sprite” animation that used the letter ‘A’ to shoot letter ‘I’s at letter ‘W’s. I think I used asterisks for the explosions.

  • Ben Wilkins

    My mom bought me a computer from a garage sale when I was in 8th grade. I can't even remember the name or brand of it, but it only took floppy disks (not the small ones… the 5″ ones!) and it had a monitor that could only show different shades of green. Operating system? The almighty DOS! And of course, it had no mouse. I could play that awesome tank game if I put in a disk, and I could make funny pictures out of keyboard characters in DOS, but that's about it. I kind of wish I had kept it!

  • Anonymous

    First I played with was an Ohio Scientific Challenger 1P with a 20″ TV for a monitor, and a Radio Shack tape recorder for data storage. 2K RAM ! Woo! :)

    My own first PC was a Commodore VIC-20 with the tape drive and a 12″ black and white TV monitor.

  • http://www.davemadethat.com Dave Delaney

    My friends Dad had a Mac (don't know which one). He introduced me to BBSing,
    but it was War Games that got me really interested.

    Find me online: http://www.davemadethat.com
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  • http://www.davemadethat.com Dave Delaney

    I remember a game called Ballyhoo, it's was a RPG that took place at a
    circus. I got frustrated with it though… Look Left, Look Right… Pick
    Up…

    Find me online: http://www.davemadethat.com
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  • http://www.davemadethat.com Dave Delaney

    Dang! Rex you are a serious ubber-geek. That's a good thing by the way :-)

    Find me online: http://www.davemadethat.com
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  • http://www.davemadethat.com Dave Delaney

    Is “Stranger Times” available? LOL!

    Find me online: http://www.davemadethat.com
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  • http://www.davemadethat.com Dave Delaney

    I shared my Commie with my brother, but he wasn't that interested in it.
    Then my parents bought him an Amiga, since I was always using the C64. I was
    so jealous :-)
    What's this C64 emulator for your phone? Got a link? What types of phone
    does it work on?

    D

    Find me online: http://www.davemadethat.com
    LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/davedelaney
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  • http://www.davemadethat.com Dave Delaney

    I hated using a mouse. I also hated Windows. I much preferred running
    everything in DOS.

    Find me online: http://www.davemadethat.com
    LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/davedelaney
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  • http://www.cc-chapman.com C.C. Chapman

    For me it was the Vic 20 followed very quickly by the Commodore 64

  • http://www.appsolve.com Steven Fisher

    My first computer was a Texas Instruments TI-99/4A (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TI-99). I was 11 years old when I bought it. It was 1982. I remember saving up for a year with birthday money, christmas money and mowing lawns. I paid $200 at a Radio Shack. I later bought accesories over three years – first I got the “Peripheral Expansion Box” or PEB and slowly acquired a 5¼” floppy disk drive and controller, an RS-232 card comprising two serial ports and one parallel port, an acoustic coupler, a tape drive using standard audio cassettes as media, and a 32 KB memory expansion card.

    I had it hooked up to a massive old TV with the wooden case – you know the ones that used to look like living room furniture.

    I thought I was Matthew Broderick in War Games. But I was really just the nerdiest kid in three zip codes. There was no Ally Sheedy waiting for me and thankfully no Thermonuclear war to stop.

    Then in 1985 I learned to play the guitar and discovered girls. You know where this is going.

    I wouldn't return to computers for about 10 years when I finished college. Now I can't live without them but the TI-99 4/A holds a special place in my heart.

  • http://www.davemadethat.com Dave Delaney

    Nice buddy. It was similar for me. That Skate or Die game quickly became the
    real thing, when I finally bought a skateboard of my own… and went
    outdoors :-)
    Although I have very fond memories of my C64 disk drive status light
    suddenly turning green in the middle of the night. My ringer would be off,
    so that was the only sign that someone was using my computer. It blew my
    mind. I'd jump out of bed and enter Sysop chat mode to talk to the person.
    Fun days.

    D

    Find me online: http://www.davemadethat.com
    LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/davedelaney
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  • http://mostplays.com games

    This article I so true, keep on writing like this, enjoyment to read :) 867

  • http://www.themetasecret.org The Meta Secret

    My first computer was a Cubic 99CT. It was the first talking computer that was built by Creative Technologies. It was pretty awesome. Back then I just needed to go to command prompt and type a simple message and Hoola….the computer speaks!

  • http://www.ukoonto.com Hans

    Mine was the C16. I think it was the predecessor or the cheap people C64 :-) It looked similar to the C64 and had 16kb RAM… it's so weird thinking about that computer now. It never did anything, it always took forewever to load games from the cassette, if I got it to work at all. I was 8 or 9 years old when I got it. Those guys that built the computers really must have had faith that they would some day be usefull…

  • http://www.davemadethat.com Dave Delaney

    C16! Wow, I never heard about that one. Yes, they've come a seriously
    long way, eh?

    Cheers Hans. Great seeing you. Thanks again for the blocks.

    Cheers,
    Dave / http://www.davemadethat.com

  • http://www.davemadethat.com Dave Delaney

    Pet, ya I think I remember those. It's really like horse drawn buggies
    compared to sports cars, eh? :-)

    Cheers Scott.
    Dave

    Find me online: http://www.davemadethat.com
    LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/davedelaney
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  • http://bigbaldguy.com Scott Maentz

    My first PC was an 8K Commodore PET that loaded programs via cassette tape. 1980. My second PC was an IBM PC 64K with dual 5.25″ floppies and an expansion chassis with a 10MB hard drive. Now THAT was styling!

  • Shannon T Alston

    nice article! nice site. you're in my rss feed now ;-)
    keep it up

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