The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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  1. - Top - End - #31
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: What was your first computer?

    While living with my family

    TSR 80 (I was 5)
    Atario 130ex was next
    Then a 386DX4-100 while I was in high school. Getting a modem for it was a really big deal.

    After that, my first Pentium running Windows 95 (back in 1995)

  2. - Top - End - #32
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    Default Re: What was your first computer?

    Since no one has brought it up yet, remember the old 5 1/4 floppies? You could buy double-sided ones, but they were a lot more than twice the cost of the single-sided ones. But if you were very careful with a hole punch, you could turn a single into a double.
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  3. - Top - End - #33
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    Flumph

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    Default Re: What was your first computer?

    Quote Originally Posted by tomandtish View Post
    Since no one has brought it up yet, remember the old 5 1/4 floppies? You could buy double-sided ones, but they were a lot more than twice the cost of the single-sided ones. But if you were very careful with a hole punch, you could turn a single into a double.
    Yup - that's what the 'ol 1451 and 1571 drives for the Commodore 64 and 128 took. As the proud owner of a C128 I had a 1571, but it spent most of its time in 1541 emulation mode as most of the games used C64 mode. (A notable exception was Ultima V, which booted from 128 mode with things like improved music, improved disk speed, and a failure at the start of the final dungeon because it used some 1571-incompatable code if you hadn't defeated the Shadowlords...).

    I had quite a few games that came on flippies for cost reasons - it halved the number of disks that needed to be shipped. The aforementioned U5 needed to be copied to about 8 standard disks before playing.
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  4. - Top - End - #34
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: What was your first computer?

    Atari 400. With the (then standard) 8k (which was not enough to fit a year's worth of stats on my 11-12 year old baseball team).

    Data storage was done via audio cassette (although the recorder was Atari specific (an Atari 410)). This "ran" at I believe 600 baud, and with all the pauses and overhead worked out to about 1k/minute, but this really isn't much of a problem at 8k (although seeing that dreaded "ERROR - 138" was still painful).

    The keyboard more or less prevented touch typing and required deliberate key presses of every key. This limited programming, but remember the 8k limit meant tiny programs anyway (and also in classic BASIC).

    Eventually my family located a new computers store (The Program Store, which also featured an Atari user group called ABACUS which included someone just starting to make games named Sid Meir) which was selling (and installing: the Atari 400 wasn't designed for user memory upgrades) 32k upgrades. This was mostly a great improvement, but on the other hand it made the limitations of the Atari 400 keyboard and the cassette recorder rather obvious. A 20 minute wait to play a Scott Adams adventure highly limited how often you would try to solve the puzzles. Thus leading to the addition of a floppy drive (heaven!).

    Eventually the thing was replaced by an Atari 800 (real keyboard, and by those days they came with 48k). At this point things were pretty much about as advanced as you could get (depending on whether the Mac, Amiga, and Atari ST were released. I don't remember the 800 being all that expensive, so I'm guessing they were already out). But at this point the limitations of BASIC were getting obvious: You could use up to 256 variables, and they were all global. I was hacking a D&D character generator program I found in a magazine that presumably had been put through the "MASHER" program (to make it use less memory) and thus it had tricks like "replace constants with ultra-valuable variables". And even with all that I had to use multiple "programs" that used "LIST/ENTER" commands to overwrite old portions of the program to try to get the thing to fit into 32k (what was left after BASIC and [Atari] DOS).

  5. - Top - End - #35
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    AssassinGuy

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    Our first computer was an IBM PCjr. A pretty cool computer for the time since it came with 16-colour graphics rather than the monochrome or 4-colour CGA of the standard IBM PCs. Though it didn't have a hard disk, in addition to the 5.25" floppy drive, it had two additional ROM cartridge slots which could be used to run Basic or PCjr specific games that highlighted its graphics prowess (not that many were ever released since it turned out to be a commercial failure).

    It's biggest issue was that it only had 128 kB of RAM, so it couldn't run most of the games that came out after its release which mostly required 256 kB, and I was always jealous of my friends that had a Commodore 64, or an IBM clone. Mostly I stuck to playing my copy of The Temple of Apshai, which was an early D&D-esque dungeon crawler.

  6. - Top - End - #36
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    Default Re: What was your first computer?

    Quote Originally Posted by monomer View Post
    Mostly I stuck to playing my copy of The Temple of Apshai, which was an early D&D-esque dungeon crawler.
    Ooh, I loved that game! We had it on the Commodore 64. The main problem was that the 3rd and 4th levels of the dungeon were identical. Did you have the same issue with the IBM version?
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  7. - Top - End - #37
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    I remember being about 6 or 8 and finding the old Tandy 1000 stacked in the corner, ready to be tossed. So I took it behind the big chair in the corner and plugged it all up. I'm sure in hindsight my parents knew, but I enjoyed every minute of it. Even punching the side of the monitor to cycle the colors back to something that didn't make your eyes bleed...
    So, I went completely AWOL... Sorry about that, I will return when life picks up a rhythm again.
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  8. - Top - End - #38
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    Mark Hall's Avatar

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    Default Re: What was your first computer?

    Quote Originally Posted by tomandtish View Post
    Since no one has brought it up yet, remember the old 5 1/4 floppies? You could buy double-sided ones, but they were a lot more than twice the cost of the single-sided ones. But if you were very careful with a hole punch, you could turn a single into a double.
    As mentioned, my first computer started with two, but we eventually replaced one with a Hard Drive. I always vaguely resented the prevalence of 3.5" disks in movies and TV, for no good reason whatsoever.
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  9. - Top - End - #39
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    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: What was your first computer?

    Never really used 5 1/4" floppies, because my first computers using floppy disks were Amigas (first a 500, then a 1200) which used 3.5". By the time I bought my first PC in 1993 5.25" disks were on their way out.

  10. - Top - End - #40
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Quote Originally Posted by monomer View Post
    It's biggest issue was that it only had 128 kB of RAM, so it couldn't run most of the games that came out after its release which mostly required 256 kB, and I was always jealous of my friends that had a Commodore 64, or an IBM clone. Mostly I stuck to playing my copy of The Temple of Apshai, which was an early D&D-esque dungeon crawler.
    I think a friend had that for Atari. It required 32k, thus was *painful* to load on cassette. And somewhat obsolete when I moved on to floppy.

    This shouldn't have been so bad for Commodore 64 users as in 1985 Compute! magazine introduced a (user typed in) program to wildly accelerate tape drives called "turbo tape" (of course C64 floppy drives were pretty slow. I'm not sure how many users stuck with turbo tape instead of expensive floppies). Although you might need a "cracked" program to put it on "turbo tape".

  11. - Top - End - #41
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    Gnoman's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by wumpus View Post
    I think a friend had that for Atari. It required 32k, thus was *painful* to load on cassette. And somewhat obsolete when I moved on to floppy.

    This shouldn't have been so bad for Commodore 64 users as in 1985 Compute! magazine introduced a (user typed in) program to wildly accelerate tape drives called "turbo tape" (of course C64 floppy drives were pretty slow. I'm not sure how many users stuck with turbo tape instead of expensive floppies). Although you might need a "cracked" program to put it on "turbo tape".
    There were also accelerator programs for the disk drive. The issue with the 1541s wasn't a technical one, but merely a very overzealous error check protocol.

  12. - Top - End - #42
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    BlackDragon

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gnoman View Post
    There were also accelerator programs for the disk drive. The issue with the 1541s wasn't a technical one, but merely a very overzealous error check protocol.
    I thought it *was* a technical one, namely, that the serial chip they tried to use for the drive interface turned out not to work, so everything had to be done via the CPU? They fixed that in later revisions of the drive.

  13. - Top - End - #43
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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: What was your first computer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    As mentioned, my first computer started with two, but we eventually replaced one with a Hard Drive. I always vaguely resented the prevalence of 3.5" disks in movies and TV, for no good reason whatsoever.
    I objected to the 3.5" disks because I switched to an Amstrad PCW256 - which used 3" disks.
    As previously mentioned I see your 5.25" floppies and raise you Dad's 8" floppies - then fold to the other people older than me.

    Speaking of wierd media - did anyone have the Sinclair Microdrive for their Spectrum?

  14. - Top - End - #44
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    Gnoman's Avatar

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    Default Re: What was your first computer?

    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    I thought it *was* a technical one, namely, that the serial chip they tried to use for the drive interface turned out not to work, so everything had to be done via the CPU? They fixed that in later revisions of the drive.
    Those problems did exist, but the single biggest contributor was the IEC serial protocol. There were multiple fast-load cartridges that replaced the 1541's loaded OS (simplifying things) with a different protocol, which allowed for as much as a 5x boost in transfer speeds.

  15. - Top - End - #45
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: What was your first computer?

    First computer-like thing I ever touched was Pong. It was new and awesome and a ton of fun.

    First actual computer I touched was a TRS 80, complete with the agonizingly slow-loading cassette player. 5 CLS and CLOAD are about all I remember.

    The first computer I really did any work on, years later, was a Commodore 64 that I was given for college. No hard drive, 5 1/4 floppies to load programs and save my papers, two pages at a time.

    Does anyone remember Archon? Gawd, I loved that game. Chess + D&D monsters on the computer. Good times.

  16. - Top - End - #46
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    5 1/4 inch floppies? Pshaw. When I was in college, the astronomy department still had a few 8" floppies lying around. They looked just like the 5 1/4s, but larger. You could probably fit more data on one of those things with a pencil than with a disk drive.
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  17. - Top - End - #47
    Ettin in the Playground
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    My Ph.D. advisor described to me how he had to punch the data cards for the statistical analysis for his dissertation.

    Getting them to stay in proper order was apparently a challenge.

  18. - Top - End - #48
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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: What was your first computer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    My Ph.D. advisor described to me how he had to punch the data cards for the statistical analysis for his dissertation.

    Getting them to stay in proper order was apparently a challenge.
    The only problem was staying the the proper order? - They were lucky.

    There's a story that one English University (I think) was sending a program on punched cards to the USA, but it did nto work when it arrived. They tried multiple attempts to send it, different pacakaging etc., but eventually they resorted to physcially following the package - all was well until the US customs removed a random selection of cards to destructively test for drugs...

    Actually what makes me doubt this story is that they must have tried numbering the cards to see if they were getting re-ordered somehow, and they should have noticed the missing numbers when checking the card order.

  19. - Top - End - #49
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: What was your first computer?

    asus notebook

  20. - Top - End - #50
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    Default Re: What was your first computer?

    I remember growing up in my house my family had a windows 95. I don't know what type of computer model it was. I was too young to keep track of that stuff.

  21. - Top - End - #51
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    Flumph

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    Default Re: What was your first computer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Khedrac View Post
    The only problem was staying the the proper order? - They were lucky.

    There's a story that one English University (I think) was sending a program on punched cards to the USA, but it did nto work when it arrived. They tried multiple attempts to send it, different pacakaging etc., but eventually they resorted to physcially following the package - all was well until the US customs removed a random selection of cards to destructively test for drugs...

    Actually what makes me doubt this story is that they must have tried numbering the cards to see if they were getting re-ordered somehow, and they should have noticed the missing numbers when checking the card order.
    Ah, my long days of reading the Risks Digest bear fruit.

    There was a US to France Company transfer where French Customs were extracting sample cards from the middle of a program, and there was an example where an Austrialian Customs Official dropped and mixed a box of punched cards.
    Warning: This posting may contain wit, wisdom, pathos, irony, satire, sarcasm and puns. And traces of nut.

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  22. - Top - End - #52
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    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: What was your first computer?

    Apple IIe.

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    It was that specific design, with the disk drives built into the monitor instead of the stand-alone drives you sometimes saw in a double-stacked, separate little tower.

    When we moved to Maine, when I was little, it became my computer OFFICIALLY and not just my dad's toy- he moved up to a Windows 3.0 PC which was also running our hotel room management software.

    I also "inherited" his Balley Astrocade at that time, the only game I remember was I THINK some weird adaptation of the Wizards movie, but it played like a terrible Pacman.

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  23. - Top - End - #53
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: What was your first computer?

    my first computer was Hp...

  24. - Top - End - #54
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    Default Re: What was your first computer?

    I don't know the make, but it ran Windows 3.1. It was getting old when I got it, it was a hand me down when my dad got a computer with Windows 95. The thing was great, I used it to play wolfenstein, snake, some 3d tetris game, all kind of old school greats. It also had slots for two different sizes of floppy disks, but no cd-rom drive.
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  25. - Top - End - #55
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    ElfPirate

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    My dad had a Spectravideo SV-328 and an SVI-738. Used sit with him an type up programs off copmuter magazines. Could never get cartridges with games that fit.
    One of the bigger tragedies was spilling tea onto the floppy from the magazine with all the good games on it during a late night program typing session.

    The 328 had a tapedeck but the 738 had 3.5" floppies (bioth had cartridge inserts for like games that I coudl enver get, closest I did was something that ultiamtely didn't work properly).

    It always bothered me how the lucky kids with Commondores never wanted to play with them.

    Incidentally does any other language make a difference between the soft and hard floppies? It always made me chuckle when in Finnish you had "floppies" and "crackers".

    Then I lived off the family computer until I bought my own Pentium 350Mhz:er in like -98.
    Last edited by snowblizz; 2019-05-16 at 05:46 AM.

  26. - Top - End - #56
    Pixie in the Playground
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    My first computer was Sony VAIO notebook released in 2008. I still have it and it's still ok for typing
    Last edited by StoneGS; 2019-05-24 at 01:34 AM.

  27. - Top - End - #57
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    DrowGuy

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    Default Re: What was your first computer?

    Mine was also a TRS 80. It was the unibody model with the keyboard built into the monitor. The first one I bought was a slick Commodore 64 from Canadian Tire.

  28. - Top - End - #58
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    MonkGuy

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    Default Re: What was your first computer?

    First computer I used:
    I have no idea what it was. It was something my dad borrowed from work (this was back in the early 80s). All I remember was it had quite a large keyboard with a number of red LEDs sticking out of it. There was a game for it called "shoot", where a little symbol (may have been the letter i or I, or something similar) would appear in one of 10 random positions across the screen, and you had to quickly press the correct number key to hit it. And to the very young me, who hadn't seen anything like this before, it was amazing.

    First computer my family actually owned:
    Amstrad CPC 6128

    First computer I ever owned: a PC of some sort, I think it might have been a Pentium II running Windows 95.

  29. - Top - End - #59
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    The first computer I ever owned was, I believe, a pc with a pentium 2 processor, running windows 3.1. The first computer I used was a commodore of some sort. Big old floppy disks, fun was had with paperboy, oregon trail, various educational games based on words or math, carmen sandiego, etc. Got to practice running dos and finding the games like nibbles or gorillas. Keep in mind this stuff was like, 25-30 years ago for me so my memory is fuzzy about what computers did what.
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    Default Re: What was your first computer?

    During school, and then some time until I earned enough to buy a 'real' computer,
    I worked with programmable calculators, such as the TI-57.
    That one had numeric-only LEDs, 8 memory-registers, and 50 'steps' to do programming.

    Gamewise, it was barely enough for doing simple games such as guess-the-number,
    moon-lander, sub-hunt, or searching solutions for the Eight-queens-puzzle.

    Also, a friend from the neighborhood once lent me his brand-new HP41, one of
    the first calculators with an alphanumeric display, and sound (well, beeps:).

    I was so excited, going thru its manual and exploring that machine, and I
    managed to create a program that played a generalized version of Nim
    (i.e. that game where players take turns taking 1-3 matches from a heap),
    until finally that program had expanded to use up all the calculators memory
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