The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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  1. - Top - End - #61
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: What was your first computer?

    My first computer was a Vic 20. But I really only played games on the tape drive.
    It wasn't until I got the C=64 and the floppy drives that I entered games from the magazines. (that was fun when I didn't do it right and had to do it all over again.) I still remember playing Might and Magic on the that machine. I took it to Central Michigan University. A roommate had an 8088 and HIS roommate had an Amiga. I was at CMU in the late 80's.

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    My first true computer was an Atari 520ST, but a couple of years later, I needed a PC for my high school scholarship, so we got a PC clone. A 386 with 4Meg of RAM, and a whopping 105Meg hard drive. Most other PCs at the time were running 40Meg. ALL THE GAMES.

    So for generations did the sainted skull of Caius Anicius Magnus Furius Camillus Æmilianus Cornelius Valerius Pompeius Julius Ibidus, consul of Rome, favourite of emperors, and saint of the Romish church, lie hidden beneath the soil of a growing town. At first worshipped with dark rites by the prairie-dogs, who saw in it a deity sent from the upper world..
    - H.P. Lovecraft, "Ibid".

  3. - Top - End - #63
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    Default Re: What was your first computer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Finback View Post
    My first true computer was an Atari 520ST, but a couple of years later, I needed a PC for my high school scholarship, so we got a PC clone. A 386 with 4Meg of RAM, and a whopping 105Meg hard drive. Most other PCs at the time were running 40Meg. ALL THE GAMES.
    A 4 Meg ST couldn't do it? Hard drives were another thing, but upgrades on ST memory were pretty trivial to install by the time 386s came down the pipeline.
    The end of what Son? The story? There is no end. There's just the point where the storytellers stop talking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by halfeye View Post
    A 4 Meg ST couldn't do it? Hard drives were another thing, but upgrades on ST memory were pretty trivial to install by the time 386s came down the pipeline.
    But what would be the point of upgrading a computer rapidly becoming obsolete? I replaced my Amiga with a PC in 1993 because I could see the way the wind was blowing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by halfeye View Post
    A 4 Meg ST couldn't do it? Hard drives were another thing, but upgrades on ST memory were pretty trivial to install by the time 386s came down the pipeline.
    Well, we were using PCs at school, and it was just easier to work with similar tools than trying to fill all the gaps. Being able to program in STOS-BASIC is one thing, being asked to learn Fortran and VPascal for classes would have been harder to source appropriate software for. It was far less about the ST's processing power than the range of tools at my disposal.

    So for generations did the sainted skull of Caius Anicius Magnus Furius Camillus Æmilianus Cornelius Valerius Pompeius Julius Ibidus, consul of Rome, favourite of emperors, and saint of the Romish church, lie hidden beneath the soil of a growing town. At first worshipped with dark rites by the prairie-dogs, who saw in it a deity sent from the upper world..
    - H.P. Lovecraft, "Ibid".

  6. - Top - End - #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finback View Post
    Well, we were using PCs at school, and it was just easier to work with similar tools than trying to fill all the gaps. Being able to program in STOS-BASIC is one thing, being asked to learn Fortran and VPascal for classes would have been harder to source appropriate software for. It was far less about the ST's processing power than the range of tools at my disposal.
    My *second* computer was a 386sx PC. My school computer lab (college of engineering, where I had a job helping users with the computers) was full of Sun 3/60s. A Sun3/60 and a 386-class computer are comparable on the hardware level, but SunOS was a good decade or more ahead of DOS. I grew an undying* hatred of Microsoft thanks to the difference in software between the two machines.

    The Sun would have be better for FORTRAN, but I'm not sure about Pascal. Likewise it would have been great for MATLAB but probably not for MathCAD (what my DSP class needed). I can't claim that Sun/Unix really had all the tools available, but the platform was what Microsoft would spend the next 10+ years trying to get to.

    * thanks to Linus Torvalds for bring the unix experience to my PC, said hatred actually died about 10 years ago. But it burned hot at the time.

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    Default Re: What was your first computer?

    Quote Originally Posted by wumpus View Post
    I can't claim that Sun/Unix really had all the tools available, but the platform was what Microsoft would spend the next 10+ years trying to get to.
    UNIX was first developed in 1969, and became public in 1973. MS-DOS was released in 1981. So, it isn't really surprising that a platform which had a decade head start, and which was designed from the ground up as a multi-user system, was more advanced than Microsoft's offerings.

  8. - Top - End - #68
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    Default Re: What was your first computer?

    Both a IBM PC XT and a PCjr. Stepdad got a PC XT for his business, and got a PCjr for me. Funny story.. Stepdad left me alone with the PC XT at the office one day and started to explore commands, not really knowing what I was doing. 'Format c:' was a bad choice, but set me on a long path that resulted in me being in a rather high position in the tech industry that I am in now. Learn from your mistakes folks ;)

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    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    UNIX was first developed in 1969, and became public in 1973. MS-DOS was released in 1981. So, it isn't really surprising that a platform which had a decade head start, and which was designed from the ground up as a multi-user system, was more advanced than Microsoft's offerings.
    Except that DOS was a clone of CPM which was from 1977. Also Unix was unlikely to be designed from the ground up, given that it's name (probably a backronym) was "Uniplexed Information and Computing Service". It started out extremely primitive (a given, considering that it started on the PDP-7).

    It wasn't so much that Microsoft's offerings were so primitive, but also just how long it took to use the 32 bits of 386 (and beyond) computers that Intel had been selling since 1985. It wasn't until Windows 95 (that they managed to ship in the later half of 1995) that consumers finally had a chance to use more than the "640k would be good enough for anyone"*. IBM shipped OS/2 much earlier, as well as Linux (written from scratch starting in 1991, still ahead of Windows when Win95 shipped), but Windows was stuck with win3.11.

    This was aggravated by the loathsomeness of the Intel assembler (the worst of which was fixed with the 386 in 1985, the rest just work with a compiler and avoid assembler) and memory scheme. Memory accesses required multiple instructions to access the 640k, and expect to move your "XMS window" to access any more than 640k.

    And even once Microsoft shipped XP and appeared to have a modern OS (also finally crashing less than those 4MB Sun 3/60s, but requiring a ton more RAM), they somehow seemed to ignore that that there was a wild and wolly internet (see how "The Road Ahead" by Bill Gates needed to be quickly pulped and replaced by an edition that admitted that the internet was important) out there that had been successfully attacking Windows machines for years, and had simply no security to speak of. Maybe they finally got there with Windows 7, but that was far too long for my 386sx to wait (it ran OS/2 [sans workplace shell. I also don't think the SLIP [TCP/IP PPP wasn't a thing yet] stack would fit into any amount of memory I could install in a 386sx) Linux [X windows never worked, so that was never a serious try], but it never had a chance to run Win95 (at 5MB it could likely boot it, but nothing more).

    * if "640k should be enough for anyone" is from anywhere, it was likely part of the Intel 8086/8088 ap notes detailing how to design a computer around an 8088 (complete with Intel part numbers for all the support chips). IBM essentially copied this verbatim to build the PC (including the 640k limit). The IBM PC was stuck with it long before Microsoft ever became part of the project. But the 386 made the whole issue irrelevant, as long as you were using protected mode. DOS (and windows <=3.x) wouldn't use protected mode (or at least 32 bit protected mode in windows).

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    Default Re: What was your first computer?

    Ah, I feel really old again.

    My first Computer that did more than monochrome Games like the old Amiga I got from my Uncle was a Commodore C64. Which in theory could do quite some stuff, but I used it mainly for things like palying Pirates, Prince of Percia and stuff....until on consecutive Days part of the Keyboard and the Disk Drive died.

    Then I got my Parents to buy me a "real" Computer (well it took some time), a 486 DX 40. With a Turbo Button. :P
    That one did its job very well for some years (though installing Windows 3.1x and later 95 was a HORROR!), until an Uncle (other one this time) showed me his newish macintosh, and I needled my parents to buy me a Pentium 120. That on the other hand livedr long enough until I finished School and with the money from holiday jobs bought myself a Pentium 2 450 with a 3dfx Berbeque...I mean banshee.


    And from then onward I had to buy my many different PC`s myself, sigh....^^
    Last edited by GrayDeath; 2019-06-14 at 05:02 PM.
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  11. - Top - End - #71
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    Default Re: What was your first computer?

    Quote Originally Posted by wumpus View Post
    Except that DOS was a clone of CPM which was from 1977. Also Unix was unlikely to be designed from the ground up, given that it's name (probably a backronym) was "Uniplexed Information and Computing Service". It started out extremely primitive (a given, considering that it started on the PDP-7).

    It wasn't so much that Microsoft's offerings were so primitive, but also just how long it took to use the 32 bits of 386 (and beyond) computers that Intel had been selling since 1985. It wasn't until Windows 95 (that they managed to ship in the later half of 1995) that consumers finally had a chance to use more than the "640k would be good enough for anyone"*. IBM shipped OS/2 much earlier, as well as Linux (written from scratch starting in 1991, still ahead of Windows when Win95 shipped), but Windows was stuck with win3.11.

    This was aggravated by the loathsomeness of the Intel assembler (the worst of which was fixed with the 386 in 1985, the rest just work with a compiler and avoid assembler) and memory scheme. Memory accesses required multiple instructions to access the 640k, and expect to move your "XMS window" to access any more than 640k.

    And even once Microsoft shipped XP and appeared to have a modern OS (also finally crashing less than those 4MB Sun 3/60s, but requiring a ton more RAM), they somehow seemed to ignore that that there was a wild and wolly internet (see how "The Road Ahead" by Bill Gates needed to be quickly pulped and replaced by an edition that admitted that the internet was important) out there that had been successfully attacking Windows machines for years, and had simply no security to speak of. Maybe they finally got there with Windows 7, but that was far too long for my 386sx to wait (it ran OS/2 [sans workplace shell. I also don't think the SLIP [TCP/IP PPP wasn't a thing yet] stack would fit into any amount of memory I could install in a 386sx) Linux [X windows never worked, so that was never a serious try], but it never had a chance to run Win95 (at 5MB it could likely boot it, but nothing more).

    * if "640k should be enough for anyone" is from anywhere, it was likely part of the Intel 8086/8088 ap notes detailing how to design a computer around an 8088 (complete with Intel part numbers for all the support chips). IBM essentially copied this verbatim to build the PC (including the 640k limit). The IBM PC was stuck with it long before Microsoft ever became part of the project. But the 386 made the whole issue irrelevant, as long as you were using protected mode. DOS (and windows <=3.x) wouldn't use protected mode (or at least 32 bit protected mode in windows).
    Microsoft had wanted to get rid of DOS (which was never intended as anything but a quick-and-dirty 'this will do for now" base OS for the first IBM PC - Microsoft intended for most people to upgrade to Xenix, a UNIX variant that they had purchased and were developing a single-user microcomputer version of, but the massive explosion of critical software for PC and the later clones meant that pretty much every user refused to use anything else, and a weird technical trick used to maximize the available RAM on the 8808 meant that any 16--bit expansion of DOS wwould break compatibility with every single program in existence. OS/2 was as a Microsoft product as an IBM one, which lead to some major legal wrangling with IBM when Windows was released. Meanwhile, the 1MB (no more than 640K user accessible, with the remainder being usable for the system itself with the right tricks) limit imposed by DOS (inherited from the 8088) was eliminated as early as Windows/286, but Windows wasn't properly compatible with most of the DOS software.


    In other words, Microsoft was never "behind". The problem was that everybody latched on to their starter model and refused to switch because they'd have to replace all their add-on stuff.

  12. - Top - End - #72
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    I started using a computer when I was 12. That doesn't sound very impressive today, when most two-year olds use iPads. But in the 1970's it was rare for kids to have access to computers.

    My father worked at the telecommunications building at UCSC, and he knew the staff at the computer center. They were holding a free summer class in UNIX, and my father asked if I would be interested in trying that.

  13. - Top - End - #73
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    Default Re: What was your first computer?

    Acorn Electron (with tape)
    Atari STE (3.5" floppy)
    During the 1st years of secondary school BBC*, windows 95?. At this time I also used Dad's laptop on 3.1 (this was my first experience with Excel and in black&white)
    2nd Year they switch to windows 95 in a bigger way.
    Soon after Windows 95 at home to do homework

    *which had a cool game where you had to switch points to get trains to colour paths

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    Default Re: What was your first computer?

    The immortal TI-99/4A. My dad loved his cool toys and we got one of these bad boys, probably in 81 or 82.

    I never learned to do anything really awesome with it, but we have a boop-ton of game, and I used BASIC to program a few pretty fantastic Choose Your Own Adventure Press A if you want to... style games with liberal use of IF-THEN. Seemed like magic to me.

    My older brother still has it and all the games. The trouble now is that the controllers don't really work properly.

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    Atari 65xe with a tape drive first and later on a floppy disc drive. Those were the good times: International Karate, Boulder Dash, Robbo, The Last Starfighter...

    Then came the fancy Atari STE and some years after a spiffy 386dx. My first PC game was Scorched Earth, which I think aged pretty well all things considered.
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    Thenfirst my family ever had was an IBM Personal System 2.

    The first one I personally owned was a Dell Inspiron 9100

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    Default Re: What was your first computer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Radar View Post
    Atari 65xe with a tape drive first and later on a floppy disc drive. Those were the good times: International Karate, Boulder Dash, Robbo, The Last Starfighter...

    Then came the fancy Atari STE and some years after a spiffy 386dx. My first PC game was Scorched Earth, which I think aged pretty well all things considered.
    How in the world did you find "The Last Starfighter"? When the movie disappointed the box office, Atari decided their own "Star Raiders" branding had more cachet and named it "Star Raiders 2". I bought a copy labled thus. Presumably you (or somebody else) edited the binary.

    I don't remember Star Raiders [1] on the shelves much past 1981, but I don't think it was really surpassed on 8-bit computers (the ST and 386 machines had the resources to easily outdo an 8k binary. I suspect that Wing Commander was what Star Raiders wanted to be when it grew up).

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    Quote Originally Posted by wumpus View Post
    How in the world did you find "The Last Starfighter"? When the movie disappointed the box office, Atari decided their own "Star Raiders" branding had more cachet and named it "Star Raiders 2". I bought a copy labled thus. Presumably you (or somebody else) edited the binary.

    I don't remember Star Raiders [1] on the shelves much past 1981, but I don't think it was really surpassed on 8-bit computers (the ST and 386 machines had the resources to easily outdo an 8k binary. I suspect that Wing Commander was what Star Raiders wanted to be when it grew up).
    I just looked over both versions here and it was defenitely The Last Starfighter: there was the intro with the ship on the launchpad, the barrier protecting your system, you could only recharge around a star and stars moved in the same way in planet and space battles. Whoever could possibly edit the binaries like this, would have to have the original at hand anyway to copy the exact features.

    As to how I got it? The actual history will be completly untracable. At that time I did not even knew there was a movie of the same name and the game itself most likely was not even released in my country at all in whatever version. In the late 80's you got most of your games or other programs either from friends or a more public exchange events/places. For some time there were also radio transmissions of programs and those for Atari had the best chances to be usable despite some noise getting in the way.

    As for how anyone could have The Last Starfighter if it was never released, I read there was a leaked prototype version doing rounds through the BBS's of the early Internet, so there is that. Even then anything put on the Internet, could not be taken out of it.
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    Default Re: What was your first computer?

    The first owned without sharing it was a Windows XP laptop, before that there was a 98 one that everybody used.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Radar View Post
    I just looked over both versions here and it was defenitely The Last Starfighter: there was the intro with the ship on the launchpad, the barrier protecting your system, you could only recharge around a star and stars moved in the same way in planet and space battles. Whoever could possibly edit the binaries like this, would have to have the original at hand anyway to copy the exact features.

    As to how I got it? The actual history will be completly untracable. At that time I did not even knew there was a movie of the same name and the game itself most likely was not even released in my country at all in whatever version. In the late 80's you got most of your games or other programs either from friends or a more public exchange events/places. For some time there were also radio transmissions of programs and those for Atari had the best chances to be usable despite some noise getting in the way.

    As for how anyone could have The Last Starfighter if it was never released, I read there was a leaked prototype version doing rounds through the BBS's of the early Internet, so there is that. Even then anything put on the Internet, could not be taken out of it.
    I find the idea of radio broadcasts of computer programs delightfully weird. I mean, I can see how that would work from a technical perspective back in the era where programs came on cassette tapes, I've just never heard of it being done before. Part of me is now tempted to get an extremely low-power transmitter together and set up a station for this at a con someday (I know I have the parts for a small-enough-not-to-need-a-license transmitter in an old multi-project kit somewhere in my mom's basement), but I don't think I attend cons with a large enough retro computing population for this to actually make sense. Something to ponder, anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Algeh View Post
    I find the idea of radio broadcasts of computer programs delightfully weird. I mean, I can see how that would work from a technical perspective back in the era where programs came on cassette tapes, I've just never heard of it being done before. Part of me is now tempted to get an extremely low-power transmitter together and set up a station for this at a con someday (I know I have the parts for a small-enough-not-to-need-a-license transmitter in an old multi-project kit somewhere in my mom's basement), but I don't think I attend cons with a large enough retro computing population for this to actually make sense. Something to ponder, anyway.
    In Ye Olden Days there were many unsual or seemingly modern ideas happening. For example paid music streaming service over a 100 years ago. I cannot find it now, but I read about some other interesting uses of telephone lines.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radar View Post
    In Ye Olden Days there were many unsual or seemingly modern ideas happening. For example paid music streaming service over a 100 years ago. I cannot find it now, but I read about some other interesting uses of telephone lines.
    "There's nothing new under the sun."

    A lot of the stuff we see today is simply stuff that could not be as easily, small, manageable etc etc etc as incremental tech improvements have done.

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    Quote Originally Posted by snowblizz View Post
    "There's nothing new under the sun."

    A lot of the stuff we see today is simply stuff that could not be as easily, small, manageable etc etc etc as incremental tech improvements have done.
    It is also true for how society was changing in reaction to information revolution. There is for example this book about the telegraph and how it changed the world much like the internet now.

    Even such phenomena like obsessive fans raging over a death of a
    Spoiler: beloved fictional character,
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    Sherlock Holmes
    sending hate mail and writing tons of fanfiction to fix the author's mistake are way older then we would think.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radar View Post
    It is also true for how society was changing in reaction to information revolution. There is for example this book about the telegraph and how it changed the world much like the internet now.
    There is a leaflet I have seen that was made by some German musicians when sound films were becoming a thing. They invited citizens to avoid cinemas that projected with sound, because they deprived musicians of their livelihood. Not the same as your example, but a way in which technology changed an aspect of everyday life.

    Even such phenomena like obsessive fans raging over a death of a
    Spoiler: beloved fictional character,
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    Sherlock Holmes
    sending hate mail and writing tons of fanfiction to fix the author's mistake are way older then we would think.
    That series in particular marks the birth of modern fandom, I believe?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinyadan View Post
    That series in particular marks the birth of modern fandom, I believe?
    Eh, I choose to believe Homer didn't get hate solely due to inefficiency of logistics.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinyadan View Post
    There is a leaflet I have seen that was made by some German musicians when sound films were becoming a thing. They invited citizens to avoid cinemas that projected with sound, because they deprived musicians of their livelihood. Not the same as your example, but a way in which technology changed an aspect of everyday life.
    Things were far less civil when first linotype machines were introduced as it ment pretty much an end of a whole profession. First automatic looms were met with an equaly violent oposition.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vinyadan View Post
    That series in particular marks the birth of modern fandom, I believe?
    Pretty much yes. Although The Sorrows of Young Werther was an international hit of crazy proportions with people clothing themselves exactly as the main characters (also commiting suicides because it was sooo romantic and the main hero also did this) and Goethe had become an instant celebrity thanks to it. Since it was not a series, he fortunately could not enrage his fanbase with later changes. Well... he could, if he decided to tweak the original heavily like some other people.
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    Default Re: What was your first computer?

    First one I OWNED? Commodore 64.
    First one I USED? My best friend's Commodore Vic 20
    First one in the household? a Spectrum ZX81
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    Default Re: What was your first computer?

    First computer was a Vic 20 - and I can see I'm not alone in that. Have fond memories of that old thing and the adventure text games that you could get for it.

    The first PC was an old 8088 with monochrome and no such hing as a gui.

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    Default Re: What was your first computer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Corvus View Post
    First computer was a Vic 20 - and I can see I'm not alone in that. Have fond memories of that old thing and the adventure text games that you could get for it.

    The first PC was an old 8088 with monochrome and no such hing as a gui.
    My first actual PC was a 486. I had an Amiga before that. My friend's dad was the first person I knew that got a PC home from work (paid by the company) so he could work from home. That was an old Ericson PC 8088 with brown / yellow screen and no hard drive (but TWO(!) 5.25 floppy drivers so you could leave the DOS disc in and load the game on the second drive!
    Blizzard Battletag: UnderDog#21677

    Shepard: "Wrex! Do we have mawsign?"
    Wrex: "Shepard, we have mawsign the likes of which even Reapers have never seen!"

  30. - Top - End - #90
    Titan in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Manchester, UK
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: What was your first computer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Avilan the Grey View Post
    First one in the household? a Spectrum ZX81
    Do you mean a Sinclair Spectrum, or a Sinclair ZX81? Very different machines.

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