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In your mid to late thirties, remember ZX Spectrum & bor
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Tired Old Man
Tired Old Man

Joined: Feb 27, 2006
Posts: 14848
Location: Keynsham

PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anita wrote:
All this nostalgia got me thinking about the first computer I programmed for in 1969 - an NCR Elliott 4100. 64k and needed a large, air-conditioned, temperature-controlled room.
I was just a user in those days - we had an NCR ICL 4120 (I think, - I'm not a techy) with 8K, same accommodation. It had a 2400 Lines Per Minute printer which was so fast it had to stop to let the computer catch up, sounded like a continuous roar as it battered the paper out. Couple of years later, somebody bought the whole setup, but junked the computer - they only wanted the printer! Our programmers wrote us a stock control program which needed 16K and we went live with it a week before the extra 8K arrived. It went wrong. Badly.

If it tastes good - it's fattening.

Two of them are obesiting!!
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Joined: Feb 07, 2006
Posts: 616
Location: Midlothian

PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was an early home computer geek. My first was a Sinclair ZX81. It was so advanced it had 1K of on board memory !!! I then bought a 16K ram pack which meant you could actually play half decent games, although the graphics consisted of blocks in various shades of grey. I later advanced to the 16K Spectrum, then the 48K version. My friend then had a Commodore 64, which put all Sinclair models to shame with its fantastic sound and graphics, so I had to buy one. My final 'toy' computer was a Commodore Amiga, which had a built in disk drive...wow Laughing

I have only ever had two proper PC's, one of which is still in the loft, but now use a laptop to stop my wife moaning at me disappearing upstairs. I now surf in the comfort of my chair, in full view of the 40" LCD TV.

Oh how things have changed....... Cool

Regularly absent, but still here in spirit !
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Joined: Mar 09, 2008
Posts: 463
Location: Rainhill, Lancashire Not Merseyside!

PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I well remember the first pc that came in to the company I still work for (42 years service this year!). It was an IBM Personal Computer and was a'grey' import. So much so that it had a 110 volt power supply.

We managed to get hold of a 240 volt 10" monochrome green monitor and a big industrial power transformer to drop our 240v to 110v. It worked OK, with DOS on a 5.25 floppy disk in the A Drive to boot with, Lotus Symphony on another 5.25" floppy to swap out after boot up and a blank DATA 5.25" floppy in the B Drive. No HDD on that one!

All went well for a few weeks and we all got quite good at adding and subtracting columns of figures, until one of the guys decided we needed to conect the pc to the Mainframe via a 3270 Emulator card. Well, we got the card disconnected everything and installed it and then hooked all the cables back up again, including the power -------- You guessed it!!

The 110v cable went in to the monitor and the 240v cable went in to the pc ----- Flash Bang and clouds of smoke and choking fumes filled the office. Someone managed to kick the power feeds out of the wall sockets and after sometime allowing the smoke to clear, we went back in the office.

The pc case had been blown off and the monitor was on the floor.

Explain that one to the accountants and auditors!

The next machine we got was the luggable IBM 'portable' which must have weighed in at 25Kg or more. Nightmare!!
Ric - TomTom 520 DEAD - Passed to the great traffic jam in the sky. Now using Maps & Waze on Samsung Galaxy S4 + CamerAlert of course!
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Pocket GPS Verifier
Pocket GPS Verifier

Joined: Feb 01, 2006
Posts: 2543
Location: Rainham, Kent. England.

PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Memories eh? My first was a ZX81, I typed in the game Hangman, I think it was in the instruction book, and was amazed at seeing it on screen. Played a couple of hours, switched off and went to bed. Next day switched on to play Hangman and.......... Yep, you know don't you. Embarassed

Later bought a Speccy.

I'd seen a Submarine game being played on one in Curry's? and thought I'd buy it but it was too expensive. A few weeks later one of the mags had the data for it but split over several mags. I bought the first and set about typing in the first 100 or so lines in the mag and saved it to tape. Did the same each week and was really excited when I realised I'd reached the final week.

I got to within a couple of lines of the end when it would take no more. I went back over all the lines and there were no errors. I then decided to get rid of all the REM: lines to see if that would help but no.

I gave up, overwrote the tape to save other things. I should have waited for the next magazine as in it they apologised for an error in the previous mag and gave the corrected data. Evil or Very Mad I'd spent hours trying to get the programme working. I then realised I had spent almost as much on the mags as the game cost.
Formerly known as Lost_Property
And NO that's NOT me in the Avatar.
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Joined: Dec 27, 2006
Posts: 998
Location: South Lincs, UK.

PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2008 8:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My first computer was a Sinclair ZX80 which I built from a kit. Progressed on to the ZX81 and Spectrum both of which did at least arrive in one piece.

I still have a book "The Spectrum Handbook" from 1982 . This includes "Microrite" a word processor Shocked written in 42 lines of basic and a spreadsheet which allows 3 columns and 50 lines on a 16k Speccy or 200 lines on a 48k Speccy.

Back in 1979 when I started working for a company with 150 employees the IT system consisted of 3 terminals on a mini computer with 2.5Mb of disk storage and 32k of RAM. Incredibly some of the software from that system is still in use today although it is now running on a modern Unix box. Thats a proper legacy system. Very Happy
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Lifetime Member

Joined: Mar 16, 2007
Posts: 468

PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2008 10:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes I remember them both !! I bought the Sinclair ZX81 for my son and is now sitting in my loft .!!
I also remember the Commodore 64
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Pocket GPS Moderator
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Joined: Jan 14, 2005
Posts: 19638
Location: Blackpool , Lancs

PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2008 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I started with the zx80, then got the zx81 with memory pack, whilst I can remember writing machine code to run on the 81 my ever lasting memory are those times you spent hours coding an application then save to the dreaded tape. How many times that useless tape recorder messed up good work! It took ages with no way of knowing whether it had worked.
My next encounter with computers was vax based running CAD software, great fun till I decided to draw a cube of bubbles, 1 Million wide x 1 Million high x 1 Million deep, it crashed the main processing unit leaving 30 other designers non too happy (why do such a thing? the chap in charge had just said how powerful and reliable the kit was..........)

Now we have more processing capability on a mobile phone than the PC's of yesteryears, fond memories, but I won't be getting rid of the Athena phone for quite some time. - Mike
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Joined: Oct 12, 2008
Posts: 7
Location: Dorset

PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 6:39 pm    Post subject: Speccy Reply with quote

Aww, it's wonderful to see people reminiscing about the old computers, especially the ZX81 and newer Spectrums. I remember a mate had a 48k Speccy and it blew me away.. He had bought a Keyboard which fitted over the top of the original and it looked the dogs! I later bought a 128 without the built in tape, but what blew me away when I first saw it was Elite..Am I the only one who sat indoors, refused their meals, did'nt sleep or communicate much with the outside world for days on end, trying to get up the ladder to became an ELITE? I expect not... The game came with a novella and I was totally hooked theirin. You started life with a Harmless rating, a cr*p ship and had to DOCK MANUALLY...AHHHH Laughing

Those WERE the days. Rolling Eyes
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Pocket GPS Staff
Pocket GPS Staff

Joined: 11/07/2002 14:36:40
Posts: 23848
Location: Hampshire, UK

PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Started with a self-build ZX80, then ZX81, Spectrum 16K, Sinclair QL, BBC B, Amiga A500, A2000, 486SX PC and then a raft of home build PC's and now very happy with my Mac's.

Oh the joy's of waiting for a tape to load on the ZX81 only to have it fail, micro adjust the volume, repeat, fail and around in circles you went!

For me the Amiga was the best, full GUI, way ahead of it's time, real shame it fell at the wayside although the Sinlclair's created a whole breed of programmer's and game designers and at least they came with a teach yourself BASIC manual so you could try to learn.
Darren Griffin - Editor
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Joined: Dec 12, 2005
Posts: 1050

PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 3:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fond memories of the Amstrad that a mate had, built in tape and coloured keys. One of the pioneers of sprite graphics, the game play was so much more advanced than my Spectrum.

Wiki states Amstrad bought out the Sinclair brand. I don't remember this, but the resemblance to the ZX+2 is clear.
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