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The first silicon based external computer I ever touched was a school computer in 8th grade, an old Commodore PET.
I couldn't understand why the teacher was so upset when I, the last student to use it on a demo, shut it off (and erased the program consequently).
first computer I "ow3d" was connected to 300baud moden from that computer.
oldest computer I used daily was a missile fire control system on boomer submarine... think 20meg hard drives controlled by hydraulics and the "mother board" being in 6 racks similiar to server racks now commonly used.
Oldest computer I ever used a few times, was another missile fire control bugger for a (poseidon missile)submarine that was run by light bulbs, servos, synchros and punch cards... a few thousand tubes as well... gotta love that...
As for get the first computer I ever used... I think it was a tandy, a silver box with builtin screen.. but that seems wrong on further thought...
Many years later I was sitting around talking about comupters slating the ZX81 really letting rip about how crap it was etc etc etc.
Only to have it slid off of a wardrobe and hit me on the head at the moment I stopped talking about it, all very spooky I can assure you.
Grandpa: I assume the submarine attached to the computer was a special offer?
Two floppy drives with 720 kbyte per floppy, much more than those commodore guys could store.
It had password protection per file. A feature I am still waiting for in Windows to appear...
Remember loading up games on a cassette tape. Pop a tape in, go get some dinner, come back and play Joust. sweeeeet.
Then the floppy's came out and it was a copying frenzy with other people who had Ataris.
Mine was also my employers (NO-ONE had home PCs in those days) and it was an IBM 29 card-punch.
We then moved to the IBM 3742 (hey! with magnetic media!) which used 8" floppy disks that held 72K of data :-)
10 print "insert your favorite dirty word"
20 Go to 5
Then I would move to another computer and wait for the teacher to walk by. Those were the days.
first "real" computer was a BBC. No connection to the broadcast company, I think.
The BBC micros were manufactured by Acorn Computers for the BBC to be used in conjunction with a training course and in schools. The BBC name lent some extra credibility to the computers.
first one I used was the ZX81, my dad used to bring it home from school at weekends, it was the schools first computer.
first one I owned, Sinclair Spectrum 48k.
did they have spectrums in America?
It was called a Timex Sinclair in the States.
I had a ZX81 which I managed to program in Z80 assembler and got my first version of space invaders running on it after countless late nights.
I used to write computer games for the sinclair computers and got published a couple of times.
AH! those were the days...
What are the oldest computers that people STILL OWN? I have a Sun Sparcstation 2 stashed away somewhere with a couple of old Sun and SGI boxes I haven't touched for years. The Sparcstation 2 must be coming close to 15 years old now. I wonder when computers gain vintage status.
The HD was very unreliable -- totally stopped working after about 18 mos, but I limped along with the floppy (papers to write, and no money to replace it!) We moved in early 1990...when I set it up again, I discovered that the jostling had somehow fixed it, and I managed to keep it going through 1994, when I was ready to get something I could add a modem to. . . .
In retrospect it didn't too a whole lot besides word processing (but THAT was a big step up for me!) Best thing. . . NO viruses!
I remember a computer magazine in the early 80's doing a review of the ZX81 and it's 1k of ram....it went something like this:
Q: What's the difference between a shoebox and a ZX81
A: ZX81 has wires in it.
Ahhhh the glory gaming days of Spectrum 48k ownership.
Lords of Midnight, Knightlore, The Hobbit, Jet Pac, Elite....Programmers must have been geniuses to milk all that playability out of 48k.