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Thanks mhammer. I am a bit of a vintage computer buff, but largely in the development of the computer type era. I don't collect or run any old computers as they feel largely useless to me.

Here is a link to a computer show from the 80's and 90's. It is amazing how much this shit cost back then and how little use it would have today: Computer Chronicles : Free Movies : Download & Streaming : Internet Archive
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have a bunch of older things. A ZX-81 and a Timex/Sinclair 1000. An Acorn Atom. A Sinclair Spectrum 2068. A Color Computer 2 and a couple of CoCo 3 computers. Some 8086, 80286, 80384 8086, 80486DX, and Pentium 1 boards. B&W Mac Classic. Mac Performa 575.

I have boxes of old computer mags in the basement: Byte, Acorn User, Rainbow (for CoCo), PC PLus, CD-ROM Today, and wads of articles torn out of Computer Shopper.
 

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I have a bunch of older things. A ZX-81 and a Timex/Sinclair 1000. An Acorn Atom. A Sinclair Spectrum 2068. A Color Computer 2 and a couple of CoCo 3 computers. Some 8086, 80286, 80384 8086, 80486DX, and Pentium 1 boards. B&W Mac Classic. Mac Performa 575.

I have boxes of old computer mags in the basement: Byte, Acorn User, Rainbow (for CoCo), PC PLus, CD-ROM Today, and wads of articles torn out of Computer Shopper.
I find that all interesting and would love to look through it / play around with it but it would drive me nuts to actually own it and have it kicking around my house. I guess thats what museums are for!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I find that all interesting and would love to look through it / play around with it but it would drive me nuts to actually own it and have it kicking around my house. I guess thats what museums are for!
Nope. That's what furnace rooms in the basement are for. :D
 

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I have a bunch of older things. A ZX-81 and a Timex/Sinclair 1000. An Acorn Atom. A Sinclair Spectrum 2068. A Color Computer 2 and a couple of CoCo 3 computers. Some 8086, 80286, 80384 8086, 80486DX, and Pentium 1 boards. B&W Mac Classic. Mac Performa 575.

I have boxes of old computer mags in the basement: Byte, Acorn User, Rainbow (for CoCo), PC PLus, CD-ROM Today, and wads of articles torn out of Computer Shopper.
Is this your computer progressing through the years or do you collect this stuff?
 

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'Computing nostalgia' does not compute to me. I'm currently on my SECOND computer ever. I've used them at work for 25 years, but bought my first about 20 years ago. I've got 10 years out of each and my current MacBook is probably ready to be replaced. As usual, if it were to go tits up, I'd be hooped. I do backups, but still, I'd feel disconnected until I got a new one all sorted out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Is this your computer progressing through the years or do you collect this stuff?
The former, but also a bit of the latter. First PC was an Acorn Atom, but graduated to CoCo when it came out, prices dropped, and I had access to a users group. Moved on to an IBM compatible, and kept upgrading mobos and CPU as things got faster and cheaper. But the Macs, and Sinclairs, were on the collecting side. In some cases, these were castoffs from folks who thought I was "into computers".
 

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I still use Lotus 123 and an old AutoDesk drawing program. 25 yrs of work on them. Can't print DOS though, but Open Office still can read the files.

Not much nostalgia for the old stuff. I always maxed out the early stuff for what I wanted to do. I now seem to be really happy with my present state of Techyness. On of my favourite advancements is a wireless printer. It sure seem that we were tethered by cables for a long time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
'Computing nostalgia' does not compute to me. I'm currently on my SECOND computer ever. I've used them at work for 25 years, but bought my first about 20 years ago. I've got 10 years out of each and my current MacBook is probably ready to be replaced. As usual, if it were to go tits up, I'd be hooped. I do backups, but still, I'd feel disconnected until I got a new one all sorted out.
My needs kind of peaked with Win 98, but I begrudgingly upgraded to XP and a low-end AMD chip of some kind about a decade back. I don't game or process 2gig video files, so speed is not really any requirement or even advantage.

I suspect if one got introduced to personal computing in the early 80's, you almost necessarily had to upgrade regularly, simply because changes in software demanded faster and faster speeds and more and more memory and storage capability. Once we hit the late 90's, though, things started to level off for most common tasks, and it was really only high end gamers, folks operating servers, or folks with too much money to spend, that needed regular upgrades.

So if you entered the personal computing fray in the mid-to-late 90's, it is perfectly understandable that you might have only upgraded once in the interim.

I encourage folks to take a peek at an issue or two of Byte from before 1979 or so, just to have a better sense of how much bang for the buck you get now. If pedals had changed in price as much as computers have over the same time period, an EHX LPB-1 would have likely cost a few thousand in 1976.
 

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The prices of things was so ludicrous back then. I looked through a copy of the October '83 issue as that was when I was born. Ads are touting 5MB disks that can replace 50 - 5 1/4" floppies. You can barely put 1 song on a disk like that! I remember these times as my dad got into computing early but it literally makes me laugh now to see the $/kB ratio or even buying a word processing program for $400.

My dad bought a Commodore 64 somewhere around '86 I believe (mostly as I have memories of it). He told me that 4 people had these locally and they all bought modems so they could "chat online". I recall him calling the neighbor and asking him if he wants to "chat online", then they hung up the phones on the modem and dialed each other. In the late 80's, he then bought a 386. I played a butt load of Commander Keen, Duke Nukem and Chuck Yeager's Air Combat on this computer. Around '96, my dad and his boss wanted to start a publishing company so he sent dad home a Pentium 166 and a copy of Photoshop and Quarks Express. This was the first time I seen the internet (dial up) and spent a lot of time on it. Dad started writing a website for the company he worked for (he works for a seed cleaning plant, cleaning mostly lentils) and I learned how to do web programming by coping his work and reading the HTML books he had. I think he kept this computer until '03 until he bought a Pentium 4. That Pentium 4 just died a few months ago and he upgraded to a modern AMD machine. So all and all, not many machines.

Do you remember installing Windows 95 with 15 floppy disks?
 

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The prices of things was so ludicrous back then. I looked through a copy of the October '83 issue as that was when I was born. Ads are touting 5MB disks that can replace 50 - 5 1/4" floppies. You can barely put 1 song on a disk like that! I remember these times as my dad got into computing early but it literally makes me laugh now to see the $/kB ratio or even buying a word processing program for $400.

My dad bought a Commodore 64 somewhere around '86 I believe (mostly as I have memories of it). He told me that 4 people had these locally and they all bought modems so they could "chat online". I recall him calling the neighbor and asking him if he wants to "chat online", then they hung up the phones on the modem and dialed each other. In the late 80's, he then bought a 386. I played a butt load of Commander Keen, Duke Nukem and Chuck Yeager's Air Combat on this computer. Around '96, my dad and his boss wanted to start a publishing company so he sent dad home a Pentium 166 and a copy of Photoshop and Quarks Express. This was the first time I seen the internet (dial up) and spent a lot of time on it. Dad started writing a website for the company he worked for (he works for a seed cleaning plant, cleaning mostly lentils) and I learned how to do web programming by coping his work and reading the HTML books he had. I think he kept this computer until '03 until he bought a Pentium 4. That Pentium 4 just died a few months ago and he upgraded to a modern AMD machine. So all and all, not many machines.

Do you remember installing Windows 95 with 15 floppy disks?
Win 95 with floppies....still have those and they work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I have a 10-disk box of Win 3.0 (NOT the 3.1 that most are familiar with, but its immediate precursor) in the basement.
And when you say "floppies", do you mean bendable 5-1/4" or hard-shell 3-1/2"? I ask because a lot of folks still referred to them as "floppies" for a number of years after the larger soft-package faded from use.

And since it was asked, yes, "Halt and Catch Fire" is watched in our household, when in season. Although, it has a tendency to turn into yet another drama, with mere passing references to computing history.

Commander Keen and Duke Nukem......those were the days.

When I worked at grad-school registration one year at U of A, sometime around 1981, I think, their system was an IMSAI 8080, like this one.

The lab I worked in at McMaster, prior to attending U of A, used a PDP-8i, similar to this one, with the paper tape reader like you see in the middle. Every frigging morning, you had to boot the thing in octal, using the bank of white and mustard toggles like you see on the lower right. Our hard drive had a mighty 10meg capacity, I believe, and the (sealed) platter was large enough to hold an extra large pizza. You could program it using the teletype (shown below), which was screenless, and used the paper-tape punch to the left of the keyboard. Our 1976 service contract with Digital Equipment Corp was for $15,000 for the year, IIRC. But worth its weight in gold since the teletype would break down roughly every 2nd week, and require about 20hrs of service time, which DEC normally charged $100/hr for. So, figure 26 x $2000 each year, and you can see why $15k was such a "bargain".


After relocating from Mac to U of A, the lab I was in had graduated to a Rockwell AIM-65, which used a 6502 CPU; the same used in the Apple II, and also the Acorn Atom I bought for myself. The AIM-65 was optimized for real-time industrial control, having a 16-character display, and an onboard cash-register type thermal printer.

My next door office-mate at U of A, who was from la-dee-dah Thorn Hill, got himself an Osborne-1 - the first "portable" computer, with a pair of single-sided 90k floppies and a 52-character screen, not to mention all that bundled software. VERY transportable, coming in at a featherweight 24.5lbs. http://oldcomputers.net/osborne-1.html
 

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I find it hard to be nostalgic about ugly overpriced crap that did little else than replace a typewriter and calculator for about $5000.
computing life began with the x386/486 IMO. prior to that it was an expensive plaything and timewaster for nerds.
 

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My first computer was 386sx with 4mb ram and an 80mb HDD. That wouldn't even hold 3 of the larger photo files I have today in TIFF format.

Edit: Oh, and it had a 5 1/4" FDD
 

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And when you say "floppies", do you mean bendable 5-1/4" or hard-shell 3-1/2"?
3-1/2". Most of my early computing was done with these and everyone I knew called them floppies.

When I started working for SaskPower in 2004, I started down in one of their coal fired power plants that was built throught the late 70's, early 80's. The boiler control system was still the original control computer that was installed. My co-worker told me that they just had a custom memory board built as the existing one was ferrite core memory and needed to be replaced. We ran a diagnostic program while the plant was offline and it was input through a bank of switches on the front. I think it was like 25 lines of code, each switch being set appropriately then clocked into the program memory by a toggle switch. That was the oldest technology I worked with as by the time I was born, keyboards, mice and video terminals were pretty standard. I never got to play with punch cards or teletypes (luckily?) but all that old technology intrigues me.

From the history I learned about computing, I find it neat that back in the day there would be a mainframe computer with a lot of terminals connected to it. Then we moved on to having individual computers that did all the processing with network storage. Now it seems to be going back the way of mainframe computing in a sense with cloud computing. My aunt runs an accounting business. She says a company in Ontario runs a computer service for them and each employee logs into the cloud computing service to access their files and programs. She says it reduces the cost of not having an IT service hired to troubleshoot program issues and network issues within their office. If she want's a new program installed for all the employees, rather than have someone come install it on 10 different computers, the company in Ontario installs it on the cloud computer there and its ready to be used by all her employees. Kind of cool I think.

I think Steam is even doing cloud computing for gaming. It allows you to have an average computer but play the latest killer games. All the game processing is done at Steams server farm and you just remotely log on. Removes the need to constantly buy new parts to keep on top of the latest games.
 
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