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GabeU
Distinguished Professor IV

First computer you bought?

What was the first computer you ever bought?  

 

Though my former in-laws got my ex and I a computer for Christmas 1997, which was a Pentium 166MHz clone computer sold by a small computer store in the area, the first computer I ever bought was an eMachines eTower 366i in late 1999.  I got it from Staples or OfficeMax.  I can't remember which it was, though I remember where it was and I think it was the former.  

 

At that time, MSN was offering a $400 instant rebate for those who signed up for three years of their dialup service, which I needed anyway, so the computer only cost $399, and this was back in 1999!  I can't remember how much the monitor was, but it was a steal.  $400 off a computer for signing up for a service I needed anyway, and it wasn't any more per month than it would have been had I signed up in the normal way.  So, it was basically $400 for nothing.  I used insurance money that was supposed to go toward fixing my bumper on my car to pay for what the instant rebate didn't.  LOL.  I was rear ended a year later, so I ended up getting the car fixed, nonetheless.  

 

I used the 366i for two years, at which time I got a Dell, and I gave the 366i to my folks.  They had it for a couple of years, at which time I bought them a Gateway and then sold the 366i on eBay.  It was a great computer, built when eMachines had a very good reputation.  

 

A 366MHz Celeron and dialup.  How times have changed.


Ryzen 5 3400G | MSI B450M Pro-M2 MAX | 16GB Corsair Vengeance DDR4 3000 | XPG SX8200 Pro 512GB NVMe | Windows 10 Pro
15 REPLIES 15
maratsade
Distinguished Professor IV

I had a Commodore , and then some Apple/Mac thing, and then the one I remember the most, an iBM that needed a giant floppy disk to run.  EDIT: All of these were betweeen 1982-ish and 1990.

 

The Web didn't exist then. Things have changed indeed, and it's been awesome. 

GabeU
Distinguished Professor IV

When I was a kid we got a Commodore VIC-20, then a Commodore 64 a few years later.  Why we got the second I really don't know, as we barely used the first.  Probably my incessant begging.  LOL.  

 

I didn't really know how to use one properly.  I tried a few of the short programming examples in the manuals, like one that made it make a sound that progressively went from a low note to a high one.  There was one in the back of the manual to program a game.  I tried it three or four times, with each time taking at least three hours to enter everything, and it didn't work.  I didn't have tape storage, so I would have to redo it the next time.  A kid down the road came up one time and connected his tape recorder to it, which fascinated me that you could save programs on a cassette tape, but I didn't really understand the significance, nor how to do it myself.  I had a tape recorder, but not the cables needed to connect it.  And again, I wouldn't have known what to do anyway.  

 

The neighbors had an Apple IIc, which was even more alien to me.  😛 


Ryzen 5 3400G | MSI B450M Pro-M2 MAX | 16GB Corsair Vengeance DDR4 3000 | XPG SX8200 Pro 512GB NVMe | Windows 10 Pro
maratsade
Distinguished Professor IV

I don't remember much at all about the computers I had before the IBM. I remember that one because I could play games on it.  I do remember MS-DOS and that everything was command line.  🙂


@GabeU wrote:

When I was a kid we got a Commodore VIC-20, then a Commodore 64 a few years later.  Why we got the second I really don't know, as we barely used the first.  Probably my incessant begging.  LOL.  

 

 


Ah, you needed a disk drive!  Once you had that, a commodore 64 was pretty amazing for gaming.  It blew the Atari 2600 and even the first gen Nintendo (which were the only real gaming consoles back then) out of the water.  If you had modem, you could find just about any game on bulletin boards back then.  

 

We used to buy computer magazines that had pages and pages of code for games that you'd have to type in.  Me and my friends would spend days taking turns typing that stuff in, unfortunately, between our ability to type and the code quality itself, it would always become a massive debugging exercise, but it's what got me started in my software engineering career.

Someone I worked with had a Hesmon cartridge. I was able to duplicate it on an EEPROM and mount it to a card that I slipped into the back. I still have the 6502 and 6510 books for learning machine code and how to interface with the C64 interrupt schemes.

 

First thing I wrote was something to interface to an AFSK decoder I built specifically for one of the SCA subchannels on a local FM station. The service was something called PocketQuote, a stock ticker broadcast service. The service itself used a hand-held SCA receiver built into what looked like a TI-58 calculator with an optical card reader for the user's access code. The program I wrote emulated that thing, plus was able to track up to 20 stocks, plus detect any access codes that were plainly unencrypted within the data stream. That's a whole story in itself.

 

Fun times.


* Disclaimer: I am a HughesNet customer and not a HughesNet employee. All of my comments are my own and do not necessarily represent HughesNet in any way.

I started with a VIC-20 and actually used it as a computer rather than just for Omega Race...  Modified and upgraded it enough to keep using it early into the Internet era, accessing indirectly while CompuServe still had command-line interface, also through other boards.

 

Maybe remembering 300bps modems helps me cope with the shortcomings of Hughesnet better than some folks seem to do...

 

Finally lept out of the stone age with a Macintosh 68030, then an iMac 333, then an eMachines tower (along with a Dell Inspirion laptop for the wife), then the current HP slimline tower (along with assorted Android devices)..  I was just thinking that my current desktop has 7,400x the processor, 3.3 million x the RAM of my first one... But I still don't have a robot butler or flying car!!!!

 

 

Rumblshack
New Poster

Buncha NOOBS! (LOL)

My first computer was a TRS-80 Model 2 in the fall of 1980 (TRS-80 stood for Tandy-Radio Shack 1980... Great imaginations, eh?)

No Windows then, nor MS-DOS. Everything was done in BASIC.

My parents said that was the future so I needed to learn it.

maratsade
Distinguished Professor IV

LOL!

 

I bet you didn't experience any buffering in those days, old timer! 😉

 

Ah....good old Radio Shack! I used to love that place; they had great stuff. 

 


@Rumblshack wrote:

Buncha NOOBS! (LOL)

My first computer was a TRS-80 Model 2 in the fall of 1980 (TRS-80 stood for Tandy-Radio Shack 1980... Great imaginations, eh?)

No Windows then, nor MS-DOS. Everything was done in BASIC.

My parents said that was the future so I needed to learn it.


 

Not a computer, but the best thing RadioShack ever made: DX-160. So sorry I gave mine away. Classic radio.


* Disclaimer: I am a HughesNet customer and not a HughesNet employee. All of my comments are my own and do not necessarily represent HughesNet in any way.
maratsade
Distinguished Professor IV

But you couldn't streeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaam with it! Smiley LOL

 


@MarkJFine wrote:

Not a computer, but the best thing RadioShack ever made: DX-160. So sorry I gave mine away. Classic radio.


 

C0RR0SIVE
Associate Professor

My first computer, we grabbed in 2001 or 2002 for $800 or so...  15 or 17 inch CRT, was an HP Pavillion, forgot the model number, but it had an 800Mhz Pentium 3 with 32MB of RAM, 20GB HDD, and Win98 SE.  I miss that little machine.


@maratsade wrote:

But you couldn't streeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaam with it! Smiley LOL


Maybe not that model. But I can 'audio stream' using my JRC NRD-535D. There is a mode call Digital Radio Mondiale, which is a 10kHz-wide QAM signal that uses varying underlying audio protocols to stream high fidelity digital audio over shortwave.

 

For example: I'm able to livestream Kuwait on 15110kHz most mornings. That's not to say I actually understand what they're saying. It's just that conditions are such that I can properly receive and decode it.


* Disclaimer: I am a HughesNet customer and not a HughesNet employee. All of my comments are my own and do not necessarily represent HughesNet in any way.
maratsade
Distinguished Professor IV

"For example: I'm able to livestream Kuwait on 15110kHz most mornings. That's not to say I actually understand what they're saying. It's just that conditions are such that I can properly receive and decode it."

 

Very cool!

GabeU
Distinguished Professor IV


@MarkJFine wrote:

Not a computer, but the best thing RadioShack ever made: DX-160. So sorry I gave mine away. Classic radio.


It reminds me of the days when Radio Shack actually had some inventive and quality devices, and their own at that.  

 

Unbelievably, we still have a Radio Shack in our nearby village, though it opened in the early 90s, after those better store days were mostly over.


Ryzen 5 3400G | MSI B450M Pro-M2 MAX | 16GB Corsair Vengeance DDR4 3000 | XPG SX8200 Pro 512GB NVMe | Windows 10 Pro

Pre-1980 RadioShack was pretty awesome. That was back in the day when they actually sold components where you could build stuff as well as the tools and materials to build it with. They had some pre-made electronics, but their specialty was kits and loose/replacement parts... hobbyist stuff. After 1980 they went a little corporate crazy, then finally failed.


* Disclaimer: I am a HughesNet customer and not a HughesNet employee. All of my comments are my own and do not necessarily represent HughesNet in any way.