"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."
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.
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.
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.
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!!!!