A bit about me

Introduce yourself. Tell people why you are interested in vintage computers and what (if anything) you've got.

A bit about me

Postby StudyAnimal on Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:58 pm

Cool site. I was computer obsessed since I was born in the late 70s. At primary school (early 80s) we had a computer club where parents and teachers would bring computers along and show us stuff, I can't remember much but I do remember seeing an Apple II there.

We eventually got a Commodore 64 in the old style case with the datasette. I remember the only way to get a decent picture on the tv was by wrapping the cable around the RF modulator and holding it between your knees. We had some crappy games, but dad also got the Introduction to BASIC course and a couple of books so I spent more time learning to program.

We moved and I went to another primary school where a teacher there had a ZX-81 (with the RAM Pack stuck on with Blue Tack) and a Commodore Plus-4. They weren't available for general use but since I made it known to the teacher that I was interested he let me play on them. I believe the school also had an Apple II but I don't remember using it much.

At high school we had BBC Model Bs (and a Master), we had a computer club there too but it was basically just a games club, pretty popular though. You were allowed to book a limited number of lunchtimes per week, and it was always full. Everyone had a couple of 5 1/4" floppies with repton and citadel on it. Only me and another guy were really interested in programming though.

Some of my friends there got Commodore 64s in the new style too, but they all had disk drives and were only playing games. Other computers I got to play with at other people's places include a Sord M23 Mark II that ran CP/M, and an SX-64.

Another family friend had a Commodore 64 and they also had the Advanced Programmers Reference Guide which they didn't even use, but they let me borrow. I have fond memories of staying up late making silly games where you could move a sprite around with the joystick avoiding other sprites. A lot of POKEs! And it ran so slow!

A couple of times I was allowed to bring a school computer home, and managed to get a modem from somewhere and played around with the BBSs which was awesome, but I couldn't do it too much as we lived in the country and the tolls were prohibitive.

I remember my friend's dad was considering buying their first home computer and we were pushing for a C-128 which I guess I thought was the shiznit at the time, but his dad bought home an Amiga 500! That was the end of the magical 8-bit era.

At school all the BBCs were replaced by Archimedes, we got a new larger computer room. The computer club faded away as by then most people had Amiga 500s at home for playing games, me and another guy were still allowed in at lunchtime to do programming though. I am pretty sure by this point I had pretty much stopped using the C64 too. The family friend had a 286 (I think) with windows 3.1 and I used that to learn pascal and C, and also earned a bit of money doing apps with MS Access, but it didn't feel as magical as programming the C64 though, if you know what I mean.

After high school I went to Uni where it was all DEC Minis, VMS and Unix, NeXTSTEP, a lot of old 68k Macs, and a few new Power Macs, the Internet was new (to me) and exciting but still hadn't gone mainstream and I bought a PC and installed slackware linux on it from a whole box of floppies, but that is all another story, far too recent to be vintage.

I remember hooking the old C64 up a few years back and only got garbage on the screen so it got sent in for recycling.

The only semi-vintage piece of kit I had was a surplus VT-220 terminal that I scored off the uni for free which was awesome for hooking up to my linux PC, but I moved overseas, and my dad got rid of it.

Now I live in Germany, and a couple of weekends ago I went to the world's largest computer museum, the Heinz Nixdorf Forum which had all sorts of vintage gear from all eras, which inspired nostalgic feelings.

Every now and then I have a look at E-Bay, and consider getting some old 8-bit machine but haven't pulled the trigger on anything yet. I fear I might get something and never use it. I do try out some emulators though, so I get to play all the cool C64 games that my friends had on floppy but I never had on cassette. Last weekend I even played around with an Altair 8800 emulator.

Anyway I found this site via the Bits&Bytes archive, excellent work, I remember reading that magazine, but not that early. Prices were pretty shocking back then though.
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Re: A bit about me

Postby tezza on Sun Mar 21, 2010 8:51 am


Thanks for that interesting introduction. Yes, I too remember all those pokes needed to get the C-64 to do anything with sound and graphics. I remember when the machines first came out how disappointed I was with the sparse BASIC. Essentially the same as the Commodore Pet. From memory Commodore had a long term arrangement with Microsoft for the use of this BASIC, which is why it appeared in the C-64. It didn't cost Commodore anything! :)

Nevertheless I'm sure the C-64 is the first computer to a lot of people of a certain generation and as such, much loved.

You see Archimedes machines apprear on Trade Me now and again. I always wondered where they came from as they were never a popular home computer. Of course, some schools would have bought them as upgrades to their BBCs.

Collecting machines is a nostalgic blast, but you do need a tolerant spouse and above all ROOM. If you want a working collection it pays to have some basic electronic skills also. I started just so I've have some things to play around with when I retired (a number of years to go yet) but the hobby just sort of took over!

Anyway, thanks for checking in particularly considering you're offshore. Feel free to contribute any thoughts or opinions anywhere in the forums.

Terry (Tez)
Tez (Terry Stewart) (Administrator)
Collection: http://www.classic-computers.org.nz/col ... /index.htm
Projects and Articles: http://www.classic-computers.org.nz/blog/index.htm
Twitter: @classiccomputNZ | YouTube: Terry Stewart
Trade Me: tezza5
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Re: A bit about me

Postby Mr President on Mon Jun 21, 2010 12:59 am

A feature I liked about he bbcs was that you could install applications on ROMs. The commodore plus 4 had four applications built in on ROM also. No loading off disk and no getting corrupted by viruses (or just corrupted).

LOL at the wrapping the cable around the rf modulator. Sounds so familiar. I managed to break mine and had to cut and rejoin the wires. Had to get it sitting just right to get a picture.

I used to drool over Amigas. They were throw out items by the time I got one though.
On TradeMe I'm BIT.
Mr President
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