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Throwback Thursday: This Old PC
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JRUPERSBURG483
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JRUPERSBURG483,
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5/15/2014 | 9:04:06 AM
Radio Shack PC2 Handheld Computer
Best hand held computer I have ever had still use it today just to have some fun with Basic programming and its a great calulator also.
D. Henschen
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D. Henschen,
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5/15/2014 | 9:42:15 AM
Another Radio Shack Winner & Journalist's Friend
Radio Shack's TSR 80 was a highly portable winner in an era of "luggables." It was a hit with journalists back in the 80s. An eight-line LCD display didn't give you much room to work with, but you could polish a short paragraph at a time.

Radio Shack TRS-80
David F. Carr
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David F. Carr,
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5/15/2014 | 11:25:14 AM
Re: Another Radio Shack Winner & Journalist's Friend
Also known as the "trash 80," at least among my newspaper friends from the time.
Ariella
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Ariella,
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5/15/2014 | 11:53:13 AM
Re: Another Radio Shack Winner & Journalist's Friend
I seem to recall that Apple II. My father brought it -- or something that looked just like it --home one day when he was trying to learn how to use it. 
ChrisMurphy
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ChrisMurphy,
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5/20/2014 | 10:34:20 AM
Re: Another Radio Shack Winner & Journalist's Friend
Definitely the TRS 80 portable is the one I remember -- you could view about 8 lines of text at once, but it was the only real option at the time for filing articles from the road. But the real gem was the "acoustic coupler" modem that suction cupped onto the ear and mouth piece of an old phone. Saying that I used one of those with a pay phone makes me sound about 1,000 years old. 

 

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LarryH317
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LarryH317,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/15/2014 | 9:50:16 AM
Legacy systems
I might sound a little bit like an episode of "Hoarders", but I still have the following as complete and fully functional...

Amiga 500

Mac SE/30

SGI Indy

All three were breakthrough systems in their day. They were not exactly top-tier hardware, but they had innovative features that are common even to modern systems.

The Amiga got most of the programming time with AmigaBASIC once I got over the differences with GWBASIC. Fun times.

DLEVINSON191
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DLEVINSON191,
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5/15/2014 | 11:13:56 AM
The 1st BASIC computer I ever worked on...
Back at public school, the 1st BASIC PC I ever programmed on didn't even have a screen.  It was just a teletype keyboard attached to a printer with a manual coupler that was nothing more than an old school telephone handset nestled in a cradle.  Whatever you typed appeared in black typeset as did the prompts.  The computer took up a whole floor located 20 blocks away from where we were.  
GaryC11301
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GaryC11301,
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5/15/2014 | 11:15:36 AM
IBM PC
My first very own computer.  Wrote invoicing program in Basic.  No sort, had to code own bubble sort routine
tvail809
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tvail809,
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5/15/2014 | 11:23:08 AM
Re: IBM PC
Yep, I have one of these, too.  It is the second generation IBM PC with the 256K motherboard (model 5150), not the original 64K release.

Michelle
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Michelle,
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5/15/2014 | 11:52:31 AM
BASIC on an Apple II
I didn't own one of these computers back in the day but my school had a computer lab long before it was customary to have such a room dedicated to machines.

We learned BASIC and played Oregon Trail on Apple II computers. If I had owned one of these machines I would have kept it all these years. They were a bit too pricy for our modest household budget in the 80s. 



Also, I have boxes of old floppy disks with no use. I did a great job backing up data that I never needed! 
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
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5/15/2014 | 12:13:05 PM
Back in '08
A 2008 Toshiba Satellite laptop running Windows Vista (upgraded to Windows 7 of course). Hey this is old by technology standards.

Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
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5/15/2014 | 12:42:05 PM
It was shocking how fast they disappeared
I don't have a picture of a Texas Instruments 99/4a. They attached to a television set so you didn't have to buy a monitor. They looked something like a modern laptop, a low and sleek silver box. It was shocking how quickly they disappeared. Somehow, Texas Instrucments produced a batch that could deliver electrical shocks off the keyboard to their users and 99/4a model couldn't be resuscitated after that. 
ANON1247493318178
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ANON1247493318178,
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5/15/2014 | 12:44:36 PM
TI-99 setup
Finally got rid of this rig just before I retired last year, but I did some serious computing on this TI-99, complete with external hard drive (10 K as I recall).  I bought it while working in the Pentagon and first used it to calculate a manpower reduction

TerryB
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TerryB,
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5/15/2014 | 12:52:15 PM
Commodore 64
Gee, if I'd have known this article was coming I wouldn't thrown the C-64 out I found in box in basement about 5 years ago. I remember buying that when going to college for Comp Sci,  thinking I'd learn how to write video games. You could use Basic to control up to 8 sprites. I quickly learned that type of programming was not much fun. :-)

PaulS681
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PaulS681,
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5/17/2014 | 2:32:23 PM
Re: Commodore 64
Oh boy... I had one of these way back when. I used it with a 300 baud modem to connect to Quantum Link, which was owned be AOL I believe.
anon6207829264
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anon6207829264,
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5/15/2014 | 3:38:40 PM
This still resides in my father's basement
Kim-1

I got this as a gift in 1977, and never got rid of it. Who needs an OS when you can program bare metal in hex. It might be primitive, but it taught great coding, I had a chess program for it that ran in 1100 bytes!

 
ErnieSchell
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ErnieSchell,
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5/15/2014 | 5:02:05 PM
Amstrad Notepad
This 1990s Tandy 102 "laptop" is 1" thick and 8.5 x 11" with a serial port and a parallel printer port. Came in handy (yes, that rhymes with Tandy). Great battery life (about 30 hours). Not very heavy, either. I used to offload all kinds of text files to XyWrite on my PC and reformat as needed.

http://www.schell.com/tandy.jpg

I also had an HP Jornada handheld with a keyboard and screen that was kind of a proto-Smartphone (without the phone...). On the front right side you can see the end of the stylus used to draw on the screen if you wanted to illustrate your text with a rendering or line drawing. This weighed a couple of pounds, but was only aboout 4x8" and ran Windows CE. I once left it in a plane seat pocket, and had to have it retrieved for me after I had left the plane. I still have a folder in my archives of the several hundred lengthy notes I kept and updated on this handy device.

HP Jornada 720 Handheld PC
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
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5/15/2014 | 5:37:57 PM
Re: Amstrad Notepad
Great pics, keep them coming! PS: I should have known XyWrite would come up.
D. Henschen
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D. Henschen,
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5/15/2014 | 6:18:21 PM
Re: Amstrad Notepad
That Tandy is clearly a later version of the Radio Shack (same company) TRS-80. And I, too, remember XyWrite... great, fast word processor. Brings back memories of floppy disks and command-line operations.
WKash
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WKash,
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5/15/2014 | 6:16:38 PM
HP 200LX- Trusted companion


Back in 1994, HP launched a series of impressive Palmtop computers, including this HP 200LX, that let you work with Lotus 1-2-3 files, write/edit Word docs, plot intricate math forumlas on a graph, and manage tons of tasks with a powerful database engine, including a feature-rich calendar and address book, all on 1 MB (and later 4 MB) of memory.  It's not as old and venerable as some of the other PCs readers have posted, but it was a brilliantly engineered portable computer in its day and a trusted companion for many years.
Guitardogg
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Guitardogg,
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5/20/2014 | 3:34:25 PM
Re: HP 200LX- Trusted companion
I started out with the 95LX, then the 100LX, and eventually the one you show, the 200LX.  There was a lot of software for these guys.  One that I liked a lot was a universal TV remote app.  I still have my 100LX.  It is still the best PDA I ever owned!
ErnieSchell
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ErnieSchell,
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5/15/2014 | 7:50:52 PM
Three further comments
1) You might wonder why my post on the Tandy 102 is labeled "Amstrad." I was also going to post a picture of very similar but even older flat "notebook" called the Amstrad Notepad. I do have the machine. but you can look it up.

2) Someone mentioned Lotus Word (and 1-2-3-, the original spreadsheet). I always thought Word was so much better than Microsoft Word, and only started using MS Word in the late 90s because it had become a defacto standard, and I had to share a lot of files for business purposes. Personally, I was extremely sorry to give up on the Lotus product, which was WAY ahead of its time (and was probably better for ordinary business writing than MS Word is even today!).

3) My first home computer in 1983 was an IBM XT clone. My biggest decision was whether to get a second floppy drive, or a hard drive. I took the hard drive, which was a wise move. I got a whopping 10 MEGAbytes of storage. With my XyWrite word processor, I could put XyW AND a bunch of files on a 5.25 inch "floppy" and plug it in anywhere! I ran Eliza on the XT clone, too -- the first AI home program: a pseudo therapist (an 8 ball did a better job!). The computer was very similar to the one below:
ErnieSchell
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ErnieSchell,
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5/15/2014 | 9:29:44 PM
IBM Memory Typewriter
Along with all of the info below, in 1974 IBM introduced the Memory Typewriter, a desktop business unit that stored everything typed and allowed the operator to recall and revise previously typed material. It had a 4,000 character memory, with a 50-page storage capacity.



 
tkeller852
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tkeller852,
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5/16/2014 | 2:34:14 PM
Laptop
 

It's called a "Sunshine" and it came out of Taiwan.  It had a big 40 MB hard drive and 2 MB of memory.  It's battery would hold it up for almost 45 minutes.  It was a good little laptop.  I don't remember the exact date but I got Windows 3.1 to go on it as it came with DOS 5.something.  3.1 was just out.  You have to be real interested to appreciate Windows in shades of grey.  I would also show my IBM PC but it is exactly the same model (256K) as the one already shown.  The only thing I had really worked on before that time was a Burroughs 205 (room full of vacuum tubes).  I am now designing into a new product the Intel i7 with Haswell and at only 45 watts.  It's been a fun trip.
PaulS681
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PaulS681,
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5/17/2014 | 2:35:44 PM
Toaster floppy
I wish I had a picture of this thing, but at one of the places I worked they used floppy drives that were as big as toasters... the disks were bigger than a slice of bread.
manassehkatz
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manassehkatz,
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5/18/2014 | 11:14:22 AM
TTY43, Wyse100, Altos 586
First machine (not a computer by itself) was a TTY43 which my evil twin & I used to connect to our Dad's company's minicomputer - we got our own phone line for the 300 bps modem. TTY43

A couple of years later we upgraded to a Wyse 100 terminal (green screen, metal case, great keyboard) and a move up to 1200 bps. Connected to University of MD mainframes:

Wyse 100

And finally our first real computer - Altos 586 running MPM-86 (and a 2nd Wyse 100, and WyseWord EPROMs for the Wyse 100s - the TTY43 became the system printer until we got an Epson):

Altos 586

Not your typical first computer - but we needed a multiuser system and Microsoft had not taken over the world yet, so MPM-86 was a reasonable option at the time.

 
ErnieSchell
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ErnieSchell,
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5/20/2014 | 9:38:38 AM
AltaVista
In the 90s, before Google even launched, AltaVista was my go-to search engine. I thought it worked exeptionaly well. It was finally shut down July 8, 2013, by Yahoo! and the domain now redirects to Yahoo!'s own search site.
mak63
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mak63,
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5/30/2014 | 5:07:09 PM
not that old, but...

I'm sure many of us remember the old HP Vectras. Not that old really, just a Pentium 3 with 256 MB of memory (not upgradable, I might add).
Nonetheless, I think this kind of computer is the precursor of the home theater PCs, don't you agree?

I really enjoyed this kind of articles and the comments. Thank you


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