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5/15/2014
07:00 AM
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Throwback Thursday: This Old PC

Have a beloved old computer sitting in the attic or garage? It's show and tell time.

When we took our recent look back at the BASIC programming language, InformationWeek readers enjoyed the trip down memory lane: You loved BASIC -- and you loved those old PCs it ran on. You loved the cassette tapes. You loved the floppy disks. You probably didn't love whatever you wore to school or work to use those computers -- but rest easy, we're not going to ask you to share picture of yourselves in plaid pants, feathered hair, or Coke-bottle glasses.

However, in the spirit of Throwback Thursday, we are asking you to share a picture of the oldest, most beloved computer you have right now at home. And if you have a story to share around that computer, we're listening.

Show and tell us about the computer you can’t quite part with, in all its green screen or beige, plastic glory. It's probably in your garage, basement, or attic, keeping its geeky story to itself. After all, you can't hang onto your first car, but your first crush computer will not get you a guest spot on Hoarders. You may even have several of these beauties.

[As BASIC turns 50, here's a nostalgic look back at some of our favorite projects: When BASIC Was Young: Great Memories.

Dump these computers at the local electronics recycling center? That is reserved for the soulless Lenovo laptop that wordlessly gave out on you during a business trip. Your TRS-80 is another matter: You may even hope to pass it to your grandkids someday. (I have boxes of tech magazines that I am saving for my grandkids. Not everyone's grandma got to write about Windows 95!)

Maybe you have a Compaq "portable" circa 1982 in the attic:

Or maybe you hung onto this Apple IIc stunner, similar to the one I used in high school to write columns for my first paying newspaper job:

That computer was a thing of beauty -- and the dot matrix printer that sat beside it was a beast.

In some cases, your old computer may still be in its natural habitat. For example, you may have an ugly home PC desk with a special filing cabinet-esque compartment for storing your huge tower PC. (Remember when we all thought expansion room was so important? Add a big new hard drive!). That whole cloud thing has killed the clunky home office furniture market.

Let's see the classic computers you love. Paste the pictures of your old PCs, including the model name and approximate vintage, using our comments field below. [Editor's note: To copy your photo into comments, choose "select all" to copy your photo, then choose copy, and Control + v to paste. Or, use our "insert picture" button and supply a URL for a Web-accessible image no bigger than 500 pixels.] Also tell us briefly why you love the machine, or why you kept it. I have InformationWeek swag for the winner. Anybody want to kick in a box of floppies, too?

Trying to meet today's business technology needs with yesterday's IT organizational structure is like driving a Model T at the Indy 500. Time for a reset. Read our Transformative CIOs Organize For Success report today. (Free registration required.)

Laurianne McLaughlin currently serves as InformationWeek.com's Editor-in-Chief, overseeing daily online editorial operations. Prior to joining InformationWeek in May, 2011, she was managing editor at CIO.com. Her writing and editing work has won multiple ASBPE (American ... View Full Bio

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Michelle
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Michelle,
User Rank: Strategist
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! 
David F. Carr
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David F. Carr,
User Rank: Author
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.
tvail809
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tvail809,
User Rank: Apprentice
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.

GaryC11301
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GaryC11301,
User Rank: Apprentice
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
DLEVINSON191
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DLEVINSON191,
User Rank: Apprentice
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.  
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.

D. Henschen
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D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
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
JRUPERSBURG483
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JRUPERSBURG483,
User Rank: Apprentice
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.
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