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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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D. Henschen
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D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
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,
User Rank: Author
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.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
5/15/2014 | 5:37:57 PM
Re: Amstrad Notepad
Great pics, keep them coming! PS: I should have known XyWrite would come up.
ErnieSchell
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ErnieSchell,
User Rank: Strategist
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
anon6207829264
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anon6207829264,
User Rank: Apprentice
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!

 
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
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. :-)

ANON1247493318178
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ANON1247493318178,
User Rank: Apprentice
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

Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
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. 
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
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.

Ariella
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Ariella,
User Rank: Ninja
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. 
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