First Computers (was Re: [SunRescue] Yay, I don't feel...)
BSD Bob the old greybeard BSD freak
rescue at sunhelp.org
Mon Mar 12 08:55:55 CST 2001
> While we're on this trend- what was everyone's first computer? Do you
> still own it?? Still use it?
Used or owned? I first used one in '72 when I took my first computer
class, Fortran IV, but we used punch cards back then. When I cleaned
out my office a few months back I found a stack of about a hundred cards
with one of my programs ready to go... anyone still got a live card
reader? I used a DEC pdp-somethingorother with an ASR33 for RJE input
and output for my thesis work in 1977 or so. I don't remember offhand
if the machine ran UNIX, or just what it ran. The first real computer
I ``owned'' was a ``laboratory data logger'' machine (we were not allowed
to usurp the computing center's powers and actually own a computer back
then...1979), which was a hand built Cromemco S-100 thingie with adc
boards logging to paper tape which was later uploaded to the mainframe
for Fortran gobbling. Output was also back through the ASR33 onto
yellow canary rollform. When cleaning out said office, I found a
file with some leftover Fortran canary form. When not datalogging,
the ASR33 was hooked up to the ``Internet'' via a high-level line
driver through lines snaked through the steam tunnels over to the
computer center, starting in November, '80. I still have the line
driver box, with the date scribbled on it, for some fun laughs.
Later I added real 81K floppers onto the thing, and ran CDOS and CP/M.
When I trashed the equipment, a couple of years back, I noted we had
run CDOS 0.11, 0.20, 1.07, 2.17, 2.36, 2.52, 2.58, and CP/M 2.2.
I wound up building several of these S100 critters as dataloggers
and office machines. For printers, I had, of all things, Teletype
Model 40 chain printers. You could hear them all the way down the
hall, at speed.... brraaaappp, brraaaappp, brraaaappp, as the line
of hammers fired in sequence. They were the fastest printers around
the department, until laserjets. A couple of months back, I gave
all my leftover S100 bits and a mountain of floppers to a local.
If anyone needs any of the old Cromemco disks, holler, before they
eventually lose the bytebits, and he chucks 'em.
I touched my first UNIX box (old Trash 80 16B with Xenix 1.01) in
1983. In 1987, we got an RT with AIX 2, on loan from IBM, while
our Model 80 with AIX 1.1 was being put together. We had to wait
8 months for the AIX 1.1, and it was still hot off the press when
we got it. That AIX 1.1 thing is still sitting on the shelf, with
a MooU tag on it, and will be the last thing I surplus when I retire.
The AIX 1.1 Model 80 crate I set up as our departmental Email server,
ftp archives, and internet gateway, via a 300 line Pentel 9600 baud
async hub. Running 300 accounts on a 16mhz 386 box, was an interesting
trial by fire. A couple years later we updated to real ethernet. The
departement went Winblows crazy in 1995, and me and one other fellow
are the only UNIX holdouts. My current office sports one Winblows
box (to be compatible with the herd), and 3 UNIX servers, for good
measure. At home, the wife gets one Winblows box, and the old man,
maybe a couple dozen UNIX toys of this and that flavor.
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