Scott Hanselman

Choosing the best computer for 1982.

February 18, 2004 Comment on this post [10] Posted in Musings
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Found this little gem in the archives and scanned it for y'all.  Couple of great ads inside. 

  • An IBM PC ad, the one with Charlie Chaplin - 16k bytes.  16 bit, 8088.  optional 5.25" 160k floppy.  4-color 320x200. Good times.  Only $3k.
    "The modem that plugs into your phone takes the codes your IBM Personal Computer understands and turns them into signals that can be transmitted over phone lines"
  • Some nice articles on acoustic vs. direct-connect models. The acoustic model from Novation was only $189.
  • This was back before computing was limited to a few companies. Some highlighted models:
    • $g(Apple II)
    • $g(Atari 800)
    • $g(Commodore 64)
    • $g(Franklin ACE 1000)
    • $g(IBM PC)
    • $g(TRS 80 Model III)
    • $g(Apple III)
    • $g(Casio FX9000P)
    • $g(Corvus Concept)
    • $g(Cromemco C10)
    • $g(DEC Rainbow 100)
    • $g(Fortune 32 16)
    • $g(Heathkit H90 Zenith Z89)
    • $g(MTU130)
    • $g(NEC APC)
    • $g(North Star Advantage)
    • $g(Olivetti M20)
    • $g(TFI if800)
    • $g(Victor 9000)
    • $g(Wang PC)
    • $g(Xerox 820II)
    • $g(Dynalogic Hyperion)
    • $g(Epson HX20)
    • $g(Grid Compass)
    • $g(Kaypro II)
    • $g(Lexicon LEX31)
    • $g(Osbourne I)
    • $g(Otrona Attache)
    • $g(Panasonic RLH1000)
    • $g(Sharp PC1500)
    • $g(Atari 400)
    • $g(Commodore VIC 20)
    • $g(TI99 4A)
    • $g(Timex Sinclar 1000)
    • $g(TRS80 Color Computer)

Do you have any fond memories of these beauties?

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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February 18, 2004 19:11
It was possibly the crappiest mass-produced computer ever, with it's membrane keyboard, and a memory module add-on so heavy that it almost made the whole thing flip over, but I do have a soft spot for the Timex Sinclair 1000. :-)

And fond memories of playing M.U.L.E. on an Atari 800. Best game music...ever. OK, maybe not best, but it still sticks in my head some 20 years later. That's gotta count for something.
February 18, 2004 19:28
M.U.L.E.? Surely you jest. (The geek gauntlets are off.) Nothing has or ever will beat Karateka on the Apple II GS. ;-)
February 18, 2004 19:48
Hooray for the Heathkith H89 (essentially the same box as the Zenith Z89, but you saved a few hundred bucks by putting it together yourself). We had one, with three 5 1/4" floppy drives (two in an external enclosure), which allowed us to run the FORTRAN compiler. Some of the code that helped make the launch decision for the original space shuttle launches was writte on that very same beast. Later on it ran a BBS using Puppy, the software that was the stripped-down version of Fido, and a fearsomely expensive 300 baud direct connect modem. Ah, those were the days.
February 18, 2004 21:04
wow, Vic 20. I used to spend entirely too much time playing Attack of the Mutant Camels and Adventure Island (or some variation of that). It was also one of my first dives into programming. I used to get a magazine (the name escapes me now) and copy programs, in BASIC, directly out of the magazine into the PC.

And whenever I see Commodore 64, I think of the big mainframe apps that I used to work on in the Marine Corps. One of them, that was used in the logistics of all medical supplies, was prototyped on a Commodore 64.
February 19, 2004 8:42
It's scary how many of these I actually used or played with back then. I grew up in Los Alamos, NM - so these things were abundant among the scientist crowd. I have my most fond memories of the Grid Compass, with its bubble memory, gas plasma display, and a fun little maze game you could play on it. Not to mention the fact it could double as a heat pump in colder climates. ;)

I personally had at home either permanently or temporarily: Apple II, Atari 800, C-64, IBM-PC (5150), TRS-80 (various), Heathkits, Wang PC (HUGE floppies), Grid Compass, VIC 20, Atari 400, Sinclair 1000, and others.

Man, scary when you make a list all in one place!

- g
February 19, 2004 19:37
TRS-80 Color Computer II.

I cut my teeth on the TRS-80 MC-10 and the CoCo II. I still have a CoCo, my post below has a recent picture of it...

Also played around with Apple ][, TI99-4a, Commodore 64, etc., but the CoCo was always my favorite. Anyone remember OS/9? Rainbow magazine?
February 19, 2004 21:38
That magazine is a collectors item indeed. Is there a way to scan the rest of the pages and post it somewhere? It would be very interesting to see the contents especially the Bill Gates article and reminisce the 'olden days of pc computing.
February 20, 2004 17:40
Ah, I had both an Osborne and a TRS-80 (model I, though, I don't remember it having color). Both were fantastic! There were definitely a couple games I loved, but I can't seem to remember the names of them. Of course, there was always adventure with those damn bedouin caves! To be honest, it wasn't until last year, when I read "Soul of a New Machine," that I learned the secret to them.
February 21, 2004 2:37
John - I'm betting that the magazine you remember (that had the code you used to type in) was RUN magazine. Those were the days. VIC-20, C-64, C-128, the Amiga. Commodore was both the best and worst company all at the same time (oh, how I miss that chicken lips logo!)
February 26, 2004 6:16
Ha - wow.

When I worked as a recruiter for St. Louis County Goverment in the late 90s, they had this computer recruitment manual thingee that was straight from the 70s, mid 70s at that. Vest: check. Large imposing computers: check. 70s 'do. Check.

It was a riot. I cut the cover off when I left that job (with permission), and it now hangs in my cubicle along with my stuffed animals, legos, Mr. Potato head, throne to the Godzilla dog toy, you get the idea. It's a relic.

I started on Commodore 64. Used to write stuff in BASIC that would quiz and grade me on stuff I needed for school.


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