A nostalgic trip down computer history lane 💾

Ah, you babies. Let me spin up my IBM System/360 show you how punch cards work.

(just kidding, I’m 46 years old and started on a C64)

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Ah, I remember that damn ZX-81 16kb RAM pack well as you had to jimmy something under it to keep it from flipping the ZX-81 up in the air because of the weight of it (a friend had one).

I started with an Apple ][ (Basic and Pascal) in the late 70’s, and happily moved to a 1st generation Macintosh (more Pascal/MPW/AMT and eventually HyperCard and Macromedia Director) my father bought for his design studio. I think he ‘used’ it for about 2 weeks before I absconded with it.

I also dabbled with a C64 and Amiga, but I always kept coming back to the Mac.

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LOL! I never got to work on the IBM 360. After the punch card Xerox Sigma 9, we were upgraded to a a DEC VAX-11/780. Using terminals with that blazingly fast (for the time) system was amazing. But honestly, I preferred to code on smaller machines. During the early IBM PC years, I had a DEC Rainbow 100 that I loved.

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Ah yes, old computer stories!

I eventually ended up with the Amiga, starting out with the A500 and ending up with an Amiga A1200.

I fitted the A1200 with a trap door PowerPC accelerator card (the trap door is a removable panel underneath the Amiga computer, that gives access to a connector that allows you to hook anything up to the machine). As the accelerator wouldn’t fit, I had to convert my A1200 to a tower case. But the case took ages to get here, so in the mean time I had my A1200 propped up on a contraption made of jar lids and a bit of laminated cardboard to keep the accelerator’s fan from touching the desk (and stopping, and then overheating the CPU… ah those were the days…!).

By 2001-2002, the A1200-with-PowerPC simply no longer sufficed as a daily driver, and I switched to Mac. I did keep the Amiga until about 12 years ago, to play old games when I felt nostalgic. I now have an “The A500 Mini” to quench that thirst.

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Haha had work with over the years TSR 80 with audio cassettes CPM with 8" Floppies and then got to work with DEC mainframes then Tandom and various iterations of IBM. Odd thing like Exxon Word processors IBM PCs Atari ST, (yeah actually that was a nice machine),Various CPM and DOS Machines as well as NEXT and Sun solaris but the the best I will save for last when I was at EDS they brought in a server from really ancient Roman times it had large spinning reels like reel to real tape recorders but better yet it did not use magnetic tape it had some kind of paper like ribbon with holes punched in it. I guess it was just a newer version of the punch cards that my dad used

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Should you ever find yourself in the Netherlands, either by choice or by accident, we have two absolutely brilliant computer museums here.

The “Home Computer Museum” in Helmond (link) is like a time machine. You start out in the early 70s, and as you progress through the museum, the machines get more modern. You’ll see every machine, no matter how niche, from the 70s, 80s, 90s and early 2000s and end up ina 2005 LAN-party with hooked up machines. They even have their own webserver that serves up a cache of the internet like it was in the 90s… talk about dedication!

The best bit? You’re allowed to operate pretty much all of the computers! So you can play old games there all day, or experience machines you only read about.

They also have some pretty exclusive computers there. Like an Amiga A4000 that was discovered by a Youtuber (1, 2, 3) not too long ago, and turned out to have been used in the production of Titanic (the James Cameron film). It still had preproduction footage and prototype renders for the SFX scenes on it.

Other famous machines, such as ones used by NASA and by famous game devs, are also there. Early MIDI, the Apple LISA, pretty much all Macs from the first one up until models from 2010-ish.

The other one is the computer museum of the University of Amsterdam (link), which has some pretty awesome stuff like mainframes. however, this one you can’t simply visit, as you must request a tour by emailing them (they’re only open on request).

Cheers,
Erwin

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The Amiga was one that I never experienced. I wondered at the time what I was missing. But I was too busy at the time with UNIX (various Sun workstations), the Mac of course, and DOS through various Windows installs, and OS/2.

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I have not thought about CPM in a very long time. Brings back memories of Osborne computer. Be careful calling a DEC mini-computer a mainframe around any old IBM guys, they might go postal on you. :slight_smile:

I loved my NeXT slab. I used to sell them and the Mac in several enterprise accounts including Motorola. I got to meet Steve J. during that time. Very interesting guy.

I never got to work on any real, reel-to-reel systems. I’ll bet that was interesting. Did you see any movie set cameras around you getting footage to use in movies?!

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Wow! Those do sound like fun locations! I doubt my bride would be interested, but I guess she can go and wander through the tulip fields while I relive history!

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Nobody recalls TI994A ? Hmm so??? :face_holding_back_tears: BTW Thank you very to all for sharing these wonderful memories. :+1:

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No movie set but it was Y2K and guess what it was not compliant. Glad I did not actually have to work on that account


The DEC 20 Mini Computer

VS

image
Apple Mac mini Computer

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1980 we all dreamed about « shoe box size » computer, now it’s real :+1:

me too! vic 20 before my loved C64 with a programming correspondence course for basic coding, I remember, one week lesson with audio cassettes, purchased at newsagent. I was a kid, good memories!

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Had these
zx spectrum / vic 20

I still have these in the attic all working
amstrad cpc 6128 with original colour monitor
amiga 500
amiga 1200 w/hard drive

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For the time, the Amiga was groundbreaking - stereo audio with real samples instead of synthesised beeps, high-res (full screen) images consisting of 4096 colours (still images) or 64 colours (moving images), and all at once if needed too. The Mac, which had come out one year prior, only came with two-tone greyscale screens at the time.

On the productivity side, the OS was real time multitasking. Instead of a window that your software would run in, programs would run on draggable screens (draggable vertically only, so like a deck of cards where you slide the top one down to reveal the one underneath). The Mac didn’t get multitasking until years later.

It was really a big thing at the time.

Cheers,
Erwin

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The Amiga had great press at the time. I even recall that Apple was getting stalled on OS9, there was a debate about whether or not Apple should buy Amiga or NeXT and use one of their operating systems for OS9…or at least base the OS largely on one of those platforms. Of course, we know what happened and I think they made the right decision, but possibly for the wrong reasons.

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AmigaOS could stand its ground up until 1991 or so. After that, the competition began overtaking it. Mainly because Commodore was dragging its heels in investing in it. At the time we didn’t understand why, but looking back it was probably for financial reasons.

The big plus AmigaOS had, was that everything was modular. Every component could be replaced by a third party solution without resorting to ‘hacking’ the OS like you’d need to in macOS (before extensions).

So even though Commodore never officially supported PowerPC on the Amiga, manufacturers of PowerPC expansion boards simply included a floppy disk that replaced the 680x0 “driver” with one made for PowerPC. The same could be done with graphics, up to the point where you were abel to put a 3Dfx Voodoo card in your Amiga and it actually worked (on like 3 games, but still!).

AmigaOS got up to 3.1 under Commodore, but was further developed by third parties after. New versions for unmodified Amiga’s still come out from time to time.

I remember a guy in my local computer club who had kitted his Amiga out to be the perfect Mac - it ran classic macOS faster than any official and unexpanded 68k Mac ever did.

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I have many fond memories of the AtariST and Amiga (just before I got into Macs) from when I was younger. Back in 2017 I purchased an Amiga A1200 and monitor from eBay to replay all the games from my childhood, including; Stunt Car Racer, International Karate +, Dungeon Master, Bubble Bobble, Rampage, Arkanoid, Cannon Fodder and many more. Nostalgia can be a wonderful (and expensive) drug!

I don’t have the Amiga anymore, but I did take some photos of it during that time…

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still have the games stored with the amiga’s in the attic

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