What was the first computer you used?

Discussion in 'Computer Science & Culture' started by Zillion, Mar 31, 2018.

1. sideshowbobSorry, wrong number.Valued Senior Member

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I had two slide rules: a big one that stayed in my Physics notebook and a pocket-sized one to advertise what a nerd I was. In the early 1900s I had a slide-rule program on my PC.

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3. Beer w/StrawTranscendental Ignorance!Valued Senior Member

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Early 1900s?

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5. sideshowbobSorry, wrong number.Valued Senior Member

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Freudian slip, I guess. Early 2000s.

Although I do go back to the first half of the 1900s.

7. Truck Captain StumpyRegistered Senior Member

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The Commodore Vic-20

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8. mmatt9876Registered Senior Member

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You can download a slide rule app for Android and iOS now.

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9. gebobsRegistered Member

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My first computer was some mainframe at the University at Buffalo. In 1980, I took a class in Fortran while I was in high school to help me get into my preferred university. It only had card reader input and let me tell you how much that sucked.

At Rensselaer, we mainly used the mainframe there which was far more advanced than the one in Buffalo, most apparently since we could edit our code on a CRT! Amazing. And we even had our own terminal at the fraternity house that connected via modem. This was not Faber frat house. We were geeks.

The first personal computer I ever used was a friend's Apple. Then around 1987, I bought my own Macintosh SE: 20 MB hard drive, 8 MHz processor, 3.5" floppy drive, a whole megabyte of RAM (the upgrade from 256 kB cost $800 and a later upgrade to 2MB cost another$500). Total cost with the initial RAM upgrade and a ballin' dot-matrix printer: about \$6000.

10. gebobsRegistered Member

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I laugh when people get all sanctimonious on Facebook about how their kids are not taught cursive. And they never learned how to use a slide rule. Same damned thing.

11. gebobsRegistered Member

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My first "calculator" was some old mechanical thing that you dragged numbers up and down with a pencil or a pen. Then you would pull some lever and it would somehow display a result. Had to be from the 50s. I was using it in grade school in the 70s. It looked sort of like this...

In high school, I got my first slide rule.

When I left for Rensselaer, I got my older brother's hand-me-down Texas Instruments, SR-16 I think. It died that year and I unwisely bought a second-hand TI-59 programmable calculator with a magnetic card reader. Penny wise and pound foolish. My sophomore year, I bought the state-of-the-art HP (HP-41?). Reverse polish notation, LCD screen, programmable memory, a shit-ton of buttons. It supposedly could be programmed to pilot the shuttle.

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12. DaveC426913Valued Senior Member

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I have never used a slide rule. Don't even know how to operate one.
One of the few things I am too young for.

13. SeattleValued Senior Member

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I bought a slide rule on Ebay a few years ago just to learn how it worked. My first personal computer was a Timex/Sinclair. After that was a Commodore 64 and then some Dell Win 3.1 machine. The first time I was able to get online was pre-internet. You would dial-up to local bulletin boards.

The first time I was able to get on the internet, graphics were sparse and destinations were sparse as well and navigating was problematic. It was "exciting" just to find a hyperlink and go to another site. Initially, I just typed in large company names, i.e....www.pepsi.com or www.ibm.com. After that I would try libraries or museums that were online and just follow the hyperlinks.

At college I typed some data into a mainframe using punch cards (Fortran) but I didn't really know what I was doing. In grad school I had access to a "mini" computer terminal. At least no punch cards were needed but I still didn't know what I was doing...just following instructions in order to get the results from my research data.

At work, the first computer I used was an Apple with no hard drive. It was set up as a dummy terminal for the company mainframe but was also used as a "personal" computer but with no hard drive the program had to be loaded by floppy disk each time before using it.

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14. naturallygorgRegistered Member

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Dell is a good brand even the latest model.

15. DaveC426913Valued Senior Member

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Ah the memories. The BBS's were sometimes so small and local that many of the members lived in my area.

I vividly remember envisioning the "Information Superhighway" to come. I pictured each of us alone in a small dark room with a single door. Light and muffled sound was sneaking under the door, and when I kicked it open, bright sunlight and the sound of a million bustling people were streaming by like a vast mall. It was heady.

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16. SeattleValued Senior Member

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My first computer was a little Sinclair with a membrane "keyboard". Sinclair magazines came out every month with little programs and you had to type in the whole program. If you were lucky a line might move around the screen as a game.

When the Commodore 64 came out you could actually save a typed in program on a tape drive. I remember how great it was when I was able to get a floppy drive for my N64.

The N64 was actually pretty impressive for graphics and sound for its time.

The Sinclair was impressive for how minimal it was.

17. sideshowbobSorry, wrong number.Valued Senior Member

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Many years ago I read a science fiction story about a multi-billionaire who had a room full of screens where he could keep track of his business empire all over the world - and get other information, I suppose. Today, homeless people can get the same access at the library for free.

18. Gawdzilla SamaValued Senior Member

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I got a HI LOG/LOG slide rule in junior high school, c. 1964. I had a slide rule designed for ballistics in 1970. I had no idea how it got the numbers, but they were reliable.

19. mapsdnasggeyergfubarRegistered Senior Member

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First computer I bought myself was an Atari 500ST.
First computer in the house was an Atari 400XL.

20. RainbowSingularityValued Senior Member

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Remember when people could program their calculators ?
now the cell phone programs the person

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22. Michael 345Bali in Nov closerValued Senior Member

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23. mmatt9876Registered Senior Member

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That is why we have not given them arms and legs yet!