Computing Since The Black And White Days

When you ask me about my first computer, I require clarification. I’ve had many “first computers” in my life. They’re all considered classics at this point, and I’m searching for decent emulators (and accompanying legal ROMs) to relive those days.

My first family computer was a Commodore Vic20. As explained in the video below, my grandparents had it set up in the back room of their house. It was connected to a black and white television, so most of my color POKEs were seen in grayscale. That was my introduction to the color “cyan.” He had a Commodore cassette tape drive, but we never really used it.

My first school computer was an Apple ][e. Are you surprised? Of course, we only had one machine for the entire school – and the only game we cared about was Oregon Trail. At least, that’s all I can remember playing with the proctor in the hallway. The Altoona Public Library also had an Apple ][e.

My first home computer was a Commodore 64, which “Santa Claus” brought us one year. It wasn’t mine, but I was pretty much the only one who used it for something other than gaming. I did a bit more BASIC programming, and quickly realized that I really didn’t care for programming logic.

My first self-owned computer was crappy (even by the day’s standards). I picked up a $200 glorified dumb terminal from a “For Sale” ad on ISCABBS, if only so that I could access our university’s modem bank from the sanctity of my own dorm room over a 14.4 modem (even though the bank’s highest capacity was 9600).

My first “real” computer purchase was made after the release of Windows 3.11. I learned quickly that Packard Bell was cheap for a reason (though the 486 DX2/66 set me back a whole $2200). Still, I was pretty happy with it.

[tags]old computer, computer history, first computer[/tags]

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Chris has consistently expressed his convictions and visions outright, supplying practical information to targeted audiences: media agencies, business owners, technology consumers, software and hardware professionals, et al. He remains a passionate personality in the tech community-at-large. He's a geek.

  • David

    Talking of old computers, may I give a blatant plug for a charity classic car show I am involved with here in the UK.
    The Darling Buds Classic Car Show
    The old computer connection comes from a nostalgic, non-car exhibit, namely a restored and working 1960`s ICT 1301 computer, which answers to the name of Flossie (don`t even think about asking!) and is being shown at the show. It is a fixed exhibit, as it permanently occupies a whole barn at the farm where the show is held and has been worked on by a small team of enthusiasts, including the farm owner. It certainly is a site to behold, owing more to heavy mechanical engineering than electronics! All discrete components – no chips in those days! It also makes all the right sci-fi type noises when it`s rustled up, sucking some 13kW (yes, that`s THIRTEEN KILOWATTS!) from the owner`s electricity supply! Rumour has it that all the neighbours` lights in the vicinity dim when the beast is booted up (if that`s the right term for such an ancient machine!) More details on the computer, its history and the story of its restoration can be found linking from the show website,
    or direct at