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What was your first computer?

Community Manager (Retired)
Community Manager (Retired)

I recently reminisced about my first computer, an Amiga 600 in the mid-90s.

I'm sure you've all had some weird and wonderful systems over the years, but what was the first? What was good (or not so good) about it?

Personally I loved playing Settlers on the Amiga - I was only 8-9, after all - but I didn't enjoy the multiple disks or time needed to install it!


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Very Insightful Person
Very Insightful Person


Nice memories.

Slightly off-topic, but I used to type in the programs from "Commodore-User" and the monthly programming magazine "Input"

Aside from being a novice at typing, and the difficulty in deciphering the symbols and the associated key presses for them on the C64, hoping everything saved OK to cassette, having to double and treble check the code because it wasn't working and finding a correction to the code printed 3 months later in the magazine, it was still great fun.  It helped me experiment trying to find the solutions, and then begin writing my own code.

I've posted a few screen-shots of the Input magazine and some code for C64's and Spectrum's from the very first issue.

Input issue 1Input issue 1Commodore codeCommodore codecommodore and spectrumcommodore and spectrumspectrum codespectrum code

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I used to have a C64 for years! I also had a Texas Instruments TI99/4A, even wrote programs for it, but the chance of my programs being published was very low. Back then that computer only allowed you to code in BASIC, and CPUs back then were slow. I received correspondence from the magazine I wrote them for, but it was the number of sounds I used that slowed down the speed of the programs.

Back then I had many hobbies and the main ones were electronics and computers, hence I went back to programming years later and gaming.

I remember the old C64 symbols, long time ago now though. lol.

Even before I had any children! lol...😂

Ah, BASIC, first language I played with in 1977 using the bureau which Comshare operated, who had I think three RXDS Sigma 9s running the Commander II operating system, input was from a teleprinter. I got so hooked on this that I abandoned my career in accountancy and switch to data processing (as IT was called in those days) in 1978 by getting myself enrolled on an 18-week computer programming course.

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Us old farts: Typed games into computers with 1K of memory and hacked them.

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Very Insightful Person
Very Insightful Person

Ah, the days of “hacking”, but it was not even called hacking then. Good old Superzap and writing code in machine language without an assembler.

There are 10 types of people: those who understand binary and those who don't and F people out of 10 who do not understand hexadecimal c1a2a285948293859940d9a49385a2

Okeys ...

Not exactly my first computer, but a computer of sorts (and I'm giving my age away here lol) ...

I was allowed to sit up and watch Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon ... It was 32 days before my 10th birthday ... On my birthday, along with other presents, my Dad gave me a box that contained:

A Casio digital watch, a 'bright yellow' digital watch 🤔

He told me he had managed, through an Army friend, to get hold of one of the watches the Astronauts were wearing on Apollo 11 ... It did nothing but tell the time, no fancy options, no date, nothing, but I wore that thing like I'd gone to the bloody Moon myself. My friends at school thought it was hilarious.

You could imagine my shock when I found out that, far from almost being on Armstrong's wrist, he'd got it from what eventually became Argos, for the massive sum of 2 pounds 7 shillings & sixpence (£2.38) & had I not got a 10-speed racing bike too, I might have stabbed him in his sleep lol. But there's more! 

Imagine my surprise to find you can still buy the same watch, greatly upgraded obviously, on Amazon, so I've bought one LOL.



Utrinque Paratus

I remember building a key tone pad, and using it to get free phone calls in public phone boxes!

I wasn't up to the standards of Kevin Mitnick... I wonder if the judge really thought Kevin could launch nukes using just the phone lines back then? lol.

The codes for launching the missiles back then were all the same and very easy to crack. But there was one very big difference between then and now, they were not online, so hackers couldn't launch them anyway. It might sound stupid but life was much easier back then.

I remember when I had a 14.4k modem connected to the phone line, it took me 2 hours and 30 mins to download a 2Mb file from the US. It used to cost me loads on the phone, connected to my ISP (I never had to report outages back then! lol). You could cook your tea or dinner while waiting for anything to download!😂

And, I actually had an Apple Macintosh computer then, with a mouse that cost me £50 a time! I remember upgrading my VRAM to 128k, that was really expensive. Eventually, it was Apple's prices that made me change to PCs, which I have been building for years.

Tuning in

The Sinclair ZX81 with 16KB RAM Pack... I was enamored by the games "The Swamp" and "Sourcerer's Island". (both on the same cassette) Yes, we had a console before this on which you could play pong, etc. But this computer game was different, because you made tactical decisions, had real choices.

Then, I learnt you could write your own programs and games. The manual that came with the ZX81 had everything you needed to learn to do this. I relive the thrill of creating my first game every time I tell this story... You were the letter "A", and you had to reach the doorway, a letter "O", before the evil semicolon caught you. Seeing that wicked semicolon coming for you, and trying to move around the screen using the ZX81's keyboard, while avoiding RAM Pack wobble, was seriously intense.

Tuning in


My brother had a Commodore PET but my first foray into computing was a Tandy/Radio Shack TRS-80 (late 70's) with a tape cassette for loading/saving things have changed lol! 



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The first computer I had was an Atari 800xl. Bought plenty of the games as well. The annoying thing for those at times was near to the end of the loading up of the games a message showed 'Boot error!'. 😲 Ooo, then needing to start all over again. 🙄