Sunday, September 16, 2007

Home Computing:

In 1969, we had a teletype in our kitchen, that communicated (at 10 characters per second) with a midsize computer system, giving us access to word processing and many snazzy compilers.

In 1978, I had a home computer based on the Zilog Z80 chip, assembled by the company I worked for (Exxon), with an 8.5 inch floppy disk that had the astounding capacity of 110,000 characters per floppy.

In 1981, we bought our first of many PCs, a gift from my mother. I recently found the itemization list for this little beast, and here it is. My eyes mist over, just thinking about it:
$1,760 IBM PC Chassis
$193 Keytronics keyboard. (We liked its touch.)
$269 "Sixpak" expansion board by AST. This little jobby gave us our parallel and seial ports, plus some memory.
$64 An A/C line filter
$32 Printer cable
$150 192K additional memory (this was a 640K machine!!!)
$409 Princeton Graphics display controller, supporting both color (at this time, IBM itself did not support color) and excellent mono.
$291 Shugart 5.5" floppy drive. (360K capacity per floppy.)
The total was just under $3200. We used a "loaner" color CRT for a long time with this PC, and we also bought a word processor for us parents, and a word processor for our children, about another $300, I think.

Ah, those were the days...

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