First computers..

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First computers..

Thought I'd start a new topic, our liquid nutes thread turned into a banned thread and the banned thread has gone other places too.

Wow Peat, you're older than I imagined, not that that's a bad thing. I'm 60 going on 18. You're talking late 70s, early 80s....

My first two computers were Sinclairs. The first one had a tiny bubble keyboard, the last one had fancy "chiclet" keys and I had the tiny thermal printer too. I added a $100 16K module that stuck on the back and wrote quite a bit in Sinclair Basic.  They sold here under the Timex brand for a while. I thought it odd that the best supplier of the computers, accessories and programs was Walgreens drugstores. Chemists to you chaps on that side of the pond I believe.

I got into peeking and poking and using a loader program to cram as much as possible into that little bit of memory then saving it to cassette. Later it might load back on in 5 minutes if you had the volume and tone set just right. Typing 500 lines of code then making a mistake or overloading the memory and having to start all over again.

Those were the days, huh? I worked for Xerox back then, they made us one heck of a deal, a Xerox 820 computer with one 8" floppy running CP/M and a Diablo printer for $6,000. I almost took them up on it, that was half price.

While I'm babbling about old times here's a true story... I graduated high school in '66 in Austin, Texas. My best friend and I wanted to get into computers and out of Austin. We found a computer school in Dallas, 200 miles away and made an appointment to tour the campus on a Saturday morning. The address led us to an old motel in a seedy part of town and this little short, whiney sounding guy took us for a "tour". He didn't have keys to most of the rooms so tried to get us to imagine what it was like. We left posthaste, happy we hadn't already paid tuition. The little whiney guy was Ross Perot and his little computer school turned into EDS, the biggest data processing company in the world for 20 years or so. I could have gotten in at the beginning.

Then there's my old partner in an electronics distributorship that tried to get me to join him at some company I never heard of. He was the sixth person at Novell networking. <sigh.....>

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Ginger
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Heh. Still behind on

Heh. Still behind on responding to everything, but need to go out and enjoy the autumn leaves before it gets dark... Love it when daylight savings time ends, because I get an hour back. But... gets dark early from here on in...

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Bruce - I'm from Connecticut,

Bruce - I'm from Connecticut, and now live back in my home town, while my daughter goes to high school. But I was on walkabout for 14 years - NYU for 1.5 years, then out to Colorado (Denver/Fort Collins/Boulder). Graduated from CU-Boulder and got recruited down to TI-Dallas. Aside from a 5-mo stint working in our Tokyo office, hung around Dallas for 9 years, then finally headed home after some medical disasters. Soon after I got back, had surprise kid. Staying near the grandparents works for me, since then. My parents are aging, too, and I'm the only... responsible... offspring left in the neighborhood. My sibs all went off on walkabout, too.

I mostly worked at the TI Semiconductor Group's glass towers at LBJ & I-35, across LBJ from the low central complex. One of my old coworkers (boyfriend's room-mate) did his PhD at UNM. Another couple (they're married) are at Los Alamos. I was out there a few times to present my research, at Santa Fe Institute meetings - Santa Fe and outside Socorro (La Sevilleta Long Term Ecological Research Station.) It's really beautiful around Albuquerque... I've been tempted a couple times to move out there. But, I think I'm staying here, at least until daughter heads to college. With only the two of us, being near grandparents is important. Though, if I need a job badly enough, that equation could change... Another cool story, re LBJ's tree.

Edit: Oh, I lived in Dallas 1983-1992, so sounds like we lived in very different towns! I lived at Forest Lane northeast of LBJ. There were horses in the fields across from my complex when I moved there... The city had long since swallowed up around that by the time I left. Denver was like that, too. When I arrived, you could still see the front range from the downtown bus depot. By the time I left Colorado, it was swallowed by downtown highrises, and now it's just unrecognizeable, it's grown so much... Looked like ABQ was headed that way last I was out there, too.

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Peat - *sigh*. The first post

Peat - *sigh*. The first post of a new topic is a "Recent Post", not a "Recent Comment"... Yeah, the forum implementation is susceptible to improvement...

Heh. I'm 46. I don't like the female game of understating one's age, as though the truth is shameful. For my 40th birthday, I booked a Caribbean cruise. Being at sea with my then-8-year-old, halfway between Miami and Haiti, did much to remove any trauma.

My father was an engineer. He used to rent calculators - I loved playing with those. My mid-teen years roughly coincided with scientific calculators for the masses, and the magical AppleII P-system. Those were cool... Though I went into computer programming for a living, I didn't have one at home until ~1990. I did high-end interactive graphics at work, Apollo workstations. Way too pricey for home. Besides, after working way too many hours, I didn't want a computer at home. It was only when the nets started opening up around 1990, with GEnie & CompuServe, etc., and the home systems were actually pretty good for writing, that I bought one for home use.  Had a blast on GEnie - was a moderator for the Science Fiction & Fantasy roundtable, hosted a Friday night chat club... Long before the days of webcams, of course - at 2400 baud, one enjoyed good conversation with writers/fast typists, not cyber sex.

Moderator. Author of Indoor SaladEcigs 102, and the Calm Act climate apocalyptic series.

BB (not verified)
Wow, small world Ginger, what

Wow, small world Ginger, what took you to Dallas? And where do you live now? We need to put our profiles in your Welcome Mat forum, it would be great to know more about each other, I'm constantly surprised. A close geocaching friend does gene splicing and sequencing and a lot of other things that go right over my head at UNM.

Did you work at the TI plant at I-35 and 635 - LBJ Freeway? I lived about a mile from there for a few years back in the late 60s to mid 70s and they were a big customer of ours. I got to see all sorts of neat things in there like the White House scrambler phone and the instrument display for the SR71 plus some things I guess I'm still not supposed to talk about. It was mind boggling back then but crude, almost toylike today.

And another coincidence, was Lambert Landscape Co. still located down LBJ about half a mile west? Back then they were the world's largest landscape company and I was one of two estimators for them from '69 til '71. Got to visit some real high roller's homes and met quite a few of them. It totally ruined my concept of money. We had one customer, a company with fake plants that paid a fortune for a Lambert's crew to dust them once a week, just so they'd have the prestige of a Lambert's truck parked outside.

Probably the craziest job we did was to move a _huge_ 50 ft. tall Oak tree to LBJ's ranch about 275 miles away. Some dignitary had given him an Oak tree and it died. He was coming back for a visit and LBJ was in a tizzy to get a new one. Naturally, it was a snap to get a permit to drive this huge tree down I-35, blocking all the lanes.

Sorry, I'm babbling and going off-topic again... such great memories.

EDIT... Oh, back on computers, I talked Lambert's into spending $1200 for an electronic calculator to replace the old manual Olliveti adding machines we used. Showed them how it would pay for itself in less time waiting on the old machines to work. It only had the four basic functions and big blue Nixie tube display.

It did great until it came to division. I could input a big division problem and go home for the night, hoping it would be done when I got back the next morning.

I have a dozen free calculators now that make that thing look like an abacus.

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Heh. Great stories! H. Ross

Heh. Great stories! H. Ross isn't very impressive looking, is he? We used to see him at Dickie's BBQ Pit near where I worked at TI-Dallas in the '80's.

It'd be great to get in on the ground floor of something fantastic. But most of those ground floors do stay on the ground floor... I was at a biotech startup for a little while around here. I left because I didn't like it there. But some of the people I liked best had gotten in on the ground floor, the first 5 developing this fantastic new mega-parallel gene sequencing technology. And despite growing to hate the company it was becoming, they hung in there for IPO - like 5 years. Broke my heart when they finally sold out the company - these founding techs' stock options amounted to a couple thou. They would have done far better working for a better funded company those 5 years. They all left in disgust. Sad.

Moderator. Author of Indoor SaladEcigs 102, and the Calm Act climate apocalyptic series.