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Memories of yesteryear!

Posted 01-16-2015 at 04:41 PM by onebuck

In thread; What was your first computer, when?

Originally Posted by onebuck View Post

I started my computing days with IBM's 360 mod 20 and we still used a unit records room to feed that beast. Early 70s' I built my first Intel 8080 based system with 256B of memory then when I built a 1KB memory expansion for it, I was was in coding heaven. I used a ASR33 for programming I/O but that got old fast so I built a paper tape reader for the board. I created my programs using the paper tape punch on the ASR-33 then manually pulled the tape through the tape reader for the Intel system. Tape reader input was a real pain manually pulled through the reader.

Tandy introduced the TRS-80 and I just had to have that Zilog Z-80 based system. I laid down over $600 and my wife was pissed. But I was in heaven, even with a cassette I/O it was a lot easier than paper.
I wanted floppy I/O but could not justify over $1K for the expansion interface. I set forth designing a expansion interface. I then built the expansion for less than $400. I added a S-44 buss for interface expansion. The expansion design had a Data buss LED output and address buss LED output. I setup a single step debug interface for that baby. My friends were jealous but spent a loads of time with me and my Trish-80 which had expanded to four 5 1/4 floppies AND a fine 5MB hard drive (that cost me more than the expansion interface with floppies).

I still used my Intel designed system but mostly to program EPROM for interfaces. I finally decided to git rid of the 20mA ASR-33 so I designed an built a keyboard interface along with a terminal board to use a 12 inch TV that was hacked to provide the means of outputting to the screen from the terminal board. I then added a serial acoustic modem to allow BBS access. Once I left the modem on and my wife tried to call out and she got the carrier tone from the modem and swore I was wire tapping her calls. I had to show her it was an accident by explaining how the modem would work and physically show her that the modem was used to talk to a BBS. She still swore I was listening to her calls. I gave up but made sure that the modem was turned off to keep things calm between us.

After my Trish-80, I bought a Zenith PC 8088, with 16MB memory, 100MB hard-disk, dual floppies and I added a creative sound card along with internal modem. I upgraded that PC to have 64MB and a 500MB HD. I then used that machine for a few years to interface with the world for my early PC interface designs.

I had a lot of fun designing and building back in those early days of micro-computing. My designs were loads of fun & experience for interfacing the real world.

I now have numerous machines that are used to support my needs. Heck, I am using a Dell XPS 702xl -i7, 16GB, 256GB SSD laptop that has more power than all the computers in my LAB at the university at that time of the Zenith 8088. We upgraded our Instrumentation LAB using the Zenith PC's from an old computer LAB that was upgraded with Sun Sparcs. Our 3B1s' UNIX PC were moved into individual LABS that had 3B2s for computational research work.

Those AT&T 3Bs' were a grant gift from AT&T. I was fortunate to get those UNIX machines and having experience with UNIX/DEC Ultrix from my earlier DEC PDP days which provided the means to open more doors using UNIX in the LAB. Our post processing modeling was done on the Illini Cray-1 supercomputer over our new Internet backbone.

I even had a T1 for my office to allow greater accessibility to other University resources. I was spoiled and when I moved from the city to the farm my intercommunication made a step back using dial-up again for two years before I finally got my DSL. After retiring from the University my T1 access was limited because I had to travel 50 miles round trip to use it. Major downloads would require me to drive over 25 miles to spend time in the LAB downloading then burning to media then drive back home another 25 miles. That was done a few times while I was doing things over dial-up. Worth the drive to download ISO or whatever large data downloads that would be doable over dial-up but take forever. When I did get my DSL then no longer needed to travel to the university.

I continue to build my designs and sometimes when I need another system I will build that to suit the design needs. I now have a few Rpi and other embedded devices for experimenting.

Memories of yesteryear.

Longer than I expected!
Indeed brought back memories when I was actively designing and prototyping interfaces. I have purchased some embedded ARM devices with intent of building some controls for my personal LAB. I've sketched some rough designs that look promising. When I moved to town my DATA Book sets were lost. I will contact the vendors for DVD/CD and data book sets. Some are online now but I am old school and still feel the need for a book in hand. I read all day using a computer screen, research shows this can lead to dangers for eye sight in your later years. I am getting older and starting to feel my age. So doing anything that will potentially harm me then I need to find a way of preventing that.

I do like to keep sharp mentally therefore the design mental exercise helps.

I am vacationing in Florida soon. So I have decided to make changes in my golf swing. My back is a mess, several surgeries over the years to help me with the pain. Last June, surgeons removed surgical hardware that had been implanted in the past. This was done to remove the hardware that was generating pain. If you play golf then you know back issues are something that can happen using a hybrid rotary swing(pro-style swing). My new swing is based on Moe Norman's single plane swing. No stress on the back since you are not lifting the spine or hips through the swing action. Been doing my flex exercises to aid in strength based on this single plane swing. I really feel loose after the flex exercises. Hopefully this will help get my health and nerves settled since my old swing actions were hurting therefore limiting my golf. Straighten out the strike and face impact on the sweet spot on the face of the club. And able to have repeatability and consistent swing action. If you look at Moes' link above you can see what I am talking about. At seventy Moe could hit repeated 300 yard drives at will without effort. May not look like todays professional swings but Moe was the best ball striker of his time. His grip & swing style fit someone who has back issues and will help golfers who do not want back issues. Look at Tiger Woods swing and how he has developed severe back issues that did require surgery.

So here's hoping that this new swing will be beneficial and allow more golf while in Florida.
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