Friday, March 29, 2013

More computer history

Another blast from the past.  This one is about laptops in the late 80s.  I bought my first computer in 1990, and it was a laptop similar to some of these, with a supertwist screen but it also supported a CGA monitor, and I almost never used anything but the CGA monitor (which I had to buy separately).  I think this video was from 1987, and the cheapest computer they list here sold for $1,995.  Three years later, when I bought mine, I got it for only $800 because it was already behind the curve.

I don't remember the brand, but I bought it mail-order from DAK Technologies.  It was a regular 8MHz 8088 with 640K of RAM and had two 3.5" DD (720K) floppy drives.  DAK packaged it with a bunch of software.  The one I used most was Wordstar, which was able to run on a single floppy--the other floppy was used to save your documents.  This was also the computer that I played Ultima V on.  I remember when you switched from above ground to a dungeon setting, it took so long to load the dungeon that I would go to the bathroom or refill my tea while I was waiting for it.

Oh yeah, it also came with a mouse!  But the mouse worked only for specific software, and any program it worked for had its own mouse driver which you had to load before you started the program.  I never really used the mouse because it was just easier and faster for me to type everything.  I've always been a pretty fast typist.  One of the other programs that was packed with it was a typing tutor program, and I timed myself on it several times.  I often broke 90 wpm in speed drills.

The second computer I had, which I bought in 1993 I think, was a Leading Edge 486SX25 (25 MHz) with 4 MB of RAM and a 120 MB hard drive, and was the first computer I had that ran Windows (3.1).  That was the computer that I later installed a 2400 baud modem in, then later bought a combination upgrade package that added a sound card, a CD-ROM drive and a 14400 baud modem.  I also upgraded the RAM to 20 MB.  This was the computer that I had when I first began accessing BBSes and the internet (via NovaLink).

The third computer was in 1995, I think, and was a 60MHz Pentium which came with its own modem and sound card/CD-ROM.  I've forgotten what kind of RAM and hard drive it had, but this was my main Doom computer.  I had tried playing it with the older 486, but it just couldn't handle it very well.

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