What was your first computer and what did you do in the early computer years.

My first was an Atari 1040 ST with Megafile 30 hard drive. These days I am in IT support so it did peak my interest.
atari 1040 st


Atari 800XE :smiley: I must have some diskettes around with games I’ve programmed in Basic :slight_smile:

We have started with text-based games and eventually progressed to graphic-based using a replacement of character sets with custom ones :slight_smile:

But major leap forward was having i486 DX4 and modem for connecting to BBS in 1994 :nerd_face:


My first was a Tandy TRS-80 I bought around 1983. 32k memory and a cassette tape drive. I was a tool and die maker at the time, and I wrote a program to calculate what we called a roll dimension for measuring angles at very close tolerances. What use to take a half hour to calculate before took 10 seconds on the computer.


Nice I started back on the Green Screen units did some 8086 programing

but than got away from it but got hurt in1997 went back to college for IT

System/Network/Database engineer now

so I get paid to post on OverGrow all the time :slight_smile: Life is indeed good sometimes

Had a Tandy TL 1000 which ran at a scorching 6 or 8 Mhz it may have had a Turbo

switch that got you 10 or 12

it had two 5 1/4 flopys and 80 meg hard drive that had to be partitioned into two

40 megs disk as DOS did not see more than 40 megs

I install 4 megs of memory at the cost of 3200 dollars and the salesmen said

you will never fill that hard drive

sure dude this unit I am using right now has 5 terabytes in it for disk space

and 64 gigs of memory dual quad core Xeons running at 3.3 Ghz

it has changed



I went from the TRS-80 to a Commodore 64 with a external 5 1/4" floppy drive. Then upgraded to the Commodore 128 with two external floppy drives. Next was a Commodore Amiga with a 10 meg hard drive and 1 meg of memory. Smokin!!!


I have so many stories to share. This should be a very interesting topic to some! Being in to computers early allowed me to retire when I was 48 years old.


I started working in the securities brokerage business (stocks and bonds) beginning in 1980, and I became infatuated with computers. I bought an IBM 5150 in late 1981, I replaced it with an XT (5160) clone in 1983. Now these machines were cool, and I could do things I then thought were great, but I never really loved them. I bought a Commodore Amiga in early 1986, and this was the first computer that I truly loved, so much fun, no comparison to the earlier IBMs.


Remember how the graphics on the Amiga just blew away everything before it. That was a fun computer!


I had jump man on Commodore 64. I also remember looking at very slow loading porn on a 486


I was hesitant to post, because I didn’t want to date myself as either young or old.

I grew up super poor and was using typewriters still when all my classmates were using their computers. I grew up poor in a wealthy area, so it was challenging. In middle school, some one gave (donated) me an old 486 because I showed academic potential and was super poor. Something just clicked and I became obsessed. One year later, I was enrolled in Cisco’s brand new CCNA program for free while still in middle school. I graduated high school early. By my late teens, I was working for a medium sized ISP doing network design and administration. I thought I was set. It was a fun, fast paced world and people didn’t treat me like the kid I was. I had a flashy, fast car and I loved the autonomy it afforded. Then, I shit you not, the dot com crash happened one year into my new ‘career’. That was a super weird experience for a kid. One minute I was planning which Ferrari I was going to get (The Testarossa was in the 40ks at that point, my dream car), and the next I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with my life… That experience turned me off entirely from tech and computers. I still have a special disdain for Silicon Valley after all these years. I still do miss all those VIP box seats and fancy corporate events at Pac Bell Park. I took the money I’d saved and traveled the country for a couple years before college. The friends I made in that industry that stuck with it are all much better off financially than I am, but I still retired before I was 40, so I can’t complain too much.


Whatever the economy may have done it sounds like it worked out for you.

I remember playing DOOM over the modem before there was an internet.


I was working for a company that helped design the EISA bus and the Microstrip connectors in computers. I went from the Amiga to a 12 mhz 286 with VGA graphic, 1 meg of ram and 40 meg hard drive. I was a QC manager at the company doing the connectors and wrote a spreadsheet to calculate and print the inspection reports for the connectors after inspection so the engineers could make corrections on the designs. I was on numerous BBSs and ended up starting my own. Then the internet started coming around in the early/mid 90s. I signed up, but my phone bill went through the roof. So I started looking in to ways to get online without the long distance. During my research, I found a small ISP in a town near me, but they were on a 56k connection with only 16 modems and we were only allowed on for 20 hours a month. They had 1000 users paying $20 and I’m thinking… that’s $20,000 a month! I could do something like this! So I did a little research and learned what I needed to do. Within about 2 months I had brought a T1 in to town, and setup the system with 32 modems and had almost all of those 1000 customers signed up with me. Within about a year I was one of the largest ISPs in the western part of my state at the time. After two years I had 8000 customers paying me $20 a month lol… About that time, my wife was diagnosed with cancer, and about the same time I had a company asking if I would be interested in selling. So I decided to sell it and spend time taking care of my wife. She recovered and we’ve spent the last couple of decades just hanging out together and enjoying our life. What an experience!


I bought a TI 99/4A when I was a teenager in the early 80s. TI had cut the price to $99 to clear inventory. I taught myself BASIC programming on it by writing little games. Then I used my paper route money to get a Commodore 64 and taught myself assembly language. I turned that into a job while still in high school and have been earning my living programming ever since.


Dude!!! That was my fucking dream as a teen! I would spend my recess in the library trying to figure out what it would take to get my own T1 line with a pathway for fiber. I wanted to start my own ISP so badly. Interestingly, though, right as I was getting into the tech world, I could see the writing on the wall that internet service was about to be heavily consolidated and that reselling service had no romance. There were very strange politics in internet service and I was horrified how much everyone (myself included) had to kiss Pac Bell’s ass.

You really lived the dream, and it sounds like you got out just in time. I believe I was a decade too late in the tech industry. In the late 80s and early 90s, it was a playground for the bright and enterprising and autistic.

Bummer about the cancer, though! I’m glad she’s doing well and you guys are enjoying your time together. Retirement has been up and down for me. I am used to a super high intensity lifestyle and I am languishing and wilting before my own eyes in retirement. I give myself 2-3 more years to live, tops, if I can’t get the pace of my life back up. I’m one of those pathological types propped up only by inertia, like a shark that dies if it ever stops swimming. I’ve been working on some projects to fix that, but covid has halted everything.


IBM 8086, dual 5.25 diskette drives. It was later upgraded to a 25mg HD. Thought that was the most amazing thing ever!



The sweat on his brow is the funniest part must be from the programming


ti99/4a circa 80/81.

driving parents nuts surfing bbs’s at 120baud :slight_smile:

we got the c64 later, it was a little more useful - ended up getting a 1200baud modem, that was living man. :rofl:


I still have boxes and boxes of 5 1/4" and 3 1/2" disks in my attic with old programs and backups on them. I would buy them by the 100 packs and sit and format them on Sundays while reading the Sunday paper haha…


We must have graduated around the same time :slight_smile:

But about 6 months in as a junior vax/vms sysadmin I decided crawling in datacenter subfloors wearing coveralls over a suit and tie was not worth it (one of those big traditional IT companies, suit and tie were definitely required)