What was your first computer? Here’s my computer history.

Isn’t it strange how the human mind works? I’m sure it’s not just me but I can really spiral in to reminiscing mode just by seeing or reading something. Just yesterday I had one of those moments when I saw this tweet from our friends at BlackBerry:

My first computer was an Atari 600XL. At least that’s what I thought until I started reading about it. The Atari 600XL apparently didn’t have a composite out and I definitely remember just being able to plug it into just about any TV set so it must have been the Atari 800XL. The 800XL did have a composite out, had a whopping 64KB of memory and a CPU that ran at 1.8MHz.

Photo from Wikipedia

I remember that my hometown used to have a Tandy store. I was a regular visitor after school because they had all the coolest stuff including a wide variety of computers. Our local supermarket also had a bunch of computers set up including the ZX Spectrum.


Photo from Wikipedia

I remember playing with that one a lot in the supermarket while my parents were shopping. I remember loving the soft touch buttons. It took a while to persuade my parents to get a computer and I don’t quite remember why I eventually got the Atari. I think a friend at school also had one and thought it was convenient to be able to swap cartridges. I don’t remember all the games I used to play on it but I do remember Decathlon being my one of my favorites. Remember that? Having to move the joystick from left to right as fast as you could?

After the Atari I was bitten by the computer bug and always wanted more. Next in line was the Commodore 64 with Datasette cassette player. The C64 was immensely popular back then. Everyone seemed to have one ;-) It was also on this computer that I started “programming”.

Next in line was the Amiga 500. I loved that machine! 512K memory, floppy disk drive (single sided) and a 7.09MHz processor. The Amiga Workbench OS was a revelation. Man I was spoiled.


Photo from Commodore Museum

I used that Amiga for a long long time until I got in touch with PCs and Macs in school. I studied “Graphic Design Techniques” and also got lessons in Quark Express, Corel Draw and yes… Photoshop. I remember drooling on the Apple devices but they were just too damn expensive. My hometown had an Apple dealer and I remember visiting them a lot ;-) At one time they had a Newton on display and I thought that was just amazing. A Mac was way out of my completely non-existant budget and after quite a long time I finally went for a PC. A 486 running at 66MHz running on Windows.

A bit later I discovered bulletin board systems. Krrrsssss…beeeep…beeeeeep…krrrrssssss… Aah… The beautiful sound of a modem… :D

After the BBSs came the Internet… and the ridiculously high phone bills. I stuck with PCs for a really long time and then at one time (now about 7 years ago, I think) I got sick and tired of having to spend more time keeping my system up and running than actually being creative. I was freelancing back then and did a lot of video work. One of my major problems with Premiere was that I couldn’t do anything with my computer when I was capturing video from a DV tape. I used to have two identical PCs so I could keep working on other stuff while I was capturing video… I didn’t think that was right. One of my friends worked at the local Apple office and I asked him if I could borrow a Power Mac G5 for a while to see if I could improve my workflow. And yes it did! Apple’s Final Cut Pro allowed me to capture video from tape while I was doing email or even while I was working in Photoshop. I also immediately fell in love with Mac OS and ended up buying a Power Mac G5 and even bought the (incredibly overpriced) 23″ Cinema Display. I rapidly became a Mac Head. Bought a PowerBook, iMac and later a Mac Mini as my first Intel based Mac.

Today I am still on a Mac but my addiction has worn off a bit. While I stood in line for iPhone, iPhone 3G and 3Gs I didn’t buy an iPhone 4 and also didn’t stand in line for an iPad. I actually did end up getting an iPad just a few weeks ago to do some research though. I found it important to know what everyone was raving about. I currently use a MacBook Pro on the road and a Mac Pro in my home office.

Aaah man… The memories this post brought up… Am I getting old? :D

I’d love to hear about your computer history! And now that I’m wrapping this up I think I should also do a post on my device history… If I can actually remember all of them ;-)

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