Monday, June 01, 2015

A is for ancient computer - my first one

It's the first day of the Spanking A to Z challenge!

The other day, Han wrote a delightful post about his first computer. It's now my turn to go back into my technology archives and do the same.

My first computer seems ancient now. My asked my dad if I could get a Tandy 1000 SX that was in the Radio Shack flyer when I was in grade ten.

Mine looked like this one, minus the second floppy disk drive and joystick:

Courtesy: PC Museum
It seems so long ago. Radio Shack no longer exists in Canada. Instead, the chain is known as The Source. The Tandy line is long gone. Even the mall in which we went to get this laptop has been demolished!

Anyway, I was so happy with my Tandy computer. It had one 5.25" floppy disk drive. It had a rather tiny hard drive. The monitor was monochrome in a lovely shade of green. I also needed a printer, so we got a daisywheel printer that must have been two feet in width. It was a noisy printer such that I couldn't print at night. I would wake up everyone on our entire apartment floor!

Being the novice geeky girl back then, I accidentally wiped out the operating system disk information. I had to go back to Radio Shack and ask that the nice gentleman copy MS-DOS onto my blank floppy disk. He was nice to do that for me without charging the high school student anything.

After taking my first computer course in grade 11, I used my computer often. I programmed in BASIC. My favourite programming task that I did at my leisure (when I say that I was a geek, I was then, and still am) was creating a program that played songs that I liked. It isn't a huge surprise. I love music.

I ended up getting some fun games. I got Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune. My friends loved to come over and play them with me. Yes, they didn't mind that the wheel was in different shades of green on my monochrome screen.

I then got into Shareware programs. It is nice to play Frogger, among other classic games that I used to play on my Atari 2600.

I actually had this computer till my third year of undergraduate studies. I did a number of upgrades on my Tandy, including the RAM and hard disk drive. I even installed a 2400 bps modem, which was all the rage back then.

Eventually, being a computer science student, I had to upgrade my computer. I did, but I still had the computer until I graduated. I ended up donating my beloved Tandy and the daisywheel printer to a local charity in Winnipeg.

Memories are wonderful, especially when it comes to technology. What was your first computer


  1. Mine was a BBC microcomputer and BASIC was the first language. I remember a space game called Elite, which was fun to play. There were no floppy drives, so everything had to be loaded via tape cassette. My first PC was a Viglen. Thanks for the memory trip.

  2. Wow CB...I remember how excited I was to get my first computer...a Gateway! Remember when they were the gold standard for computers? You could buy a pre-configured computer in one of their stores or phone their reps who would work with you to configure one to your needs. I was so excited...I got the max amount of memory...a whole 32mg! My first programming language was Turbo Pascal which was so much fun. Han really started us all down memory lane didn't he. ;) Thanks for sharing.

    Hugs and blessings...Cat

    1. I remember Gateway being popular when I lived in MN over a decade ago. The boxes that housed their desktop computers why back then reminded me of cows. I never owned one, but I do remember the brand fondly.

      Turbo Pascal! My ex-husband bought me a copy for my computer when I was learning how to code in my second year of undergraduate studies. Ah, such wonderful memories of slaving away over code, trying to debug it!

      Thanks for sharing, Cat!

  3. Girl and games.. No lists of long BASIC line in computer magazines. Typing two pages of Basic, debug a day or two and then got a free program!

    Those were the days Girl with the Naughty Name. Glad you shared yours,


    1. I do remember all the code samples in computer magazines. I was such a geeky girl. I subscribed to a number of them when I had a job. I don't do that these days. However, when I'm at the bookstore, I will leaf through the computer magazines.

      I will always be a geeky girl. No shame here.

      Thanks for sharing your BASIC experience. =)