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39th Anniversary of the first IBM PC.

Cyler

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39 Years Aniversary

We all do things with our computers that several years ago would be unimaginative to even think, let alone do.
Edit video in real-time and even faster, edit photos and create our own realities, write/compose music without the need of orchestra/band or instruments, explore the world, and view almost any location and city in every country in the world. We can create our own realistic worlds in 3d and play games with such details that captivated us. We can talk and share with people on different continents and in different times.

All the above and hundreds more we owe it to IBM that 39 years ago today, released the very first IBM PC.
A computer that no one knew back then how it will drive the change of humanity and technology over the next 40 years.

The specs are at least laughable by today's standards but back then was a real technological achievement.
For US$1,565 (equivalent to $4,600 today) you could buy 16KB RAM, Color Graphics Adapter with 4 colors max on screen, and no floppy disk drives,
CPU was an intel 8086 or 8088 running at 4.77 MHz at 16/16bit or 8/16 bit.
The first hard disks were 5MB - 10 MB and 20MB with 40MB and 80MB becoming a reality much later.
Graphic cards were 4 color max and resolution of 320X200 for games and 640x480 for text.
Floppy drives were 180k per side and 360k dual size.
Modems to connect to the BBS (no such thing as the internet) used the incredible speed of 300 Bytes per second (called baud rate)
IBM Dos at the beginning didn't even have support for directories (we now call them folders).

Yet, for its time, it was a success of unimaginable size.
So much so that every other company tried to copy IBM's open architecture including the now giants like DELL, ACER, and HP.
I wonder who remembers Compaq, Tandy, and Wang Laboratories amongst others.
Most of the companies we know and love to hate, exist because of the IBM PC mainly Microsoft.

Just wanted to remind us old-PC-timers of where we started and show (and maybe inspire to research) to the newer users of PC.

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The Professor

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I have seen this computer only on the museum.

In Not more then 10 years everything will be Un Imaginable
 

vdogeek

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Good old floppy discs :giggle: .... It's no wonder we progress forward :p... nice blast from the past,,, Thanks @Cyler
 

Cyler

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Good old floppy discs :giggle: .... It's no wonder we progress forward :p... nice blast from the past,,, Thanks @Cyler
I still remember one of my first dilemmas as a user of a PC compatible 8088 with 2x 360kb floppies.
Should I buy a 20 MB hard disk or a 1.44 floppy drive and 15 floppy disks?

Good times...
 

Charles

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Ahh... old memories. The salesperson at Radio Shack, this is a 10 meg hard drive. It's the magnetic gulf. You'll never need any more storage than this!
 

Yash Dedhia

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Thanks cyler for bringing this up although am not so much aware of this.. but yes we have moved much forward & thanks to IBM for bringing this.. All hands down to the King no matter how much we move forward one should always remember the footsteps from where it all started.. btw great post from past
 

Dark Wolf

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My how times change. My first PC was an IBM tower PC back in the 80's. I had a lot of fun with it. I also learned coding and hacking (both hardware and software) with it.
It's always nice to see a blast from the past.... :emo:
 

Alessia_Amelia

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Fun to read about old PC architecture @Cyler . Was curious if you remember the 5 and 7 hole paper tape and the huge 5 and 7 level disk packs used
by the military way back in the 80's when they also had black/red IO multiplexers, 1200 baud transmission speeds, and 10 inch tape drives. Used Assembly, FORTRAN and dBase?
Got all this from an elderly Veteran here who worked on them back when you had to do a bit of soldering for repair 10x8 inch circuit boards also he said. And this was hi-tech too
in the 80's and he just wanted to share this with us.:)
 

Cyler

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@Alessia_Amelia My 1st language was Basic and then skipped pascal and C (the trends of those days) and went straight to Assembly on a Z80a and x86 right after.
My 1st real money came from making software on a Nixdorf 8770 mini computer (not the mini we mean now, more like a small room computer with tape as storage) for the City's water bills when I was 15 or so... Yeah, that old.

Answering in the order you asked:
Was curious if you remember the 5 and 7 hole paper tape
I did see those paper tapes but didn't work with them, they were old as a technology even back then. Just to see how much we progressed in just few decades:
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the huge 5 and 7 level disk packs used
The term "huge" is more than I think you imagine. Here is an example of a 5 MB (Yes Megabyte) Disk that I got the opportunity of using.
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The loading itself including 5 minutes of the disk warming up and then the OS installation of the disk (scanning kinda) had to happen. That container had a fixed number of plates (disks) that all together made the "hard disk" of that time. The size was 12" then we dropped to 10 and 5.25, and finally to 3.5 and 2,5 sizes.

1200 baud transmission speeds,
I think 1200 Baud (think of them as BITS per second) was a bit later, the modems were 75/300 at the time, but I can be wrong. Access to technology was very uneven back then due to political, geographical, and financial limitations.

Used Assembly, FORTRAN and dBase?
Assembly, as I mentioned above was my second but most favored language up until I started using python, and to be honest, is one of the most important reasons I landed the jobs I did.
Fortran (and almost the same reason applies to Cobol and Prolog) was a necessary evil. In scientific communities is still a much-used, needed, and (sadly) the only solution when you want to do mass advanced math problem-solving such as Orbital Mechanics, Astrodynamics, etc.
Dbase was more of a type of software that hobbyists and companies would use as it was the 1st really successful DBMS software something like Access or MySQL of today... only much simpler. The army used to use it a lot back in the 80s and even 90s (mostly on DOS PCs) and sadly so did I for the years I served :p

Got all this from an elderly Veteran here who worked on them back when you had to do a bit of soldering for repair 10x8 inch circuit boards also he said. And this was hi-tech too
in the 80's and he just wanted to share this with us.:)

Please tell him we thank him for his service and if he ever wants to chat about old technology and ways I (and others here) would be more than happy to talk. People don't often know or understand that what we have today is 90% based on what people like him did back then. We actually still use that very technology just with different names, specs, and speeds. FTP = Cloud storage (Google Drive, one drive, dropbox, etc) - Gopher = Search engines of today - Usenet = Forums (kinda) and news - Telnet = kinda remote control of another system and so on.

-----------------------------------
Thank you for the trip down memory lane, it's not often someone wants to hear about those things, and understandable so.
 
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Charles

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I started out on an IBM 5150 I found at a local dump, of all places.
A local furniture company had thrown it out, monitor, keyboard and printer, because it would not power on.
I had a "friend" at the local Radio Shack, who helped me get things rolling... we found out it was a fuse in the power supply that was blown.
I was like 10 at the time, so he insisted on helping me with the fuse, but allowed me to do the actual replacement myself in the back office.
Things were a lot different back then. I guess worrying about a kid electrocuting himself inside of a computer with high voltages was still the proper thing to do though.
Once I had spent enough time and swear words on the 5150, my mom and dad bought me a Tandy to replace it, for Christmas, about two years after my initial computer find.
We gave the IBM 5150 to the Servco gas station my dad worked at, so they could keep electronic records of sales, and such. They were still using it up until 2002.
The ole beast refused to die! :D
I still remember my dad walking by, the new Tandy computer in pieces, laid out on my bed, and freaking out....going WTF did you do? Why did you tear it up?
I was putting in a sound card so I could play midi tunes and some video games had sound at the time, and the built in PC speaker just wasn't cutting it.
I had saved up all summer from mowing grass and such, to buy that sound card.
Anyway, a love of computers was born.
 

SteveF

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I'm one of the old-timers who was working on IBM and Amdahl Main frame computers when the IBM PC came out. Some of us did a 2 week course at the very first IBM Technical Training Center. Learned a lot about DOS and it was still helpful to me years later when I was installing some of the very 1st cable modems in business and residential.

I had a great job but still could not afford to buy one so began my journey of building my own pc's because it was cheaper to build in those days vs purchase. Times have changed pricing vs building but I have never stopped building my own rigs and for close family/friends as it helps to keep me updated and very much enjoy the frustrating aspects that come with building on occasion.

Computer Operations
Technical troubleshooting
Tape Ape / Tape Jockey ( how many know what that is? )

IBM 3033, 4331 and up
Unix systems
Western Electric / AT&T Technologies
...and some of the biggest laser printers you ever saw in your life

Thank you Bill Gates
Thank you IBM
Thank you Father "Time" for all the wonderful advancements
 

Baronstragen

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I remember being 10 years old and my father managed to get our class a tour of Johnson Laboratories. There was this huge room filled wall to wall with tape machines, most of them spinning when data from the laboratory analysis was being recorded. I'll never forget that sight. I started myself with an IBM XT running at 4MHz. I played mostly flight simulator, on a monochrome monitor (it was orange instead of green and that fascinated me) and there was just vector line drawings for the simulator but I was a kid and it was amazing. I'll never forget the hours I spent playing with my brother (we'd take turns) Ultima VII on our 486 DX2 50Mhz. So much has changed since I was young. I'm an analog kid that grew up into the digital age. I'm sure there's lots of you that experienced the same. PS: I never had so many blisters in my life between my thumb and index finger when I was playing the summer olypics on the ATARI 2600.
 
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kareemabd

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That keyboard looks comfy. I've always had a keen interest in old mechanical keyboard.
 
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