On this day 25 years ago, IBM announced the first ever personal computer – the IBM 5150. I read this story over at the BBC website. In the mid to late eighties my dad built a succession of PCs, from the 8086 through to the 486DX. At school, we used BBC Micro Model B computers, later switch to Acorn’s Archimedes.
My first computer was a Sinclair ZX81. I had the optional 4K RAM pack. I have no recollection of playing with this computer although I can remember the loading software via a tape recorder. The screeching tones of the tape used to drive my mother mad I’m sure. Occasionally, the software would fail to load, so I’d have to rewind the tape and repeat the loading method. I think my dad bought me this computer, probably so he could play with it himself.
Whilst most of my friends had Amstrads, Amigas, Atari 512s ST or 1024s or Commodore 64s, we had an bland IBM compatible PC at home, which turned out to be a wise choice in the end. This meant my dad could run Supercalc, a nasty spreadsheet application. The few computer games I can remember playing were King’s Quest and Space Invaders. My dad was addicted to the latter. From what I remember, we used email then too. I think it was mainly for posting to the newsgroups, now archived and run by Google Groups. At some point, my dad purchased and fitted a maths co-processor to the 486. He must have been doing some pretty heavy sums on the PC. Since the Pentium came along, maths co-processors were no longer optional and included in the chip anyway.
I remember playing with Mosaic, the first web browser too and using Gopher, a predecessor of the web now defunct I think. I remember my dad advising me to get a job at Demon Internet way back in 1994. I should have listened. May be I would have been a high-flier by now.
What was your first computer and its killer apps?