Saturday, April 21, 2007

TWSTW:The Early Years: Part One

From the PCjr, and the CoCo, to the shiny new Acer with Windows Vista. Time passes as the historians and science fiction writers like to remind us. And technologically speaking that is true at an even faster rate.

Part One:

I started My computer history using a borrowed Radio Shack TRS-80. My brothers started with commodores and later atari's. In time, I inherited my brother's PCjr., when he turned to the IBM-XT.

My First purchased computer was the TRS Color Computer for $540 plus tax (with my Radio Shack discount, of course). It had 16k of memory, Level 2 Basic and the infamous "chiclet keyboard".

It connected to a TV, like the Amiga and Atari. Used a cassette recorder for Data, and a Cartridge Rom for commercial programs, most from Radio Shack. I subscribed to a cassette-based magazine dedicated to the CoCo, and received a monthly cassette of programs to use on the CoCo. The magazine was called Chromasette.

Level 2 Basic was pretty simple, but not really a programming language.

On thursday's, which was my day off work, we would meet at Charlie's and "natter" about science fiction (Hour 25 KPFK), and of course, computers. Charlie, Louie, Robert, Me and sometimes Charlie's daughter: Anathea. We basically learned Basic and a little assembly that way.

Hundreds of hours later, keying in data statements from Compute! or some other 'Personal Computer' magazine. We'd either have a nice running program or a hunt for the miss-typed data statement.

On Thursday's, we'd find and "fix" the ills of the world, at least until next thursday.

In time we found Borland's "Turbo Pascal 3.0" for about $30 to $50 dollars, and began coding with blocks of code called procedures. This was the big leagues and it was affordable.

This was the First True IDE for a compiler. See the Wikipedia Site on Turbo Pascal.

End of Part One: The Early Years of TWSTW (Thursdays We Saved The World.).

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