|Pathologically Eclectic Rubbish Lister
Re: (jeffa) Re: My first computer was...by Phaysis (Pilgrim)
|on Jul 04, 2003 at 20:57 UTC
My first was also the TI99/4A, the beige box. Aah, the refresh that pauses. :) I loved that thing. It was a gift to me by a friend of the family who no longer wanted or needed it (his son was completely disinterested in it). I was given a cardboard box with the TI, several education cartridges, a voice module, some cassettes, and both of the instruction books. I didn't have a cassette deck, so I picked up a "slimline" recorder at a pawn shop. Didn't have a cassette interface, so I had to pick up a DB9 connector and some 1/4" phone plugs and within a week of having the system I hacked my own. Later built the cable for the secondary tape recorder.
I learned a lot of BASIC on that thing. My largest ongoing project was a TI-Basic port of Pac-Man; mmmm, nothing like defining my one-color sprites with hexadecimal and having to move them around with PRINTCHAR(x,10,8). Got the game as far as being able to move Pac-Man around, with either cursor keys or my home-made joystick, to eat dots and get scores, but couldn't determine how to make the ghosts move to chase Pac-Man or how to make sounds play concurrently with gameplay. That project taught me to have the good sense to gratuitously use subroutines and structured program flow -- before then my projects mainly consisted of straight-through execution and GOTO's. I Learned a lot on that machine. I later ended up with FIVE of them, all in various states of disrepair and cannibalisation.
My second computer was a hand-me-down Timex Sinclair 1000. Let's hear it for membrane keyboards, 2K of RAM, 8K of ROM, and 1-bit graphics!
It wasn't until '92 when a close friend of mine gave me his Amstrad 128k Z80-based machine (which displayed on a PAL monitor) that I found a piece of heaven; internal 3.5" floppy (non-standard form factor), 3-voice sound, 3 video modes, and probably the best, most powerful implementation of BASIC I had ever seen (which blew TI's BASIC out of the water). He even gave me his CP/M disks.
Aah, halcyon days, friends.
(Ph) Phaysis (Shawn)