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Re: Geek Reminiscing

I remember my first machine with a fondness, as well.  

With the Babbage Rotary Computational Engine, we had to hard code
everything.  Literally!  We had to carve our own wooden disks and cylinders
for each individual computation, but fortunately, they could be re-used for
later projects.  Of course, this meant that we had the first truly Object
Oriented programming ever.

Youse guys with your pansy little paper tapes and plastic cassettes just
don't know what luxuries you had!

Geezer Extraordinairre,

At 13.37 10/16/98 -0400, you wrote:
>Wow. This whole thing DOES bring back memories. I actually had a ][ plus, 
>with the 32K expansion card (bringing my total system ram to 48 whoppin' K).
>Only had the 1 5.25" drive and a cool Amdek amber monitor... Interestinly I 
>still see those monitors around in weird places, like fast food places and
>stuff... sometimes even in a doctors office.
>> Imagine 1983. I bought my first computer, an Apple IIe, after spending a
>> year hacking around on my best friends TI99/4A - complete with the external
>> cassette drive. He soon acquired an HUGE external expansion box that held a
>> quite massive 5 1/4 inch disk drive. I know the thing cost about $800, but
>> dammit, we had a floppy drive!
>Hehe. The TI99/4a was THE computer. Talk about something ahead of its time.
>Didn't the keyboard just feel great? Imagine a home computer with NLS in the 
>early 80's. Truly amazing. Good solid hardware and software design. Extremely
>impressive, too bad it didn't make it (it couldn't compete with the shitty
>vics - god ppl are dumb as hell). 16-bit processors, 3-voice sound, speech
>synthesis, 48K RAM, parallel printer card... pretty impressive machine. There
>were a lot of cool assembly-language based products to come out using the 32K
>card and extended basic. Some of those were super cool.
>> I had the Apple IIe, with the extra-cool 80-column card and a full 64K of
>Man, lowercase and 80 columns musta been nice. I actually got a mod chip for
>my Apple ][ plus (that is featured on the apple2.org site actually) - I'd
>forgotten about it till i went thru some of the pictures and saw it. It came
>with a wire clip that you could short some pins with and a new charset ROM
>that swapped out either inverse or flash text for lowercase. Imagine that.
>> RAM. I had a CP/M card (which I almost never used). I had the rockin' amber
>> monitor. I had 2  5 1/4 inch disk drives. What a luxury. I had a 300 baud
>> modem, from Hayes for God's sake, with a big-ass internal card that
>> connected to the big-ass external portion of the modem, which I then
>> connected to the phone line. I drove my poor mother nuts; we only had one
>> phone line, and I strung a 100-foot phone cable down the hall to the
>> phone jack. Luckily, I was the first kid on my block to get his own phone
>> line!
>Haha. It must have been nice with a modem. I had to rely on my friends from
>Louisville to bring me warez. Karateka, the newsroom (which I actually
>for them hehehe), the print shop, spy hunter... And of course, the beagle 
>bros. software. Man, I had almost forgotten about them. They were the
>Talk about geeks you have to meet. AFAIC they're right up there with Larry
>and other pioneers. 
>> disk... Voila! Double sided disks for the price of singles! They rarely
>> worked, of course, but that's beside the point.
>Mine actually worked pretty well, surprisingly. 
>> The coolest software for the Apple IIe at that time was made by a company
>> called Beagle Brothers. They were awesome; their packaging looked like
>> old-timey old west posters and such. They made really innovative software
>> for their day. They made a better DOS than Apple. They made fun games that
>> made great noises. They made very useful utilities like Byte Zap, which
>> I think, the first real sector editor for the II series. They jammed
tons of
>> programs on their disks, all written in BASIC of course, so you could steal
>> their great ideas. I want to find those guys, they were great!
>Remember the old peeks and pokes pointer chart? That was THE handiest refer-
>ence tool that I have ever owned. DOS Boss, Apple Mechanic. Ya know, these
>guys were the most creative people. Talk about someone who can take system
>primitives and mold them into a very entertaining product line. I mean,
>clicks and ticks and animated eyes and hairpieces... They were the best.
>Let's try to find them. I just put it into altavista and found some of their
>old stuff in japan! 
>And! I found this - 
>Date: Fri, 06 Jun 1997 00:04:58 -0400 (EDT)
>From: [email protected] [Mark Simonsen]
>To: [email protected] [Willie Yeo]
>Subject: Re: Concerning the Beagle Oldies freeware programs
>As long as all original copyright and trademark notices are
>retained/preserved and used AND as long as only those titles
>that are designated as Beagle Oldies are included (i.e. you
>may not include anything that is currently being sold by
>Quality Computers), it's OK with me for you to make them
>available from your BBS, etc.
>[Mark Simonsen]
>[n/b : current copyright owner of Beagle Bros Software]
>Definitely need to talk to these guys and find out what they're doing! I 
>remember Mark Simonsen's name now, cool. 
>> I played Karateka, which Jordan Mechner(sp?) made before he became famous
>> with Prince of Perisa. I owned the original Ulitma, and I played it until
>> the disk wouldn't work anymore. I called every BBS in Atlanta, and pirate
>> BBSs all over the country, and it was great. I pretty much lived on my
>> computer from age 13-16, where I decided to get an outside life.
>Don't forget the Infocom adventures.
>Ahh! Ultima! :-)  My Stacy plays Ultima Online, and it is kinda funny cuz
>the last Ultima I played was Ultima IV on my II+... like late 80s. Talk about
>different and  -- cool. It is still cool to remember playing Ultima IV - when
>you could attack the guards and actually win, possibly. ;^)
>> I still miss those days. But luckily, I still don't have a life. :)
>Me either. You know, I bet we could build an interesting geek flowchart -
>I bet there is a very predictable flow of geek personality and current
>usage based on start time and initial hardware.
>Dammit Robbie! Why'd you go and start this!?!! :-D