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Feb 2015 Meeting - Computers I Have Known (Prologue)

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Jack Ungerleider
Feb 2015 Meeting - Computers I Have Known (Prologue)

At the February 2015 General Meeting I presented on the subject of the History of Micro/Home/Personal Computing. We experimented with using Google's Hangout on Air technology to broadcast and record the presentation via YouTube. If you would like to experience the evening in all its unedited glory (or horror at some points) you can view the almost 2 hour long video here. I may posted an edited and/or annotated video in the future. 

The title of the presentation was Computers I Have Known (many I have owned) and my subtitle was "A random walk through the history of PCs". I will try and provide some additional information about the computers discussed over a series of posts to this forum that may end up as articles in the Viking. But before I start on my random walk I'd like to provide you with the tools to take your own "walk" through that history. The links/URLs below are the main resources I used to put together the talk. Some of these sites I have used for years as a reference about computers, software and books that I remember but need a jog on the details of their existence. If you have an interest in the history of personal computing I recommend them to your bookmarks or favorites list. 

The Museum section of www.old-computers.comhttp://www.old-computers.com/museum/default.asp: This is one of the most comprehensive sites for finding images and information about old computer systems. The open comments section provides a place to hear from people who used the machines when they were current.

Other similar sites can be found at: http://oldcomputers.net/  http://www.oldcomputermuseum.com/default.htm  http://www.vintage-computer.com/ 

The other major type of site for this kind of research are those that provide archives of old magazines and books. A favorite site in this category is  http://www.atariarchives.org/. It includes the full text of classic books from the early days of home computing. Including most of the great David Ahl "Games in Basic" books. The sister site http://www.atarimagazines.com/ contains the full text of limited numbers of issues of various magazines from the general information Creative Computing and Computer to system specific magazines such as Antic(Atari) and Compute's Gazette(Commodore).

One last element of exploring the history of computing is the emulator. There exist emulators for many early computer systems. Some were written for earlier versions of Windows and may need to run in emulation mode of a more modern version of the OS. Others are still maintained and have current versions for the current operating systems. One place to start your search for emulators is the Emulator Zone (http://www.emulator-zone.com/)  Another good source about emulators is the Wikipedia article on the subject. Be careful when using emulators in some cases there are legal issues surrounding ROM code copyrights. Your safest if you only use an emulator of an old computer you own. (Not used to own but own now.)

I'll leave you at this point with two more links:
The first is to the section on eBay that contains vintage computer equipment: http://www.ebay.com/sch/Vintage-Computing
Last but not least we will end at the beginning. The January 1975 issue of Popular Electronics: http://www.swtpc.com/mholley/PopularElectronics/Jan1975/PE_Jan1975.htm

Until next time...