Memory Lane – My first computer

I recently turned 50 and realized that I have been programming for over 35 years. There’s some interesting, funny, and stupid stories that pop into my head, so why not place some here. If there is some interest, I can post a few stories from time to time.

My First Computer

I was 15 years old in 1980. I visited a friend and he showed me a TRS-80 Model 1 that he had. We typed in a simple BASIC program from a book of games… it was something like “guess a number from 1 to 10”. We ran it, played a bit, and right then and there, I decided that I wanted to write software for a living.

It’s hard to describe how cool it actually was to “program” (ie: type code from a book) that computer for the first time. Of course, I had to get a computer for myself. I visited the local Radio Shack many times over the next few weeks, and decided I wanted the Model 3.

One weekend, my parents and I go over to the local Radio Shack and tell them we want to buy the Model 3 (looking back, that sucker was expensive.  It was $1599, that’s over $4500 today. Not sure how my parents were going to afford that, but they were very supportive and I guess they would “just find a way”). One of the store’s salespersons tells us that the computer salesman is not in today, but he will call us back on Monday. Bummer… guess I’ll wait until he calls.

He never does. I guess he never got my info, or didn’t really expect we would buy a computer, but in the meantime, I discovered the Atari 400, and we went out the next weekend and bought it. Thus begins my computer career. In hindsight, the Atari was a great choice over the Model 3. And a bit cheaper too, which I am sure my parents appreciated.