The History of Personal Computing

The History of Personal Computing podcast is your biweekly virtual guide in both audio and on the web to the history and development of arguably the single most important technological advancement of the last forty years - the personal computer. But, just what is a personal computer these days, well, that’s just it, it continues to evolve. We’ll be going over the significant devices one by one.


Episode 55 – First Computers

Commodore 64 Ad

For the new year, David and Jeff have decided to look back on the earlier times of computer retail by relating their experiences in getting their first computers.

Links mentioned in this episode:

  • SCSI2SD – SD to SCSI adapter for retro computing
  • Human Computers: The Women of NASA
  • Today in Apple history: Apple II gets its ‘killer app’

Jeff’s first computer:

  • Commodore VIC-20
    • Bought at Computers Unlimited, York, PA in October 1981 for $325.
    • Tandy Color Computer and Atari 400 were considered

David’s first computer:

  • Commodore 64 for his birthday in 1986
    • Google search for “commodore 64 toys r us” Images for commodore 64 toys r us

Jeff’s second computer:

  • Commodore 64
    • Bought at Fort Hood, TX AAFES store in Spring 1985 for $150-$200.
    • Got a Commodore Datasette and put a 1541 disk drive on lay-a-way.

David’s second computer:

  • Apple Lisa (Mac XL) from Sun Remarketing in December, 1989
    • Bob Cook from Sun Remarketing interview

Jeff’s third computer:

  • Commodore 128
    • Bought with 1571 disk drive at the Incirlik Air Force base in Incirlik, Turkey for about $500 for the pair.
    • Set it up immediately in the motel room during my stay at the base.
    • Had to sell my Commodore 64 because who needed TWO computers!

David’s third computer:

  • Commodore 64C
    • Purchased at the U.S. Army AAFES electronics store in Darmstadt, Germany in the summer of 1991.
    • Google search for “commodore test pilot” Images for commodore test pilot

Jeff’s fourth computer:

  • Commodore Amiga
    • Used my tax return to buy it
    • Had to wait for EB to ship it to me
  • Was blown away at the graphics and sound.
  • Google search for “Electronics Boutique” Images for Electronics Boutique
    • Bought from Electronics Boutique in early 1989 for around $600
    • Did not have an Analog RGB monitor. To my surprise, it came with an A520 color composite adapter, so I used an NTSC monitor.

David’s fourth computer:

  • Mac Classic, early 1992
  • Macintosh Performa 400, fall, 1992
    • Purchased from Sears in Jacksonville, FL.


 2017-01-03  1h10m