Member #732101

Member Since: October 23, 2015

Country: United States

  • The year was about 1973 and I had just finished assembling my very own Altair 8800 computer (which I still have). It had a whopping 17K BITS of memory, a cassette data loader, a small keyboard, and an old black & white portable TV (neither Microsoft nor monitors existed). I had written (in octal!) and loaded (flipping switches on the front panel) a boot loader, which got the cassette to load the main code and yeehaw, the keyboard worked - what you typed appeared on the screen.

    My girlfriend (now wife of 45 years) invited me over to dinner at her folks house. Not being one to turn down food, I packed up my nice new computer and took with me to show off to her family. One thing you should know is that houses built in the 1930’s did not come with 3-prong power plugs as they do today. Oh and the tv? yeah it was a hot chassis, which meant that there is no common ground circuit. Of course when it was all plugged in and I hit the power switch, 120 volts immediately went to ground resulting in a big puff of blue smoke and bits of exploding capacitors went tinkling all over. Another two weeks of desoldering the IC’s from each of the circuit cards (didn’t know about sockets) and buying a complete new set of IC’s and a Intel 8080 chip. I was back in business and answering the same question over and over; what can you do with a computer?

No public wish lists :(