[vcf-midatlantic] Happy Birthday IBM-PC

Richard Cini rich.cini at gmail.com
Fri Aug 13 16:11:30 UTC 2021

Great story. I built my own 5-connector expansion chassis (wire-wrapped connectors and made my own cartridge insert with ribbon cables -- all RadioShack stuff), a machine language monitor cartridge based on the one from Jim Butterfield (as published in Compute!), and a speech synthesizer with the SP0256-AL2 chip. I had no EPROM programmer, so a friend of mine used his father's programmer to burn it.

I made my own PCBs back then. My mom hated it because I used one of her Pyrex meatloaf pans (which of course became my meatloaf pan). Still have all of that stuff in the basement.

Rich Cini
http://altair32.classiccmp.org <http://www.classiccmp.org/altair32>

On 8/13/21, 11:13 AM, "vcf-midatlantic on behalf of Chris Fala via vcf-midatlantic" <vcf-midatlantic-bounces at lists.vcfed.org on behalf of vcf-midatlantic at lists.vcfed.org> wrote:

    I had a VIC back then. (I know I told this story before, but here it is
    again.) It was a gift from my sister who worked at Commodore at the time
    (she worked in sales under Kit Spencer, and often worked with Mike Tomczyk
    and Jack Tramiel). I used to think she got my computer with her employee
    discount, but it was more like the
    employee-walk-out-the-door-with-whatever-you-want discount (Bil Herd
    recently confirmed this was a thing that was done with approval). I only
    had a tape drive and maybe one cartridge (no floppy drive). I wrote several
    games in BASIC, plus other programs to do useful things. A few years ago, I
    found many of my programs on an old cassette tape, and yes, I transferred
    them to floppy. One game I am currently re-developing for the C64. I spent
    many hours programming on my VIC. I also built a couple simple circuits to
    interface with it. The 22 column screen was a challenge, but it forced you
    to be creative. Plus I didn't have a RAM expansion, so working within 3.5k
    was another challenge, a barrier that I slammed up against on one
    particular program. It was fun learning all the memory optimization
    techniques. I was spoiled in school in 8th, 9th, and 12th grades where I
    got to use TRS-80 Models 1 and III (taught myself BASIN on them before I
    got the VIC), but the VIC was all mine, and that made it better!
    On Fri, Aug 13, 2021 at 9:34 AM Alexander Pierson via vcf-midatlantic <
    vcf-midatlantic at lists.vcfed.org> wrote:
    > February '81, eh? Did anyone else have a VIC-20 when it was relatively
    > new? What was your experience like?
    > Contrasting that, is there anyone here who actually got their hands on an
    > IBM 5150 within that first year?
    > I find the VIC gets a bit of an unfair shake these days, seen as an
    > underpowered toy/game system.  However, I see it as the little machine that
    > could.  The VIC-20 is my favorite vintage computer, hands down.  Don't
    > believe me?  http://commodorez.com/img/vicportrait1000.jpg
    > -Alexander 'Z' Pierson
    > _
    >    On Thursday, August 12, 2021, 4:56:59 PM EDT, Richard Cini <
    > rich.cini at gmail.com> wrote:
    >  I got my VIC in February 1981 (9th grade). Upgraded to a Fat Mac in 1985.
    > I didn’t get anything PC-ish until I was half-way through college (a
    > DeskPro 386/16 with 5 MB of RAM and a 42mb hard drive; still have that
    > machine too). My point was more that 40 years is a long time.
    > On Thu, Aug 12, 2021 at 4:50 PM Alexander Pierson via vcf-midatlantic <
    > vcf-midatlantic at lists.vcfed.org> wrote:
    > >I think I was still using my VIC-20 then.
    > You make it sound like it was old in '81, however: Happy 40th birthday
    > Commodore VIC-20 too.  Yes, technically it was released in Japan in '80,
    > but nobody here lived in Japan/had a VIC-1001.  I've never heard a
    > concrete, verifiable answer on what month it was released in the US.  Just
    > vaguely mid-summer.
    > -Alexander 'Z' Pierson
    > _
    >    On Thursday, August 12, 2021, 7:45:02 AM EDT, Richard Cini via
    > vcf-midatlantic <vcf-midatlantic at lists.vcfed.org> wrote:
    >  August 12, 1981 at a news conference in NY, IBM introduced the PC. 40
    > years ago. Holy cow. I think I was still using my VIC-20 then.
    > Rich
    > http://cini.classiccmp.org/
    > Long Island S100 User’s Group
    > Get Outlook<https://aka.ms/qtex0l> for iOS

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