Anyone else remember being able to trade in an old computer, for a discount on the new one? (More, later).
My first computer ran TI-Basic. ‘Twas a TI-99/4A... A guy was moving, and figured I’d want this piece of garage junk. (He was right). Now, this could’ve been a pretty nice bit of old equipment if he had bought more than the bare model… But it was long gone from the market (or I would’ve tried to find the Star Trek game). (It never occurred to me to wonder if there was such a thing as a surplus electronics shop nearby).
If it’d only had a manual, I might’ve got into programming… Sadly, TI-Basic didn’t have enough in common with Basic (which I _could_ find a book for). A couple of programs worked, and trial-and-error translated a couple of commands. But without the acoustic coupler, for a cassette recorder, or an external 5.25 floppy, there didn’t seem to be much point. (I did eventually use its TV output to title some VHS dubs edits. But, dubbing VHS was such a disappointment… and I found I didn’t care to sit through text titles when I already knew what was on it).
Sometime after, I let a Radio Shack guy (I didn’t know any better) talk me into some old Tandy XT, which ran off the floppy drive, and displayed on a CGA. I think there might’ve been some kind of little apps. But all I remember is learning Dos, because there wasn’t a whole lot else to do, (vs. the added cost of doing them, at least).
Months later, the same guy recognized a sucker, and buttonholed me to buy a newer 286 model - with a hard drive, and VGA, and everything.
“Will you give me a trade in on my old Tandy [whatever-it-was] system?”
You could see it wouldn’t be his first choice, but he really wanted that sale…
It came with some sort of Tandy answer to Windows. You could sit up in the GUI and launch one little app at a time. There was even a Paint. And Dos had added new commands!
Well, then I started reading computer rags, and bought my 386 at a computer shop. For some reason, another customer wanted a new-ish Tandy, and mine would fit the bill. So there was another piece of trade-in action. (Too bad they didn’t want the dot-matrix printer. I really should recycle that thing, unless there’s some collector market…).
Went into the Radio Shack, and there’s that sales guy again. I got to break the news that I’d bought a computer which didn’t need $$$ Tandy parts.
Later on, that shop offered another trade in deal, towards getting a faster 386 with better upgradability. But then they started doing sales, setup, and repair to local businesses, and I became a low-priority customer. So I got a book, and started doing my own working in the guts, instead of waiting around for them to finish their meeting, and give me back my freakin’ computer that’d been there for 3 days. Got that sucker up to 8 Megabytes of ram. Dual floppies. Finally got a computer game - Wolfenstein, with it’s impossible realtime 3D!
Next computer, I carefully selected the parts for a Gateway (I didn’t know any better). But it came with cheapier substitutes. I called them, and got a rep whose bored, sarcastic, what-else-is-new voice let me know I was a fool. They made some empty promise to file a ticket. Later on, the computer rags let me know that it was SOP for most mail-order builders to do that, every month, and every system, leaning way too hard on the fine-print excuse of “if a component isn’t available, a substitute…”. But Windows 3.11 was kinda ok, and at some point, there were semi-affordable Windows art/photo proggies which didn’t need a special driver to be written for each video card. And a 486 with some decent ram, could actually sortof run them. On the other hand, using them without an expensive, and ultimately-teensy graphics tablet was pretty much futile…
But its nice comm software, and a free local computer newspaper got me to belatedly explore BBS’s. My favorite was one run by a couple of brothers. When the younger hit 18, he shut it down and went to work for a small ISP. Told us the BBS scene was undergoing mass apoptosis because of this Internet thing that some members had been getting, and babbling about for the past few months… And yes, that would pretty much mean Windows95 on a newer computer… Windows 95 was a pleasant surprise, though. And 98b was so much better, until updates made networking buggy. And ME was so gawdawful. And XP was nice, and…
So… 256 bytes RAM; 16? kiloBytes; 64? kB;2? MB; 4 MB, 8 MB; 8? MB…