Is This Australia's First PC?

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After reminiscing about the mini-scamp in this group, I decided to put
this page together:
http://www.dontronics-shop.com/Is-This-Australias-First-PC-sp-69.html

Cheers Don...


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Don McKenzie

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together:http://www.dontronics-shop.com/Is-This-Australias-First-PC-sp-69.html

*gasp*
You murdered that poor old defenseless Trash-80
Shame on you Don!

Dave.

Re: Is This Australia's First PC?


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I don't actually remember the term PC for "personal computer" being
used much until IBM produced their one in the early 1980s.

However, wikipedia says "personal computer" was used at least as far
back as 1962. So, why exclude the likes of Altair? Surely there must
have been some of those in Australia?


Andy Wood
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sure there were Andy, and a lot of others too, but the first paragraph
of that very document that you quoted states:

A personal computer (PC) is a computer whose original sales price, size,
and capabilities make it useful for individuals, intended to be operated
directly by an end user, with no intervening computer operator.

I didn't expect it be easy to define a "PC" as such.

What I had was a computer that I could use at home, I didn't have to
assemble it, just plug it in and read the manual. That is a home
computer, as used by an end user, and the same definition basically
applies today.

At one point, if you didn't have an IBM, or clone, you didn't have a PC.

It will only run on a PC is a very common term. I hear it basically
every day, but would you say that Apple's latest MacBook Air wasn't a
Personal Computer?

Cheers Don...



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I was not paying much attention to their definition of PC. Perhaps my
definition would be slightly different, but even by their definition,
I think the machine I had  could be called a PC.

Yes, it was expensive, but it was a price individuals could afford. It
was useful to me, and I certainly did not have anybody to operate it
for me! OK, so I did build it myself from a kit (I can't remember if
that particular machine was available assembled) but I don't think
that disqualifies it from being called a PC.

I'm not going to worry too much about the definition. Although I had
my machine up and running before yours, I am no threat to your claim
since at the time I was not living in Australia.


Andy Wood
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Re: Is This Australia's First PC?

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I remember the kit well Andy, and I remember the S-100 bus. Some of the
  earlier manufacturers tried to make good use of the Altair bus, and
incorporate it into their designs. I know there was a big hassle about
standardization.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/c/cb/Popular_Electronics_Cover_Jan_1975.jpg

and there were a lot of others too. At the bottom of this message, is a
list I found:

Even Electronics Australia's 1974 Educ-8 by Jim Rowe, who is still
writing for Silicon Chip mag.
http://www.siliconchip.com.au/menu_1235/cms/whoswho.html
http://www.ljw.me.uk/educ8 /

I spoke with Jim a few times in the early years, when he was technical
support manager at Dick Smith's and they were selling the System-80. I
was trying to pin down the memory map of the serial and proposed disk
interface on the then just released machine.

Cheers Don...


====================================
     * Micral was the earliest commercial, non-kit personal computer
based on the Intel 8008 micro-processor [1]
     * Intel SDK-85 based on the Intel 8085
     * MITS Altair 8800, introduced 1975, Intel 8080, introduced S-100 bus
     * IMSAI 8080, Intel 8080
     * MOS Technology KIM-1, introduced 1975, MOS Technology 6502
     * Rockwell AIM-65, MOS Technology 6502
     * Cromemco Z-1, introduced 1976
     * Motorola MEK6800D2, introduced 1976, with the Motorola 6800
microprocessor
     * COSMAC ELF, introduced 1976, RCA 1802
     * Netronics ELF II, RCA 1802
     * Quest SuperELF, RCA 1802
     * Tesla PMI-80
     * Electronics Australia Educ-8
     * Elektor TV Games Computer, with the Signetics 2650 microprocessor
     * Sinclair's MK14, a SC/MP based system
     * The System 68 from a design published in Electronics today
international.
     * The PSI comp 80 by Powertran from a design in the magazine
Wireless World
====================================



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I mentioned the Altair because it is the most famous machine of that
era, but I did not have an Altair.

The thing I had is not even on your list, it was a SWTPC 6800 ( see
http://www.swtpc.com/mholley/index.html ).

It was one of the first machines to use the 5.25" floppies pioneered
by Shugart.  From memory I think the two SA400 drives I had both had
serial numbers less than 1000. Those disks had a formatted capacity of
less than 100KB. Today, for the equivalent of what those drives cost,
you could buy many TB of much faster disk capacity.


Andy Wood
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Re: Is This Australia's First PC?

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OH, yes what we pronounced sweat-pack, the 6800 based machine.

I'll bet you read byte magazine in those days.

Cheers Don...


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     Have a look at a 1981 ad for a 10MB hard drive at
http://members.ozemail.com.au/~bobpar/1981_HDD_price.jpg

     You might have seen it before ...


Bob



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I'll bet you posted that here in recent times Bob
yes I do recall it. :-)

Cheers Don...



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    Yeah, I thought I remembered doing that. Maybe someone here missed
seeing it last time. :-)

Bob

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    In about 1983 I bought a calculator-like Casio PB-100 Personal
Computer. It had about half a K of RAM for program storage, with an
expansion slot for about a further 1K.
    Programmed in BASIC, it could do some very useful stuff like filter
design, biorhythm calculations, and most other things I could think of.
    I bought the optional tiny thermal printer and I used to save/load
programs from a cassette recorder.
    You can see a scan of the box it came in, at
http://members.ozemail.com.au/~bobpar/pb-100s.jpg


Bob


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$95 just for that book??

Re: Is This Australia's First PC?
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    Yes, but they threw in the Personal Computer as well. :-)

Re: Is This Australia's First PC?



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That looks a bit like the Sharp PC-1211 that I bought in 1981. I still
have it and it was working the last time I tried it, although the LCD
display has some black marks along the top.

I have seen the claim that the PC-1211 was the first calculator
programmable in BASIC. I don't know if that is true but I know I felt
positively ancient when I saw one on display at the Powerhouse museum
in Sydney.


Andy Wood
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Ancient? I too saw gear that I had worked on, at the Powerhouse museum
in Sydney.

http://members.ozemail.com.au/~bconlon/operation.htm#top
about 3/4's of the way down that page you will see a J8 ticket issuing
machine.

Well, I worked on the previous model, the J6, and the associated control
gear. The Tote is an Australian invention, and again arguably the
world's first electro-mechanical computer. (Circa 1913)

Don't think it's a PC however :-)

Cheers Don...


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Don McKenzie

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...
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...

I went to the Powerhouse museum again today. They have quite a range
of machines on display, including an Apple I, a Heathkit H8, a
Commodore PET, and a TRS 80. However, the sign saying "... world's
first PC" was on their Altair 8800.  

They have some genuine Aussie items too, like a Microbee and a
Fairlight CMI.


Andy Wood
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Re: Is This Australia's First PC?
Hey Don,




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Wasn't George Julius Apprenticed to you?

Mikko

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Almost Mikko, :-)

here is a little known fact:
His grand-daughter Wendy Julius married the Australian painter Brett
Whiteley.

Don...




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Don McKenzie

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OH, more importantly, he was the first chairman of the Council for
Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). later to become the CSIRO.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Julius
has a fair bit on him.

Don...



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