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The first computer I used was a TRS-80 back in grade school. They had a dozen of them at the local science center where I took classes after school. I learned to program in BASIC and store my inventions on a cassette tape.

The first machine I owned was an Apple IIe. I remember my neighbor was jealous because, unlike his Apple II, my computer could handle lower case letters :-) Fancy! I learned to do basic graphics programming using the Apple IIe's awesome palette of six colors, one of which was spandex magenta. I was also exposed to computer porn when my friend got his hands on an ultra secret copy of "sex olympics". In six colors, it was all very... abstract, but its easy to get excited when you are thirteen.

After a brief affair with an
Apple IIGS, I moved on to the
Amiga. The Amiga was absolutely amazing for the time. It could display 4096 colors and had advanced sound capabilities. The fact I could use the "SAY" command in AmigaBASIC to get the computer to talk was a never ending source of excitement. I used a program called Deluxe Paint to do everything from digital paintings to designing self contained ecosystems (a long running obsession dating back to junior high - I was a weird kid.) The Amiga was the first computer I used to compose music. I used a MIDI interface to connect my Korg T1 keyboard. I lost quite a few hours in the basement writing music with this setup. I convinced many of my friends and parent's friends to bet on the Amiga as the computing platform of the future. Oops! How was I to know? It was so friggen cool!

Here is the full progression of computers I've used going back to grade school:

TRS-80 -> Apple IIe -> Apple IIgs -> Amiga 2000 -> Amiga 3000 -> Various Macs -> PowerWave (Power Computing's Mac clone) -> Various Intel Boxes Running Windows -> MacBook Pro (today)

What was your first computer? How about your first programming language?

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Comment by JW Guillaume on July 9, 2008 at 7:42pm
I bought it at Muntz Stereo on Kapiolani Blvd. $300 I bought it because I was injured in a bench press competition (tore chest muscle). No programs, no books, only some childrens cartridges and the programmers reference manual. The display was sent through a RF modulator to my Television. I taught myself BASIC then found a magazine where you could copy and type in the code for a program. I remember when they added checksums to find your typos. I bought the cassette backup drive, they used short 5 minute cassette tapes. I also bought a printer. Dot Matrix unfortunately it did not have true descenders. I moved up through the years as finances allowed, but I will never forget those early days. I thought that machine was magic!


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