Are we all perhaps linked by invisible bonds? Do the actions of one affect others, even if those others are far away? Our lives and the universe itself may be all part of a single mechanism in which all creatures and events are 'entangled' with one another.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Videos Of The Week

Since I put up some pics earlier this week showing ENIAC, the first electronic computer, I thought I'd put up this video of the first computer I owned--The Commodore VIC-20! I got it in November 1982.

It came with 5K (not 5 MB or 5 GB, just 5K) of memory but I had a 8K memory cartridge with gave me a total of 13K . Plus the Datasette recorder--a cassette recorder to store programs on. No floppy drives were yet available (or if they were, they were too expensive), and definitely no hard drives!

The original list price for the VIC-20 was $300, but I bought mine just after Commodore lowered the price to $200. The Datasette cost another $75. No need for a monitor as it hooked up to the TV.

The BASIC programming language was built-in, but when turned on, you basically just got a blank screen. To load a program, you'd type in a command such as: Load"*",8,1"
The star (asterisk symbol) was a 'wildcard' symbol, or you could type in the actual name of the program (if you remembered it). The number 8 was the device number (the cassette drive), and the number 1 referred to the file number.
You could of course buy some programs on tape, or if you didn't have a lot of cash to spare (like me) there were magazines that had program listings that you could type into the computer yourself. Commodore had it's own mag, and there was one called 'Compute!', which I used to buy. After spending a few hours typing in a program (especiallly if you're a slow typist) you could run it to play a game.

That's, of course, if you'd typed it in correctly, which rarely if ever happened. Even a comma or misspelled word would cause the program to stop, and you'd have to spend another hour or two trying to find the mistakes in the program and correct them. Worst of all, sometimes the magazine listing itself would be wrong, and it would be a month or two before a correction was printed! That will teach you patience!

Despite all that, I loved my little VIC-20. After all, he was my first, and you never forget the first one.

This next video needs no explanation !

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