Indicator for being old

Recently I’ve been questioned by a student around 22 years: Why is the first drive letter on Windows always C: and not A:, why s there no drive A: anywhere.

From this moment on I knew, I am old…


LOL… did you remember why?



Ha ha… Wait until they find out that we used to load apps from cassette tapes, then they ask, WTF is a cassette tape :slight_smile:


what about punch card??


Cassette tapes were all the rage when I first got into 'puters. Floppies existed, just too expensive for broke ass 10 year old me.

I had one for my Atari 800 8 bit machine way back when.

And yes I have used Punch cards and even had to boot a computer using front panel switches and punched tape when in college!

  • Karen

I started with 35 track single sided single density 5" floppies with a capacity of just under 100K (TRS-80 Model I).

My first hard drive was 5 megabytes, 100 ms response time and cost $1995.00 (TRS-80 Model 4). I wondered if I’d ever fill it up, lol. It was big, too, about 12 x 12 by 4 inches, with a 50-pin ribbon cable to connect it to the computer.

Recently I took a walk down memory lane with a TRSDOS / LSDOS 6.3 emulator. Looking at all the old manuals, the largest file the OS could even address was 16 megabytes, an unimaginably large file to me in those days, which explains why I never noticed the limitation. There were no subdirectories, either. Even the emulator won’t let you go above 40 meg for a hard disk capacity. Something about cylinders per track and directory extents per cylinder.

There was a nice K&R C compiler; apart from that the best BASIC compiler I could find was clearly written with gamers in mind despite the dismal graphics resolution, because I quickly found it was terribly buggy once you got out of that problem domain and tried to do any serious work with it. No local variables apart from function arguments and a bunch of other interesting limitations.

The operating system actually supported more than 64K of RAM via a bank switching scheme. Though the hardware was never sold by Radio Shack with more than 128K of RAM, it could have gone much higher than that, if anyone in those days could have afforded that much RAM!

1 Like

I was about to mention Atari 2600 Cartridges but punch cards clearly won :wink:

My original first really personal computer (before I enjoyed playing games on Commodore C64) was a Schneider Euro-PC with 512 KB RAM, MS-DOS 3.3, Hercules Graphic, 3,5" HD 1,44 MB in 1988. Not really capable of gaming (only with a CGA-Emulator, Sopwith, AlleyCat etc.). First programming was done on Borland Turbo-BASIC becoming Power-BASIC and Turbo-Pascal. The conditions of my further life were set in the late 80ies. Of course it still does run today :slight_smile:

Talking about Floppies, In the beginning of the 90ies I loved Geoworks Ensemble more than any crap from Redmond… but well… this is history…


a friend and I built an S100 (z80) computer around 1976. It had front panel switches, but we splurged and bought a paper tape reader ($19.95), cheap? yeah, but it was 100% manual, you had to pull the tape thru the unit manually, and it had to be a constant speed otherwise it errored out. I solved the problem by tieing a lead fishing weight on on end of the tape, and throwing it across the room… Worked “almost” every time :slight_smile:

1 Like

you’re really old :wink:

1 Like

Damn, Dave, I did the same thing except mine was with an 8080 since the z80 was more expensive. And also the paper tape reader except I used the inside mechanism from an old crank-type pencil sharpener to let me get a constant speed for the tape. Ad that was after entering the boot loader by using the toggle switches on the CPU’s front. Don’t miss them days!

1 Like

I could “afford” the Z80 because someone else was footing the bill… As as matter of fact if I recall the cost was around $15K (that include our fee for assembly and programming).

I do remember, it was tiered payment, we got like 1/2 our fee when we delivered a working computer. The day we did, the client decided to try to do the deal (he had no software at that time).

I said “Are you trying to redo the terms of our contract? Yes or No?”
He said “Yes, I am and you have no choice in the matter” {he was a business man, and we were just “kids”)
I said “wanna bet? I hereby consider our contract null and void… have a nice day”
needless to say he was pissed, we called his bluff and he lost… Never saw him again

1 Like

When folks assume you have NO options is usually because they lack the imagination as to what options you might have that they would consider impossible, never going to happen, they’d NEVER do THAT !

I know that one

1 Like