Archive for October, 2014

Heathkit H8

Heathkit H8

Heathkit H8

Heathkit was a long established electronics retailer, specializing in build-it-yourself electronic kits. In the wake of Altair’s original move to create a home computer for consumers, Heathkit believed they, too, could capitalize on the homebrew personal computer market. The result was the Heathkit H8 computer, introduced in July 1977. The H8 is similar to other S100 class computers in the sense that it used an Intel 8080 CPU, had a backplane expansion bus, and CP/M was commonly used on it, but the similarities ended there. Heathkit’s engineers noted the need to correct some major flaws in the S100 bus design, like having the +5 volt and ground pins right beside each other. Uncorrected, it was possible to short the power supply if a card was inserted crooked or a piece of metal dropped in the S100 slot at the right position. After all, this was the 70’s. You can’t have one of those low hanging disco chains getting in the works and shorting things out when bending over to insert an S100 card.

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Cromemco Z-1

Cromemco Z-1

Cromemco Z-1

Cromemco was founded in Mountain View, CA by two Stanford Ph.D. students in 1974, Harry Garland and Roger Melen. It received its name in honor of their residence at Stanford University, Crothers Memorial, which was a dormitory reserved for engineering graduate students. The two had already been working together on a series of articles for Popular Electronics magazine.The articles were for non-computer electronic hobbyist projects. In late 1974, Roger Melen was visiting the New York editorial offices of Popular Electronics and he saw the prototype of the MITS Altair 8800. He was so impressed with it that he immediately changed his next flight to go to Albuquerque, NM. There he met with Ed Roberts, president of MITS, and Roberts encouraged Melen to develop add-on products for the Altair. Continue reading Cromemco Z-1…

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Podcast Feed Location Updated

In order to better distribute our podcast, we have modified our RSS feed generator. This action resulted in the creation of a new RSS feed URL for the podcast.

The new URL is: http://www.historyofpersonalcomputing.com/?feed=podcast&podcast_series=history-of-personal-computing

The protocol(s) for automatic redirects to the new RSS feed have been put into place, so you shouldn’t need to do anthing. Your podcasting software should pick up on the change and permanently update the feed location. The next time you refresh or reload the History of Personal Computing podcast you should notice the update. iTunes should pick it up in 48 hours or less. Some podcast software will create duplicate entries for the existing shows because the naming convention of the podcast titles changed from the old shows.

You will probably know for sure if the redirect works after Episode 5 goes live sometime on October 31, 2014. If it doesn’t, please let us know in a comment on this post, or directly at feedback@historyofpersonalcomputing.com

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Podcast Episode 4: Single Board Computers

Listen along as David Greelish and Jeff Salzman discuss several of the early single board computers, including the Nascom 1, OSI Superboard, MOS Technology KIM-1, and the COSMAC ELF.

All of the above single board computers don’t easily fit into the History of Personal Computing’s “Tier” philosophy, so this special podcast episode was produced.

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MOS Technology KIM-1

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Launched in 1976, the MOS Technology KIM-1 (KIM being short for Keyboard Input Monitor), was a small 6502-based single-board computer. MOS Technology was a semiconductor designer and manufacturer based in Norristown, Pennsylvania. It is most famous for the 6502 microprocessor. In late 1976, Commodore Business Machines (CBM) acquired MOS.

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