Archive for the ‘1977’ Category

Commodore PET

Commodore PET 2001

Commodore PET 2001

So far on the History of Personal Computing website, we have covered two of the three computers that are a part of the Personal Computer Trifecta. We covered the Apple II and the Radio Shack TRS-80 Model I. We have covered these computers in the order of their release date. Since the term “Trifecta” denotes three of something, that leaves the third and final “home computer system” to be released in the same year as the others. As the world was finally getting over the hype of the 1970’s quintessential “Pet Rock”, Commodore began producing the first “PET Computer”, known as the Commodore PET 2001. Continue reading Commodore PET…

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TRS-80 Model I

TRS-80 Model 1

TRS-80 Model 1

There were three of what we consider the first real consumer computers, or “out-of-the-box” micros, all released in 1977. These were arguably the first personal computers that could be purchased, brought home, taken out of their boxes, setup, and then used in some productive way – right away. the computer in this post is the second of the computer for the masses, the Tandy Radio Shack TRS-80 Micro Computer System, later to be called the TRS-80 Model I. Continue reading TRS-80 Model I…

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Apple II

Apple II

Apple II

While the many S-100 systems David and I have discussed in the early articles of the History of Personal Computing were formidable computers on their own, there came a time when Joe Public was noticing everything going on around them, and found himself hoping for a convenient, “turn-key” style of home computer.

Yes, there were turn-key S-100 systems, but they weren’t necessarily convenient. “Joe” did not want to deal with computers by having to work under the hood from time to time. In fact, when it came to the marketability of computing systems, the following philosophy was currently in play:

You can have…

  • Affordability
  • Expandability
  • or, convenience

…pick any TWO! Continue reading Apple II…

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NorthStar Horizon

NorthStar Horizon wooden case version

NorthStar Horizon wooden case version

Like many of the early strong competitors in the microcomputer game, North Star Computers is mostly forgotten these days. The company was founded by Mark Greenberg and Charles Grant in 1976 to sell IMSAI computers in Berkeley, CA. Originally called Kentucky Fried Computer, a lawsuit from . . . Kentucky Fried Chicken . . . and forced them to consider a name change, which they ultimately did. Also like some other computer startups of the time, North Star began making and selling add-ons for S-100 bus computers. Their first product was the Floating Point Board, which implemented a floating point coprocessor for 8080-based micros. They soon added a Z80A processor board, as well as RAM boards to their lineup. Continue reading NorthStar Horizon…

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Vector Graphic, Inc. Vector 1

vg_logoVector Graphic, Inc., like Cromemco which we recently covered, started out by creating expansion cards for S-100 systems. Thier first products were an 8K static RAM card and a 256×256 pixel “high resolution” card, called HRG, or High Resolution Graphics.

Before long, and also like Cromemco, Vector Graphic produced THEIR first S-100 clone, the Vector 1 computer, which went fully to market in 1977. One of the founders, Bob Harp, was the one who initially designed the Vector 1 system. Within the company, Bob was joined as co-owner by his wife Lore Harp, along with their next door neighbor, Carol Ely. Together, they springboarded a company that within four years, surpassed $3,000,000 revenue per month.

That was just a brief company introduction. M Continue reading Vector Graphic, Inc. Vector 1…

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