Back in the late 1970s I was a fairly typical Jr. High School kid with probably a bit more knowledge about computers then most. My father was an Engineer for IBM and, eventually, other companies and always had a ready supply of Byte, Microcomputing, Creative Computing and Datamation magazines lying around for me to read. This ability to at least "talk the talk" had an impact on the kids I associated with and the activities I ended up involved in.
Then, in 1978, after spending hours at card punches and 3278s at dad's office, I bumped into the first computer I could relate to. The school district had purchased a Commodore Pet for the younger kids to play spelling and word games on. I managed to get a little after-hours access and I was hooked.
In subsequent years I took a variety of computer classes, attended a "computer camp" hosted by NY State University and continued to putter around with whatever machines I could get my hands on. The school district had a PDP-8 as well as the Pet and, eventually, they purchased some other machines.
By 1980 I had established myself as a full-fledged, card-carrying geek and I was pushing hard to get my own computer. Of course, at 14 you can't expect much but I saved my pennies and looked for opportunities. By the summer of 1981 I was close to being able to afford my "dream machine" of the day: An Atari 800. I felt that it was a better machine then the Apple ][ and I could probably get a better deal on it.
When the time came to empty my piggy bank and actually buy the machine my dad intervened and offered to buy us both the just recently introduced IBM Personal Computer. I reluctantly accepted this deal but then suffered the months in waiting for that box to arrive. Finally by December 1981 the machine was set up and running a variety of little games that I'd written to amuse myself and my brothers.
In early 1982 I became one of the founding members of the Long Island PC Users Group (a SIG of the Long Island Computer Association) and, by default, one of the club officers. I contributed to the club newsletter pretty much every month and eventually ran the clubs BBS until I started college and was forced to turn it over to another. I later ran another general purpose BBS for a time.
When IBM introduced DOS 2.0 the club offered a seminar to the community to raise some funds. I ran a couple of sessions including the introduction to BASIC 2.00 and the new features added to the language. That seminar got me my first "real" computer job and lost me my paper route. I then spent the next six years or so trying to convince myself that I didn't want to work in computers because that would ruin the fun for me. While I wasn't too far from the truth, I did fail to convince myself and, after paying my way through college with various programming jobs I started a career in software that still pays the bills.
During my career I've programmed in a variety of languages including Visual BASIC, COBOL, FORTRAN, C and C++, BASIC, PowerBuilder, Clarion and Gupta SQLWindows. Projects have ranged from simple word processors to vehicle tracking systems to a variety of medical applications.
A few years ago I bumped into eBay and started nostalgically browsing around their vintage computer category. The end result is the functional equivalent of a heroin addiction that costs less but takes up more space. I started collecting old computers. Specifically I collect old PCs. First just the machines that had a particular history with me (the Atari 800 I once coveted, the Apple ][ Plus I learned BASIC on, the IBM PC I first owned, etc.) and then it became any machine I remembered reading about, playing with or regarding as cool at one point.
Today my still modest collection numbers over 50 machines; most of which work well and have original documentation, software and, in some cases, original packaging. Most of these machines are proudly displayed on this site. The ones that aren't eventually will be.
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