A PC nostalgia trip

Updated on August 13, 2006

Reading David Tebbutt’s 1981 review of the first IBM PC is quite a trip down memory lane. More so for David, I expect, as he was at the launch on 12 August 1981.

Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of that launch, an event that has had a profound impact on how we live, let alone do business, as plenty of people have said. Even my wife blogged it (in Spanish).

It brings back memories for me of the first ‘real’ computer I had – a Kaypro 2x. That was in 1984, three years after the PC’s launch. Before that, I used a Tandy TRS-80 (cassette tapes!) and an IBM Selectric typewriter (golfballs!). And somewhere in my attic I have an Atari Portfolio (pocket computing!) which I bought in 1989.

Anyway, back to the Kaypro. It was running the CP/M operating system, still quite common at that time (aside memory: I first discovered WordStar at this time). Just look at the specs of that machine! My Nokia N70 phone has more computing power.

PC World has a Kaypro listed at number 25 in the magazine’s 25 Greatest PCs of All Time list. The one listed is the Kaypro II which came out in 1982.

What nostalgia!

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Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. David Tebbutt

    Hi Neville. I actually missed the launch. I was doing my final gig at the Personal Computer World show as editor of the magazine.
    I quit as editor the last day of the show, 12th September, then flew/drove to Boca Raton the next day, to start working on the product evaluation the day after that.
    I had no idea what to expect, but I was in a pretty average beachside Holiday Inn, complete with terrifying American cockroaches (euphemistically called palmetto bugs). But as I drew back my curtains in the morning, I was just in time to see three pelicans flying over the ocean, past my window. It was a great start to the day.

  2. Martyn Davies

    Just been on a nostalgia trip myself after finding three copies of Practical Computing from 1978/79, and some old copies of Byte in the loft.

    In the 1990 copy of Byte there was a review for a flash 8Mb RAM card to put in a PC, which cost more then the PC itself. When you work out $ per Mb, it was about 5000 times expensive than a USB flash drive today.

  3. neville

    Now that’s history, Martyn! I have a copy of the very first issue of PC Magazine UK edition from, I think, 1991 or 1992. Some US edition copies from 1986 also gathering more dust in the attic.

    Plus loads of software from the early/mid 80s on 360K and 1.2meg floppy disks (when disks really were floppy). Heh! I don’t have a drive that can read those disks now.

    David, I assumed you were at the actual launch event, sorry.

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