How I Met Your Motherboard
April 29, 2010 8:07 AM   Subscribe

This is delicious! Thanks! One of the writing prompts I use (passed on to me by one of my professors) is having students compose their digital literacy biography. This is a first rate example of that.
posted by beelzbubba at 8:29 AM on April 29, 2010

Heh, I saw this linked in another thread and wondered why it didn't have a post of its own. The look of wondrous engagement this kid has says so much about attitudes in general of home computer users in the early 1980s.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:46 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Ah, the ZX Spectrum...

posted by aqsakal at 9:24 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Back when I had to type in the assembly code for the game from Compute! before I could play it.
posted by GuyZero at 9:30 AM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]

I don't know if anyone's linked to before, but this is as good a place as any.
posted by adamrice at 9:40 AM on April 29, 2010

Ah, the ZX Spectrum...

posted by Shepherd at 9:53 AM on April 29, 2010

Comes on right before Desperate Hard Drives. (no kidding, there's actually a computer store named that on the Oregon coast)
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 10:31 AM on April 29, 2010

Laura Barton can disparage the BBC Micro all she wants, but I'll bet she has an iPhone and has no idea of its ancestry. Grump.

Yes, I'm one of those. I wrote an IRC-esque network chat app for my Computer Science O-Level. Suck it.
posted by genghis at 10:47 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

I love the blog layout. Content was tl;dr, but the design: classic.
posted by jeffamaphone at 10:54 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

I actually had a involuntary twitch/shudder when I saw the bomb at the bottom of the page from a conditioned response learned from working with a 128K Mac.
posted by digsrus at 11:29 AM on April 29, 2010 [4 favorites]

The TRS-80 color computer. Backed up programs on cassette tape, which made the best bing- bong, white noise sounds when we played them back over a speaker.

My brother a complete tinkerer who took everything apart took out the standard issue chips on the motherboard and replaced those suckers with some top of the line Motorola compatible chips he found in the back pages of some electronics magazine and the performance got so much better.

At a certain point we had to send the thing out for repair at the Radio Shack repair shop and the thing came back working, but the tech who fixed it stole our gold plated Motorola chips and we were pissed!!

So we found out it had been sent to some RS place in Queens, where we confronted the techs about it (we were like 16 and 14 at the time), and they, unsurprisingly denied knowing anything about it, but strangely and tellingly they sent us home with a couple shopping bags full of old motherboards and other interesting electronic shit which was great for my brother, the tinkerer, but fuck man I wanted that sweet gold plated Motorola chip performance back.

It's taken me years of therapy to get over this and still have a sneaking suspicion that all the computers I use have been tampered with by some evil RS tech who's taken out the sweet electronic parts and compromised the performance.
posted by Skygazer at 11:33 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh man this really takes me back
posted by mollyC at 11:35 AM on April 29, 2010

Back when I had to type in the assembly code for the game from Compute! before I could play it.

Ah, technically assembly code is composed of opcodes and arguments and stuff. What you entered were the raw bytes, along with some error-checking data.

God, typing in those things was a pain. You couldn't even learn much about them while entering them like you could with a BASIC program unless you had memorized which numbers corresponded to which instructions and addressing modes, which I had, for a few instructions. (I seem to remember that 169 was LDA# and 141 was STA immediate, but will leave it up to others to check if I remembered correctly.)
posted by JHarris at 12:40 PM on April 29, 2010

I love this concept -- it's so easy these days to forget that once upon a time, computers weren't everywhere. And yeah, the layout is retro awesome. Love the inclusion of the dogcow.

(Disclaimer: I wrote one of the pieces featured on the site. That's the extent of my involvement, though.)
posted by me3dia at 12:54 PM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]

Way to go, Jason-- sweet job on the layout, homie!
posted by NolanRyanHatesMatches at 3:01 PM on April 29, 2010

NERRRRRDS!!!!! ...I mean, this is an interesting website. I still have an apple IIe.
posted by peppito at 9:48 PM on April 29, 2010

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