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First post, by Jo22

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Hello everyone,

Since at some point I "grew up" with what is retro-actively called a niche computer system (Sharp MZ series),
I wonder if there are other users around here that had used something else than one of the omipresent mainstream computers (Commo., Ata., Sincl.).
Say, the RCA COSMAC VIP, ZX81/clones, EACA/Trommeschläger Colour Genie EG2000, Apple II, VTech Laser, MSX, Tandy TRS-80, TI-99/4A, TO7-70 and so on.

Don't get me wrong, I've got no aversion against the aforementioned mainstream classics (I had one of each myself).
It's just that the strong use of them in today's pop culture makes me sometimes doubt,
whether or not my own point of view of computer history, the way I personally remember, was ever true..

That's why I would like to know if anyone of you ever had (or only used) one of the niche computers also,
and what you were using it for. It can be video games, of course, but also "lame" use case are interesting to me.
Say, using one of these computers for writing recipes, homework, doing calculations etc.

Please feel free to write what ever you like.

Best regards,
Jo22

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

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Reply 1 of 7, by BSA Starfire

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My first computer was a VIC 20 with cassette deck in 1982.
Second was an Acorn Electron when they first came out, kept this for years and years, it was mostly compatible with the BBC Micro used in schools etc at the time.
I had an Oric Atmos 48K for a good while,they were sold off really cheap when discontinued in I think 1986(I seem to recall paying £49 for a new one with a bundle of tape games from BHS) not a common or mainstream machine in the UK but plenty of software was available and it did have coverage in the magazines at the time(type-in programs etc). My friend had a Dragon 32, another of the less known machines of the time.
When I started work in the 80's the company I was with used Amstrad PCW 8256/8512 machines for everything, stock control, spreadsheets and word processing, I continued to use this platform deep into the later 90's, it did those jobs I needed reliably and I knew the software and how to operate it. Had an Amiga 500 at home too, purely used as a game console though.

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Reply 2 of 7, by appiah4

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My first computer was an ATARI 800XL in 1987 and I have incredibly fond memories of it. I was 7 years old at the time and I learned programming in BASIC an parallel with learning to read and write, so writing code on an ATARI 800XL was one of the first things I learned to write in general. I did not go on to become a programmer (I work in a completely unrelated field from technology actually) but I can still code stuff in Visual Basic, Python and to some degree C based on that foundation I built at the age of 7.

Unfortunately I am not a user of the machine as I do not own it anymore, but I am in the market for one that is in good order and at a good price..

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 3 of 7, by VileR

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I realize that this depends on where you're from, but Apple II and TRS-80 were quite "mainstream" in North America - along with the PET, they were the "big three" in the first wave of consumer-oriented micros. MSX machines were also quite mainstream in specific countries.

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Reply 4 of 7, by SirNickity

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I had a TRS-80. Those were the days of discovery with microcomputers. They didn't really do much, they were simply tools for experimentation. As a kid, I would sit down and write BASIC programs. Mostly embarrassingly lame stuff that would ask questions and then print something that used your answers. Like, "what toppings do you like on your pizza?" ... "one $topping pizza coming right up!" Totally worth the (however much it cost my dad), I'm sure. OTOH, I'm thankful I didn't start out on Windows 95, with plenty to do out-of-the-box, and no concept of how those programs got there.

Reply 5 of 7, by BloodyCactus

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As an Australian, a System 80! (Which was an clone of TRS80 model I.). I dont have one, dont miss it and wouldnt buy one 😀 I'll stick to my pcs, amigas and c128.

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Reply 7 of 7, by SpectriaForce

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VileR wrote on 2020-02-21, 15:24:

I realize that this depends on where you're from, but Apple II and TRS-80 were quite "mainstream" in North America - along with the PET, they were the "big three" in the first wave of consumer-oriented micros. MSX machines were also quite mainstream in specific countries.

Same here in Europe, plus MSX has been very mainstream in Holland (due to Philips' Dutch origin) from 1985-1989. Both the Apple II and Tandy TRS-80 model I came on the market in the late 70's, but the Apple II was imported from the U.S. for the first few years until the europlus model was released. Tandy was very popular in the first half of the 80's, in the second half it became a niche brand, at least in my country.

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