First Computer Store

Fred Cisin cisin at
Fri Jul 24 15:18:46 CDT 2015

On Fri, 24 Jul 2015, Richard Loken wrote:
> Ah that was my question.  I did not pay attention to computers at all until
> 1980 and it another five or more years before I had any interest something
> that could be lifted by one man.
> My interest is still largely confined to big iron.
> I am sort of curious about whether a computer store in 1975 sold only parts
> and kits or whether assemble self supporting packages were starting to
> appear.  Was this still the era of the front panel and the S100 bus or had
> they move onto stuff like the Kaypro and the Apple ][?
> Circa 1988 I bought a TRS80 Model II with an external drive cabinet and an
> immense Tandy printer for $100.00.  As far as I recall, the prof who sold it
> to me had paid about $10,000.00 for it around 1978.  It was still pretty
> hard to lift without help.

Ah, we all have different times that we heard about microcomputers V when 
we became interested in them, based on personal criteria that they had to 
meet to be what we might want to have.

You mention, "could be lifted by one man", which happens to coincide with 
one of my favorite DEFINITIONs of "microcomputer".  All of the definitions 
have some level of subjectivity - different physical strengths, or 
abilities to lose different size things, etc.

You also mention front panel V Kaypro and Apple (with integrated keyboard, 
and screen might or might not be integral).  For some people, a computer 
connected to a terminal didn't get their interest, until that was 

I went around to the computer stores (we had 3 of them here in 1978),
but what they had was still out of my reach.
My personal decision points were: programmable in a high-level language
and <$500.  For me, those were first met by TRS80 ($400 with my own CCTV
monitor; $600 with monitor and cassette)

Murray's personal decision points were apparently first met by
Coleco Adam.

Writers in the computer history genre usually acknowledge 
some "pre-history" (usually starting with Altair's appearance
on a magazine cover (how many machines were available for sale
at THAT time?)).
Then, they mention a few other prehistoric machines, that they had 
personally seen, but were unable/uninterested in buying, and get to
"The First PRACTICAL Computer", which was, of course, the first one
that they felt finally met their needs.
That used to be Apple/TRS80/PET.  But, as we age, newer writers think
of computers as starting with PC, Mac, or AT, with all earlier ones being 
consigned to that "unusable" prehistory category ("You can't DO anything 
without a hard drive", "Unusable without WYSIWYG", etc.)

Now, obviously, the first "REAL" computer needed to have internet 

Grumpy Ol' Fred     		cisin at

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