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Hello from Madison, WI!

Andrew T.

Experienced Member
Oct 4, 2013
Thunder Bay, Canada
Hi folks!

The first computer I recall using was actually an IBM PCjr. My kindergarten classroom circa 1990 was outfitted with five or six of these machines; equipped for word processing and an educational software package called Writing to Read. I vividly remember the fuzzy 16-color graphics, the (revised) keyboard with its color-striped "Esc," "Alt," and "Fn" keys, and the multitudes of sidecars that had to be tacked on to the case to do anything worthwhile.

I became interested specifically in older computers around 1997. Windows 95 at the time was being rolled out en masse, command lines were being chased out of view, once-proud relics like Apple IIes, Tandy 1000s, IBM XTs, black-and-white Macintoshes, and terminals of all sorts were being rapidly swept from circulation, and I felt a yearning to save some of this before it disappeared. Around the same time my grandfather picked up a handful of 8088 and 80286-based IBM systems that were being discarded locally, and treated computers as a natural outgrowth of his radio hobby. Before long, he was "upgrading" from one set of technological discards to another...and through him, a genuine IBM AT fell into my hands. I loved the AT and wished that I could have done more with it when I had it.

It's hard to believe that 13 years have swept by since this was taken, but for a time my bedroom workstation looked like this. I devoured information about understanding, upgrading, and repairing computers, I pored over websites like Uncreative Labs and the Obsolete Computer Museum, and I loved to tinker with the machines. Unfortunately after some hardware troubles, frustrations being unable to obtain parts, and upgrade attempts that failed or went awry, I started burning out. Before long I was off to college, and my opportunities for embracing vintage computers from day to day were over. Stacks and boxes of parts laid about the room gathering dust, untouched. Soon a long-distance move forced my hand, and I gave my accumulation (including the AT, some miscellaneous clothbound IBM manuals, and a PS/1 2121) away to another collector. Five years have passed since.

Although I'm no longer actively collecting vintage computers, I feel renewed and back in the mood to discuss them once more. And if another IBM AT somehow fell into my lap tomorrow, I wouldn't pass it by!
I too started out on a PCjr.
Not to rekindle your bug, but I have a closet full of PCjrs (thanks to a drop-off from Mike Brutman!) and I pop into madison at least twice a year. I could deliver one right to your door.
Welcome. I have an XT clone with similar front panel, probably sourced from the same place as the ATs one. It has glorious EGA graphics ;) Uncreative Labs is still running allbeit with a lot less posts http://www.uncreativelabs.net/ That and Justin Webbers Computing.net forum, before it was part of Tom's Hardware site, were my frequent flyer sites.

That Quickshot joystick would've come in handy if you were in to Flight Sims.


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Welcome (back)! On the bright side, for simpler and less expensive nostalgia efforts, so many emulators are out that do a pretty nice job returning you to that old game or prompt.