There are quite a few microcomputers in the collection. However, there are quite a few (such as a Processor Technology SOL, donated by my friend John Kendall, an Exidy Sorcerer, some Intel Single Board Computers, and so on) that I don't have pictures of yet. But, I do have pictures of quite a few of them.
Like many people interested in computers, when the Altair 8800 came out (and as soon as I had enough money), I purchased and built an Altair 8800 computer kit. Powered by an Intel 8080 processor, the predecessor to the 8088 used in the IBM PC, the system grew and grew, as I added memory (eventually 56KB), three floppy disk drives, a cassette tape drive, external power supplies, and so on. It was on this system that I wrote what was, to my knowledge, the very first port to a microcomputer of the Crowther and Woods "Collossal Cave" Adventure game. That program was in turn used for ports to the IBM PC and even Windows, and some of my code seems to live on today. For the effort, I used the BDS C compiler, written by Leor Zolman. ("BDS" stood for "Brain Damage Software"). (Note: Previously, this web page had reported that the "BDS" moniker was related to the the character "BD" in Doonesbury. Leor Zolman recently got in touch with me and indicated that this was not the case, though "BD" in "BDS" does indeed stand for Brain Damage). The user group that developed around that compiler, the C User's Group, lives on today in the form of the "C User's Journal". The archives were once available from Walnut Creek CDROM. There was also a subset of the Unix system written for this machine, called "MARC" (Machine Assisted Resource Coordinator). This effort resembled the Linux effort of today. Unfortunately MARC's author, Ed Ziemba, perished in a snorkeling accident before he could complete the project.
Once upon a time, some folks named Bill Gates, Paul Allen and Monte Davidoff wrote a BASIC interpreter for MITS, the company that designed and sold the Altair. Thus Microsoft was born.
Heathkit had several kit computers before it dissolved. The first was the H8, shown here. The H8, like the Altair, used the Intel 8080 microprocessor (They also built a LSI-11 kit, called the H11).
This microprocessor formed the basis of many microcomputers and games, including the Atari 2600 (which used a cost-reduced version of the 6502 -- the 6507), the Atari 400/800, the Commodore PET, and so on. Here are some pictures:
Unfortunately, I do not have one of the original PET's with the "Chicklet" keys.
The Z80 is upward compatible with the 8080. Many 8080 "Altair" (S-100) bus systems were upgraded with Z80 CPU's late in their lives. The one example of a Z80 in the collection, however, was designed for one.
The ADAM was somewhat interesting in that, although it was a Z80 machine, it had an adapter that allowed it to play games originally designed for the Atari 2600 (using a 6507 CPU). . The machine you see here was donated by my brother Jim Jaeger. (Thanks to David Anderson for pointing out the fact that the system unit is in fact based on a Z80).
When the Intel 8088/8086 first arrived on the scene, before and during the early days of the IBM PC, there was quite a bit of competition. One of the machines involved was the DEC Rainbow, shown here.
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