Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Northeast Computer Show

The year was 1979. What an impression it made to me when my father took me and my brother Ernie to the Northeast Computer Show at the Hynes Auditorium in Boston. Compare this show to COMDEX or E3. It was a cornucopia of computers.

Before IBM blandified the computing landscape by killing off people's imaginations with the IBM PC there was an unbelievable amount of variety in computers. Computer companies were popping up everywhere and non-computer manufacturers were also getting into the game.

Some things that stand out most in my memory are:

  • A really cool red and white R2D2 style robot that was roaming around the conference floor. There were other robots too.
  • A computer that you programmed with geometric symbols as part of the syntax. I can't remember the name of the computer unfortunately.
  • The RCA COSMAC VIP computer. Boy did I want one of these. It was a single board computer you could plug into your TV set. You assembled it yourself and programmed it in 1802 machine code using the hex keypad. The VIP had a cassette storage interface. It was expandable with a real keyboard. Very cool. I wish I could still get one of these! :-)

No comments: