Thursday, January 28, 2010

Enter IBM

After I had worked on a couple of projects on the Apple II+, Mr. Alessi decided it was time to develop software for the IBM PC. I think he bought his at the Sears Business Systems Center in Natick, Massachusetts. He purchased one with two floppy drives, an expansion unit housing a 10MB hard drive (the first one I had ever used), and a green phosphor monitor. He also bought a daisy wheel printer so we could produce letter-quality documentation for our software.

I enjoy discovering a new computer, but my initial impression was not all positive. The machine was big and expensive. It felt slow. This didn't make sense to me because even though the PC's 4.77MHz Intel 8088 processor was clocked at nearly 5 times higher than the 1MHz 6502 processor in the Apple II+, the Apple felt much, much faster. Steve Wozniak's hard work on the Apple II+ was clearly more efficient in many ways.

In addition, the computer came with PC-DOS 1.10. I was expecting something more advanced than CP/M from IBM but was disappointed. In fact PC-DOS seemed to me to be nothing but a ripoff of CP/M.

Overall, this computer was underwhelming. With IBM behind it this design would be copied widely. The variety and innovation in the microcomputer market was slowly wiped out by this computer and its imitators.

No comments: