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In the beginning…

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In the beginning…

Postby Get Real! » Fri Dec 15, 2017 3:36 pm

In the beginning…

When I was in my 5th year in secondary school (1980?), a friend and I gathered whatever money we could scrape up and bought our first computer together, a Commodore 128.

Computers had just arrived in Cyprus and the first shop that imported/sold them was in Engomi right next to the well known “Mikis Tavern” which no longer exists.

I think we paid around CY₤100 for all the bits and pieces at the time excluding a monitor, and it was quite a hefty sum for those days so we later had to lie to our parents about the amount we had actually “thrown away”.

We rushed home like little children (well teenagers) to hook it up to a B&W TV set, eager to see the miracle and lo and behold it came… “GW Basic” it read in a tiny little font.

We had no idea what we were looking at but we thought it was really cool. Perhaps the fact that we didn’t understand it… made it cool!

Anyway, we dove into the manuals and were even fighting over who gets to keep which manual for the evening… luckily there were lots of them; one for the computer, one for the external tape drive, one for GW Basic, etc.

There was lots to read and we couldn’t get enough of it and by the 3rd or 4th day he and I were both proficient in the setup and basic usage of the system and we had even started typing out some of the many demo programs in the Basic language to observe the outcome.

It was not uncommon for us to spend up to 3 hours typing out long GW.Basic demo programs directly from the manual, just so that we could observe a circle forming or some other stupid thing that only lasted for about 2-3 seconds!

In time my friend started buying all these Commodore games that came on standard audio tape and began partaking in the fine art of pirating (a true Cypriot pioneer) and would spend ages playing away while I couldn’t get away from GW.Basic.

We fought over priority… games or Basic… they both took ages to load and there just wasn’t enough time for the both of us to do our thing so I begun to realize that our short-lived partnership was nearing its end.

I was hooked for life and knew there and then that computers were the only thing I ever wanted to do, while he went on to do odd clerical/accounts jobs here and there.

End of part 1.
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Re: In the beginning…

Postby Sotos » Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:05 pm

Commodore 128 was released in 1985, so in Cyprus you probably got it in 86. A friend of mine had an older brother who was in secondary school back then and he also had one. I remember how he had to rewind the tape and then wait for ages until the game loaded :lol: IBM PCs already existed back then, but they were considered business tools and they were very expensive. A couple of years later I got my first PC when the prices came down a bit (I think it was around 500-600 pounds)... it had a floppy drive (the 5" ones) a 4 color monitor but no hard drive... still, it was was way faster than those tape based ones!
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Re: In the beginning…

Postby Get Real! » Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:14 pm

Sotos wrote:Commodore 128 was released in 1985, so in Cyprus you probably got it in 86. A friend of mine had an older brother who was in secondary school back then and he also had one. I remember how he had to rewind the tape and then wait for ages until the game loaded :lol: IBM PCs already existed back then, but they were considered business tools and they were very expensive. A couple of years later I got my first PC when the prices came down a bit (I think it was around 500-600 pounds)... it had a floppy drive (the 5" ones) a 4 color monitor but no hard drive... still, it was was way faster than those tape based ones!

In the summer of 1983 I begun my military service but we had purchased the computer a good two years before that so it doesn’t make sense unless it was a Commodore 64 and for some reason the number "128" has stuck in my mind.
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Re: In the beginning…

Postby Sotos » Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:37 pm

Get Real! wrote:
Sotos wrote:Commodore 128 was released in 1985, so in Cyprus you probably got it in 86. A friend of mine had an older brother who was in secondary school back then and he also had one. I remember how he had to rewind the tape and then wait for ages until the game loaded :lol: IBM PCs already existed back then, but they were considered business tools and they were very expensive. A couple of years later I got my first PC when the prices came down a bit (I think it was around 500-600 pounds)... it had a floppy drive (the 5" ones) a 4 color monitor but no hard drive... still, it was was way faster than those tape based ones!

In the summer of 1983 I begun my military service but we had purchased the computer a good two years before that so it doesn’t make sense unless it was a Commodore 64 and for some reason the number "128" has stuck in my mind.


According to Wikipedia Commodore 64 came out in August 1982, so in Cyprus probably not before 1983. Maybe it was an early Atari?
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Re: In the beginning…

Postby Get Real! » Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:44 pm

Sotos wrote:
Get Real! wrote:
Sotos wrote:Commodore 128 was released in 1985, so in Cyprus you probably got it in 86. A friend of mine had an older brother who was in secondary school back then and he also had one. I remember how he had to rewind the tape and then wait for ages until the game loaded :lol: IBM PCs already existed back then, but they were considered business tools and they were very expensive. A couple of years later I got my first PC when the prices came down a bit (I think it was around 500-600 pounds)... it had a floppy drive (the 5" ones) a 4 color monitor but no hard drive... still, it was was way faster than those tape based ones!

In the summer of 1983 I begun my military service but we had purchased the computer a good two years before that so it doesn’t make sense unless it was a Commodore 64 and for some reason the number "128" has stuck in my mind.

According to Wikipedia Commodore 64 came out in August 1982, so in Cyprus probably not before 1983. Maybe it was an early Atari?

:shock: Good God... you reckon? Damn... :lol:

It was definitely crap with no monitor and a big heavy block for a power supply and an external tape drive we had to purchase as an option. :?
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Re: In the beginning…

Postby Get Real! » Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:54 pm

Was your friend’s older brother called Andros by any chance and lived close to the Tsirion stadium?
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Re: In the beginning…

Postby Sotos » Fri Dec 15, 2017 6:30 pm

Get Real! wrote:Was your friend’s older brother called Andros by any chance and lived close to the Tsirion stadium?


No... and in any case I am talking about 1986, not 1980 or 81.
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Re: In the beginning…

Postby GreekIslandGirl » Fri Dec 15, 2017 6:49 pm

Get Real! wrote:In the beginning…

When I was in my 5th year in secondary school (1980?), a friend and I gathered whatever money we could scrape up and bought our first computer together, a Commodore 128.

Computers had just arrived in Cyprus and the first shop that imported/sold them was in Engomi right next to the well known “Mikis Tavern” which no longer exists.

I think we paid around CY₤100 for all the bits and pieces at the time excluding a monitor, and it was quite a hefty sum for those days so we later had to lie to our parents about the amount we had actually “thrown away”.

We rushed home like little children (well teenagers) to hook it up to a B&W TV set, eager to see the miracle and lo and behold it came… “GW Basic” it read in a tiny little font.

We had no idea what we were looking at but we thought it was really cool. Perhaps the fact that we didn’t understand it… made it cool!

Anyway, we dove into the manuals and were even fighting over who gets to keep which manual for the evening… luckily there were lots of them; one for the computer, one for the external tape drive, one for GW Basic, etc.

There was lots to read and we couldn’t get enough of it and by the 3rd or 4th day he and I were both proficient in the setup and basic usage of the system and we had even started typing out some of the many demo programs in the Basic language to observe the outcome.

It was not uncommon for us to spend up to 3 hours typing out long GW.Basic demo programs directly from the manual, just so that we could observe a circle forming or some other stupid thing that only lasted for about 2-3 seconds!

In time my friend started buying all these Commodore games that came on standard audio tape and began partaking in the fine art of pirating (a true Cypriot pioneer) and would spend ages playing away while I couldn’t get away from GW.Basic.

We fought over priority… games or Basic… they both took ages to load and there just wasn’t enough time for the both of us to do our thing so I begun to realize that our short-lived partnership was nearing its end.

I was hooked for life and knew there and then that computers were the only thing I ever wanted to do, while he went on to do odd clerical/accounts jobs here and there.

End of part 1.


Hello! You are turning into Miltiades with his reminiscences! :D

My first PC was the Amstrad PCW 8256 and I must have got it around 1985 - my brother sold it ( :roll: ) to me (£150 ???) as he quickly moved on to something else after only having it for a few weeks. I kept it for several years and typed up mine and hubby's Ph.D. theses on it, several projects for undergraduates (for which I was well paid :) ) as well as some publications and then sold it for £300, as far as I recall. :D
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Re: In the beginning…

Postby Get Real! » Fri Dec 15, 2017 6:57 pm

Keep posting your "first PC" stories people… I for one LOVE them! :D

Thanks Oracle.
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Re: In the beginning…

Postby Sotos » Fri Dec 15, 2017 6:58 pm

The Amstrads were bargain price IBM PC clones, but still... £150 for such a PC in 1985 was basically a gift!
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