Monthly Archives: March 2017

Commodore PET (CBM) 8032

When I grew up, the Commodore PET was one of my favourite ‘aspirational’ computers.

It had already been around for about 3 years by the time I got into computers in 1980, and technologically was way beyond anything else I had came across: decent keyboard, decent graphics, built-in green-screen monitor, disk interfaces, etc.

It also had an archetypal look that you associated with a monolithic computer. Indeed when the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy transitioned to TV, its Deep Thought super computer looked suspiciously like a giant Commodore PET.

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TRS-80 Model 3

After my recent purchase of a Video Genie II, I also had a little look around other vintage computers on eBay.

I’d always fancied a TRS-80, being the grown-up brother of our Video Genie, and having a superb design aesthetic (a 1970s view of the future).

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Video Genie nostalgia

My first foray into computer programming happened in 1980 when I was 11 years old. My dad borrowed a ZX80 from a colleague over the autumn half term, and I taught myself to program by reverse engineering the examples in the manual (a skill I still use in my career today).

My parents then decided to get the family a home computer, and after much research my dad decided to get an EACA Video Genie EG3003 (often known as the System 80 in other countries). This was a clone of the Tandy/Radio Shack TRS-80 Model I Level II. If I remember correctly his main criteria were: full-sized typewriter keyboard, floating point BASIC, and quality of graphics (including a decent number of characters per line for word processing). We got it as a joint family Christmas present for Christmas 1980.

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