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Matt Barton's picture

Book Review: "Stan Veit's History of the Personal Computer" (1993)

Stan Veit's History of the Personal Computer, authored by--you guessed it, Stan Veit--is a roughly edited collection of memoirs and editorials Veit wrote during his tenure as editor-in-chief of Computer Shopper. Veit's personal experience with personal computer history is tremendous. He was the first personal computer dealer in New York City, and got to know almost every early luminary in the industry on a first-name basis. He's one part technician (he can talk chips and boards with the best of them), one part salesman, and one part patron. In short, it's hard to find an author better qualified to take us on the journey from the Altair to the IBM PC. However, the book is not without its flaws--it's poorly organized, and the typos make your head hurt.

Bill Loguidice's picture

New Altair 8800 Kit Available

Altair 8800 ReplicaAltair 8800 ReplicaGrant Stockly has announced the culmination of an ambitious project to create perfect replicas of the infamous Altair 8800 -- widely considered to have officially kicked off the home computer revolution with the 1975 advertisement for the kit in Popular Electronics and relative buying spree it elicited. It's a switch-based computer with no display other than LED lights -- all programming was done by flipping switches on the front panel, with the big advantage being that you were programming the system about as directly as possible. Of course it established what came to be known as the S-100 bus (for expansion cards with 100 pin connectors) that could greatly expand the system's capabilities, from alternate input and output methods to various storage and subsequent OS integration (most popularly, CP/M). The S-100 bus standard lasted from the mid-1970's through to the early 1980's when more user friendly systems began to become more prevalent and powerful. Of course the Altair 8800 also begat many clones, including the more capable IMSAI 8080, released only about six months later and featured (in a greatly expanded form) in the popular 1983 movie, War Games, starring Matthew Broderick.

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