The first desktop computer dates to earlier than you probably think. And officially at least, it was an accident. Great inventions often are. But it was surprisingly similar to desktop computers that followed it.
Design work on the first desktop computer commenced in 1969. Yes, you read that right. It predated the Apple II by several years, and the IBM Personal Computer and IBM compatibles by a good decade. And it wasn’t built in Silicon Valley either. But this ahead-of-its-time oddball is the direct ancestor of your modern desktop or laptop computer, right down to the Intel processor design.
For years in the 1980s, there were rumors of a Super Mario Bros Commodore 64 port. Those rumors have persisted to the present day. A version of the Nintendo franchise title does indeed exist on the C-64, but it was bootleg in every possible sense of the word.
Television standards have changed in a few ways since 1977, when Atari released the Atari 2600. Even if you have a CRT from the 1990s, it might not have an obvious place to hook it up. But it’s possible to connect Atari to modern TV sets. Here’s how.
Today you can buy a flashback console that contains a selection of games and uses a more modern connection method. But your favorite games may not be on that device, and using the vintage hardware with the decades-old cartridges does feel more authentic, even if you don’t have it set up in a wood-paneled room with a big console TV anymore.
Commodore made the C-64 for about 11 years, so it’s probably no surprise they went through several Commodore 64 motherboard revisions during that time. Collectors enjoy the challenge of trying to get a machine with each type and revision of board, and knowing the characteristics of each board can help someone puzzle out the history of a machine, such as whether it had been repaired in the past.
Palm was a high-flying brand in the late 1990s, creating the first really popular personal data assistant. Then it seemed to vanish almost as quickly as it came. What happened to Palm Pilots, and the company who made them?
Somewhere around here I still have my old Abit BP6 motherboard. Abit is a long-dead manufacturer of enthusiast motherboards, and the BP6 was one of its landmark achievements. It was the first cheap dual-CPU board.
The Abit BP6 is a bit obscure today, but hardware enthusiast sites like Tom’s Hardware Guide were pretty excited about it in 1999.
Can SNES play NES games? That question is older than the SNES itself. But the two systems aren’t backward compatible, unfortunately. There are modern options that are, however. More on that in a minute.
There are physical limitations that prevent an NES cartridge from even fitting in an SNES. But there was a technical reason to make the two physically incompatible. Even if the cartridge would fit, it wouldn’t work.
The CPM operating system (or CP/M operating system) was the first popular operating system for personal computers. Its rise and fall has been fairly well documented, if not well understood, and its author, Gary Kildall, is a tragic hero in the early history of computers.
The Commodore 1541 disk drive was the most common Commodore 64 floppy drive. Commodore fans from the 1980s loved to hate it. It was the first disk drive priced low enough to gain mainstream acceptance. But it was slow and loud and unreliable.
We put up with it anyway. A home computer was a luxury in those days and most of us had some idea how lucky we were to live through that time and experience it firsthand.