What the Ad?

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  • Code Dependent 2008-10-31 10:07
    Careful, these things can be ad-dictive.

    Fist!
  • Gordonjcp 2008-10-31 10:08
    I actually have two of those C Itoh terminals, both CIT-101s, that came with my PDP-11. At some point along the line the folder with all the receipts for the PDP-11 and peripherals got lost, but I remember seeing it about ten years ago when the machine was decommissioned - the terminals were nearly £1400 each in 1985!

    They have a very funky alternate font that resembles MICR characters. I'll need to try and dig out a picture.
  • swapn 2008-10-31 10:10
    I like how linked wikipedia article about howard only contains information given here
  • snoofle 2008-10-31 10:15
    I still have that TI calculator in my desk. It survived Y2K, DST changes and six moves over the years. It still works just fine.

    They just don't build 'em like that any more.
  • Phantom Watson 2008-10-31 10:19
    Is that TI-59 to scale?
  • Foo 2008-10-31 10:21
    All of the article's images are in subdirectory called ads. It took me few seconds to understand AdBlock was blocking them... so if you don't see any images, turn off AdBlock.
  • Lea Verou 2008-10-31 10:22
    OMG, my mother has that Texas Instruments calculator!
  • DylanW 2008-10-31 10:26
    Wow, I'm not the only one who remembers MathNet.

    I loved that show so much.
  • Nick 2008-10-31 10:36
    It has been far too long since I've had my hands on a VT-100.

    Those were the days.
  • Nick 2008-10-31 10:36
    Why does $1995 seem to be a popular price for computers/terminals?

    It all seems to be variations on 1, 9 and 5 otherwise.
  • JakeyC 2008-10-31 10:36
    Upper AND lower case letters as standard?

    I'll take two!
  • Wells 2008-10-31 10:44
    Sadly, I wouldn't mind getting my hands on either one of those C.Itoh terminals or a real VT-100/220/320....
  • bemis 2008-10-31 10:46
    awesome
  • Not Wtf 2008-10-31 10:47
    Fail.
  • fragglet 2008-10-31 10:50
    I scanned a bunch of old magazines a while ago. There's a review of MS Word 1.0 for DOS as well as the first version of Windows, and some amusing adverts:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/7173831@N06/
  • CoCoIII 2008-10-31 10:53
    I still have boxes of Rainbow magizine from the tandy days :-)
  • CoCoIII 2008-10-31 10:53
    I still have boxes of Rainbow magizine from the tandy days :-)
  • Anonymous 2008-10-31 11:03
    Putting the images in you /ads/ folder eh? I see what you did there. Nice try.
  • Me 2008-10-31 11:03
    I wouldn't call any of the ads a WTF, so it might be jumping the shark a little bit, but they are still interesting and entertaining to read.
  • Anonymous 2008-10-31 11:05
    Bill Cosby looked decrepid even then. How the hell is that man still alive and, worse, still on our televisions?
  • Code Dependent 2008-10-31 11:25
    CoCoIII:
    I still have boxes of Rainbow magizine from the tandy days :-)
    Oh, man, those were the days. Rainbow and Hot CoCo. 6809 Assembly Language. Along about 1984 there are a couple of items by me in there. Not articles, but contributions to discussion articles. Remember the RAID debugger that utilized the extra, unused 32K of RAM?
  • Code Dependent 2008-10-31 11:25
    Code Dependent:
    CoCoIII:
    I still have boxes of Rainbow magizine from the tandy days :-)
    Oh, man, those were the days. Rainbow, Hot CoCo, Color Computer Magazine. 6809 Assembly Language. Along about 1984 there are a couple of items by me in there. Not articles, but contributions to discussion articles. Remember the RAID debugger that utilized the extra, unused 32K of RAM?
  • Code Dependent 2008-10-31 11:29
    The forum software seems to be confused about what I mean by both "Edit" and "Delete".
  • Pope 2008-10-31 11:33
    As part of the contract with Mr. Cosby, to actually get the TI-59 Programmable you have to cut out the order form, calculator AND Bill. And don't even think about leaving any white space when you cut it out or your order will be sent back to you with an upper AND lowercase "No".
  • sui 2008-10-31 11:33
    My adblocker is blocking the images...
  • Harrow 2008-10-31 11:35
    Phantom Watson:
    Is that TI-59 to scale?
    Yes, it is. But remember, Dr. Cosby is only sixteen inches tall.

    -Harrow.
  • relaxing 2008-10-31 11:35
    Actually, I think I'll just not read the article, rather than support that sort of evil nonsense.
  • JamesQMurphy 2008-10-31 11:43
    Harrow:
    Phantom Watson:
    Is that TI-59 to scale?
    Yes, it is. But remember, Dr. Cosby is only sixteen inches tall.

    -Harrow.
    I like how the tassel is draped over the calculator but Dr. Cosby is under the calculator.
  • simon pascoe 2008-10-31 11:57
    I have a ti-59 !
    the solid state was so cool.
  • racerx_is_alive 2008-10-31 11:57
    Wow, a Photoshop Disaster without the Photoshop.
  • Archon 2008-10-31 12:01
    JakeyC:
    Upper AND lower case letters as standard?

    I'll take two!


    CAN I HAVE ONE? PEOPLE ALWAYS THINK I'M A TROLL.
  • Tuesday 2008-10-31 12:22
    The story you're about to see is a fib, but it's short. The names are made up but the problems are real.
  • Remember when 2008-10-31 12:27
    I remember the extra card required for lower case on the Apple II.
    And don't get me started on lower-case descenders...
  • ayla 2008-10-31 12:27
    How much does it cost to add lower case to the Apple II? :D What character set were they using?
  • mjk340 2008-10-31 12:28
    Things were so much simpler before the Commodore. Now we have to write code like:

    if input == "no" || input == "No || input == "nO" || input == "NO"
    {
    //do stuff
    }
  • racerx_is_alive 2008-10-31 12:37
    mjk340:
    Things were so much simpler before the Commodore. Now we have to write code like:

    if input == "no" || input == "No || input == "nO" || input == "NO"
    {
    //do stuff
    }


    or you could always use if (tolower(input) == "no"){}

    (Ignore this is my internet sarcasm filter is broken)
  • Bill Shatner 2008-10-31 12:38
    Nick:
    Why does $1995 seem to be a popular price for computers/terminals?

    It all seems to be variations on 1, 9 and 5 otherwise.


    Simple, most computers at the time only had 1, 9 and 5 buttons. But the Commodore had a separate numeric keypad! That was why it was the clear choice. Trust Bill Shatner!
  • Anon 2008-10-31 12:39
    Wow! Apple's were overpriced even back then!
  • Marc B 2008-10-31 12:40
    JakeyC:
    Upper AND lower case letters as standard?

    I'll take two!


    LUCKY BASTARDS - MY CHEAP BOSS WOULD ONLY OPT FOR THE UPPER CASE LETTERS. AND NO NUMBERS!
  • Bob 2008-10-31 12:40
    mjk340:
    Things were so much simpler before the Commodore. Now we have to write code like:

    if input == "no" || input == "No || input == "nO" || input == "NO"
    {
    //do stuff
    }

    More like

    IF UCASE$(INPUT = "NO") THEN
    ... do stuff
    END IF
    if its BASIC, toupper if its C, etc.
  • CDarklock 2008-10-31 12:41
    I knew a DIY kind of guy in Virginia. When I went to his house for the first time, it took me about three minutes to ask - with great concern for his sanity - WTF he was doing with C64 disk drives hooked to his television, stereo, coffee pot, dishwasher, the list went on.

    He explained that the C64 1541-II disk drive peripheral actually has a surprisingly powerful subcomputer in it, so he started snapping them up cheap when the drive motors and head assemblies were dead. He didn't care; he just wanted a convenient embedded processor that could run his various home projects. The disk drives attached to everything in his house were part of his home automation project, where he could sit on the couch and use his universal remote to make coffee.

    Which involved the dishwasher. Honestly, you don't want to know.
  • Bob 2008-10-31 12:44
    Archon:

    CAN I HAVE ONE? PEOPLE ALWAYS THINK I'M A TROLL.

    DID YOU MANAGE TO BUILD GCC AND COMPILE W3M ON YOUR APPLE II, TOO? I THOUGHT I WAS THE ONLY ONE.
  • Bjoern 2008-10-31 12:47
    More please! :)
  • iToad 2008-10-31 12:59
    We still have a couple of VT-100s. They still work.
  • Mr B 2008-10-31 13:01
    youluckybastardsminedoesntevencomewithaspacebar
  • Robert Hanson 2008-10-31 13:03
    The ads don't show up in firefox.
  • Anonymously Yours 2008-10-31 13:10
    Me:
    I wouldn't call any of the ads a WTF, so it might be jumping the shark a little bit, but they are still interesting and entertaining to read.
    Then you must have missed the specs on the Apple II, setting their standard of overpriced but less useful machines early on. Besides, this is in the "Featured Articles" category.
  • sf 2008-10-31 13:17
    How is it that TI could trade-mark "Solid State Software?" Isn't that kind of like trade-marking something like "milk chocolate?"
  • kennytm 2008-10-31 13:39
    Robert Hanson:
    The ads don't show up in firefox.

    Turn off AdBlock.

    Editors please use some URLs not containing the substring "/ads/"? :)
  • Zylon 2008-10-31 13:56
    Bob:
    More like

    IF UCASE$(INPUT = "NO") THEN
    ... do stuff
    END IF
    if its BASIC, toupper if its C, etc.

    You FAIL at sarcasm.
  • danTaylor08 2008-10-31 13:59
    WTF!?

    couldn't you do this (perl)?

    if (input =~ /no/i) {
    //do stuff smarter
    }
  • ambrosen 2008-10-31 14:01
    CDarklock:
    The disk drives attached to everything in his house were part of his home automation project, where he could sit on the couch and use his universal remote to make coffee.

    Which involved the dishwasher. Honestly, you don't want to know.

    I think I do want to know, actually. I don't suppose you could submit a story to Alex?
  • Me 2008-10-31 14:04
    Anonymously Yours:
    Me:
    I wouldn't call any of the ads a WTF, so it might be jumping the shark a little bit, but they are still interesting and entertaining to read.
    Then you must have missed the specs on the Apple II, setting their standard of overpriced but less useful machines early on. Besides, this is in the "Featured Articles" category.


    Featured Articles still typically contain a "WTF". Is this not where the site gets its name?

    All in all, I meant no complaint. I enjoyed looking at the old ads.
  • Chris 2008-10-31 14:06
    Holy non-loading images Batman!
  • cconroy 2008-10-31 14:08
    Tuesday:
    The story you're about to see is a fib, but it's short. The names are made up but the problems are real.


    MathNet or The Daily WTF? YOU DECIDE!
  • Nick 2008-10-31 14:10
    More Computer Adds From M*A*S*H...
    I actually own this pamphlet

    http://www.angelfire.com/tv2/mashtvguide/IBMSITE/IBM.html
  • Anon 2008-10-31 14:17
    Your keyboard only comes with upper-case letters, now what?
  • Anonymous Coward 2008-10-31 14:21
    kennytm:
    Robert Hanson:
    The ads don't show up in firefox.

    Turn off AdBlock.

    Editors please use some URLs not containing the substring "/ads/"? :)


    Or even better just make the page generate a totally random local url for each ad image placement. Then have the webserver return a random ad image for anything thats otherwise 404....
  • operagost 2008-10-31 14:21
    What's amusing is that the Commodore ad lies. The IBM PC clearly had a real-time clock. DOS, since at least 2.0, prompted you to set it. Unless the PET had a battery to maintain the time when turned off (I doubt it, because the later VIC, C64, and C128 didn't), its clock was no better than IBM's. In fact, those VIC chip home computers didn't even store a proper date; just the number of seconds (and tenths) since power-on, if I recall correctly.
  • Dan 2008-10-31 14:37
    160K drive on the PC? I had the original IBM PC (with a whole 256K RAM!), and it came with a double-sided, double-density floppy drive. Sure it could READ single-sided, single-density disks, but that's still WTF advertising if I ever saw it. Heck, I still have an original PC floppy drive in my closet.

    And how can they get away with saying they have up to 500K storage when the DSDD only offers 360K? Maybe with compression.
  • BK 2008-10-31 14:37
    TI-59 - arguably, this is the first device I started writing programs for. My dad had one, I almost forgot it. Kinda feels sentimental.
  • Izzy 2008-10-31 14:50
    Zylon:
    Bob:
    More like

    IF UCASE$(INPUT = "NO") THEN
    ... do stuff
    END IF
    if its BASIC, toupper if its C, etc.

    You FAIL at sarcasm.

    IF sarcasm$ = "FAIL" or sarcasm$ = "Fail" or....
    'yes, it is broken
  • danixdefcon5 2008-10-31 15:03
    Heh, Captain Kirk might have gone for the Commodore, but Scotty used a Mac Plus when they came back in time!

    I'm not sure about Cosby being able to use a TI-59 ... but damn, that calculator was really good! Too bad my dad's TI-59 died somewhere around 1991 ... I really liked it, and it looked very cool compared to the cheapo trash I had to use later. (Though I did get a TI-89 for college.)

    I miss those magnetic strips for storing programs...
  • Clayton 2008-10-31 15:06
    Phantom Watson:
    Is that TI-59 to scale?


    Yes. It's just that the man is very small. It's relativity advertising--Put your product next to something smaller then it usually is and your product will seem big and powerful by comparison.
  • Clayton 2008-10-31 15:13
    Nick:
    More Computer Adds From M*A*S*H...
    I actually own this pamphlet

    http://www.angelfire.com/tv2/mashtvguide/IBMSITE/IBM.html


    Oh my god those are hilarious! It's like after the war they all went and got a job at the same office. It sounds like some kind of horrible horrible spin off. Potter is the boss, Frank is in middle management, Hawkeye is often late but is the only one who knows how to do certain things...

    This could go on for hours!
  • HuntersBar 2008-10-31 15:19
    dntgtmstrtd.mndsntvnhvvwls
  • Wouter 2008-10-31 15:20
    rofl
  • Admiral Michael 2008-10-31 15:29
    Enjoy!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUEI7mm8M7Q

  • Vicz 2008-10-31 15:32
    In Star Trek 2, I believe a commodore was seen in the background in Kirk's appartment.
  • Code Dependent 2008-10-31 15:39
  • Harold 2008-10-31 15:48
    10 PRINT "HELLO WORLD!"
    10 GOTO 10
  • Daedalus 2008-10-31 15:49
    Mr B:
    youluckybastardsminedoesntevencomewithaspacebar

    y shld b gld y hv vwls
    cptch ngnm
  • North Bus 2008-10-31 16:16
    JamesQMurphy:
    Harrow:
    Phantom Watson:
    Is that TI-59 to scale?
    Yes, it is. But remember, Dr. Cosby is only sixteen inches tall.

    -Harrow.
    I like how the tassel is draped over the calculator but Dr. Cosby is under the calculator.
    From my perspective, and given the amount of Diet Pepsi I have consumed this morning, it would appear that Bill Cosby is being viciously attacked by a TI-59.
  • North Bus 2008-10-31 16:20
    Clayton:
    Nick:
    More Computer Adds From M*A*S*H...
    I actually own this pamphlet

    http://www.angelfire.com/tv2/mashtvguide/IBMSITE/IBM.html


    Oh my god those are hilarious! It's like after the war they all went and got a job at the same office. It sounds like some kind of horrible horrible spin off. Potter is the boss, Frank is in middle management, Hawkeye is often late but is the only one who knows how to do certain things...

    This could go on for hours!

    *Looks around*

    Where's Radar?
  • KonAitor 2008-10-31 16:33
    operagost:
    What's amusing is that the Commodore ad lies. The IBM PC clearly had a real-time clock. DOS, since at least 2.0, prompted you to set it. Unless the PET had a battery to maintain the time when turned off (I doubt it, because the later VIC, C64, and C128 didn't), its clock was no better than IBM's. In fact, those VIC chip home computers didn't even store a proper date; just the number of seconds (and tenths) since power-on, if I recall correctly.


    Good job on proving that you have no life.
  • EvanED 2008-10-31 17:09
    ambrosen:
    CDarklock:
    The disk drives attached to everything in his house were part of his home automation project, where he could sit on the couch and use his universal remote to make coffee.

    Which involved the dishwasher. Honestly, you don't want to know.

    I think I do want to know, actually. I don't suppose you could submit a story to Alex?
    I second this motion. I am also curious. Maybe not a WTF when you get to the reason behind it, but it still seems there's a good story here.
  • Lyle 2008-10-31 17:28
    Lucky bastard, mine only came with one key, which I had to use to morse-code my text in.
    Foo:
    All of the article's images are in subdirectory
    called ads. It took me few seconds to understand AdBlock was blocking them... so if you don't see any images, turn off AdBlock.
    Exactly what he wants. People block the ads because they're annoying, hm, let's force them to unblock them! Problem solved! Or I could just extract the URLs from the source...
  • Bob 2008-10-31 18:57
    Harold:
    10 PRINT "HELLO WORLD!"
    10 GOTO 10

    If that's GW-Basic, you made a one-line infinite loop and overwrote your Hello world line.

    If that's QuickBASIC, you made a program that does not compile because of a duplicate label error.
  • The Fake WTF 2008-10-31 19:18
    At least it's not as bad as that news coverage of the Morris worm where they had anchors asking whether computer viruses could be transmitted to humans!

    I wish I had the YouTube clip, because that's almost surreal when you look back...
  • Not Wtf 2008-10-31 21:07
    Pants.
  • swordfishBob 2008-10-31 21:17
    Me:

    Featured Articles still typically contain a "WTF". Is this not where the site gets its name?

    All in all, I meant no complaint. I enjoyed looking at the old ads.

    That's what I thought until halfway through the C.Itoh - an 80 character terminal "that performs like a 132"? So, how many columns does it have? In what other way would it perform "like a 132"?
  • swordfishBob 2008-10-31 21:23
    operagost:
    What's amusing is that the Commodore ad lies. The IBM PC clearly had a real-time clock. DOS, since at least 2.0, prompted you to set it. Unless the PET had a battery to maintain the time when turned off (I doubt it, because the later VIC, C64, and C128 didn't), its clock was no better than IBM's. In fact, those VIC chip home computers didn't even store a proper date; just the number of seconds (and tenths) since power-on, if I recall correctly.

    I don't think that's right.
    My XT-compatible had a RTC but I remember vendors were still making a fuss about that fact. There was still such thing as an RTC add-on board for PCs.
    DOS prompted you for the time and date (at least if you had a default autoexec.bat) but then maintained the time in software via interrupt handler on IRQ 8.
  • swordfishBob 2008-10-31 21:27
    Dan:

    And how can they get away with saying they have up to 500K storage when the DSDD only offers 360K? Maybe with compression.

    Maybe with shorter headers, less redundancy, and shorter sync fields before each block? Or maybe they were quoting "unformatted" capacity :-)
    There were some brands putting more blocks on the outer tracks than the inner ones (e.g. Apple), while others had a fixed number of sectors.
  • OldSchoolGeek 2008-10-31 23:32
    ayla:
    How much does it cost to add lower case to the Apple II? :D What character set were they using?


    A soldering iron, a friend with an EEPROM burner, and a wire from the chargen PROM to a pin on the game port input.

    And then you looked 1773 on your 300-baud modem.

    Captcha: GoodGodYou'reFreakinOLD!!!
    No, not really.
  • leon 2008-11-01 11:03
    or like :
    if (input == tolower('no')) {
    //something with no
    }
  • vulputate 2008-11-01 11:49
    Or just create exception rules for those 3 images and still not have to see whatever else might be lurking on the site
  • A. Peon 2008-11-01 17:56
    For all of you interested in the early days* of the PC industry, try to find the video of the Computer History Museum's C64 25th Anniversary event, where Jack Tramiel, Steve Wozniak, Bill Lowe (behind the IBM PC) and Adam Chowaniec** (a little-known VP at Commodore involved in bringing the Amiga to market). Sit through the whole thing, it's worth it -- especially since this was the first time all those guys were in a room together.

    Video @
    http://www.computerhistory.org/events/index.php?id=1193702785

    This YouTube link may be an alternative mirror, I haven't actually checked:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBvbsPNBIyk

    Of note is the support Apple received from MOS and Commodore in bringing their hardware to market in the first place, and the difference in approach when it comes to pricing: Tramiel was always, for better or worse, about reaching the lowest price points to reach the most customers and scare off competition, while Apple has pretty much always charged a generous markup, as Woz laughingly acknowledges.

    Also check out the _On the Edge_ book; as any student of Commodore knows, the company had a rich history of WTFs -- as did the whole industry. Did you know Apple needed to call in support from MOS/Commodore when designing the II?

    In the interview, Lowe also hints at where the "guy getting stock quotes on the beach/at the poolside" motif that continues to dog advertising came from... though I don't think that anyone in the room caught the strange and wonderful accident of the ALOHANet work contributing to the ARPANet and getting us there.


    *I feel like I've got to acknowledge that this was the second wave of PCs; the first wave of 'personal' CP/M-type machines had been trickling out through the '70s and priming the business market, lest we forget... the Apple/Commodore/IBM/Coleco/... wave was what took them onto every desk and into every home.

    **re: Chowaniec, nobody had ever heard of this guy before, and the community was in a tizzy over him showing up at the event and seeming to take some credit for everything Amiga. If you look around the Internet, he does seem like he enjoys attention, but the fact is that Jay Miner is dead and Chowaniec was obviously in the business trenches (including the chip manufacturing, apparently) while the Amiga community has only ever heard from the engineers... so he seems to deserve an appropriate amount of credit for being in the right place at the right time and giving the go-ahead. Amiga fans might be nuts, but if you look at it historically, it was obviously the machine that took us from the first home PCs (monochrome or 16 color, single-tasking, type-a-letter) to the next ("full-color", multitasking, video and entertainment)... Even if its short life meant it primed demand for those features from its competitors.
  • LeftNut 2008-11-01 18:18
    The original IBM PC Model A did come with a single 160KB single-sided drive. The motherboards on the PCAs supported up to 64K of RAM in four banks of 16 KB DIP packages. The 256 KB motherboards came later, on the PC Model B, along with the upgrade to 180 K SS and 360 KB DS floppy drives. I was a co-op student with IBM at the time, and I plugged a metric crapton of 16 KB DIP DRAM packages into those motherboards. :-)
  • Dave 2008-11-02 01:00
    operagost:
    What's amusing is that the Commodore ad lies. The IBM PC clearly had a real-time clock. DOS, since at least 2.0, prompted you to set it. Unless the PET had a battery to maintain the time when turned off (I doubt it, because the later VIC, C64, and C128 didn't), its clock was no better than IBM's. In fact, those VIC chip home computers didn't even store a proper date; just the number of seconds (and tenths) since power-on, if I recall correctly.

    It prompted you to set it each time you booted precisely because it didn't have a clock. If it had a clock, you'd only have to set it once. In any case, no, the IBM PC did not have a real-time clock, although you'd often get one on the multi-I/O card that also had your floppy disk, serial, and parallel ports.

    And the PET was a different line of computers than the VIC-20/C64/C128. You shouldn't assume that the C128 had everything the PET had, just because it's newer. For example, the C128 didn't have a built-in monitor, but the 4016 obviously did. That said, I have no idea whether the 4016 had a battery-backed RTC or not.
  • iMalc 2008-11-02 01:49
    Call that lucky? Mine doens't even come with a deelete key so efvery time I mike a mistake I jsut habe to keep tping and hope nobosy notices.!
  • spellingnazi 2008-11-02 06:11
    Heh. Ad blocking hides the images. Because they're "ads". Sort of funny, maybe a tiny bit. Not unlike the ads themselves. :)

    I like this ad:
    http://media.funmansion.com/content/multiimage/vintage_ad9.jpg

    They were going for the mindless zombie demographic, apparently
  • pfunk 2008-11-02 08:19
    this is garbage... if you want to advertise on your site, do it in an obvious not insidious mattter... fuck this shit
  • A. Peon 2008-11-02 13:02
    Dave:
    And the PET was a different line of computers than the VIC-20/C64/C128. You shouldn't assume that the C128 had everything the PET had, just because it's newer. For example, the C128 didn't have a built-in monitor, but the 4016 obviously did. That said, I have no idea whether the 4016 had a battery-backed RTC or not.


    It's true that CBM had many disparate machines and that features were not common across them. Of course, it's equally true that (before they differentiated with the Amiga and IBM-compatibles) the machines that went to market were often similar components jumbled in different ways -- take a 6502-class chip, add RAM, display, and I/O subject to costs, then add the latest display controller (VIC, TED ...) and maybe a sound chip (SID). Even the 128 (probably the most conceptually complex 8-bit they shipped) had those humble beginnings, but things got complicated when they started adding CP/M and 64-mode support!

    Now... Note that the ad is comparing prices as of September 1981, so we are definitely talking the earliest available PC and the original Apple II still in production. I don't know if the first IBM Cassette BASIC (in ROM!) had timing commands, but perhaps it didn't; Apple's early BASIC could be equally sparse. As far as I know, all of the CBM 8-bits, however, did have a system "jiffy timer" and access to it through BASIC:

    (thanks to http://www.portcommodore.com/petbasic.php for the following:)

      TIME
    

    TYPE: Numeric Function
    FORMAT: TI

    Action: The TI function reads the interval Timer. This type of
    "clock" is called a "jiffy clock." The "jiffy clock" value is set at
    zero (initialized) when you power-up the system. This 1/60 second
    interval timer is turned off during tape I/O.

    EXAMPLE of TI Function:

    10 PRINT TI/60 "SECONDS SINCE POWER UP"



    TIME$

    TYPE: String Function
    FORMAT: TI$

    Action: The TI$ timer looks and works like a real clock as long
    as your system is powered-on. The hardware interval timer (or jiffy
    clock) is read and used to update the value of TI$, which will give
    you a TIme $tring of six characters in hours, minutes and seconds.
    The TI$ timer can also be assigned an arbitrary starting point
    similar to the way you set your wristwatch. The value of TI$ is not
    accurate after tape I/O.

    EXAMPLE of TI$ Function:

    1 TI$ = "000000": FOR J=1 TO 10000: NEXT: PRINT TI$

    000011


    Now maybe you can see why they made the claim. No, it wasn't battery-backed on the original PET (or C64 or 128), and no, it wouldn't even be accurate as a wall clock after tape I/O, but if you were a BASIC programmer trying to get something done, you could time an interval without resorting to POKEing your own timer routine or trying to calibrate a FOR loop.

    _On The Edge_ reports that the PET was really intended to meet demand from engineers for something they could quickly and interactively run BASIC on -- sort of like how I, years later, used to program a fancy TI calculator to take the drudge work out of math class. Having the feature in BASIC would allow an engineer or scientist to automate some timed task without having to become a computer "expert." (Just don't run the tape drive!)

    HP had some desktop devices expressly for this, however, note the price at the time -- above $3,000 for the HP, versus $995 for the late-model PET in the Shatner ad: http://www.series80.org/ByteArticle/index.html

    Plus, you'd have to know the HP product existed, and Engadget and thousands of twittering Slashdot readers didn't exist back then.
  • Tony P 2008-11-02 13:17
    Err... In fact it's more like:

    if(input.ToLower() == "no")
    {
    //do stuff
    }
  • AntiQuercus 2008-11-02 18:39
    Nick:
    It has been far too long since I've had my hands on a VT-100.

    Those were the days.


    Relive those heady days by colouring your xterms in vt100 scheme, green on black. For vt220 nostalgia, i use amber on black.

    Captcha = genitus? Prove that you're not a robot. Show me your "genitus".
  • Mikel Ward 2008-11-02 21:18
    The Commodore brochure says "5.5 inch" floppy. Is that correct? I thought they were 5.25 inch.
  • dr_w00t 2008-11-03 00:52
    The more you look at the expression on Isaac Asimov's face, the more you can see the lack of mirth in that forced smile that says "I'm a whore and no amount of scrubbing will ever make me clean again".

    You know when they gave him that thing he was thinking "WTF is this POS?"
  • Nelle 2008-11-03 04:18
    Or even better just make the page generate a totally random local url for each ad image placement. Then have the webserver return a random ad image for anything thats otherwise 404....


    how about returning a random irish girl photo for every 404 ...
  • Anonymous 2008-11-03 05:33
    Battle the enemy pickles with your feet! Beg, borrow or save up for...

  • Anonymous 2008-11-03 05:58
  • Thief^ 2008-11-03 07:09
    Tony P:
    Err... In fact it's more like:

    if(input.ToLower() == "no")
    {
    //do stuff
    }

    Why is everyone using case changes instead of case-insensitive compares?
  • Josh 2008-11-03 08:17
    Any chance of finding the Cosby one hosted somewhere in high-dpi so I could have one on my cube wall? :)
  • James 2008-11-03 09:23
    Perhaps a construct like:
    if upcase(input)="NO" would suffice ?
  • bramster 2008-11-03 10:55
    LeftNut:
    The original IBM PC Model A did come with a single 160KB single-sided drive. The motherboards on the PCAs supported up to 64K of RAM in four banks of 16 KB DIP packages. The 256 KB motherboards came later, on the PC Model B, along with the upgrade to 180 K SS and 360 KB DS floppy drives. I was a co-op student with IBM at the time, and I plugged a metric crapton of 16 KB DIP DRAM packages into those motherboards. :-)


    Close, but no seegar. The Original IBM PC had NO floppy disk drives. . . it had a connector for a cassette tape drive, identical in appearance to the keyboard connector.

    Yep. 16 kb of memory. I remember taking out a $3000 bank loan to buy it. I eventually installed the full 64kb of motherboard memory, added another 320kb on a card, added 180kb floppy drives, later upgraded them to 360kb drives, and, wonder of wonders, a 10-megabyte external hard disk.

    Those were the days, indeed. . .
  • kahuna 2008-11-03 11:40
    lol... i still have my TI-59. hasn't worked in years... the card reader was the first thing to go... but it's still there. can't bear to part with it.
  • LEGO 2008-11-03 13:24
    OldSchoolGeek:
    ayla:
    How much does it cost to add lower case to the Apple II? :D What character set were they using?


    A soldering iron, a friend with an EEPROM burner, and a wire from the chargen PROM to a pin on the game port input.

    And then you looked 1773 on your 300-baud modem.

    Captcha: GoodGodYou'reFreakinOLD!!!
    No, not really.


    Don't you mean 1337? If you really wanted to be leet back in the day, you sported a 1200 baud Racal-Vadic modem.

    Those where the days...

    -Lego
  • pitchingchris 2008-11-03 14:10
    CDarklock:
    I knew a DIY kind of guy in Virginia. When I went to his house for the first time, it took me about three minutes to ask - with great concern for his sanity - WTF he was doing with C64 disk drives hooked to his television, stereo, coffee pot, dishwasher, the list went on.



    I did something similar when I was experiementing in college with different robotics projects. The disk drive was actually pretty versitile to rig into several other things. It was easy to find some good i/o and most of it was rigged to some TI chips where you could find the diagram in any TI reference book. Add some additional solid state relays and you could power anything you wanted to. It took some time to analyze what was mapped up, but doable.
  • Bezalel 2008-11-03 14:32
    sf:
    How is it that TI could trade-mark "Solid State Software?" Isn't that kind of like trade-marking something like "milk chocolate?"

    Yes, and Philisophy has a trademark on the words "milk chocolate"
  • OldSchoolGeek 2008-11-03 20:23
    LEGO:
    OldSchoolGeek:
    ayla:
    How much does it cost to add lower case to the Apple II? :D What character set were they using?


    A soldering iron, a friend with an EEPROM burner, and a wire from the chargen PROM to a pin on the game port input.

    And then you looked 1773 on your 300-baud modem.

    Captcha: GoodGodYou'reFreakinOLD!!!
    No, not really.


    Don't you mean 1337? If you really wanted to be leet back in the day, you sported a 1200 baud Racal-Vadic modem.

    Those where the days...

    -Lego


    I never did the handset-coupled modems, thank God. Hayes MicroModem ][ - direct connect 300baud (no touch tone though, just pulse) and later an AppleCat with the 1200baud daughterboard (212?)

    But I do have at least one Racal-Vadic power supply in the garage -- +5 and +/-12 VDC.

    Oh, and I blame the host for making my 1337speak into 1773. I swear.
  • Maetrix 2008-11-03 23:00
    Not to be pedantic, but that code snippit would fail because of a coding error. Can YOU find it? >;D

    --Mætrix--
  • Nop 2008-11-04 01:11
    Did anyone else notice the op code functions on the TI. Looks like you'd be forced to assemble everything in op codes and probably would never know where the PC, SP, or LC where located.
  • mickeyding 2008-11-04 01:44
    Want to hear a funny story ? I helped a mate of mine interface a baudot machine to a standard serial interface and then connected it to the internet and communicated between Australia and Newfoundland with it.
    60 Baud, 5 bit characters, custom voltage level shifting interface to talk to the mechanical device running with a 30 volt power supply. 5 bits => 32 character set - no lowercase, few punctuation characters. The interface was written in VB and did character translation using lookup tables. It used some calls to windows APIs to set the uart to nonstandard settings to get the timing right.
  • YazzY 2008-11-04 08:04
    #!/bin/sh

    case $0 in
    [Nn]|[Nn][Oo])

    foo ;;

    esac
  • Kulkern 2008-11-06 13:18
    Sorry for my bad English...
    but, nobody saw the 5 1/2" disks in the Commodore Ad?
    "Maximum 5 1/2" Disk Capacity per Drive"
  • peeto 2008-11-06 14:34
    Somewhere, hidden under some Sun VME boards in a box of cruft, I have the BYTE Magazine with this one on the back cover...

  • Alush 2008-11-07 22:21
    What a lame Photoshop of Cosby holding the TI-59!
  • LaRoach 2008-11-13 11:56
    Oddly enough I just found my TRS portable this weekend in a box. Dropped in new batteries and the little bugger powered right up!
  • GreatCircle 2008-11-14 12:56
    My God, I used to watch Mathnet all the time as a kid.
  • anj 2008-11-16 17:17
    Oh my god I had one of those!

    And to think now I carry around this huge notepad pc...whatever happened to the glorious future of the past?

    (and don't say "iphone" or I'll smack you)
  • anj 2008-11-16 17:18
    anj:
    Oh my god I had one of those!

    And to think now I carry around this huge notepad pc...whatever happened to the glorious future of the past?

    (and don't say "iphone" or I'll smack you)


    referring to the pocket TRS-80, of course.
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  • A-Nona-Mouse 2009-07-14 15:24
    EEEK!!!!!

    I actually still one EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THEM!
  • cindy 2011-03-02 02:39