Unlike my first mobile phone experience my first computer back in 1978 was more of a “must have one of these” buys, as it seemed that every one was getting one and in fact over 200,000 were sold world-wide. I didn't just want to be in on this new world-wide phenomenon, I needed to be in on this new technology.
The machine was a TRS 80 Model 1 with, don't laugh, 16k memory, and unknown processing speed - this did not seem an important issue at that time.
Was it fast? Well if you asked it to calculate more than six items at once a message gleefully appeared and then flashed on the screen saying PLEASE WAIT, and don't forget this was cutting edge.
All this technology was housed in the keyboard along with a RS232 port and a parallel port for a printer plus connections for a green screen and cassette connections so you could load and save programs.
The cost of this package came to £499, plus the cassette recorder. Disc drives were available, but at a huge cost.
My sons thought it was great and soon found a few games to play on it; Packman and Space Invaders were the favorite ones subject you could load it through the cassette.
Of course the “have a computer at home, don't you?” phrase soon became part of their vocabulary.
I was so impressed with the computer that I went and worked for the company for a while (couldn't afford to buy it) and it was here that I came in to contact with the large office machines that were 64k with 2 large floppies housed in a case.
Trying to get people interested in buying one was very hard, not like today when we are constantly clamoring for the latest or the fastest. Back then we had to offer free seminars just to explain what a computer could do for the office and still people where reluctant to attend.
It was at one of our second-generation seminars i.e., Lecture and demonstration in the morning, Buffet lunch (which the people paid for) and hands on in the afternoon, that I sold my first business computer; a 64k machine with 2 built-in floppy drives a 32 column dot matrix printer with acoustic cover because it was so noisy and a version of Word, Access and Excel. These programs were the basic version of the now standard programs that come with most modern day machines and were crude to say the least but then they were the bee's knees. Plus a few things such as cables and paper and of course floppies for storage.
The price; a staggering £5995.