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A Look Inside Webster’s Lab – September 2017


This is the 7th major update to Webster’s Lab since I started this website in November 2008. This write-up will attempt to include more detail that you have asked for.

I got my start in Information Technology (IT) in September 1977 working as an IBM Mainframe computer operator. I knew no one who had one of those toy “personal computers” (PC). I worked with the real thing and was taught to scoff at the little toys. After all, who needed their own computer when they had us mainframers to tell them what to do when they could do it, and how often they could do it. All for a very nice fee.

That all changed when I received an insurance settlement in 1985 and bought my first personal computer. For only $3,500.00 in August 1985 ($8,000 in 2017 dollars), I got:

  • IBM AT computer running an Intel 80286 processor at 6MHz
  • 128K RAM
  • 1.2MB Floppy
  • IBM PC DOS 3.1
  • Keyboard

There were no serial or parallel ports. There was no video card or monitor. There was no hard drive. There was no additional software or accessories.

I found a steal on a 30MB hard drive for only $800. So I bought two! I also upgraded the RAM on the motherboard to 512K and added an expansion card with another 512K for a total of 1MB of RAM, a serial port, and a parallel port. For video, I added a Hercules graphics card and a Princeton amber monitor specific for the graphics card. For software, I bought the original Norton Utilities 1.0 on a red 360K flippy disk (you had to remove and flip the floppy over to read the second side) and the typewritten instructions (done by Peter Norton’s wife on a manual typewriter). I then bought dBase II, Microsoft Assembler/Basic/C/COBOL/Fortran compilers, Turbo Pascal, Lotus 123 (do you know what the 1 and 2 and 3 meant?),  an Okidata dot matrix printer that printed an amazing 80cps, WordPerfect, an 80187 math coprocessor, and maybe a few other minor items. When all was said and done, I had spent $9,000 ($21,000 in 2017 dollars). That is when I left trying to become a full-time professional tuba player and switched to really trying these “toy” computers for real.

Read the entire article here, A Look Inside Webster’s Lab – September 2017

Via Carl Webster

Carl Webster Carl Webster is a Sr. Solutions Architect for Choice Solutions, with over 38 years of IT experience, based in the Nashville, TN area. Webster has been working with application and desktop virtualization since 1990 and with Active Directory since 2001. Webster travels the world doing XenApp, XenDesktop, HP Moonshot and Active Directory projects. He holds the prestigious Citrix Technology Professional designation.

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