This blog post is a bit about nostalgia brought about by a current quality time project I am working on. If you were a teenager in the 1980s and read this blog then your experiences might have been similar 🙂
When I was in my teenage years in the mid 1980's, home electronics projects and home computers were the hype of the day for kids fascinated by blinking lights and the mysterious powers of electricity. I must have been one of them because I didn't give up talking about the subject with my parents until they finally gave in and gave me an electronics experiment kit and later on a computer. So before that legendary first C64 that finally arrived one day, I got and bought with hard earned money a number of electronic kits, that culminated in the extension pack you see on the left, the Busch electronics experiment extension kit 2061.
Still available today (in a slightly different color) they were a real enabler for me. Long before I had physics classes in high school, these kits told me about the basics such as voltage, current, resistors, transistors, capacitors, coils, flip flops, timer circuits, radios, integrated circuits, boolean logic, etc. etc. Sure, I heard about some of these things again in high school eventually, but it is the time I spent experimenting with these kits and what I learned then that I still remember vividly.
And now almost 30 years later I still profit from it. Even up to the point that I have put the kits into good use again to prototype a circuit I want to build for use with a Raspbery Pi and a PiFace extension board for some real world interaction. This is kind of electronics 2.0 for me, as this time, it's no longer "only" something on a board that interacts with the real world but extends its reach via the Raspberry Pi over Wi-Fi and into the Internet. Electronics, computers and the net combined. I wouldn't have dreamed of that 30 years ago and I still fascinates me today.
How times have changed. Back then it took hard persuasion or saving money for a long time before I got the first kit and then to buy further extension packs. Today, the world has changed, things have become cheaper and more accessible and if I have an idea that requires additional hardware it can be organized almost overnight via the Internet or going to a local electronics store. Also, money for new stuff is not an issue anymore, which helps tremendously as well.
Are you feeling a bit nostalgic or inspired now and think about getting those experiment kits out of storage again?
2 thoughts on “Before My First Computer”
yep…. lived the same… prgoramming on 6800, Z80s, PDP11s etc Liked it. funniest was z80 with 2K of RAM an it ran out of screen space as the program grew.
Oh yes of course! I was using the LINDY Elektronik Experimentierkasten… and later I had an 8080 with a hex keypad and some 8 digit displays plus a speaker that you could switch H and L – if you did it right, it made a beep… 🙂
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