Looking For Quacks In The Pavement

My First Compy

This News.com.com story takes some famous names in the IT biz and asks them each what their first computer was. Then the story invites readers to share their own “first computer” info.

But… you have to subscribe to their website to do so. Wow, no, thanks, I’ll just… hey! I have my own site!

Anyway. I must have been about twelve years old, as I’m pretty sure this was during the later stretch of Mom’s marriage to Mike Schomler, and we were living in the (rather nice) double-wide on the hillside above the Westerdahl property. (My stepdad worked for them at the time. I’ll have to tell some more stories about those years, later, won’t I?) I don’t remember how I came into possession of such a thing, but my first computer was a quirky self-contained lump of metal and plastic dubbed the Commodore PET 2001. It sported a built-in (cassette) tape drive and a quaint chiclet-style keyboard. Yes, it was many years later that I learned to touch-type, as it’s nigh-impossible to do so on a purely rectangular layout. Almost all of the actual programming (from scratch) that I’ve ever done in my life was on that machine, though. Hell, I even still have some of the tapes… though I’m pretty sure they’re degraded beyond all use, now, if not entirely copied over with music I recorded from the radio. (My other favorite toy during those years was my portable cassette/radio deck, after all.)

While I made use of a variety of other machines (those of friends and classrooms) in the years since I gave up on the PET, it wasn’t until the mid-’90s that I owned a computer of my own again. Ah, back when a 486 was a wonder to behold…


  1. Lil

    Scary. I have a vague memory of having to work on one of these in middle school, which caused my decade-long distaste for computers, since I couldn’t see any practical use for it and it was frustrating as hell to get it to do *anything*. It wasn’t until the summer that I turned 26 that computers interested me at all, when I was introduced to the Internet! 4K RAM…oi vey.

  2. GreyDuck

    I don’t remember it being frustrating… then again, I was all of twelve (give or take a year). I even wrote a couple of games on that thing. Scary, wot?

    I wonder if I should try learning Flash so I can make my own Neopets-style games. Or, maybe, no, I’ll just let the Neopets people have that niche. *cough*

  3. Kylanath

    So you say you want to borrow the book I still have on “How to Make Games in Basic”, complete with added notes from back in the day when having a x86 was cool?

  4. Rosekitten

    Sorry bro, but your memory is faulty. I think you got it when you were 10/11 because I remember you playing with it when we lived in the white house on the bar. I never saw it after we moved to the double wide (but that is because I never went into your room at that point.

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