Category Archives: Computers

apple macintosh 128k

Apple Macintosh 128K

The model 128K is the first product in the Macintosh family of computers. Apple Corporation introduced it in January 1984, after an intensive marketing campaign. “If computers are so clever, – one of the advertisements said, – isn’t it better to teach them to communicate with a person than to teach people to communicate with a computer?” Simultaneously with the official announcement of Macintosh, a 60-second advertising clip 1984, directed by the well-known Ridley Scott (Stranger), was shown on TV. The clip that cost $ 1.5 million, according to the legend, was shown only once, but it was enough: numerous mass media spread the video, inspired by Orwellian fantasies, free of charge, turning it into one of the most significant events in the history of television.

The Macintosh 128K was based on 32-bit microprocessor Motorola 68000 with clock speed of 8 MHz, had 128 KB of RAM, 64 KB of ROM, a one-way 400 KB 3.5-inch floppy drive, a built-in 9-inch black and white screen with graphics resolution of 512×342 pixels, was equipped, in addition to the keyboard, with a manipulator “mouse” and weighed 20 pounds (8 kg.).

Many things in the new computer were taken from the developments of the PARC research center of the company Xerox, 15 specialists of which in the early 1980s moved to work in Apple. It was thanks to the achievements of PARC that a system of “windows” on the screen, an interface based on symbolic images of actions, a device “mouse” appeared.

The first Macintosh was five times more expensive than the project specification required – $ 2495 instead of $ 500. But sales were very successful: in the first 9 months, 275,000 computers were sold. “Mac”, as the fans soon dubbed the new machine, brought Apple a grand success. With its appearance, the entire computer industry turned upside down. Owners of other types of computers envied the graphic means of “Mac” and the ease with which it was handled. Programs that allowed the use of “windows” and “mouse” in computers of other models, sold out like hot cakes.

However, very soon the users of the Macintosh 128K ran into the problem of too small amount of RAM, in conditions when the design of the model did not leave to expand it. Numerous complaints arose that prompted Apple to improve its product, and in the fall of the same 1984 the world was presented with a new “Mac” – Macintosh 512K (the Macintosh 128K was discontinued in October 1985).

Macintosh 128K


Logic Board Ports Power
Processor: 68000, 8
PMMU: none
FPU: none
Data Path: 16, 8
L1 Cache: none
L2 Cache: none
2nd Processor: none
Slots: none
Video: none
Floppy: DB-19
SCSI: none
Ethernet: none
Mic Type: none
AirPort Ready:
Other Ports: Printer
Port Notes: The serial ports in this system do not support handshaking or synchronous modems.
Max Watts: 60
Amps: .5
BTU per Hr: 205.2
Voltage: 105-125
Freq Range: 50-60 Hz
Battery Type: 4.5V alkaline, #523
Memory Video Memory
Logic Board: 0.125 MB
RAM Slots: 0, n/a
Min – Max RAM: 0.125MB – 0.125 MB
Min RAM Speed:
RAM Sizes: n/a
Install in Groups of: n/a
Notes: This system has no built-in memory expansion, however third-party upgrades could take this system to 512K.
Resolution Video Memory
built-in CRT
(built in)
512 x 384 1-bit
640 x 400 n/a-bit
640 x 480 n/a-bit
800 x 600 n/a-bit
832 x 624 n/a-bit
1024 x 768 n/a-bit
1152 x 870 n/a-bit
1280 x 1024 n/a-bit

Notes: Screen size is 512×342.

Physical Software Storage
Introduced: 1/24/1984
Discontinued: 10/1/1985
Form Factor: 128
Gestalt ID: 1
Weight (lbs): 16.5
Dimensions (in): 13.6 H x 9.6 W x 10.9 D
Notes: Support Discontinued 9/1/98
Addressing Modes: 24-bit
Orig SSW: 0.0
Orig Enabler: none
ROM ID: $0000
ROM Ver: n/a
ROM Size: 64K
AppleTalk Ver: n/a
Mac OS
Floppy Size: 400K
Floppy Inject: manual
Min. Int HD Size: none
Int HD Interface: none
Orig CD Speed n/a
Int CD Support:



Osborne 1

In April 1981, the ancestor of modern portable computers appeared – the first portable computer with autonomous power supply, and it was not an IBM PC. This computer was called Osborne 1, and unfortunately it failed to repeat the phenomenal success of his contemporary. Although there were all the prerequisites for this – at first the computer was in great demand. Now it’s hard for us to understand the enthusiasm of its first users – a box, as big as a massive suitcase, weighed over 10 kg and had a tiny 5-inch screen that contained 24 lines of 52 characters.

Nevertheless, its author, American engineer Adam Osborn, correctly guessed the users’ needs and appeared on the market with his product on time.

The computer operated under the CP/M operating system, standard for that time, and had a WordStar text editor, a SuperCalc spreadsheet, a dBase II DBMS and two software tools, CBASIC and MBASIC, as part of the software. This set cost only $ 1795. It was such a computer that was missing in the market – Adam Osborn’s young company did not have time to fulfill orders. Later this phenomenon would be called “hyper-growth”. However, in September 1983 the company went bankrupt. It seems that engineer Osborn was failed by his unsuccessful marketing policy – while considerable debt funds had been invested in the production of Osborne 1, the company announced two new models with improved performance. Demand for the first model fell as suddenly as it appeared, and the company had to declare itself bankrupt.
Portable computers of other manufacturers in many respects repeated Adam Osborn’s successful design – portable models Kaypro, Compaq and even IBM were very similar to Osborne 1.


Dual 5¼-inch, single-sided 40 track floppy disk drives (“dual density” upgrade available)
4 MHz Z80 CPU
64 kilobytes main memory
Fold-down 69 key detachable keyboard doubling as the computer case’s lid
5-inch, 52 character × 24 line monochrome CRT display, mapped as a window on 128 × 32 character display memory
IEEE-488 port configurable as a Parallel printer port
RS-232 compatible 1200 or 300 baud Serial port for use with external modems or serial printers

The Osborne 1 was powered by a wall plug with a switched-mode power supply, and had no internal battery, although an aftermarket battery pack offering 1-hour run-time was available. Early models (tan case) were wired for 120 V or 240 V only Later models (blue case, shipping after May 1982) could be switched by the user to run on either 120 V or 230 V, 50 or 60 H

While the Osborne 1 was a good deal at $1,795, it also came bundled with about $1,500 of free software:
CP/M Utility
CP/M Operating System
SuperCalc spreadsheet application
WordStar word processing application with MailMerge
Microsoft MBASIC programming language (interpreted)
Digital Research CBASIC programming language (compiled)


Altair 8800

On the cover of the January 1975 issue of the magazine Popular Electronics you can see an image of the world’s first microcomputer, Altair 8800, assembled on the basis of the company Intel’s latest microprocessor 8080. The microcomputer was sold by mail in the form of a set of parts for manual assembly by a tiny company from the city of Albuquerque, New Mexico. This company was called MITS and was headed by a certain Ed Roberts. He was the first to realize that the new chip concealed the possibilities of a real computer and hurried to stake out a claim. It was the right step, because a year later dozens of companies competed on the market, but for the time being MITS was the only one.

The name Altair was invented by Roberts’ daughter, it was the name of a star from the popular TV series Star Trek. The whole assembly kit cost $ 397, whereas only a processor from Intel sold for $360. In fact, the cost price of the 8080 chip did not exceed $75, and the price of $360 was assigned by Intel to spite the corporation IBM, with its popular 360 series which cost millions. MITS bought chips from Intel at cost. Roberts was an optimist and hoped to sell 200 sets of Altair during a year. He simply could not imagine how many people would like to have their own computer. An order for 200 sets was received by phone during a day. In the end, Roberts was just overloaded with orders.

What did users get for a fair sum of $397? Strangely enough, almost nothing. The kit was just a bunch of parts and a box for the case. Users had to solder and test the assembled units by themselves, and if the assembly was successful, they became programmers and created programs for their Altair in machine language, that is, using zeros and ones. There was no keyboard, no display, no long-term memory in the computer. The entire amount of RAM was 256 bytes. Programs were introduced by switching toggle switches on the front panel, and the results were read from the LED indicators. And, nevertheless, people loved their Altairs, because they were real PERSONAL computers.

Of course, the 8080 was a real processor, although it was tiny, and allowed more. Roberts prudently equipped Altair with the S-100 expansion bus, and new devices that expanded the system’s capabilities were not slow to appear, among them memory expansion cards, teletype input, devices for work with punched tape, etc. However, only exceptional enthusiasts could write programs using zeros and ones. To make the computer really useful for many people, a language of a higher level was required. And at this point, fate brought Roberts together with two friends – Bill Gates and Paul Allen, who claimed that they had what he looked for, namely, the Basic language for Altair. The whole world still feels the consequences of this meeting:-). Roberts agreed to work with the newly-fledged firm Micro-soft (with a hyphen) and punched tapes with BASIC began to sell for $150, but this is a completely different story.