sign up (free!)
Teletype Model 33 - [ I was qualified (in theory at least) to work on these. In the U.S. Navy, they had a reputation for being bulletproof (reliable). I don't really know that for sure, because I never saw one that was heavily used. But they were a big seller in both the military and civilian versions for many years, and eventually enjoyed an active used market for computer hobby nerds. - PSC]
How it Works: Computers 1971 - these aren't computers but key punch machines. They pinched the rectangular holes in IBM cards that were used as computer memory. Key punch operating was a huge career field for women in those days.
Ada Lovelace, Ada Augusta Byron King. Her notes on the engine include what is recognised as the first algorithm intended to be processed by a machine; as such she is sometimes portrayed as the “World’s First Computer Programmer“.
Shugart SA 400 minifloppy Disk Drive - [ The FIRST 5.25" floppy disk drive (1977). By today's standards it's totally laughable (measly 100Kbyte capacity & slow), but very useful for hobby computers and early PCs. I tested it thoroughly for Honeywell Information Systems, and it performed perfectly. It annoyed me that most people (even the other engineers) would take one look at a mini-floppy drive and call it "cute" - PSC]
8" floppy disk - [An old friend. (R.I.P.) They held a hilariously tiny amount of data. These days I WASTE more file space before breakfast. The 8 inch floppy drives used to read and write them were huge, heavy, and painfully slow. Even more fun - microscopic bits of dirt would get trapped inside and plow circular furrows into the oxide coating where your data lived and cause the disk to crash ... permanently. - PSC]
The first computers used batch operating systems, in which the computer ran batches of jobs without stop. Programs were punched into cards that were usually copied to tape for processing. When the computer finished one job, it would immediately start the next one on the tape.
TRS-80 Pocket Computer - [ A fun toy from the early 80s. It was REEEEALY SLOW but Tandy(Radio Shack) was smart enough to make it, and all their computers, programmable in Basic (that helped make their stuff sell). IT was not particularly useful, but fun. - PSC]