Sunday, August 12, 2012

Commodore 64: Happy 30th Birthday

A writer at PC World, Benj Edwards, decided to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Commodore 64 by making the dinosaur of a 'puter perform today's slick tasks...

Tweet from a Commodore 64? We Do That and More to Celebrate the Beloved PC's 30th Birthday

So he methodically and cleverly adapted the machine's old operating system into a Linux system able to perform some remarkable tasks...

He coaxed the 'ol 1982 vintage machine to  tweet, to visit websites, and word processing on the old clunker of a keyboard, where "you are only one key away from accidentally clearing the screen, and there is no dedicated backspace key that works the same in all applications."...

Remember the cassette tapes that held the data for the programs? Remember the joysticks? Remember typing the code in yourself from magazines in order to add little do it yourself "apps"?

The historian's final summation?:

So what did I learn from my week-long Commodore 64 adventure? I'd have to say that, truthfully, I ended my week with less respect for the platform as a general-purpose PC than I had before I started... I've owned a C64 (or ten) for almost two decades now, and I had used them only casually to play games now and then. Using them for anything else is an exercise in frustration, especially when you're dealing with vintage hardware that was unreliable to begin with... But I have a great respect for the C64's role as a cultural catalyst for a generation who grew up basking in its warm blue glow. For them, the Commodore 64 did everything they needed: It provided a valuable stepping-stone to a larger world of computers, it taught many how to program for the first time, and, for its day, it was a killer gaming machine... If you simply take C64 as it was—an entry-level home computer that provided immense entertainment value—then it is obvious that few products fulfilled that role better than Commodore's little brown box... Few technology products have been as influential or important in the lives of millions as the C64... Despite my troubles using it as a work machine, I am not ashamed to raise a glass to toast its 30th anniversary.

I have fond memories of my own C64. I think Nicomar still has his... And I'll always remember the late Professor Tom Smith for introducing me to my very first introduction to the magic of computer geekdom...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nicomar gave his away to a collector some years ago...carefully etching out names addresses and SS#n's scratched out on them.
I was able to do Accounting easily and make a fine newsletter on the C64. Fond memory.