The recent appearance of this item of technological news on the BBC website has been the cause of much quiet hilarity in the Transit household. Quiet, because DH and I are still suffering the after-effects of the horrendous cold so kindly passed on to us by Grandson #1 during our visit, which means that laughing out loud soon becomes coughing out loud and for much longer. Hilarity, nonetheless, because until relatively recently our loft contained the remains of at least one of the original Commodore 64 models, bought by DH at the dawn of the personal computer era.
It was back in the late 1970s that DH, then working in education, was asked by an old college friend to look critically at some educational software which his firm was going to launch in the UK. On his return DH said something about having seen the future and was then immediately reabsorbed into his frantically busy working life.
But it wasn’t long before he decided that this new development was too important to ignore and became the proud possessor of one of the first Commodore PET machines to be imported into the UK, complete with integral cassette data storage and a massive 8KB of RAM.
That first purchase set the pattern for the future. In 1982 the PET was superseded by the Commodore 64, which of course DH bought, and it was on these two very basic machines that DS and DD learned first to use computers and then to program them.
This photo isn’t of the highest quality to say the least (a scan of an original which started to fade years ago) and I can assure you that DS, at the tender age of 12 or so, (no dated photos back then) was NOT working underwater. But he was acquiring a skill which has stood him in very good stead ever since, and already knew more about computer programming than i will ever learn.
My only regret about those far-off pioneer days of home computing is that we had no spare cash to invest in the very small, new software company that DH spotted at the first computer exhibition he ever went to, and thought might go places. Its name was Microsoft.