Lloyd Robert Borrett

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Early Personal Computers

I'd been following the development of microcomputers through magazines like Byte etc since the introduction of the Altair. Unfortunately the various 8-bit systems running CP/M were mostly incompatible with each other.

IBM released the IBM PC in the USA in August 1981, based on the Intel 8088 16-bit (internal) CPU. It almost entirely used off-the-shelf, non-proprietary components. This, coupled with the size and market influence of IBM, opened up the possibility of industry standardisation.

IBM PC - 1982
My first - a 1982 IBM PC

I purchased an IBM PC-1 from Terry Smyth at Computhink in September 1982, well before they were made officially available in Australia in March 1983. It was a 5051 system unit with 64 Kb RAM, combination monochrome display and printer adapter, cassette tape interface, plus two double sided 320 Kb 5.25" floppy diskette drives. IBM PC-DOS 1.1 was patched to support these non-standard drives. An IBM 5151 monochrome video display and Epson MX-100 Type III printer completed the combination. Total price A$6,930.

I wrote an article called "My First Computer is an IBM" which was published in the December 1982 edition of Your Computer magazine. In 1983 I became a regular writer the magazine, producing the "Your IBM Computer" column each month. I also took on the distribution of "Freeware" and public domain software from various collections in the USA.

In my September 1983 column in Your Computer magazine, I floated the idea of a PC user group in Melbourne. The response was encouraging. Thus the first meeting of what was to become the Melbourne PC Users Group was held at the offices of Computer Power in St Kilda Road in November 1983. I became the inaugural President and focused on getting the group on a firm footing and starting up the group's newsletter PC Update.

By June 1984 I'd upgraded my IBM PC so that it could become Australia's first IBM-PC based Bulletin Board System (BBS) operating under the name PC Connection Australia. That PC then proceeded to run almost continuously 24 hours per day, seven days per week as a BBS until replaced in 1989.

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Last modified: Saturday, 21 January 2006


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