Very special season greetings

The Verein zum Erhalt klassischer Computer (VzEkC – did a super nice Christmas campaign on the initiative of our member Helmut (axorp) by releasing a Christmas tree plug-in card for the C64 in the Classic-Computing Edition. He was supported by another member Andreas (shadow-asc).

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50 years of PONG – The TV becomes a toy.

The year 2022 is the year of home computer anniversaries: As already reported, ATARI will be 50 years old, the C64 was presented to the public 40 years ago (1982). At the same time the Sinclair ZX Spectrum saw the light of day in England in the same year and the video game system Vectrex also celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2022.

However, one anniversary should certainly not be forgotten, namely the first commercial video game ever, which was released in 1972 by the American television manufacturer Magnavox together with the first home video game console Odyssey and which we know today under the name Pong.

Many actually associate Pong with Atari’s beginnings, when the young company set up the first slot machine in an arcade in California and, according to legend, the machine failed because the coin storage overflowed.

Pong clone on my Universum Color Multi Game Console
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Privileg 1200 Electronic Typewriter with printer interface

The Privileg electronic 1200 typewriter was built for the mail order company “Quelle” in the former GDR.

At the time when dot-matrix printers were still predominant, i.e. until the 1990s, it was difficult to get a proper straight-line printer for affordable money. Laser printers were often too expensive for private households at that time, and dot-matrix printers had just this typical print image, which was not acceptable for a thesis, for example. The situation did not improve until the mid-90s, when inkjet printers became cheaper and cheaper and their typeface improved. But see yourself the Privileg electronic 1200 daisy wheel typewriter with printer interface in action on the Tandy TRS-80.

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Acorn Risc PC600: “No RISC – No Fun!”

My Acorn Risc PC600 with 15″ Sony Multisync VGA tube monitor

If you talk about the beginnings of the microcomputer era from the end of the 1970s on the British Isles, then one name cannot be missing: Acorn. And yet this name means nothing to many people today, especially younger people, even though they surely hold technology in their hands x times every day whose origins go back to this computer manufacturer.

RISC OS 3.5 Desktop with example video

Acorn was often referred to as the “British Apple Inc.” because the company stood for many technical innovations and good product design. The products were also often more technically advanced than the commercially more successful competition from the USA.

But to understand why my Acorn Risc PC600 is a special piece of computer history, we need to know the circumstances of how it came to be. Listing the technical specifications alone doesn’t do the computer justice. So let me take you on an exciting journey of an exciting computer.

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TA alphatronic PC – A pretty German Personal Computer

Franconian (so called people from a German region in upper Bavaria) are rather reserved and quiet people. They prefer the cozy social gathering over a glass of beer or wine and the greatest praise of a Franconian is: “Bassd scho!”

Today I would like to present you a PC from 1984 of a former computer manufacturer from Franconia – more precisely from Nuremberg, the metropolis of Middle Franconia. It is the TA alphatronic PC from the company Triumph-Adler, a Z80 based 8-bit computer with 64 kB RAM, 32 kB ROM and integrated Microsoft Basic.

Triumph-Adler TA alphatronic PC from 1984

You can definitely compare the computer with the features of the Franconian: The PC has a simple, straight-lined case shape and it comes across rather inconspicuous and reserved. On the other hand, it impresses with its workmanship and inner values. A Franconian would say: “Bassd scho!”.

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