Our Computers

Our first computer for home was an Apple ][+. We bought it in August 1980. It cost $1300 and came with a whopping 16K bytes of RAM. It used an audio cassette tape recorder as mass storage for programs and data. Its built-in ROM included Applesoft Basic, so we wrote lots of Basic programs, some quite elaborate. We used a 17 inch Sears color TV as the display. The only initial peripheral we bought was a state-of-the-art, 50-300 baud, DC Hayes Micro-Modem II. This allowed me to dial into the computer from a printing terminal at work and get listings of programs. We had a ball dialing into the company Multics system and playing the Original Adventure Game. I added 32KB of RAM (16 chips), and a Language card which got the computer to 64 KB. A joy-stick helped play some new games. A 5.25 inch floppy disk ][ was a real step forward with DOS 3.2. Our first printer was a refurbished KSR-33 teletype that I bought from work for $5, with a hand-wired, current-loop interface to the spare game ports, and a software driver I got from some hacker notes. It worked, but was it ever noisy and smelly. Got rid of it for $75, and bought an Epson MX-80 dot-matrix printer with a graphics interface that was the latest in printing technology at the time. Our house got hit directly by lightning and did lots of damage, mostly to electrical things. The computer had every chip fried, and a trace on the motherboard was vaporized. The modem was dead also. Insurance covered the computer, with the help of a nice computer shop. Hayes replaced the modem for free! We used this computer for several years, and, in fact it is still operational, though stored for posterity.

Our computing was enhanced when we upgraded to an Apple ][e computer. This one had a real monitor, so we could display 80 columns of text, and had full upper/lower case keys. This allowed us to get a bit more serious into programming it. Rena and I developed some games, and re-wrote a commercial Atari computer game called Monkey See-Monkey Spell. Took a lot of work, but we did finish it and got paid $1000. I developed and sold (only a few dozen copies) a data base program called Screen Data Manager. I developed a graphics tablet using a board, and some cleaver use of two potentiometers (that interfaced to the game inputs of the computer) mounted on a jointed arm. This allowed input of graphics. Then, we bought a Koala Pad, which used a pencil-like stylus to draw on a resistive pad for graphics entry.


We eventually sold the ][e CPU, gave the monitor to Rena's parents for their ][e, and moved on with the next great computer, buying the Apple IIgs in 1987. This was a 16 bit version of the Apple ][, but with the graphical user interface and mouse made famous with the Macintosh. But this one was in color! It also had great synthesized sound. Moved up to a screaming 2400 baud Epic modem. The real improvement was when we got a 65 MB hard drive. Now we were up with real computing power. Computer bulletin boards (BBSs) were well in vogue, and we hosted the AppleJacks Computer Club BBS for a while on this computer. Tom and I learned to program in the C language so we could make some games and utilities. Tom's were much more elaborate than mine. We released them as shareware, and were pleased that some people actually sent us money. Added 3.5 inch disk drives, a graphics scanner, and a color Apple Imagewriter ][ printer. Still have the Apple ][gs, since we have so many neat games for it...though rarely do they get played.


Apple continued to make new machines, but when they finally had a color Mac, I had to have it. Bought the Apple Macintosh IIvx with 2 MB RAM, 80 MB hard drive built in, and a 3x CDROM drive built in. RAM got upgraded to 8 MB, and eventually we installed an additional 240 MB hard drive (from Tom's Centris when we upgraded his to a 1 GB drive). Eventually got a 28800 baud SupraFaxModem. This computer moved us into the world of the Internet. Moved up in printer technology to an HP LaserJet 4ML laser printer. Bought a 100 MB Zip disk drive for storage of data. Used this computer well past its prime, and eventually sold it to a friend who wanted something for young children to use at home.


Since I had a Macintosh 3400c/240 PowerBook for work, we decided to cross over to the dark side and buy a PC. We got a 233 MHz, IBM Aptiva, Pentium computer with 32 MB RAM, 24x CDROM, and 4 GB hard drive with a 17 inch color monitor and a 56KBaud modem. Added the HP laser printer and Zip drive from the IIvx. Bought an HP 890cxi color inkjet printer for color printing as well. Increased the memory to 64 MB, added a UMAX Astra 1220U color scanner, a 13.5 GB hard drive and a 10/100Base-T Ethernet card, which we networked to a Mac Powerbook.  This PC is now a spare.  Rena upgraded to a Dell 1GHz PC with a 19in LCD, DVD/CDRW and 512MB RAM, 60GB Disk.


My smallest computer was a Palm IIIx from 3Com since replaced with an M505 color version, which I hot-sync to my Mac and PC at work. Pretty cool way to keep track of my calendar, addresses and has lots of other goodies to play with when I am not in range of a real computer.


Then we had a Macintosh G4/500 with a 100GB hard drive, 768MB RAM, 100 MB Zip drive, built-in 10/100 Ethernet, and a 5.2 GB DVD-RAM drive.  It had a Apple LCD 19 inch color display.  I upgraded to a USB Macally keyboard and a USB Logitech Wheel-mouse.  Added Altec Lansing speakers with a sub-woofer for great sound. Had an HP990cse USB printer for color printing.  Had an HP 3570 scanner as well.  Added a 160GB Firewire Drive and a CDRW drive.


A great add-on to this legacy is an Apple iPod for storing and playback of our entire music library.  Combined with iTunes this is a marvelous device for airplane travel.


Moved to a Mini-Mac with MacOs X. What a great upgrade and move to future. Made use of dual modes with the Intel processor so I could run Windoz.


Rena got a MacBook Pro with a big 27 inch LCD display, so I eventually upgraded to a MacBook Pro as well with a 500GB hard drive, of course with a 27 Inch display. Very nice to have the portability. Using an Apple Time Machine backup storage unit and wireless router, with connection to the AppleTV.


We both have Apple iPhones and enjoy their incredible flexibility and applications, oh and also as a mobile phone.


We both have Apple iPhones and enjoy their incredible flexibility and applications, oh and also as a mobile phone. Had iPhone models 3gs, 4s and 5s.


When the iPad 2 was released, Rena and I stood in line at the Westfield Mall Apple Store to buy 2 of them. We got in line early in the morning and it was already outside the mall when we got there. People continued to add to the line for several blocks beyond. Rena went in the mall and returned with 2 folding chairs which made the wait easier. Once the store opened, we finally got inside the mall and eventually the store, and were able to get the model/options we wanted (max memory, Wi-Fi and wireless AT&T. These iPad 2 tablets were just incredible. We bought Logitech keyboard/covers and used them for a couple years. Then Apple released the iPad Air 2, so we both bought one with its expanded memory, thinner profile, and bought new Logitech keyboard/covers to go with them.


When Apple released the Apple Watch, I had to go for it. This could only be ordered online, so I was ready at 12:01am to order. My order completed at 12:06am, but my delivery was delayed until May 13-24, 2015. It was delivered May 5. Another unbelievable technology integration by Apple. I had been interested in a watch that could change from digital format to analog to display time, like a model offered by Tag Heuer for lots of money. This one not only does that but the open application space means the Apple Watch has an unbounded extension in applications. Using it for paying at Panera's and McDonalds' with ApplePay is quite nice, and even at Starbucks with the general credit card app.


Rena and I were ready to upgrade for her iPhone 4s and my iPhone 5s, so we got online at 12:01am on 9/12/15. We were able to order our new iPhone 6s' in Space Grey color with 128GB memory by 12:15am, with expected delivery on the first day possible 9/25/15. Certainly, a nice upgrade, but a little awkward getting used to the larger size of the phone since it is not really as well suited for one hand operation, and a bit too large for a belt holster like I used with the 5s.


Rena graduated from her FitBit tracker to an Apple Watch 3 with Cellular & LTE in June 2018. Apple announced their new WatchOS 5 would not work on my original Apple Watch, so I waited for Apple's release of their Watch 4. Then my original watch started having dim display issues. So I did the midnight order of a new Apple Watch 4 in Aluminum Space Grey with Cellular & LTE for delivery to the Apple Store for pickup and setup on 9/21/18. Only took 30 minutes to get/setup watch at the store. Very pleased with bright larger display.


When Apple announced the new 11 inch iPad Pro for 2018, we decided to go for it. Our previous iPad Air 2's were 4 years old, so we thought this was a significant upgrade that was worthwhile. We ordered online at the midnight opening for orders. Bought two 11 inch, Space Gray, 256GB iPad Pros with the new Apple Pencil 2 and the Folio Keyboard/cover. These were delivered a week later. Setup was very easy. We have enjoyed the major upgrade.


Rena got me an Apple iPhone XS in Space Grey 256GB for 2018 Christmas. A wonderful upgrade from my iPhone 6s. The dual rear cameras with 2x optical zoom and stabilization are great. I enjoy the Face ID over the old Touch ID on my 6s but it does take getting used to more than with the iPad Pro Face ID. The display is awesome. The camera is really something else with its Portrait Modes...simply amazing!


I got Apple AirPods when they first were available. Great way to wirelessly listen to podcasts and other sounds. I got Rena a pair as well. Then Rena got me the latest AirPod Pro model with noise cancelation features.