The evolution of personal computing is very interesting. It almost wasn’t. Intel originally didn’t get it, MITS Altair 8800 the first personal computer (1st software written by Bill Gates team Micro-Soft (later Microsoft, Altair Basic)), supposedly the first clone computer (Imsai 8080) – it was definately a strange tumble of events that created the personal computer industry.
First the LED Demo running on actual hardware, video provided by the guy that actually coded the program (in the same emulator software that I am using)
IMSAI 8080 - Bouncing a Light Back and Forth (Cylon Style)
Here is my 8800 emulator video which is on YouTube (at Alan Spicer Marine Telecom)
This is an Imsai 8080 emulator running on Ubuntu Linux (which itself is running in a Virtual Machine on Windows 7 64-bit) - showing the bouncing light demo (what I call the Night Rider lights). This is a Bill Gates - Micro-Soft (later Microsoft) era computer (they wrote Altair Basic for the Altair 8800). This is a very early compute clone (of the Altair 8800) and these machines are a big part of what became the PC that we use today. I've toggled this program in 2x so far, once in Binary and once in Hexadecimal. The front panel makes that relatively easy to do.
These computers, although they don't seem like they did much, did later get cassette tape, floppy disk drives, monitor screens, and such that would make them more resemble the modern PC computer. This Imsai 8080 model computer was a prop in the movie "War Games". So you can see that they could have modems and printers and such things. More popular later for most people, however, were the Apple, Atari, Commodore, Radio Shack TRS-80, and such computers - because they came with keyboards and such in-the-box.
How the Altair 8800 started the PC revolution (Part 1)
How the Altair 8800 started the PC revolution (Part 2)
MITS Altair 8800 demonstration
Shows how to load a bootloader, run the bootloader, boot MITS 8k BASIC, load a craps game and run it on a MITS Altair 8800 microcomputer.
The Altair is arguably the first hobbyist / personal computer and it spawned a little company named Micro-Soft.
Alan Spicer Marine Telecom
http://www.marinetelecom.net - http://www.wifiyacht.net
communications (at) marinetelecom.net