PC-compatible XT

I still remember the day that my mother bought us our first PC to share with my brother and sister. I was grade 5 if I remember correctly.

My mother was business woman and she saw that computer was more widely and wanted us to learn it early on. At the time, the original “red-and-white” Nintendo was fiercely popular. A lot of our friends had it. She rejected the idea of Nintendo and bought us the computer. The monitor alone cost about a month of most people salary. As recommended by the sales, we got higher model of Thompson CGA monitor. The speed was in middle of the pack, 5MHz PC-compatible XT machine with a “Turbo” switch that could bump the speed to 10MHz. Other configuration was pretty advanced. It has 2x 1.2MB floppy drive (dual side), a 30MB self-compressed hard drive from Seagate, and 640KB of memory.

Some software and games were included. The day to pick up the computer had come, when we pick up the computer, the sales showed us how to launch a few of the software: putting the floppy in, type “a:” type “dir”, then type something ended with “exe” and change disk when it asks you to. Looked easy!

When we got home, I was confused about “dir” and “dos”. Some other software was actually self-booting. So, for a few days, I keep booting to the simple games, until I went back and ask about the “dos” command. And, I started by typing whatever words showed in the dir list, and spend days on the stack of disks.

After awhile, I learned about batch file, and trying to create a menu such that we could jump directly to the games with a letter and enter key. I called it my first “programming” experience. It was long way coming.