General public machines (Was: Altair 8800 name Was: Re: Altair 680 Expansion Boards?

Terry Stewart terry at
Fri Dec 23 15:18:06 CST 2016

On 24/12/2016 8:32 AM, "Fred Cisin" <cisin at> wrote:

NO source is completely reliable.
> On Fri, 23 Dec 2016, allison wrote:

Most number and data I see to day in the popular media is just plain wrong.

particularly on anything like this.

Surely, there must have been some [relatively] objective compilations of
the sales data?

Interesting discussion. Of course sales was only part-reflective of price
point and technical capability/suitabily for a particular market segment.
There was also marketing and distribution.  Get all four right and sales
boom.  Commodore seems to have excelled at all four by the time the C64
came along.

Personally I never saw the C64 as one that was suitable for serious work

When it came out I was using my own disk based TRS80 M1 clone (System 80)
for writing my graduate thesis.   I was also president for a local club so
kept membership records.  I'd also computerised our home finances and used
to write my own statistic programs for the research work I was doing.

The System 80 was great for these non-gaming productivity things.

I had the opportunity to try the C64 when it came out.   The high set
keyboard. ..the mushy keys....the slow disk drive....the 40 column
screen....the limited BASIC..the lack of a decent OS..the weird (to me)
character set. I did not feel envious at all and would not have swapped my
machine for a C64 given what I was doing.

If I was a kid or gamer however the C64 would have won hands down!

In the early 1980s period it was only the Apple II line that were true
general purpose machines IMO. They could serve small business,  the home
professional (the kind of stuff I was doing ) and the kids/gamers.   The
flexibility was due to those slots and the open architecture.

You paid through the nose for Apples though, at least here in NZ.

One could argue that the BBC and Atari 800 line had similar general purpose
capability but their pricing and market positioning kept them out of the
small business market.

Terry (Tez)

More information about the cctech mailing list