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The Age of ALTAIR
 


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Welcome to AltairAge.  

In 1975 the personal computer era began in earnest with the introduction of The Altair 8800 by MITs.  It came in kit form and let you enter programs a byte at a time through front panel switches.  The computer established the s-100 bus standard and was the first computer to sell in any significant volume.

Based on the Intel 8080 microprocessor, it has become famous for it's association with Bill Gates and Paul Allen.  They wrote Microsoft's (Micro-soft at the time) first software: Altair Basic. They then- quit Harvard and became two of richest men in the world.

Meanwhile, the rest of us were  left to fight with the fruits of Gates and Allen's labor - Windows.

It is a return to simplicity operating these old computers. It  is not just a trip back in time, but a lesson in how computers work.  I think playing with one of these computers, or at least an emulator, is a must for any computer student or hobbyist.

This site is designed to help others have some fun with these early computers, without going through all the frustration I endured.  I have tried to make this site practical in nature.

I want to thank Tom Sanderson and Steve Shepard for all of their support in getting my machines working.  Steve says I deserved the "Murphy's Law" award of the year, for all the mishaps I incurred including: vaporizing the traces on the back of one mother board and frying many transistors.  I think I deserve a reward for fearlessness.

Email: Andrew Kessel