I am Clay Adams of Sea Girt. I believe I, and my friend Earl Bach of Mantoloking and Bill Porter from Lavolette were three of the charter members way back in 1978 when we bought our first Radio Shack computers. Do you remember then, how we wondered how anyone could ever need 15K of memory? Earl died three years ago and I am now 94 but still a computer addict. I have two desktops and two laptops all of which connect through a wireless router and I run just about my whole world through my computer.
I remember well those early days when there were only about 15 of us who met
primarily to swap information and learn how to do something we were having
trouble with, from another member of the group. I remember the
struggle to learn "Basic" so we could write programs to do what we
wanted our computers to do because software was almost non-existent.
I remember installing a solenoid activated kit that would punch the various keys
in an IBM mechanical typewriter and was the first available computer printer.
Then came the cast iron "Centronics" printer. I also
remember going to a Radio Shack computer forum in Cherry Hill and showing them a
12 foot paper printout of a program I was working on to keep track of an
investment portfolio, because I was having trouble getting one section of the
program to work. The Radio Shack guys were so impressed with such a unique
program they asked if they could list it in their sparse software booklet.
I also remember one of the guys at Bug-80 (whose name I have forgotten) who came
to the meetings carrying a
suitcase full of cassettes with programs he had collected. After the meeting he would let us to copy any that we wanted -- providing the little "bug" on our recording machines kept blinking to tell us the data was being copied. I also remember our president (if we did actually take the time to elect one), who I believe was a piano teacher in real life, but was quite knowledgeable and pretty much way ahead of the rest of us in knowing the inside of computers. He ran the "Random Access"
sessions in the small room we were permitted to use next to one of the science labs at Brookdale. I also remember, as the group grew, some of the member bringing their kids to meetings and being amazed that when one of the older members would ask about a problem he was having, a twelve year old would raise his hand and say, "I think I can tell you how to do that!"
The only thing I regret about those days was that I was stupid enough and did
not have the brains to realize that every computer that would ever be
built in the future would have to have an "operating system" to work
-- and that a little two bit outfit out west, by the name of Microsoft, had sole
control over the universally used operating system called MS-DOS which they were
shrewed enough not to sell, but
would only "lease" to Radio Shack as TRS-DOS and later to IBM as IBM-DOS. Those of us who knew and should have been able to understand the importance of this momentous secret before anyone else, would all be multi-millionaires if we only had the sense to buy a few shares of this piddling little company.
I doubt if I will be able to make y our 25th anniversary meeting, but it's great to know that that tiny group of us were among the very first to see the light at the beginning of a gigantic tunnel.
With best regards,
You have some sharp memory. You remembered that Earl and I went to that Radio Shack forum in Cherry Hill in a snow storm! Which is exactly right. We were about the only ones who were there and that was the reason why all the Radio Shack guys had nothing better to do than help me with my program. I don't get any checks but believe it or not I still receive letters every so often from Europe and other places
around the world inquiring about "PORTFOL," the Investment Portfolio program RS listed in their source book. And would you believe it, I still use a spread sheet layout for the same purposes that is based on the same format of that old program.
Your comment about the kids not coming to meetings is very telling. Most of the kids now, who spend a lot of time at their computers have evolved into "nerds" who look down on us as old fogies who only know how to use the Web to get the weather.
I haven't seen or talked with Bill Porter for years. and I do not have his