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Keatah

Which computer/game company did their best to welcome you?

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Which computer/game company did their best to welcome you? Which company of the 70's, 80's, or 90's do you think did their best to welcome a customer into their ecosphere? And what was it that they did? How did they do it?

 

I personally am going to say Apple, RadioShack, Commodore, and then Atari. In that order. I base a lot of it on documentation and

 

Apple had nice manuals with easy-to-look-at and inspiring cover art that invited you to open up the book and start reading. And the prose was such that I felt I had an instructor right beside me. Ready to explain everything and answer every question. The WaReZ scene was big on the Apple II and I made a lot of friends there. BMX'ing to conferences and bringing new software home was fun. As was getting new hardware (on a stormy day) for those empty expansion slots! It's human nature to fill in open spaces and vacancies. And soon my II+ was overheating with the best of them!

 

I liked the atmosphere of RadioShack. The stores were nice. But the Computer Center was something special. It was a real treat to go McDonalds and then spend the afternoon perusing the shelfs. Looking up to the Model II or III with reverence. I even got personalized assistance in debugging some of my early Basic programs on the Pocket Computer 1. The store salesforce actually knew something. Can't beat that!

 

I liked Commodore for the friendly atmosphere that surrounded the Vic-20 and C64. It started right away with the colorful boxes and family advertisements. The users groups, the camaraderie. Setting up programming sessions under the bed. Everything was lighthearted and fun. No family was complete without one!

 

Atari, too, they had good non-technical manuals for their home computers, but I quickly outgrew them. Atari was really known for games and nothing more. And it was all about fun. When when we needed a pause in heady programming sessions at 10pm at night, we all broke out the Atari-something-or-other and played and played and played till we got in trouble by our parents. The best of times 2B shure.

 

So which computer/game company had an ecosphere that you liked?

Edited by Keatah
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For the UK, i guess that would be the Sinclair brand with their lowcost computers and very good manuals.

Edited by Seob
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For the UK, i guess that would be the Sinclair brand with their lowcost computers and very good manuals.

Just the quality of the products was missing.

Sinclair stuff was always so...make do....wobbly RAM packs and stuff like that.

Edited by high voltage
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I think there are several different aspects to how you were welcomed to a a computer.
Dealer, both sales and support.
Manuals. How good are the setup instructions? How friendly and thorough are the manuals?
How easy is the BASIC and DOS?
How easy is loading software?

And I guess quality of hardware too.

Edited by JamesD

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Just the quality of the products was missing.

Sinclair stuff was always so...make do....wobbly RAM packs and stuff like that.

The TS-1000 failed miserably in the US. Yeah, they sold 1 million of them... and then most people wanted nothing to do with Timex computers.

The quality was nothing like US computers.

People wanted a cheap TRS-80 and got a flaky, blinking screen, crappy keyboard... toy of a computer.

I found them at yard sales for $5 a little over a year after the machine's release.

<edit>

FWIW, I think the TS-1500 would have been passable for many more people.

 

Edited by JamesD
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Heck, I like goofing with the TS. It's a good computer once you figure out its limitations and ways to go about doing things. Of course it also helps that I upgrading the ram internally, added composite video, and etched a tactile keyboard circuit for it. Now it's somewhat usable.

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I remember the TS-1000 being sold at a drugstore in town for $99 BITD. They had a neat little display for it with literature you could take home, but what a joke the thing really was. And totally agree about that system ruining any chance the nicer models would have had here in the U.S.

 

Almost all of the home computers back then had well written ads, brochures and manuals that helped to make the hardware that much more inviting, compelling and easy to get into.

 

Loved TI's manuals, reference guides and addendum's. ha! Hell, even remember thinking TI had decent marketing at one time and then later, with the excellent support in the form of Tenex, Triton, etc. catalogs.

 

Radio Shack of course, did a hell of a job marketing and supporting their stuff for a while.

 

The Amiga was/is easily my most favorite machine of the time though. Used to read and then later subscribed to AmigaWorld before I even owned my first Amiga! The sales and support were excellent where I grew up and have such fond memories dreaming up all the things I could do with the machine during study hall. Sent away (think I called actually) for an Amiga demonstration video tape too, which really helped to sell me on the system. Was free from Commodore, which I still have… but besides brochures and manuals, talk about inviting or feeling welcomed! :love:

When I finally landed my first machine(s), came with thick BASIC and AmigaDOS books that did a great job of acquainting you with the ins and outs of the OS and hardware. System was/is incredibly intuitive, but still nice to have real books and manuals that sat beside the keyboard while learning.

 

Also still have dealer literature/flyers of the various Amiga models and peripherals too. Was great back then, to be able to take that stuff home to mull over a purchase or just plain admire.

 

 

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post-13896-0-63957900-1462394389_thumb.jpg

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BTW: Keatah, that other thread of yours talking about real paper literature/brochures and such…. still have ALL of the dealer literature I acquired throughout the years (mostly from Audio Consultants in the 80's) of high-end consumer audio equipment as well. Love to browse through that stuff and like gaming/computing, really helped to close the sale BITD. Loved being able to compare specs, looks, design, features, etc. at home, where you could take your time and study. Or have a little something to hold while you saved up your hard earned cash to afford! Still owning many of my prized and cherished pieces from the time, consider the literature and flyers to be companion pieces to said gear. Same with pinball and arcade. Love me the ephemera! :)

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Once you start talking about the Amiga, ST, and Mac it's a whole different world.
All three were so much easier to use and had so many features you had to feel better about the machine.
Amiga had excellent packaging and dealer support.
The manuals were nice and it seems like Commodore had much more invested in the user experience.

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Yes I would say that Commodore manuals were on-par with Apple II material. Vic/64/Amiga.. All nicely done.

 

TRS-80 manuals (some books excepted) weren't suitable for kids. And I had trouble with those. They weren't colorful enough. The owner's manuals were like reference books and it was necessary that a kid get tutorials from material other than what was included in the box.

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Yes I would say that Commodore manuals were on-par with Apple II material. Vic/64/Amiga.. All nicely done.

 

TRS-80 manuals (some books excepted) weren't suitable for kids. And I had trouble with those. They weren't colorful enough. The owner's manuals were like reference books and it was necessary that a kid get tutorials from material other than what was included in the box.

LMAO, you obviously haven't looked at the CoCo manuals.

 

<edit>

http://www.colorcomputerarchive.com/coco/Documents/Manuals/Hardware/Color%20Computer%203%20Exended%20Basic%20(Tandy).pdf

Edited by JamesD
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..can't say I have. Experience with Level I & II Basic materials turned me off and I went elsewhere. They weren't bad, just not not enough to capture my imagination and interest.

 

Incidentally it was either Apple or TRS-80 that was going to be my first real micro. I was considering both equally. And it would be many miles behind a push-mower and thousands of minutes shoveling snow before I'd afford something.

Edited by Keatah
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I think the Timex 1000 is a fun little thing for what it is. At something like a million units sold in the U.S. it was hardly a failure, but by the time we got it, it had a very small window of opportunity before "real" systems dropped in price enough to render the whole ultra-cheap/beginner's system submarket unnecessary. It didn't help the Timex that it really was just about the most ghetto computer you could have imagined, either.

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One aspect not yet mentioned is how the manufacturer related to user groups: collaboration, ignorance or even competition? I think there may have been quite some differences how each company looked down on user groups forming, demanding more documentation than originally issued, setting up own software libraries of public domain programs, becoming an unified voice not entirely unlike workers unions sometimes. However I don't know how those companies should be assigned/aligned in that matter.

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Apple got real snobbish in 1992, and essentially and deliberately abandoned the II series. By then I was already gaining interest in the PC and didn't give a shit. It's a minor reason why I didn't further want or desire to get into the Macintosh line.

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"Which computer/game company did their best to welcome you?"

 

For my brother (and I) this was Sinclair, with the ZX80 and then the ZX81. At the time (1980), I didn't know anyone at all who had a computer. We had one! The ZX80 was $100 for the kit. It was the coolest thing ever.

 

To answer the question: Sinclair, solely because of the price.

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The real successor to the Apple ][ line wasn't the Mac, but the IBM PC. I will say this until I die.

 

There are many similarities shared in the overall architecture of the PC and Apple II. And IBM studied the Apple II in great detail.

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I say it depended on the local dealer too, especially in the early days. I learned about the technical merits of the Atari at my dealer and was even somewhat put off by Atari's mass marketing.

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I think the Timex 1000 is a fun little thing for what it is. At something like a million units sold in the U.S. it was hardly a failure, but by the time we got it, it had a very small window of opportunity before "real" systems dropped in price enough to render the whole ultra-cheap/beginner's system submarket unnecessary. It didn't help the Timex that it really was just about the most ghetto computer you could have imagined, either.

 

 

You know, it doesn't matter how many they sold if nobody wanted to ever buy another Timex again.

Lets face it, Timex sold over 1 million of them and still went bankrupt. What does that tell you?

So, yeah, it was a failure.

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There are many similarities shared in the overall architecture of the PC and Apple II. And IBM studied the Apple II in great detail.

Like what? Card slots?

I think that is Apple folklore.

Altair, DEC, TI... and about every other mini-computer in existence had card slots before Apple.

The form factor shrank but it wasn't anything new.

<edit>

The CPU was on the motherboard instead of a card... but I think a couple kit computers did that before Apple.

Edited by JamesD

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One aspect not yet mentioned is how the manufacturer related to user groups: collaboration, ignorance or even competition? I think there may have been quite some differences how each company looked down on user groups forming, demanding more documentation than originally issued, setting up own software libraries of public domain programs, becoming an unified voice not entirely unlike workers unions sometimes. However I don't know how those companies should be assigned/aligned in that matter.

I don't think the companies themselves had much direct support other than possibly literature or having someone speak to a group about new products.

Dealers definitely supported local user groups. Some had meeting rooms and hosted the meetings on site.

I think that gives Tandy and Apple an edge there just do to numbers.

They didn't have an exclusive by any means. I worked at an Amiga dealership and we offered local club members a discount on some things, we provided some demonstrations at meetings, attended meetings, answered questions, etc...

 

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Apple got real snobbish in 1992, and essentially and deliberately abandoned the II series. By then I was already gaining interest in the PC and didn't give a shit. It's a minor reason why I didn't further want or desire to get into the Macintosh line.

Was that around the time when they started the "Think Different" advertising?

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Didn't they even have a flight simulator for the T/S 1000?

Yes they did.

 

Edited by JamesD

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