Apple, Atari, and Commodore, oh my! Explore a deluxe home vintage computer den

A view of Brian Green's home computer lab, full of vintage treasures.
Enlarge / A view of Brian Green’s home computer lab, full of vintage treasures.

In a world where millions of people carry a 1990s-grade supercomputer in their pockets, it’s fun to revisit tech from a time when a 1 megahertz machine on a desktop represented a significant leap forward. Recently, a collector named Brian Green showed off his vintage computer collection on Twitter, and we thought it would be fun to ask him about why and how he set up his at-home computer lab.

By day, Green works as a senior systems engineer based in Arkansas. But in his off hours, “Ice Breaker” (as he’s often known online) focuses his passion on a vintage computer collection that he has been building for decades—and a bulletin board system (BBS) called “Particles” he has been running since 1992.

Green’s interest in computers dates back to 1980, when he first used an Apple II+ at elementary school. “My older sister brought home a printout from a BASIC program she was working on, and I was fascinated that you could tell a computer what to do using something that resembled English,” recalls Green. “Once I realized you could code games, I was hooked.”

Despite his early encounters with the Apple II, 1982’s Commodore 64 truly won his heart. As his first computer with a disk drive, it came at a dear price for a kid, so he spent an entire summer saving money from his paper route to buy one. “Most of my friends had one at the time,” he says.

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10 vintage electronics that aren’t used much today

1. Boombox Portable Music Player

These systems came during the mid-’70s. The concept was simple: take your music on the go, anywhere and at anytime. It wasn’t uncommon to see boomboxes slung over the shoulders of people of all ages. Whether it was a beach day, a dance battle, a sporting event or a holiday, it seemed as though everyone had a boombox. Even celebrities such as Bruce Springsteen got behind the boombox craze. 

The most popular brands included: JVC, Sanyo, General Electric, Panasonic, Sony and Sharp. 

Boomboxes are less common today thanks to other smaller stereo systems, iPhones and portable bluetooth speakers. Did you have a boombox and what did you use it for?

2. The Clock Radio

What’s better than waking up bright and early to the sound of your favorite muscian? The clock radio served two purpsoses. It was an alarm clock and a radio that was apparently “doctor approved.”

GE released the clock radio in 1979 and many households rushed to get one. 

Today the clock radio has mainly been taken over by iPhones and smart phones with the same capabilities. But who doesn’t remember waking up with a clock radio next to the bed and having to flip a switch for AM/FM radio?

3. Walkman Cassette Players

Walkman Cassette Players are a form of portable audio players. A less chunky and less loud option of the portable Boombox. It seemed as though everyone had a Walkman, and why wouldn’t you? You could listen to all your favorite musicians on the go. 

The Sony Walkman was an essential part of culture. 

What were you listening to on repeat on your Walkman?

4. Magnavox Color TV

TVs used to be a lot more boxy… and lower to the ground it seems. It’s hard to imagine watching your favorite shows or sports on anything but an HD flat screen these days, but we all did it.

Who still remembers their parents telling you not to sit close to the TV because it will damage your eyes? 

TVs sure have come a long way and we are thankful for that.

5. The Cordless Phone

When the first cordless phone came out it was life-changing for many. It was the first big step into what would become the age of cellphones and smart phones, although we didn’t know that then. 

From parents talking on the phone while doing chores around the house to kids, tweens and teens staying up late talking to friends, cordless phones changed the game of how we communicate. 

While some households still have cordless phones, many have made the switch to exclusively cell phones. 

6. Answering Machines

Who remembers coming home after a long day and the first thing you do is check for missed calls and messages?

Now with everything in the palm of our hands, it’s hard to imagine having no anxiety about missing messages and not checking it the second it comes in.

But what about urgent calls? Well, they had to wait

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Apple-1 computer, ‘holy grail’ of vintage tech, to be auctioned off in Southern California

Apple’s new-model, top rated-of-the-line MacBook Pro laptop computer computer could set you again almost $4,000 in advance of taxes.

But that will seem like a Black Friday steal when a 45-calendar year-outdated Apple pc goes on sale this 7 days in Monrovia, where it may possibly fetch 6 figures or extra, even with out a 16-inch, superior-definition monitor and the latest microprocessors.

On Tuesday, John Moran Auctioneers will auction off a operating Apple-1 personal computer hand-developed by Steve Wozniak, Steve Work and some others in a Los Altos, Calif., garage in 1976. The system was the rock upon which the trillion-dollar Apple empire was developed.

In his 2011 biography “Steve Jobs,” Walter Isaacson offers Wozniak as indicating of the Apple-1: “We ended up collaborating in the largest revolution that had ever took place, I imagined. I was so content to be a aspect of it.”

Hand-built Apple-1 at John Moran Auctioneers.

The hand-developed Apple-1 is exhibited at John Moran Auctioneers on Saturday. It was hand-designed by Steve Wozniak, Steve Work and other people in a Los Altos, Calif., garage in 1976.

(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Instances)

The device is dubbed the “Chaffey School Apple-1″ simply because its initially proprietor was recognized as a Chaffey professor. It was unearthed from the Rancho Cucamonga residence of a previous Chaffey student who had obtained it from the professor for $650 in 1977.

The student, who wishes to keep on being nameless right until after the sale, held on to the computer for the subsequent four many years.

The investment could pay off as auction dwelling and Apple-1 experts assume the unit to provide for shut to $500,000, if not additional. The estimates are not unfounded an operational unit was sold for $905,000 by Bonhams auction residence in 2014.

“This is form of the holy grail for classic electronics and computer tech collectors,” reported Corey Cohen, an Apple-1 pro. “That actually will make it exciting for a lot of persons.”

Cohen has built a occupation of examining, authenticating and refurbishing Apple-1 units for auction houses and other individuals and was identified as in by John Moran to do the exact same.

About 200 Apple-1 units had been assembled by Wozniak, Work and other individuals, 175 of which were being bought. About 60 Apple-1 units nonetheless exist, Cohen explained, with only about 20, together with the Chaffey unit, able of functioning.

Cohen stated the unit was not in “bad condition” when he examined it, while the keyboard necessary total rebuilding.

But the Chaffey unit is built unique, and maybe a lot more useful, by its koa wood case, its equipment and its provenance, Cohen said.

Apple-1s, as assembled by Wozniak and Employment, were bought generally as bare-bones boards and did not involve screens, keyboards or circumstances, much from the polished metal-and-glass Apple products and solutions bought nowadays.

The Byte Store, a Bay Area laptop or computer store, commissioned the nascent business to make 50 Apple-1 units, and on shipping the owner was “a little bit taken aback,” Isaacson wrote.


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