10 valuable computer collectibles
These rare, vintage electronic devices can be worth thousands of dollars in auctions and other markets.
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Just a bit more? Yup, been here before?
TI-99/4A computer. $99. Expansion system, depending on cards in it, up to $1199.
RS-232 card, hooked up to a surplus DEC LA-120 line printer/terminal. Memory card. Dual floppy drives, 10mb hard drive, Extended basic module, speech module, Epson RX80 printer? Then, a manual modem (300-baud manual).
I couldn't find a database program for it, so I wrote one, similar to dBase? I worked at an electronics store/TV store, and we had an early VHS tape rental system. I needed to track rentals/returns. I also printed available titles. On the TI-99/4a, this was very memory-limited, so was menu driven, written to a file on a floppy disk. The system at work wrote to a floppy, the floppy went home with me, and was processed. Yup, 2 systems, but the one at work was a bare-bones expansion.
The customers were given a 4-digit code card, and all the tapes had a 4-digit code. Pretty easy to track who had which tapes, who was overdue, and even how much the extra day cost? I could even track which titles rented regularly, and which didn't. Power of a data-base? This was 1985... On a lowly TI-99/4a system!
I forgot, I was also taking a Computer Science class at the time, and up-loaded my homework to the school computer to my account? I was a lab assistant in the evenings.
So how did I end up being a truck driver the rest of my life? It PAID better! I took the computer classes (Cobol, etc) but already knew how to program in Binary, Assembler, Pascal, Fortran, LISP, Basic... In school, I found that I was teaching the teacher, more often than not? The JOBS paid minimum wage... Jeez, I knew Cobol in 1968!
Driving trucks, doing about 170,000 miles a year, I netted (take home) about $65,000 a year. And I was home ever 6 days, for 3 nights off!
I WAS a computer pioneer, but there wasn't any money in it.
I worked on a Sycor 340 in 1975 that only had 1 K of RAM. It was cutting edge stuff. The next year they doubled it to 2K. People wer swooning at the power. In the late 70s I ran hospitals with 96K of RAM and 10 MB of storage. Amazing.My cellphone has more power now.
Beware, some of those values are asking prices, not what people are actually getting. As with anything else - read carefully and be skeptical.
Argh! I had an Altair in 1975! Had to teach myself Binary to program the beast? It ended up running the hot water heating system (with old fashioned radiators) in the house. Light and air temp sensors on the outside? Actually, did better job than just the inside thermostat?
How about a Compaq Portable computer with a 10mb hard drive, and the nylon carry case?
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Which store penalizes you for too many returns? And which one will let you retroactively apply coupons?