My first experience with a home computer was in 1978. I was with a friend I met from the CB and we went to visit one of her girlfriends. What I was doing hanging around in the "rich kids" neighborhood I really don't remember but this girl had an apple computer. These things were like $2500 back then. Not uncommon but the thing that surprised me was this mini disk drive hooked up to it. You know, the 5 1/4 size :) She typed a few commands and it loaded up some star trek type game in about 20 seconds. Wow. No 5 minute tape load. I remember thinking I should learn all about these things.
The following year I graduated HS and Vo-Tec electronics and started college. The computer lab had a TRS80 mod III with 16k ram and a disk drive. Scheduling time on this was hard. Computer class was taught on Rockwell AIM65 machines. These 6502 machines had a single line alpha LED display with a 40 column printer on the top of the machine. I learned BASIC and some simple assembler code. My first program was one that calculated total resistance for a circuit. I stayed after school every chance I got to play with the computers. I wanted one at home so bad.
In 1981 Atari announced the new lower priced computers. $799 for the 800 with 48k and $399 for the 400 with 16k. Getting closer but still out of reach because I was going to be a new daddy. Time to get some responsibility so I went back to computer school. While I was learning to fix CYBER 18-20 Control Data Mainframes there was this guy in England making computers for under $300. No HeathKit with it's $800 price tag. By the time the ZX80 evolved to the ZX81 it was down to $200. And you could save $50 if you bought it as a kit. This I could finally afford.
There were a number of home systems that started coming out around this time. Most of these are not much more than extended game systems. Should I list my intellivision computer module here or on my console page? Since the console game systems were cheaper that was what I stuck with until I bought my Atari in 1985.
Then came a couple of IBM's
Then the Pentium's
Since I have been collecting old computers for the last few years I have a small collection.