I was inspired by this article on CBC News regarding the 30th anniversary of the launch of the IBM PC. That's right, on Friday August 12, 2011 the IBM PC turned 30.
Of course there were plenty of alternatives out there, but the IBM PC set standards that changed the industry forever (and IBM!). There is some great material in the IBM archives. Check them out here.
My first computer? An Exidy Sorcerer that I purchased around 1982. There it is in my bedroom (checkout the wood paneling and macrame plant holder!). It had 32KB of RAM plus plugable cartridges and a cassette tape recorder for storage.
I sold it in 1984 to a Doctor who paid far more than I initially did. He was running his whole surgery on a Sorcerer and desperately needed another one for parts. Tells you something about the risks of writing software for a closed platform.
My next computer was a 512 KB Apple Macintosh that I bought in 1985 through the University of Western Australia (UWA). UWA was an all Apple campus with Macs and then Mac SEs in every faculty. The library had Macs you could rent by the hour.
I remember paying $400 Australian for an external floppy disk drive. There was no hard drive and definitely no web browser!
My second employer (also a High School) had IBM JXs running DOS.
And my first computer at IBM was not a PC at all. It was an IBM 3290 Gas Plasma terminal that gave you four mainframe logons at the same time. I still remember that console with great affection. I found an image in Flikr if you want to see what one looked like.
So... what was your first computer?