Not many people probably remember that a large personal computer show/expo was held in Atlantic City way back in the late 70s. The show was the brainchild of John Dilks, a great guy who also co-owned and operated one of the earliest independent computers stores in the South Jersey shore area (The Computer Ark). If I remember correctly the PCC shows ran for two or three years total before the expense of running them in A.C. made them impractical.
I still remember writing BASIC demos for John to run on his S-100 computer at a local air show to drum up interest in PCC.
Working through some old boxes I bumped into the brochure for what I believe was the first PCC in 1977:
For some reason seeing this screen on a 20-something year old Z80 board now booting CP/M 2.2 from a CompactFlash card just makes my day.
You are standing at the end of a road before a small brick building. Around you is a forest. A small stream flows out of the building and down a gully.
Welcome to the new Adventure! (25 years later.)
More vintage computer photos. This time it’s a Z80 processor based CP/M system that started life as another unfinished Franklin project. Bob Grieb was designing the hardware and I was developing the software for what would have been a portable CP/M machine. The cool thing was that we were so totally under the radar and had essentially complete control over all aspects of the design. We had a working hardware prototype at Franklin but the bulk of the software was written after we’d left.
A vendor at Trenton Computer Festival had purchased a large amount of Franklin stock but had no idea what some of it was. Bob discovered the bare CP/M PC boards, populated several and coded low level disk formatting routines while I wrote the boot firmware, CP/M BIOS, ZCPR and assorted utilities. The end result is actually a slick little CP/M machine that includes two floppy disk drives and a sizable RAM disk made from extra RAM banks.
I think I christened it the BoGUS board, as far as I can remember it stood for Bob Grieb’s Unusual System or something like that. I’m sure it’s in the source code somewhere.
Here are photos of Franklin Computer’s unreleased Apple II compatible computer dubbed the CX (code named “Kite”.) Not exactly a lightweight machine at about 25 pounds, the official term for it was “luggable” rather than portable.
Franklin went into bankruptcy before it shipped, but about 20 or so were built from available parts and given to some of the last people out the door, of which I was one.
I donated this machine to someone’s collection so I don’t have it any more.