Musings of an 8-bit Vet

A Student Coders Tech Diary

Q: Who Is an 8-bit Vet?

A: an individual whose teenage exposure to computing consisted of a plethora of home computers based on the venerable 6502 CPU. This would include, but not be limited to: Commodore VIC-20 or 64, the Texas Instruments TI series, the Apple II (+, e, c), and the Atari 400/800.

If your parents only saw fit to buy you one of the Radio Shack TRS models you have my sympathy.

You likely saw the movie “War Games” in the movie theater when it was first released, but your parents probably had to drive you there. Give yourself extra credit for admitting to having a crush on Ally Sheedy’s character.

Most of my friends were Apple fanboys. I myself trod a different path, and was an Atari man. These were the heady days of home computing, where 48K of RAM, 1.8 MHz clock-speeds and 1200 baud dial-up modems were bleeding edge technology.

If you cut your teeth on these 8-bit machines, then you, too, are a veteran of the 8-bit wars.

While the first hackers came from the mainframed halls of academia (e.g. MIT), the second wave began on these machines. If you got your start on Intel x86 hardware you are not, by definition, an 8-bit Veteran.

P.S. If you had an Amiga or an Atari ST, you have taken a different path, one worthy of particular awe…

For more on the 6502 chipset see this Wikipedia Entry