Early computer retailers (1977)

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Early computer retailers (1977) - A-14-iNDEPENDENT, PRESS-TELEGRAM*...
A-14-iNDEPENDENT, PRESS-TELEGRAM* uwBMK*.c.iii.,sai.,s«irt.M,i"7 Computers for the home program a new lifestyle By Stephen Fox Associated Press To m a n y Americans, a computer is something that fouls up your c h a r g e accounts and admonishes you not to fold, spindle or mutilate the incorrect bill. But to others, m a n y others, their com- .puter is a faithful servant who monitors their pool or sprinkler , system, reminds them of birthdays and anniversaries, does their tax return and helps them relax with a fast game of chess or "Star Trek." HOME computers are' here. More than 50,000, about a third of them kits, have been sold in the past two years and enthusiastic industry spokesmen see a huge market ahead. "The home computer has the potential to change our lifestyles more than any other machine since the automobile," says Sam Bernstein, marketing vice president for Commodore Business Machines of Palo Alto. "Several million units a year is not unreasonable." Commodore is now marketing one of the cheapest home, or "personal" computers, the Personal Electronic T r a n s a c t o r ( P E T ) , which retails at $595 .for the 4,000- memory-unit model and $795 for 8,000 bits of "random access memory." Others can be had for as little as $250, but there is no ceiling, since "computerniks" keep adding sophisticated attachments. "Some people come back every week and ask, 'What do you have that's new?'" say Dick Reiser, who opened The Computer Store in Santa Monica in July 1975. The · Computer Store is believed to be the nation's first retail computer outlet, but there are now stores with names like Kentucky Fried Computer, ' C o m p u t e r Power, Light and Hty Bitty Machine Company, across the country. ' . Home computers are what the industry calls "microcomputers" and their low price is made possible by technological advances that have "reduced to $5 or $10 the cost ' of t i n y integrated c i r c u i t s or "chips" that are the computer's b r a i n . Hobbyists c o n n e c t t y p e writer devices- and television-like screens to talk back and forth with t h e i r PETs or other computer models. The dune-sized chips mean personal computers can be made as . small as pocket calculators, says Paul Terrell, who opened The Byte Shop in Mountain View two years ago and subsequently built a 67- store chain of Byte Shops. "Computers are becoming per- · sonal," says Terrell. "We want to make them .friendly, because -people think of them as the archenemy, of the credit card company. One of the biggest tasks we have to perform is educating the public on what these machines can do and how they might be useful to them." W h a t computer people call "applications" have thus far been the biggest stumbling block for home computers. The machines, or "hardware," will do whatever you tell them to as long as you talk to them in the right way. But formulating a set of instructions, or "program," and getting the computer to obey it is far beyond the ability of most buyers. Because of this, many home computer enthusiasts depend on pre-written programs that come in the form of cassette tapes or plastic records and are simply inserted . in their Imsai 8080 ($699) or Apple II (SI,300). "Most programs written for the home are probably going to be on cassette," says Alan Porter, man- RICHARD CONNER, 15, amuses himself with programmed home computer at Los Angeles store as owner Dick Reiser looks.._. --APWirephOt«.|-:;n · · ager of Mission Control, a Santa Monica, computer store. "People can corrie in, buy a program, drop it in and play the stock market or do their income taxes." "Once these g u y s got their computers all together, they found they had nothing to play on it," says Terrell. "So they created their own programs and other things." - Programs are swapped among members of computer clubs like Stanford University's Homebrew Computer Club or the Southern California Computer Club, which claims more than 8,000 members. Clubs also o f f e r programming courses, with one entitled "The Complete and Utter Idiot's Guide to Computer Programming." Home computers are .. ,, ,, swering telephones, storing recipes and helping children with math, but industry spokesmen say 50 percenC of them are used in business appli- cations at least part-time.'Jay." Moss, a Simi Valley plumbing-con*"· tractor, bought his as a toy^butr soon adapted it to making mates for contracting bids. dJiiiiiiiiMiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiJiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiniiiiiKiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii'i

Clipped from
  1. Independent Press-Telegram,
  2. 24 Sep 1977, Sat,
  3. Page 13

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  • Early computer retailers (1977)

    smithern – 03 Aug 2017

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