Ed Roberts

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Dean Huster
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Ed Roberts

Post by Dean Huster » Wed Jun 23, 2010 5:54 am

Dr. Ed Roberts, M.D. has passed away. Ed, formerly of Microwave Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS) is the guy responsible for the development of the MITS Altair 8800 microcomputer, considered by most to be the first practical and commercially-available home computer. MITS and the Altair BASIC project is where Bill Gates and his little company that was then called Micro-Soft (now Microsoft) got their start.
Dean Huster, Electronics Curmudgeon
Contributing Editor emeritus, "Q & A", of the former "Poptronics" magazine (formerly "Popular Electronics" and "Electronics Now" magazines).

R.I.P.

dyarker
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Re: Ed Roberts

Post by dyarker » Wed Jun 23, 2010 6:19 am

I had an Altair 8800. Accounting for the technology at the time, more clever than some machines I've had since then.

Farewell Ed

Dean, thanks for letting us know.

:sad:
Dale Y

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Michael Kaudze
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Re: Ed Roberts

Post by Michael Kaudze » Wed Jun 23, 2010 10:05 am

Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change. Stephen William Hawking.

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Janitor Tzap
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Re: Ed Roberts

Post by Janitor Tzap » Wed Jun 23, 2010 2:20 pm

Yeah, that's a shame. :sad:

The U-Tube video you linked too Michael, was part of a special series of programs that PBS did a few years back.
Wish I could remember the programs name. :???:


Signed: Janitor Tzap

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Michael Kaudze
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Re: Ed Roberts

Post by Michael Kaudze » Wed Jun 23, 2010 2:23 pm

Triumph of the Nerds. Starring Robert X. Cringely.
Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change. Stephen William Hawking.

Dean Huster
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Re: Ed Roberts

Post by Dean Huster » Wed Jun 23, 2010 7:21 pm

There was also the 1999 "made for TV" movie Pirates of Silicon Valley.

I still have my Altair 8800, buying it before the ink was dry on the January 1975 issue of Popular Electronics. It was shipped all the way to Okinawa just a couple weeks before I was being rotated out and I ended up assembling it in Pensacola. It hasn't been powered up in a looooooong time, at least 10 years I'd say. I'm sure the e-caps in the P/S are shot. The original Altair sold for just under $400 and came with 256 BYTES of static RAM. That was BYTES, not KB, MB or GB, folks! When it hit the market, the 8080A was selling for around $500, so I suppose Ed made quite the deal with Intel. As I recall, Forrest Mims was a good friend of Ed's and a partner in MITS for a while. Paul Allen, one of the original founders of Microsoft, wrote Ed's obit for Time magazine.
Dean Huster, Electronics Curmudgeon
Contributing Editor emeritus, "Q & A", of the former "Poptronics" magazine (formerly "Popular Electronics" and "Electronics Now" magazines).

R.I.P.

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Re: Ed Roberts

Post by MorseDude » Tue Jun 29, 2010 1:51 pm

Yes I read about his research some time ago. Sorry to see another genius go, but I guess that's all in our life-cycle. I'm sure he will be missed.
Thanks for posting that info Dean. -MorseDude.
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Re: Ed Roberts

Post by rolerbe » Wed Jul 14, 2010 7:38 am

Dean,

I'm sure the Computer Museum, now in silicon valley near Intel, would love to have an Altair 8800 for display. I don't recall seeing one last time I was there. They now focus on not just static displays, but in restoring the units to operation, so would be particularly interested if you have software source that can make it actually run again. I know someone on the board of the museum. PM me in case you're interested.

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