Wm. V. R. Smith III

Home Page

Contact me

My First Computer

Softape History1 (pdf)
Softape History2 (pdf)

High School Friends

My Family

Beatrice Roberts (bio)
My GrandMother (pdf)
My GrandMother 2 (pdf)
Press Clippings (pdf)
Beatrice Roberts 12-14
More Story (pdf)

My First Computer
Some time in 1976-77 I saw an article in Popular Science about building your own Computer. It was an Altair, S100 bus computer. After taking a Computer Class in 1977 at Los Angeles Valley College, I found the Byte Shop Computer Store in Pasadena. The owner Guru Prem Sing Kulsa, helped me and my best friend Dave Mosher, build this computer.

We had to buy a keyboard and discovered Computer Components in Van Nuys. We were forced to build an interface board between the computer annd keyboard to BUFFER the key stroke. A copy of MITS basic was burned on PROM and installed in our PROM CARD. We had 16K of memory and built more as we could afford it.

4K memory boards cost over $140 and had to be hand soldered. Every part of the computer had to be hand assembled and soldered. We learned to program in machine code (ie. CD 00 10, would call memory location 0010).

Programs were saved on Cassette tape. We did buy a NORTHSTAR floppy drive. The system pictures below is the final version of the computer. We really wanted a IMSAI 8080 with from panel switches, but could not afford it.

Since most people had a lot of money invested in their computer, We started a company to sell CLEAR PLEXIGLAS hoods for different computer. The company was called ISA. International Computer Accessories. We sold the clear hoods around the country via UPS. The Byte Shop corporate store sent us our largest order for 100 Hoods for the BYT-8 system.
We built the hoods in my second bedroom using the hand made jig below.

The connects made selling these hoods, help me start Softape/artsci

I sold this computer in the 1980s and in 2000 purchased a used IMSAI 8080,that I loaned to Dan Fishman, who I met when I designed and built the original Chemindustry.com