Kill The Bit/Pong

Chris DavisFun Things To Do

Here’s what passed for video games back in 1975. Today they work as a nice visual display for your Altair 8800 while it sits on the shelf… Step-by-Step: Step-by-Step:

Play with Bill Gates’ First Child!

Chris DavisFun Things To Do

After reading the January 1975 issue of Popular Electronics with the Altair 8800, Gates (then a 19 year-old sophomore at Harvard) contacted MITS to inform them that he and others were working on a BASIC interpreter for the platform. In reality, Gates and Allen did not have an Altair and had not written code for it; they merely wanted to … Read More

MITS 16k ROM Basic (with programs!)

Chris DavisFun Things To Do

Another product of Bill Gates and Paul Allen. This version of BASIC was not loaded into RAM, leaving more memory available for programs. Step-by-Step: There are 50 BASIC programs available for you to load through the front panel switches. These programs include: To load a program, first clear any program that may be in memory by typing “NEW” and press … Read More

Play “Daisy (Bicycle Built for Two)”

Chris DavisFun Things To Do

In 1975 Steve Dompier, member of Homebrew Computer Club, made a very memorable hardware hack on his newly built Altair 8800 computer. While interrogating its 72 function set, he noticed interference frequencies coming from the radio he was listening to. He noticed that a process occurring at a particular memory address would generate a specific frequency – for example memory … Read More

Run Some Tests

Chris DavisFun Things To Do

While not as sexy as some other applications, here are two programs that will make sure your Altair 8800 (or, rather the emulation software) is up-to-snuff. Step-by-Step: Step-by-Step:

Load CP/M Disk

Chris DavisFun Things To Do

CP/M (Control Program for Microcomputers) is an operating system created in 1974 for Intel 8080/85-based microcomputers by Gary Kildall of Digital Research, Inc. It dominated personal computers from the mid 70’s into the early 80’s, and was dealt a killing blow when IBM decided to use PC-DOS (MS-DOS) as their default operating system. The last release of CP/M was in … Read More

Load Altair DOS 1.0

Chris DavisFun Things To Do

Altair DOS 1.0 was announced in late 1975 when the Altair floppy disk system was released. However, it was not actually released until August of 1977. By then, CP/M had become the defacto operating system for Altair disk systems. Step-by-Step: In general, Altair DOS 1.0 was cryptic and non-intuitive.  Turn on your Caps Lock, because Altair DOS doesn’t like lower-case.

Load SuperCalc

Chris DavisFun Things To Do

VisiCalc was the first spreadsheet program, but was not available for CP/M. SuperCalc filled this void. It was originally bundled with WordStar, and became very popular for CP/M and eventually ported over to MS-DOS. It survived into the early 90’s when Microsoft Excel became the defacto spreadsheet program. Step-by-Step: