Mixsonian Larry


The first of January I signed up for another Electrical Engineering class but after two weeks decided I wasn’t interested in it and withdrew.  Also in January Bob Dylan release his Desire album which I immediately went out and bought.  Overall I didn’t like the album as much as his Blood on the Tracks album, I did like the song More Cup of Coffee.

IMSAI 8080 Ad

The February edition of Byte magazine a company called IMS Associates had a full page ad for their new microcomputer, the IMSAI 8080 which was based on the same architecture as the Altair computer but looked like a more serious computer than the Altair, it looked more like the Harris and Data General microcomputers from work.  The whole design of the IMSA 8080 was more rugged, bigger power supply, and a full 22 slots for expansion cards that were “plug compatible” with all the cards made for the Altair.  This was something novel, while all the minicomputer manufacturers, Harris, Data General, DEC, IBM all had unique designs, nothing was compatible between the manufacturers, here were two different companies that everything was compatible between their computers.  This concept would change the whole computer industry.  By the end of 1976 there were several companies making microcomputers with the same architecture and dozens of companies making all types of computer boards that worked on all of them.  One big hold back was the popular electronics company Radio Shack who instead of going with the Altair architecture, came up with their own for their TRS-80 computer which the “more serious” hobbyist called the Trash-80.  The TRS-80 died out after a few years.

The IMSAI 8080 looked amazing, so I ordered their catalog which arrived a couple of weeks later.  By May I decided to order on in kit form with several options:

IMSAI Computer Cost

IMSAI I-8080 basic computer system        $599.
Two 4K memory boards (8K total)            278.
One port parallel I/O module                93.
One port serial I/O module                  22.
Cassette recorder I/O interface board       59.
Tape cassette operating system              20.
8K Basic                                    30. Total                                   $1,101.

The serial port I/O module was to connect a computer terminal and the parallel I/O module was to connect a printer, both of which I would need to get.  I would have liked to have ordered the 8 inch Floppy disk unit, but it was too expensive at $1,295 with the DOS operating system another $50.  A 50 megabyte hard disk was also available at $12,500.  I put my order in and they said it would be delivered within in 60 days.

Updated: 02-08-2023

The Dancer