It was a Research Machines 380Z and it had 16 kilobytes of memory. The only permanent storage device was a cheap cassette recorder hooked up to it via an audio socket. When the computer was switched on, it booted into a low-level monitor system where you had two options: start feeding in Z80 machine code by hand, or load a Basic language interpreter from the cassette recorder. The computer was very sensitive to the playback volume setting on the cassette recorder, so the Basic interpreter rarely loaded on the first attempt.
At home, I have an Intel Core2 quad-core machine with 8 gigabytes of memory which runs Linux. My wife and I use it for our work and for email and web surfing. By the standards of the computers which I used as a PhD student, it's a desktop supercomputer!
|Year||Hardware||Operating systems||Programming languages and data formats|
|1981||GEC 4000||OS/4000||Fortran 66|
|1984||IBM VM/370||VM/CMS||Fortran 77, REDUCE, Camal, EXEC2|
|1986||Sinclair QL||QDOS||BCPL, Forth, 68k assembler|
|1987||Macsyma, VM/370 assembler|
|1988||Scratchpad, Mathematica, Rexx|
|1989||HP 9000||Unix (System V)||C, awk, shell scripting, TeX|
|1990||HLH Orion||Unix (BSD)|
|1993||80486-based PC||Windows 3.1||Intel x86 assembler, C++|
|1995||Windows 95||Perl 4, HTML|
|1999||Compaq Alpha||Tru64 Unix||Perl 5, Perl/Tk|
|2003||Apple Powerbook G4||OS X, Windows XP|
|2004||Open University studies|
|2005||Open University studies|
|2006||Open University studies|
|2009||Ruby on Rails|
I was awarded the Postgraduate Diploma in Computing for Commerce and Industry in December 2006.