A Brief History of Anthony’s Microcomputers

PDP-11 American School of the Hague, Netherlands

For 8th grade (age 12/13, 1978/79) we moved from Houston to the Hague, Netherlands for a year or so. While at the American Middle School of the Hague I taught myself to program in the BASIC computer language. I would go to the “computer museum” in downtown Hague via the tram, and use the time sharing terminals and the Commodore PETs they had there for the public. But mostly, I would stay after school and use the single and old PDP-11, which they named “Merlin”. The only computer class the school offered was “make Melvin draw” during which you would use punch cards to create ASCI art. I made a smurf

The primary program I wrote using the PDP-11, its teletype (with a paper tape reader-writer), and “EduSystem BASIC” was “Battle Star Galactica”. I modeled this after the popular Star Trek game of the day (you can play this Star Trek game in my classic-games collection in this repo).

My pdp-11 software

TRS-80 Alief, Houston, Texas

When we returned to Houston from the Hague I worked out a deal with my dad to buy one of the new ‘microcomputers’. I would pay half (cutting neighbors grass), and he would pay half. He found two used ones at work for sale – an Apple II and a TRS-80. I am not sure why, but I picked the TRS-80. During high school I went through phases where I programmed, and when I didn’t. Initially my TRS-80 did not have floppy disk drives - software was saved to cassette tape. At some point, my dad got me floppy disk drives and a printer! Also at one point I ‘blew up’ my TRS-80 while attaching a sound board I designed (which obviously didn’t work correctly.) That broken TRS-80 was expensive to fix and set me back a while. During this time I also started my first ‘company’ - AW Software.

Commodore 64, Alief, Houston, Texas

While in high school I went to a TRS-80 microcomputer user group meeting where they demoed a Commodore 64 running PacMan. It was amazing, with color graphics and games that looked as good as those in the arcades. I soon purchased a C-64 as well as the 1541 disk drive from toys-r-us (more grass cutting money, and perhaps some from my Burger King and chuck-e-cheese jobs). I wrote BASIC and 6502 software. I also managed to sell some of my software to computer magazines (which back then would publish software in the magazine.)

my C64 Software

Commodore Amiga, College Station, Texas

While attending Texas A&M University I purchased an Amiga in about 1985 from MicroSearch in Houston. It was very expensive, and I got a loan from my parents to pay for it. The Amiga had revolutionary graphics and sound for the time. As well as programming, I was interested in electronics spent a lot of time learning to design and build digital circuits while in high school. In college I designed a “Sound Sampler” (aka a Sound Digitizer). The Amiga and the Macintosh were the first computers to have digital audio playback. Both were 8 bit. The Mac was mono and the Amiga was stereo. Neither had a way to record audio. I designed an 8 bit stereo sound sampler and started selling it as Perfect Sound, which was the start of my first successful company - SunRize Industries.

The Amiga is where I learned multi-tasking programming as well as GUI design and programming. The Amiga OS used the awesome Exec kernel written by my hero Carl Sassenrath.

My Amiga Software


We have pretty much reached the end of my formative programming years. With Perfect Sound and the start of SunRize Industries, you could say I transition from a hobbyist to a professional. At some point in the late 80’s I got my first IBM PC clone. I mostly used it for word processing, but in the early 90’s I started to write the occasional windows software, mostly as hobby projects. I wrote a TRS-80 emulator, which is included here.