I am reading the great Andy Rathbone’s Windows XP for Dummies book and on the “About the Author” page Andy reveals his first computer was a “26-pound portable CP/M Kaypro 2x” that he bought in 1985.
A wave of melancholia washed over me as I read about Andy’s first box because my first computer was also a Kaypro 2x purchased in 1985.
Andy was kind enough to offer some great advice as I was writing my first book, Windows 95 Communication and Online Secrets back in 1995 for IDG.
I will forever remember his advice when I asked about following IDG’s strict requirements for getting screenshots:
“I have no idea what you’re talking about. Just do whatever you can and they’ll fix it in production.”
That proved to be sage advice from a guy who went on to sell 15 million books in 30 languages. I found a Kaypro History website where the following information about the Kaypro 2x blossomed even more memories as I can now hear the bundled daisy wheel printer clattering away in the night: Similar to older Kaypro IV, or Kaypro 2 2 DS/DD half-height drives 4.0 MHz Z-80A 2 serial ports Rudimentary graphics Software from Micropro (WordStar, CalcStar, etc.) WordStar was amazing and frustrating.
The first English paper I created on the 2x was 21 pages long with only three pages of actual text. Most of the pages had one word printed on them while two pages were blurry masses of carbon-film ink.
My professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Dr. Charles Stubblefied, understood and accepted the paper with glee because he was the proud owner of a Kaypro II.
He was also the one who recommended the Kaypro 2x for purchase and he was my inspiration of taking a dive into the world of computing. A dive, I might add, that has not yet allowed me to come up for air! Getting the Kaypro 2x online was a challenge.
I finally was able to slip onto CompuServe after wrestling with the gritty sign up process but CompuServe was too expensive to really enjoy. The entire CompuServe flow chart of forums was printed on a poster I attached to the back of my bedroom door.
Now I’m misting up remembering the machine that followed my Kaypro 2x. It was an anchor-heavy all-in-one color IBM PC running Windows 3.11 that I bought as a graduate student at Columbia University. I ran that machine in DOS mode because Windows never ran right. Many folks today say Windows still doesn’t run right and Andy Rathbone has made a fortune because of it.