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2005-10-28 14:44:07
2005-10-28 14:44:07

The Altair 8800, from Micro Instrumentation Telemetry Systems (MITS) of Albuquerque, NM, was first featured in the January 1975 edition of Popular Electronics. It is considered by many to be the first mass produced personal computer. The Altair was initially offered only as a kit. It comprised of a case, a power supply, a front panel and a passive motherboard with 16 expansion slots. All of the circuitry - the CPU and memory, are on cards which plug into the expansion slots, which MITS called the Altair bus. No keyboard or monitor was necessary, or cheaply available, users flipped switches on the front panel, writing their own programs in machine language, and watching the LEDs on the panel light up in response to their commands. Bill Gates and Paul Allen saw an opportunity and wrote Altair BASIC, a true programming language, and the first commercial Microsoft computer product.

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