This matter was based on the article http://therelativelyinterestingblog.blogspot.com/2012/02/comparing-todays-computers-to-1995s.htm.
I really can not remember or at least can not distinguish chronologically computers from 1995. We, my brother, Steven, and I, as I recall, started using computers in business in 1977 or 1978.
We started off for business computing, using the HeathKit H-8, yes it came in a kit, which ran H-DOS. Then almost every machine ran an OS provided from the manufacture and there was essentially no software portability from one manufacture to another.
The HeathKit H-8 came with TED-8; an assembler, HASL-8; a debugger, BUG-8 and the panel monitor, the PAM-8 bootstrap ROM. Extended BH BASIC is available at extra cost.
The the HeathKit H-8 had no BIOS, so you had to enter the octal address where the bootstrap routine was to boot the computer.
Originally, we had the 4k SRAM board but soon added a couple of the 8k SRAM Boards. We then had to add extra fans because the unit ran so hot, the solder melted on some of the boards.
We originally ran payroll program written in BH BASIC. (Benton Harbor where Heatkit was headquartered)
We never had the Heatkit supplied tape drives as we thought they were way too expensive. We made several trips to Service Merchandise to purchase audio tape decks and return them the next day to different one the next day until we found one that would record and playback the 0’s and 1’s consistently. Most audio tape decks had a separate playback and record heads and they were not very precise when the heads were switched back and forth. Which worked ok, for audio, but faired poorly when doing data.
We later acquired a Heathkit H-89 that used the Zilog Z-80 for the computer's main processor.
We started with the hard-sectored single sided disk sub-system (110KB as I recall).
I can not remember all the specifics of the many upgrades to the disk-drives we did but most of the details appear to be well outlined in the History of the Floppy Disk.
I do remember my brother and I were often up all night trying to find the points in the CP/M code to make a various modifications to be able to perform various tasks as we could not or would not wait for the next release of Heathkit’s CP/M.
One that I recall was we needed to read the double-density drives. We had to make the floppy disk system step half as far to read double the number of tracks on the floppy disk when they went to double-density. I can almost remember the lines of code we wrote.
At some point we upgraded to the “10.782 Megabyte Commercial Winchester Disk System”. I remember that disk drive well. It cost more than the entire computer system and was over $5k in 1980. I kept it around and used it for a door stop when i finally died.
After the Heathkit Computers, we moved on, as did everyone else, to the MSDOS based systems.
Before we automated, we spent nearly two days manually going through time cards and calculating payroll, hand writing the checks. (We also used a check embossing machine.) After we automated, it took about 20 minutes until the checks were printed.
We had re-written the BH BASIC payroll program into dbase on CP/M which was later on MSDOS. We later re-sold the payroll program with many different modifications for Dentist and Insurance offices and of course restaurants.
Our program changed a lot over the years. We had some pretty advanced features like:
- Inventory and ordering - We could do an inventory and output a purchase order to various suppliers
- Scheduling Program - We could schedule based on employee preferences based on seniority
- Timecard Reader - We had an Panasonic electronic time clock
- Payroll - We compared the Schedule to the Timecards and the manager had to approve the descrepancies before it was fed into the Payroll program. We even printed the checks.
- Menu Cost Analyses - Near real-time costs of each menu item.
- Recipe builder - We could build recipes even from recipes.
- Electronic Cash Register - Which was a hand made PC with an RS-232 controlled cash drawer. We read the sales from the office computer every hour.