Compucolor.org – Guestbook

This page is a place for anybody who used or lusted after the Compucolor II computer, or any of the related computers built by ISC, to leave stories and recollections. Share your memories below! Because of spammers, all submissions go through a spam filter service, taking a few seconds to be approved. If you would rather communicate privately, use the email link at the bottom of this page.

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Bruce Williams writes...
I was the Software Manager of the CC II
Posted on September 5, 2022 - 20:53:43 PDT
Jeff Brown writes...
Great site Jim! Really awesome you have all of this information here.
I worked at Intecolor starting in 1985 through the early 90s. See all of this here really brings back some great memories. I learned to program on a 3650.
Posted on July 31, 2022 - 20:50:09 PDT
Kevin writes...
Great site Jim, and great work on the emulator too!

They had these at the Computer Centre at what was then the Western Australian Institute of Technology (now Curtin University) in 1982 when I started there. Primarily they were being used as terminals for the various mainframes they had, but they were also used as standalone machines and as a student these were the first colour computer I'd even seen, let alone used.

Ah, the excitement of the early days of computing as a teenager....
Posted on March 22, 2022 - 22:18:41 PDT
Ken writes...
Wow Jim. Just found this site... amazing! As a student in the late '70s I used to sell these in Vancouver Canada, and eventually sold my Commodore PET so I could buy one. The computer has been sitting in a box since 1982 or so. and soon I hope to get time to see if it still works. But wow... you built an emulator!! Still works on MS Edge too, so well done!

I wrote my first "big" program on it, a "planetarium" that dynamically displayed the brightest stars currently above any lat/long, and would highlight the stars in any constellation on demand. If I'd known there were such things as user groups I would have shared it... if I'm successful retrieving the source I'll share it.
Posted on November 17, 2021 - 20:14:54 PST
Paul K writes...
Thanks for providing this. I played with a Compucolor II at Otago University in Dunedin, New Zealand, back in 1981 when I was still in high school. Loved the color keyboard and lumbering floppy drive.
Posted on April 23, 2021 - 05:19:08 PDT
Darren writes...
In my first year of high school 1980, I was about 13 and had enjoyed playing TREK on dial-up modem with acoustic coupler to some sort of DEC mini at friends house. His dad worked for a "computer company" - we barely knew what a computer was !

Because I was showing such interest, the dad lent me a really cool computer for the summer. I was captivated. Now, some 40 years later all I could remember was
- it had several colour keys
- it had an integrated colour monitor (in 1980 !)
- it had a floppy drive and ran some sort of early DOS

not a lot to go on.

I've looked for this computer many times over the years, until today finally seeing a keyboard I remember on https://www.old-computers.com/museum/computer.asp?c=560
That's it !

This was a great machine that taught me the basics of BASIC (by tinkering with a Hammurabi clone) and filesystems. I had to give it back and had to make do with the schools sole Apple II until a few years later I bought a C64.

The model we had was most similar to this ; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_jWcgwgmwg - I *think* - it's hard to remember the details - but that keyboard, with the colour keys is unmistakeable !

Great - now I need to find one to add to my collection of early 80's micros. Thanks for the site, the software collection and manuals are just great.

Darren
South Australia.
Posted on February 22, 2021 - 06:50:31 PST
Matt clarke writes...
Spent many hours back in the day playing Pac-Man with my uncle but also loved dogfight er and orbs think my brother has discs still if these games are not here I am also looking for spare keys for my keyboard if anyone has any
Posted on February 20, 2021 - 08:53:41 PST
Art Watson writes...
When I first came to the University of Florida College of Environmental Engineering, we used the ComupColor II to create computer simulations of natural and man-made systems.

I had the privilege of learning and working under Dr. HT Odum who by all accounts was a genius. My experiences with the CompuColor II led to a lifetime of employment in IT. I still work in IT today for UF.

What a great machine it was!
Posted on November 27, 2019 - 08:41:34 PST
Steve Bour writes...
Incredible site! I've spent the last couple of days reliving "computer store" memories from the 70s and 80s.

What brought me here was a quest to find some source code I wrote back in '79 for the Compucolor II. To be specific, I'm the "J STEPHEN BOUR II" mentioned in one of the files on disk "Taylor #7". I wrote FMTCD1.SRC, the floppy disk formatter on that disk. Yup, that's me :-)

I lost the source code ages ago but hoped I might find it on some vintage computer site somewhere, and lo and behold, I found it! Haven't been this thrilled to find something lost in a long time...thank you so much for making the effort to preserve history like this! Feel free to email if you wish; maybe you have questions I could answer or I could help out in some other way. I might even share the story behind writing that formatter :-)

steve@bour.org
Posted on November 5, 2019 - 14:53:30 PST
Elizabeth writes...
Thanks for your wonderful site, Compucolor was my first computer.

I had fond memories programming applications eg vertical invoicing system for milk runs (when milk was home delivered) and a book borrowing system for a local Christian college.
Posted on July 8, 2019 - 00:59:48 PDT
Arthur Krewat writes...
Used a Compucolor in high school, circa 1979-1982 - wrote many programs on it, and even did a demonstration in math class of sin/cos/tan graphs.
Posted on June 8, 2019 - 15:05:06 PDT
M4K writes...
The Compucolor II system was a particular fascination of mine from the moment I heard about it in high school from the "cool" computer teacher. He disagreed with the text books that gave Apple all the credit for pushing the boundaries, and the Compucolor II was his argument against it, and this was in 2010. More on the subject of the machine, It really is the "first" of a generation that defined computers going forward. That this amazing machine, and the people who made it possible are all largely forgotten, even by people who are knowledgeable about computer history, is a real shame. I hope to see one in person someday, but they seem few and far between. Many thanks for keeping this website and the memory of the Compucolor system alive, it is appreciated!
Posted on December 21, 2018 - 19:41:31 PST
Russell writes...
I used Intecolor 3650 series computers for many years before having a computer of my own ( Atari 65xe). Later I had my own 3650 for a very short time till it quit working while playing Galaxian.
The best game on there was Robot Wars. It was much more fun than any version of Robotron.
An info from the Mame emulator once mentioned a Robotron prototype with the same name. I wonder if they are the same one.
Posted on May 14, 2018 - 17:14:52 PDT
Marsha Hague writes...
I was seriously considering the Compucolor, but finally settled on the Apple II as my first computer in 1979. Thanks for putting up this website. I recently decided to finally get my BS in IT after all these years, and chose an online school that was accredited and had good reviews. I started my first course this weekend, and they got several things wrong in the module about the history of personal computers. I ranted about it on Facebook, and it started a discussion that brought back some old memories!

The badly written course material claimed that the first personal computer was introduced by IBM in 1984, and it also claimed that the Macintosh was Apple's first computer, also introduced in 1984 (well, at least they got ONE thing right).
Posted on April 30, 2018 - 02:48:44 PDT
Kyle Gehring writes...
I still have my CompuColor II that I bought in 1982.
I was going to use it for our business but decided to do with an Altos "multi-user" system instead.
The CompuColor was always fun to work on and it did save us one time when our Altos system went down.
I wrote as simple payroll program so we could get the $150+ checks out with our manually computing and typing them.

The emulator brought back some good memories.

Thanks for the site.
Posted on August 3, 2017 - 14:35:15 PDT
Jim Orcheson writes...
I purchased a CompuColor II in August or September of 1978 for about CDN $2800. This was $700 less than an Apple II cost in the same store.

Aside from the odd game, I purchased the assembler and MS Fortran, and did extensive programming on it.

A couple of things that I did not see mentioned on your site:
1. Someone wrote and sold a word processing program. I bought a daisy-wheel printer that printed at a whopping 30 characters per second. That printer lasted until I could no longer get printer ribbons for it.
2. There was a "magazine" of about the same quality as ColorCue, but many more pages per issue, that was written and published by someone in Toronto. It also was published 6 times per year. It lasted for 3 or 4 years.

All in all, I had a great time with the CompuColor II until one of the custom chips failed. I contacted ISC or Intecolor about a replacement chip, but by that time, they no longer stocked them. I think they had sold all of their parts to a company in Italy that continued to manufacture the Compucolor II until the supply of parts was exhausted.

ISC or Intecolor contacted the original chip manufacturer, who was willing to do a run of 1000 of them for me; since I only needed one, I never bothered inquiring what the cost would be. That ended my use of the computer.
Posted on June 29, 2017 - 08:07:07 PDT
John Bell writes...
I encountered the CompuColor II while a student at the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1980. There were several computer stores in the RIT area and one sold the CCII. The owner of the store was named Fred, but I can't recall his last name or the store name. The store hosted an active user group once a month. I bought my CompuColor from Fred, although technically it was an InteColor 3601. It was the model with the keyboard, motherboard, and screen all in one. I got the max RAM and the large keyboard. I still have the machine in my closet, although it no longer works. Jim Battle did give me some great advice on replacing all the capacitors, but I haven't had time to do that yet. Some day.

One night at a User Group meeting, David Suits (a major contributor of CompuColor software to the library and a teacher at RIT) brought in a new game for us to try. It was called Adventure. I remember trying it out and not knowing what to do with it because it was a text-based game the likes of which I'd never seen before. At the first prompt (You are in a forest), I was stumped and finally typed in "So What?". David cracked up and said it was the most inventive response he'd yet seen to the initial prompt.

I had a lot of fun throughout my senior year of RIT writing my own software. I even contributed a program to the library for image editing. A far cry from the modern image editing software but at the time it was the biggest program I'd ever written. It's in the library here under CHIP #23. Enjoy!
Posted on May 30, 2017 - 15:52:21 PDT
John in OK writes...
A ham radio friend of mine had a Compucolor. As I understand it from him... Intecolor essentially never pushed much in the way of games because it was stated that the machine was too slow to run arcade style games. Yeah, in interpreted BASIC it was... but my friend was writing games for it and selling them, in 8080 assembly. The only game I remember off top of my head was Meteor Mission, but he wrote a few different games and sold them. We were using his machine with a custom logging program to log radio contacts, which was going well until we tuned up the antenna on 40 meters and rebooted the computer with RF... without a database backup. Oops.

I also remember these machines from my local high school... i read through the technical book and I seem to recall that there was a range of output ports (like 080h - 0FFh) that if values were written to them would cause the video controller to zorch. Not the most reliable design, if a malfunctioning or malicious program can kill the hardware. Still it was a vary pretty machine, both externally, and the color palette on-screen. I recall that Intecolor was primarily making data terminals for industrial applications and decided to make a personal type computer. Couldn't nearly afford one back in those days... or probably now for that matter. *grin*
Posted on November 28, 2016 - 19:15:53 PST
Maynard writes...
I remember these. Back in '79 (age 11) our family had a TRS-80. But a family down the street had a Compucolor and an Atari 800.To be honest, I was more interested in the Atari at that age. But I did play Star Trek on the Compucolor. And it was pretty awesome.

I miss those days...
Posted on September 27, 2016 - 06:06:01 PDT
Richard writes...
Awesome page. I've just started looking around. I worked for Intecolor from 1977 til 1982. Good times!
Thanks
Posted on August 14, 2016 - 15:30:17 PDT

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