Defrag Tools #145 - Living Computer Museum

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In this special episode of Defrag Tools, following up on our most recent expeditions through the Microsoft Archives, Chad Beeder visits the Living Computer Museum in Seattle, and takes a hands-on trip through their extensive collection of Microsoft-related artifacts, with tour guide Aaron Alcorn.

[00:00] Welcome to the Living Computer Museum!
[02:40] DEC PDP-7 from 1964 - only working example of a PDP-7 in the world today.
[05:19] Bill Gates and Paul Allen in school: teletype connection to a GE mainframe
[07:10] MITS Altair 8800 running Microsoft's first product: Altair BASIC
[14:39] Gates and Allen didn't have an Altair to write software on - they had to make an emulator on a DEC PDP-10.
[15:55] ...Let's look at a PDP-10!
[18:10] You can connect online to the museum's mainframes and play with them yourself!
[19:26] Control Data Corporation 6500: Seymour Cray's $8 million supercomputer from the 1960s.
[23:29] Original IBM PC from 1981, MS-DOS 2.10 and Microsoft PC BASIC
[26:50] PC AT running Windows 1.0 with an original Microsoft Mouse
[29:49] Office Professional on many, many floppies - installing to your hard drive was an ordeal
[31:40] Windows 95! Introduction of the Start Button!
[33:40] Windows ME and Microsoft Bob - early ancestor of today's virtual assistants like Cortana and Siri
[36:14] Microsoft SoftCard (Microsoft's first hardware product: a Z80 processor card which enabled an Apple II to run CP/M)
[37:47] Microsoft Cordless Phone System - here's a TV commercial for it.(Note: Not compatible with Windows NT or Macintosh)
[42:05] Lots of other cool stuff to see! Check it out!
[44:43] Email us at

Thanks to the Living Computer Museum for hosting us!



The Discussion

  • User profile image

    Nostalgic! You should have shown us the original Surface Table too, if any. And, closer close-ups on the pictures and hardware. Nice show!

  • User profile image

    Awesome! The audio is much better than last episode. The camera lens is definitely not the best for indoors. I would like to see more Microsoft software running on other platforms, especially DOS and Basic. I had the pleasure to program in Microsoft Basic on machines like TRS-80, Commodore Atari, Amiga, MSX and PC. Now I want so bad to stop by and code something on that Altair!

  • User profile image

    @rholdorf: the last episode was shot in the Archives Building where the air vents are extremely loud for cooling reasons. Not sure what you mean by the camera lens not the best for indoors, can you elaborate? thanks!

  • User profile image

    @golnazal: Greetings, and thanks for your reply! I'm no expert, far from it. However, if you look at any of the 4 corners you will see a distortion. The same distortion when you use a wide angle like 10mm, 20mm, 35mm (all them are nice when shooting outdoors). I guess that one is the type used in this episode. I guess a 85mm telephoto and above would do a better job indoors. Best! 

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