My first computer

I really wanted to get my own computer since 1990, when I started programming. It didn’t help that my classmate, Vlad Hoholkov, got a full blown PC XT clone with hipster amber monochrome monitor at home.

My family wasn’t crazy rich. My parents are doctors, not apparatchiks or oligarchs, but they where really awesome and bought me a Kvorum BK05 8-bit computer as a high school graduation gift. I bought it from Vlad Hoholkov’s aunt, he got one too. His aunt was paid in Kvorums by her factory in lieu of actual money. It was not unusual right after the fall of Soviet Union. Computer was beautiful and worked really well. It was one of the better russian clones of ZX Spectrum 48. Here is a photo by Andshel, CC BY-SA 3.0, from russian Wikipedia page about Kvorum:

Kvorum BK05

It was designed my Kamil “caro” Karimov, who is now famous for designing great hardware upgrades for Yamaha KUVT MSX computers and for fixing bugs and adding features to 1chipMSX FPGA project.

After playing Elite and OCP Video Pool for far too much, I started doing lots of drawing in OCP Art Studio, and writing lots of ZX Basic programs to experiment with graphics and sound. Using soviet tape player for storage was really unreliabe, chances of reading back what I saved was 50/50. Plus my mom was always limiting amount of time I could use it, as I just started studying at University and also because she was worried that using computer on our family color TV would somehow break it. I would only be allowed to use it for 2-3 hours a week, and it was pissing me off crazy. I’m still slightly pissed even now, more then 20 years later, but I also acknowledge that this limit probably helped me make through first two really brutal years at University. Soviet style universities were a lot more like Hunger Games, only the brightest or those that were really good at cheating could survive.

Eventually I persuaded my parents again to give me lots of cash to buy a soviet monochrome monitor. This 10” monitor was amazingly crisp, pixels were never so sharp on big color TV. I used RF video out, because that was all that either family color TV or my monochrome monitor would allow. By 1994 Kvorum broke down, and at the time I was very bad with digital electronics. I tried to fix it, but damaged it further, got upset and trashed the whole thing, which I really regret now.