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Introduced in 1983, the Coleco Adam was a home computer and an expansion of ColecoVision, which was largely a toy and video game manufacturer.

Although The Coleco Adam is not generally considered to be one of the more significant early computers, those of us who owned one loved it. The Coleco Adam was my first computer. In 1983, I was the secretary-treasurer of the Grace Brethren Church in Anaheim, California, and the church had purchased a Coleco Adam for my use. I was hooked and, within a few days, I had put down my $700 and purchased one of my own.

Overall, the Adam didn't sell very well. Although it was heavily advertised, with Alan Alda of MASH as its spokesperson, the Adam wasn't on the market long, and it marked the end of Coleco's venture into the computer market. Released in October of 1983, it was discontinued in January of 1985.

Although I hadn't maneuvered my way around anything more technologically complicated than an electric typewriter before my introduction to the Coleco Adam, I found it to be amazingly simple to learn my way around it. I suppose it helped that it booted, not to a command line, but to a word processor. Rather than stored in ROM, the BASIC (SmartBASIC) interpreter of the Coleco Adam was available on either a cassette. Although the CP/M operating system was available as an option, it shipped with something known as the Elementary Operating System OS kernel and the 8kb OS-7 ColecoVision operating system. The computer had no hard drive but used both cassettes and cartridges. Later, a floppy drive became available for it.

The Adam shipped with a few game cartridges, but I wasn't particularly interested in them. Both in my position in the church and as a college student, I found plenty of use for its word processor functions, but what really had me excited was the included book on SmartBASIC programming. As I was new to computers, I hadn't yet become aware that programming was supposed to be too complicated for the average guy, so I did it, and it wasn't that hard. Programming in SmartBASIC was tedious but easy, and I am grateful that my introduction to the computer revolution was not overwhelming.

The experts will disagree, but I had more fun with my Coleco Adam than I did with my next computer, a Tandy 1000 SX.

An odd thing about the Coleco Adam was that the power supply was connected to the printer so, whether or not you were planning on printing anything, the printer had to be connected and working or nothing would work.

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