I was going over some of my old posts and realized some of the links are broken. One of which is the link to the video I made for the Coleco ADAM episode of the Retroist audio podcast. It’s no longer on the Retroist site, hasn’t been for years and it’s no longer on YouTube, but I uploaded to Vimeo some time ago. I shared it on the Coleco ADAM Facebook page not long ago, but want to make it official by making a post here.
While trying to find an answer to something that has bothered me for a while, I came across some information I thought I’d share. Now I know many users of the Coleco ADAM are also avid vintage computer enthusiasts, so this information will not be new to many of you. For the rest, brace yourself, but the Coleco ADAM is not the first ADAM computer. I know! I know.. I was in disbelief too. The thought of having a few drinks to settle my nerves did cross my mind, but at 9:43 AM while on break at work, well, it seemed like a bad idea.
Apparently, a company called Logical Machine Corporation, better known as LOMAC, released their ADAM computer in 1975. Sounds like this was a big computer or what was categorized as a “mini-computer” as opposed to a mainframe – something that takes up a room. You basically got an ‘L’ shaped desk with a keyboard, monitor, hard-drive in the corner, and printer.
What made this ADAM special was its ability for inexperienced computer users to program the ADAM. From what I read, the user basically uses ordinary sentences to get work done on this system. More or less like basic English. No need to pick up a programming language book. At least that’s what I gathered from an issue of InfoWorld magazine from 1980.
When you look at photos of these various ADAM computers, you’ll see that even the font on the logo on some of these looks reminiscent of the Coleco ADAM logo. Hence the reason I type ADAM in all caps. So it should come as no surprise that in 1983, The New York Times reported the following on June 17th:
“A maker of computer systems that can be programmed in nontechnical English has filed a trademark infringement suit seeking to bar Coleco Industries from calling its new home computer system ”Adam.”
Logical Business Machines said it had been using the trademark ”Adam” since 1975 for its natural language computer that lets computer users program in the language they speak, rather than a specialized computer language.
The Sunnyvale company asked the United States District Court in San Jose to stop Coleco, based in Hartford, from using the name Adam for personal computers and related products. In response, Coleco threatened a countersuit, contending that Adam is a registered trademark that it has owned for seven years.”
So, that’s the original ADAM computer, unless you know of one before this system..
Are there secrets today hidden from even the owners of the Coleco ADAMLink modem? Yes, but they are accidental secrets, simply lost to the passage of time alongside our assumptions about modern technology. I recently re-acquired one of these modems to further the development of my 1986 ADAMCastle BBS re-release for Christmas 2021.Continue reading
My family was fortunate to receive a ColecoVision game console with the bundled Donkey Kong cartridge as our 1982 Christmas gift from our grandparents. The ColecoVision was a really big treat because my family was not often afforded such expensive hot sellers as gifts. Compared to the other gaming systems of that time, ColecoVision offered the best home version ports of many popular arcade games. I also witnessed Coleco’s advertised promise of an eventual full-blown computer add-on with great interest! (This add-on version would later be known as the red-boxed model 2404 and called the Coleco Expansion module #3.)Continue reading
Earlier this month I made a video about the Coleco ADAM Monitor… that doesn’t exist. I did a horrible job, but it gave the monitor a dated, abused look. And even with that, it does look like it’s another Coleco ADAM component.
If I wanted it to look like a new item, I would have sanded the monitor before painting and/or used primer. And… not throw caution to the wind and spray paint everything. A few people asked how I went about making that monitor so I made a short video explaining what the monitor is and how I made that label with ADAM logo.
Back in 2013, The staff at IGN wrote about the first time they unboxed a game console or in this case, a computer. Jared Petty wrote about getting a Coleco ADAM when he was 5. At first I was amused by how he described the flaws of this system, but then he went overboard. With just word in the last sentence, Jared showed how callous he can be. See for yourself.. https://www.ign.com/articles/2013/08/12/igns-console-launch-memories-the-first-unboxing
I’ve been out of the loop lately and haven’t participated in any discussions on the Facebook Coleco ADAM group, but that doesn’t mean I’m not interested. I found some time to look for more information about my first computer and came across a television commercial I never seen before. I’m guessing the original commercial had color, but due to it’s age (probably recorded on VHS) it appears to be in shades of gray, for the most part. The commercial quickly compares the ADAM to Commodore, IBM and Atari computers. Price being the big thing here. Have you seen this commercial before?
“Starring the Computer is a website dedicated to the use of computers in film and television.” More than a year ago I sent a tip to James over at http://www.starringthecomputer.com/ about the Coleco ADAM making a very brief appearance in the film Short Circuit 2. Actually, it was only the keyboard. As of July of this year, it is finally live on the site for all to see. As for the reasoning the keyboard is in the movie? Who knows.. But I believe the television show World of the Worlds also had ADAM computers, but don’t quote me on that. Do you know any TV shows or movies that has the ADAM? If so, let us know and more importantly, send James the information. He will eventually get it on the site.
I’m always amused to find anything written about the Coleco ADAM computer, whether positive or negative, because it was never as popular as the Apple II or Commodore 64. However, it has, in my opinion, an important place in personal computing history for both positive and negative reasons, though fools will only mention the negative. FOOLS I SAY!
So while looking through Family Computing magazine before bed (I have a few issues, need more) I found some letters to the editor about the ADAM in the 1984 May edition. ADAM user Tom Tisby thought the publication made a mistake by citing the digital data tape drive capacity as 500k. No biggie, but offered some advice on how to get a clearer picture on the TV screen.
Then George Knochel wrote in and I have to say, what he wrote is spot on. This would have been something I would have complained about as well. Read the letters for yourself to see what I mean.