Art without engineering is dreaming;
Engineering without art is calculating.

Steven K. Roberts, N4RVE

Early Years

Portrait of the Computer as a Young Art Form – RagTimes

I’m very fond of this piece from an obscure magazine published in Louisville in 1975-76. I believe only two issues were ever produced, and it was founded by Ernest Johnson, David Caudill, and friends. What I find fun about this is that it captured a glimpse of my life long before the bike, and even…

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Cybertronics Catalogs – 1975

When I was 23, I began the second year of my mail-order electronics parts business, operating out of a 2-bedroom apartment in Louisville. This was profoundly liberating, especially as I had just taken the huge leap of quitting my job as a field engineer for Singer Business Machines. My own work was much more exciting;…

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8008 and Teletype Text Editor

This is a minor bit of history – about a month after my 8008 first came online, I added a rudimentary hand-assembled editor to CYMON (Cybertronics Monitor) and used it to send a letter to my friend Steve Orr in Cincinnati (who scanned this document in 2018). The teletype hardware interface was described in my¬†Electronics…

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Homebrew 8008 Computer Schematics – 1974

I unearthed the original schematics of the homebrew computer I built long, long ago… an 8008-based machine that resides in the Computer History Museum (that link will open in a new window and show you four professionally done, zoomable photos). Before sending these six 11×17 hand-drawn documents to be with the machine, I scanned them…

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Geeky Dorm Room at Mountain Home AFB in 1972

Looking at these ancient photos now, I can see why I often got “written up” after room inspections. My bed, not shown here, was a crawl-in cave behind the workbench, and I had a cat living with me. The tall equipment rack was a homebrew HF transmitter with a pair of Eimac 100TH tubes in…

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My USAF Motorcycle Accident

I had an oddly contentious relationship with my superiors in the Air Force, long ago, when I was 19 and obsessively building a lab into my dorm room. In the middle of all that, a friend bought a new motorcycle and invited me to go for a ride… an adventure that led to a broken…

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Movie – 1971 home visit before Air Force

In 1971, I made a strange decision… after about a year of being on my own, working as a deckhand on barges and central-office phone system installer on Army bases, I thought I’d join the Air Force as a way to get a degree (since I had cut the cord by dropping out of college…

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Seneca High School 1969 Commencement

I’m just parking this here in the archives to help anyone who is researching Seneca High School history (Louisville, Kentucky)… This was my graduation year. My high-school career was unremarkable; I was Mr. Sowerberry in Oliver, the superbly produced senior play, and helped a bit with producing the student paper, but otherwise, my interests were…

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International Science Fair 1969 – Speech Synthesis

Science fairs, quite simply, kept me sane through those dark school years. The allure of the project, the deadlines, and having a justification for obsessive focus on things other than boring homework… these events shaped my life. Every year from 5th grade on, I had a science fair project, and this one was the last:…

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Ed Roberts with Derek Fort – 1969 Science Fair Rocketry

Just a moment of family history… my father was the director of the Louisville Regional Science Fair, and Derek Fort was a frequent winner with interesting model rocketry projects. This was in the Feb 21, 1969 issue of General Electric News (he was a refrigeration engineer in Building 5 at Appliance Park, and for many…

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