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; I…

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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 – 1974

An Early Personal Computer (with complete schematics) by Steven K. Roberts October 31, 1974 Below are 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). The…

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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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Air Force Basic Training

by Steven K. RobertsLackland AFB — May, 1971(written in 2019) My odd decision to join the Air Force set an inevitable chain of events in motion, beginning with Basic Training at Lackland AFB in San Antonio. The date of this post is the beginning of this epoch in my life. Given that this was 1971,…

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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 then installing Autovon central-office phone systems 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…

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Indiana Freight Hopping Misadventure

This emerged from a box of letters I wrote my parents… written in 1970 when I was 17 and a freshman at Rose Polytechnic Institute in Terre Haute (now Rose-Hulman). I am stunned that I had the audacity to send this to them… they must have been horrified. This is the only written account of…

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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. I was Mr. Sowerberry in Oliver, the superbly produced senior play, and helped a bit with producing the student paper, but otherwise, my interests during this time were mostly in…

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