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Q > Q1 CORPORATION > Q1 System


This mini forum is intended to provide a simple means of discussion about the Q1 Corporation Q1 System computer. If you want to share your own experience or memories, or add relevant information about this system: post a message!

  Click Here to add a message in the forum


Sunday 25th August 2019
Mark Bellon (San Jose CA USA)

WOW! I still have some of the manuals! They include the pseudo ops for the PL/1 interpreter (removed from later manuals as this gave away things).

Let''s see I remember Hope, Sandy, Coleen/Doreen (twins, forget which one worked there), and John... amongst others. A sales person Charles (Castelli?).

I came up with a paired set of Q1 Lite by replacing some of the ROMs and using a sync. modem. This allowed remote access.

DTERM, the terminal program was mine too. Karl provided some of the base code, written is assembler.

I did a simple Real Time Executive (RTE) that allowed two program to run "at the same time"... provided memory was allocated just so (no memory protection).

Many of the utilities were written in the PL/1 dialect although once we have C, we wrote some in that too.

For many decades my computer desk was an old Q1 desk, from an LMC. The frame has room for up to 4 8" floppies. It''s long gone now...

I remember after Rick had left he was called back in as a consultant to fix a complex issue with ENTER, the word processor.

Another memory, playing with the bubble memory machine. As I recall multiple 92 KiB modules.

John was in the MGM Grand fire but survived without a scratch. As I recall all Q1 personnel made it out OK.

Sunday 25th August 2019
Mark Bellon (San Jose CA USA)

Hey Donald, Karl, Bob! Hey Rick!

I worked @ Q1 too, 1978 and on. I did lots of work on the utilities (e.g. sort, serial communication), worked with the early C compiler (Donald, as I recall you did a lot on it), math libraries and other items.

I left while the 68000 machine was being finalized.

Sunday 17th March 2019
Donald P. Sellari (St Augustine Florida USA)

I worked at Q1 from 1979 to 1982 as a systems programmer. Most of the utilities were written in PL1. The compiler and linker by Rick Smetts were brilliant. I implemented fomatting/conversion of 8" IBM diskettes, 5 1/4" diskettes, and CP/M on the Z80 Q1 Lite.

Wednesday 30th August 2017
Cathy (chander az)

My father passed away and I found some old Q1 Corp stock certificates. I assume they''re worthless but thought I''d ask.

Sunday 23rd July 2017
James Bell (Austin, TX)

I worked for Balcones Computer Corp. in the late 70''s and early 80''s working with the dynamic duo: Robert Burns and Jay Bell. Together they consulted for numerous companies on CP/M and BIOS micro code and utilities software. We had upgraded a Q1 from the standard 48K to 64K of memory and configured a CP/M setup for the Q1. It''s possible the BIOS code was updated as well. I did not work personally on the system but it was in the same lab I worked in (called "The Shack"). I vaguely recall the customer was from Portugal.

Sunday 28th May 2017
Jim Bennett (Southampton)

The company developed a mass storage device which allowed a number of Q1 computers to network together

I can remember the amusement of the French when we exhibited in Paris apparently Q1 has a different meaning in french

Tuesday 11th October 2016
Rick Smets (Beverly Hills CA)
Exceptional Guy

Some problems with the first attempt at posting so I''ll try again.
I wrote the operating system, the PL1 compiler, the word processing application and designed the floppy disk controller. Later, I designed a server for networking many Q1 computers while working for an affiliate in England. Read about it on homepage URL. I included the sex scandals.

Tuesday 11th October 2016
Rick Smets (Beverly Hills CA)
Exception Guy

I wrote the operating system, the PL1 compiler, the word processing application and the floppy disk controller. Later I designed a server for networking many Q1 computers while working for an affiliate in England. Read about it on homepage URL. I included the sex scandals.

Tuesday 24th March 2015
TomTrottier (Ottawa, Canada)

Ooops, the MCM 70/700 weighed about 20 lbs. Still quite portable in my backpack. See the Wikipedia article.

Monday 23rd March 2015
TomTrottier (Ottawa, Canada)

The writeup is incorrect to say "The Q1 System remained the world''s only self-contained, general purpose microcomputer system until Intel introduced the 8080 second generation microprocessor. " Since the MCM 70/700 was introduced in 1974 using the 8008, with a plasma display and dual cassette tape drives. The MCM was far more portable, weighing only 4lbs. I may have been the first person to hitchhike with a microcomputer, in the summer of 1974....

Monday 16th September 2013
Minny Driessen

In 1978/79? I worked for Daisy Systems Holland in Wijchen, Netherlands. At that time they were installing a Q1 computer system for the British Gorvernment in England if I remember correctly. Our in home office computer had 4 expansion slots for floppy disks, thinking back they must have been very advanced$ but I didnt realize it at that time.

Friday 26th July 2013
David Kavanaugh (Lake Ronkonkoma)

I had worked for them as well. It was my first job in microprocessor programming. I remember fixing a defect in their text editor that caused a $ of records for high volume disk packs. I also developed a code debugger where none existed before so I could fix the issue. Used it later for other areas.

Friday 9th March 2012
Joe Prevete (Searingtown, NY)

Also an employee from first job out of college as a tech writer...I do miss those 8-inch floppy days...jprev.

Sunday 4th December 2011
Karl Wacker (USA)

I worked for 6+ years at Q1.

The 8008 system had an intigrated keyboard/ single line 80 charater plasma display and daisy wheel printer as a console, and 2 hard sectored floppy drives.

I came on board just as the 8080 system was introduced $Q1/LMC$ it had in the console a keyboard, a 6 line 37 char plasma display and daisy wheel printer, and up to 4 floppy drives $8" single density, variable sector length from 8 - 511 bytes/sector$, 6K ROM, 8K - 48K RAM, custom operating system, and used a version oif PL/1, which could complile oand execute on a base system $8K RAM, single floppy$.

The next generation was the Q1/LITE, Z80 based, 8K ROM, 16 - 48K RAM, 8 line plasma display,up to 4 double density 8" floppies, could share floppies or up to 2 27Meg Hard Drives over a 4-64 user network running at 307Kbaud, up to 1000'' between the server and a station. Varations included dual mini floppies with 8" dot matrix printer $MICRO-LITE$, diskless work stations for the network $keyboard and display only$, Mag tape, 300LPM line printer, Bubble memory $the bubble memory unit and the netowrked Hard Drive system was instaled in many NASA sites. The last versions included both 24x80 Plasma and CRT displays.
$I designed the hardware and software for the network, hard drive, mag tape, line printer, 24x80 CRT $ Plasma displays, dot matrix printer and other interfaces including a custom interface for a visualy impared NASA data entry operator, that allowed him to ''read'' the display and act as a voice ouput device instead of a printer$

They produced a 68000 based system as I was leaving them.

Tuesday 4th October 2011
Bob Norman (USA)

These guys were probably the first! I almost went to work for them. They had another version of this in a desk similar to the DEC310 (PDP8 Mini) i had used for Federal Credit Unions. BUT they used a microprocessor. Considering the PDP8 was only just getting traction in business that was revolutionary. They were selling them all over the world and the team came from IBM World Computer Division previously.
I also believe they were caught in the MGM Grand Fire Tragedy at Comdex Vegas. Some may have been injured or died in that horrible event. Company barely a footnote today. What a shame. Good guys.
Certainly on the "Cutting Edge" back then.

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