There's a computer behind me in the following picture. What is it?
September 9, 2015 7:59 PM   Subscribe

I've got video of me playing a commodore 64 version of pac-man, I've specifically digitized certain photos because I'm rocking a Ghostbusters Jumpsuit, and yet I can't for the life of me, figure out what computer is behind me in this picture:

Baby Majors: Master Hacker!

For non-me's a couple reference points:
It's in the US.
The picture was taken somewhere between 1985 and 1988. I personally put it somewhere in '87, but I can't really narrow the date down any further.

I don't have any other pictures of this particular piece of hardware, so with half of a blurry keyboard, who can help me figure out this weird Nerd Puzzle?

(I've already looked into the Amstrad line of PCs, but it only matches the color scheme, and not the actual size or shape of anything in the picture.)
posted by WeX Majors to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Did one of your parents work with computers? Is it an actual computer and not just a terminal of some sort? There are a lot of generic terminals from that time period.
posted by GuyZero at 9:07 PM on September 9, 2015

It looks a lot like this TRS 80 but not quite.
posted by ctmf at 9:08 PM on September 9, 2015

I agree with GuyZero: that's a terminal, not a computer.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:25 PM on September 9, 2015

You might have luck with this deconvolution tool in turning the manufacturer/model label into something readable (assuming that, unlike me, you have access to a Windows PC).
posted by russm at 10:39 PM on September 9, 2015

The row of function keys along the top of the main bank of keys and also at the top of the keypad, and also the 5 special keys to the right of the main bank of keys are what make it look like a terminal. Adding to the effect is the fact that these keys, as well as some of the other 'function' type keys like shift and enter, are different colors. Those are all typical terminal characteristics.

I couldn't find an exact match, but these are the same general type of terminal keyboards, with various-colored function keys.

I can pretty much tell you what it is definitely not, that might have been available during this time period:

- IBM PC, IBM PC-AT, IBM PC-JR, Compaq or other IBM PC clones
- Apple II, II+, IIc, IIe, IIGS, Apple III, Lisa, or Macintosh
- PET, Amiga, Commodore 64, 128 etc
- TRS-80
- Atari
- Amstrad (though this one is just a titch similar)

So, maybe that narrows it down some.
posted by flug at 10:54 PM on September 9, 2015

Definitely a terminal. The terminal being used for library management in the photos on this page has very similar details and colors, and that one's a Teleray, but I can't tell if the lettering matches. But it might be a Research Teleray (yup there's a wiki for terminals!).
posted by girlhacker at 11:31 PM on September 9, 2015 [9 favorites]

Nice find. I won't say that the lettering matches, but it is a very legitimate candidate, since I could swear the first two letters are TE and the logo is in all caps (which, for instance, TeleVideo isn't).
posted by wotsac at 11:39 PM on September 9, 2015

Yeah, maybe the Teleray Model 10? They appear to do black terminals, but I can't find the model 10 in black, and I'm way overdue to go to sleep.
posted by wotsac at 11:47 PM on September 9, 2015

Yes, I'd say girlhacker nailed it (great minds think alike--I was snooping through the Terminals Wiki at the exact same moment, but was busy looking through all the brand names with 7 letters, instead of model names with 7 letters).

The name on the monitor looks like 7 letters, all caps, and TELERAY fits pretty well. Also the logo on your photo looks exactly like the TELERAY (with something else below it) on the library computer photo that girlhacker linked. In fact, everything we can see in your photo looks very close to that library terminal--both the keyboard and the monitor.

The unusual keyboard looks like an exact match for the Research Teleray 10, though the monitor is a bit different. It might just be a slightly different model (the wiki doesn't have photos for all models, unfortunately).
posted by flug at 11:58 PM on September 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

Here is another set of photos of a Teleray Terminal that seems to match yours in all respects--except that this one is orange instead of black, and it's a little worse for the wear, with some keys missing etc. But this one is kind of interesting because they have pulled it apart so that you can see the inside.

This page has a photo of a similar but slightly different model and some background about Teleray.
posted by flug at 12:31 AM on September 10, 2015

All my money is on it being an exact match for this photo from girlhacker's first link. You can even see, now that we're looking for it, a slight beige line to the right of the monitor in your original image, suggesting the metal surround.

Bravo internet! I banged against this one for a while to no avail.
posted by wemayfreeze at 12:32 AM on September 10, 2015 [3 favorites]

Confirmed. I spent hours in front of those exact terminals as an engineering student. Here's a picture of a fellow student.
posted by flabdablet at 6:13 AM on September 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

...and the depths of long term memory have disgorged a model number: it's a Teleray 1061.
posted by flabdablet at 6:35 AM on September 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


That's impressive. This actually makes some sense, as Dad often had side businesses of fixing electronics, which would often just lead to us having stacks of VCRs because people ultimately decided it was cheaper to buy new stuff.
Plus, who lets a four year old in front of a computer that isn't at least three years obsolete?

Thanks Mefi, Mission Complete!
posted by WeX Majors at 7:11 AM on September 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

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