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IMSAI History Links
a collection of articles and anectdotes that help complete the IMSAI legacy

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IMS Associates (IMSAI pre-history)
 

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Fischer-Freitas Company History
 

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The IMSAI 8048 Control Computer
 

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Some CP/M History  Once the most popular personal computer operating system in the world, here's some little-known information regarding IMSAI Manufacturing Corporation and it's deal with Digital Research's Gary Kildall to become the first manufacturer to offer it.
 

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The IMSAI Dollhouse  An demonstration of a home environment controller from early 1977
 

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Mighty Quinn and the Surplus Connection  A story of a little-known Silicon Valley resource and his influence on the birth of the Personal Computer revolution
 

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The Hypercube Project  IMSAI's forgotten contribution to arrayed processing with a microprocessor platform
 

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The First Computerland Stores  IMSAI's founder Bill Millard was inspired in mid-1976 first by John "Martin" Musumeci, then business acquaintance Ed  Faber to form a first-class computer store franchise.  The result of these efforts was the founding of the first "Computer Shack" stores, whose name was quickly changed to Computerland due to threat of imminent litigation from Charles Tandy's Radio Shack group.  The major success of Computerland made Millard one of the first computer Billionaires.  This article from the April 24, 1978 issue of Fortune magazine heralds the early success with emphasis on Computerland President Ed Faber.  Much more more detail on the rise and fall of one of the most successful computer retail franchises can be found in Jonathan Littman's "Once Upon A Time In Computerland" (c) 1987, 1990.  The 1990 edition is expanded to include more lurid tales of Millard and Musumeci's declines in fortune.  Although out of print, both versions are frequently offered on eBay, generally for less than $10.
 

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OBSOLETE.jpg (205985 bytes)Some early IMSAI history-  This is where it all began!  The Hypercube Project and some rare facts concerning IMSAI's pre-history and evolution!    

 

complete_cntrl_1.jpg (279867 bytes)I've had a number of requests to post more about the IMSAI 8048 control computer, also released as the  IMP-48 and the IMSAI Express.  Here are some early advertising photos, never-before seen concept photos, and more about this unique product from the IMSAI archives!
fireval_cov.gif (24492 bytes)A general history of IMSAI's evolution has been fairly well defined by two earlier books on the subject of the personal computer's history.  The first, Paul Freiberger and Michael Swaine's 1984 "Fire in the Valley: the making of the personal computer" (ISBN: 0-88134-121-5) provides a generalized, but incomplete picture of some of the key people, associations, and companies that provided the impetus and dynamics to form and propel this infant industry of the early 1970's into today's technology.  Fire in the Valley cover art

IMSAI's beginnings constitute the majority of chapter 3, and the eventual succession of ownership of the IMSAI name and trademarks from the defunct IMSAI Manufacturing Corporation to my wife and me as ex-employees is described to some degree later in the book. 

This title was released again in 1999 as an updated and expanded edition in both paper back and Collectors Edition hard back with bonus CD ROM, containing images and audio excerpts from the original interviews. 

No, I'm not  included on that CD...  but you can hear me do the intro for the English rock band Uriah Heep on their 1973 "Uriah Heep- Live!" album.  Yup... still in print after all these years!

1_compland.gif (62316 bytes)A highly detailed profile of IMSAI and its founder Bill Millard is contained in Jonathan Littman's 1987 "Once Upon a Time in Computerland: The amazing Billion Dollar tale of Bill Millard's Computerland empire"  (ISBN: 0-89586-502-5).  This book is about as definitive a work on the subject as can be found and is immensely interesting, although disjointed in its structure.  Apple Computer's Steve "Woz" Wozniak is quoted on the cover jacket as stating "I couldn't put it down. The most interesting look at starting a new corporation that I've ever read." The 1999 publication of Paul Freiberger and Michael Swaine's chronology of the evolution of the PC "Fire in the Valley" is credited for the story line of Turner Network Television's "Pirates of Silicon Valley"- a Hollywood version of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates from their hacking days to the distant present. 
The First West WCCF_prog_cov.gif (21501 bytes)Coast Computer Faire- One event legitimized the birth of the microcomputing revolution, and this was it.  IMSAI was one of the very first exhibitors, and placed two full-page ads in this program.  IMSAI's Senior Engineer Glen Ewing gave a talk regarding IMSAI's breakthrough "Megabyte Microcomputing" system.