My Own Teddy

My dad gave me this one when I was 14 years old. It is a Casio PB 110 Data Bank.

I belong to the Seconds Club. Whatever my elder brother got was passed on to me later. Like clothes, ear-rings (yeah we dude brothers wore them as babies), school text books,…whatever. Brother assumed this algorithm for everything else. He was the first to try anything new. He would ration it to me for brief moments before reclaiming it. It would come down to me almost useless when he gets over it. But somehow he let this one come to me directly. Maybe he could not crack this techno stuff.  I was the gadget guy. It took me a week or so to find out what it really was.

I knew that it was more than a calculator. The word ‘computer’ was written on it. Data Bank Computer. It was the 1980’s . We knew what computers were. Those rare big TV like things that did things really fast and big. So imagine me having a computer in my palm. This little thing had all of 544 bytes of RAM. It was the first thing I had seen with a dot matrix LCD. The screen is a single line 64 character affair of which only 12 characters are visible with the rest scrolled across. The Qwerty keypad was the best one I had ever used. . It had a few scientific functions. For the rest, you just had to program them. The thing was BASIC enabled. CASIO had developed its own version of BASIC programming for this. You could program anything that a RAM of 544 bytes allows. I learned the art of coding on this little one thanks to the excellent manuals that taught BASIC as well. I developed little number, character and word games on it. generated number series and progressions on it to devise numeric puzzles. I had learnt trigonometry, logarithms and exponents on this than from my maths teacher. It had a two tone sounds which I manipulated to make some crazy programmed music and also audio Morse code.

I have a desktop and an ancient laptop now. I also had a Casio Pocket Organizer that was of no use except for its Poker game. But I still miss this guy. I have no idea what happened to it. Just vanished like most childhood stuff.  This was the closest thing to a palmtop, scientific calculator, Personal computer, PDA, random number generator or loan and EMI calculator all put into one. Just 544 bytes of memory!

A simple program to generate a random number between 0 and a dynamic input number (hope I got it right after all these years):

10 K=KEY$

20 B=INT(RAN#(K))

30 PRINT B

I never had many toys as a kid. I must have broken them all before I was 4. If there was anything that came closest to being my teddy bear, the CASIO PB 110 was it. Yes, I even slept with it beside me.

Rather than end this here, this is a tag I am passing on to a few gadget gurus…

Nomad, Shuunya, Vrij, Bloggerbloke feel free to pick this tag. Show me your teddy. Need not be a gadget. And pass this on.

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3 comments so far

  1. Sriram on

    I’m sorry, but I should be let off this time, ‘coz I’ve never had a toy that followed me from childhood till recently, since I broke them all by the time I was four or something… the longest lasting ones being train-sets and toy engines 😀

  2. S. Venkataramanan on

    Was googling for Casio PB-110 and found your blog. I got this from my dad very long back. It was lying behind some books and found it yesterday while cleaning the shelf. I held it in my held, looked at my 64bit PC which has 4 gigs of RAM, looked back at PB-110, and said Wow! This is one piece of vintage electronic thats going to be with me for a while.

  3. Krishna Kumar.S on

    I do get such dreams. I remember failing in exams in dreams. I use to get up shell shocked.

    I don’t have a two wheeler license despite having a 4-wheeler license!


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