BDB Heading

About Us BDB Software Web Designs Contact Us Enquiries

Today BDB Computer Systems is involved with the supply and maintenance of PC systems, as well as with ongoing software development, Web site development, training etc.


The History of BDB

BDB Computer Systems started life in Kimberley, South Africa, in 1982. Originally its primary function was the sale and maintenance of Apple II and first generation Apple Mac computers, together with the design and sale of software for them. In those days we had an innovative little program called "Visi-Calc". This was the forerunner of Lotus, Excel and the plethora of spreadsheet programs currently available. We would put the program floppy disk (180K capacity) in one disk drive, and a data disk in the other drive. If you only had one drive you had to play disc jockey, swapping between program and data disc as instructed by the program. There was no such think as "on-screen help" - so you had a printed manual to work with. The typical Apple computer had 64K of RAM - but if you had a fairly unlimited budget or needed to do some heavy calculations you could install 128K. One of the first systems we sold in 1982 comprised 64K RAM, three (yes, THREE! ) floppy drives, a 9" black & white monitor, and a (high speed! ) 80cps dot matrix printer. We supplied an accounting program with it, together with Visi-Calc, and presented our client with an account for around R8000 - at a time when a decent new family saloon cost some R12,000. 


Around 1984 Apple pulled out of South Africa, leaving the market wide open for the IBM PC, rapidly followed by the IBM XT, and of course all the clones. By that time, hard disks were the thing to talk about at your Friday evening session with the boys. So anyone who considered himself anyone at all was running a 10Mb (yes, ten megabytes) hard disk - and the real fundis were installing up to 640 Kb of RAM. It is rumoured (although I suspect that this may belong in the category of "urban legends") that Mr. Gates, referring to the Microsoft imposed limit of 640K, said that "nobody would ever need more than 640K". In those days a decent IBM system (640K, 10 Mb Hard Disk, 12" Green-screen monitor, a reasonable printer and some software to help run your business could easily set you back R12-13,000 - the cost of a small family saloon. But, if you were prepared to take your chances with a "clone" then you could save quite a couple of thousand. 


Since then, we have progressed quite a way. The system I'm composing this web site on is a fairly average one by today's standards - a Pentium 2.2 processor, 1Gb RAM, a 160 Gb Hard Disk, Scanner, ADSL modem, DVD Writer, Laser Printer etc. And it sells for very little more than that first Apple I sold back in the dark ages! I can only wonder where on earth will we be in another 20 years time? I have thought about trying to extrapolate recent trends into the future, to get an idea of what may happen. However, I have come to the conclusion that the most likely results of such an exercise will be that I will 1) waste a lot of time and effort and 2) be hopelessly wrong. So, in the interests of sanity and professional prudence, I say nothing.