Cracking Open the Altair 8800

Tag along as Erik Klein lovingly restores a 1974 Altair 8800 to working order. Aficionado and collector Klein runs, a Web site dedicated to documenting and discussing historic hardware and programming.

These machines, which were among the earliest computers made widely available, were packaged in do-it-yourself kits available through mail order from the manufacturer, MITS of Albuquerque, N.M. You might remember MITS from its role in spurring a two-man gig later called “Micro-Soft.” MITS bought a program from Bill Gates…on paper tape.