Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Santa Rosa, by any other name,
would smell as sweet?

As the great clear-out goes on, a curiosity dropped into Malcolm's ken, onto his foot, and with great force.

It was an AST "lap-top" computer from about 1992 or 1993. No wonder male impotence became a medical phenomenon about that time. The battery alone is the size of a fold-up umbrella, capable of being used as a small hand-weapon (but, amazingly, still capable of holding a charge).

AST, once a Fortune 500 corporation, has long since become one with the Norwegian Blue:
Bereft of life, 'e rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed 'im to the perch 'e'd be pushing up the daisies! 'Is metabolic processes are now 'istory! 'E's off the twig! 'E's kicked the bucket, 'e's shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible!
To Malcolm's surprise, even astonishment, feeding the AST 240 volts provided life, albeit in glorious LCD monochrome on a five inch (to be generous) screen. The menu then turned up Word, Excel and Notes, even Windows 3.1, and all on a hard-drive of 80 MB. The wonder driving the box of tricks is a 386SX, running at 25 MHz. All this and an ethernet connection. What else could a road-warrior desire?

At that time Malcolm's weapon of choice was a Mac with a similar configuration: a IIvx, with a 68030 CPU running at 32MHz, another 80MB hard drive, but also .... a CD ROM. That is also still in working condition (though it needed a motherboard transplant a couple of years into its long life. That, along with a Power Mac, a 6100 from a year or so later, and a couple of pizza-box LC630s, are kept in the attic on the theory that one day, one day, they may be needed to run obsolete software, such as the Oxford English Dictionary ROM. In fact, since the OED is now on line (along with the DNB) -- thanks to the agreement with the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council -- that is just an excuse for clutter.

This train of thought was complicated by trying to comprehend a Computerworld article which was supposed to explain the naming of Intel chips, specifically that the "Nehalem" is now "Core i7". Hopeless.

And for his next trick, Malcolm explains the off-side rule. Sphere: Related Content

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