Re: Old PC Technology (too long, sorry)

Subject: Re: Old PC Technology (too long, sorry)
From: Chris Borokowski <athloi -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Thu, 8 Mar 2007 09:26:22 -0800 (PST)

Machines I've known and loved:

- The old school TRS 80 and later, the Color Computer,
from Tandy. Both were designed for home hackability
and were quite versatile, but never caught on with the
software people.

- The Timex-Sinclair. I detested the multiple function
keys keyboard, but it enabled this inexpensive little
box to be programmed easily at home.

- The Commodore 64: This relatively inexpensive
machine is still one of my favorites, as it enabled
the average person to take home a working machine for
under $500, assuming they used a TV as their monitor.
Also had weird function key action, but very
programmable and produced a wealth of ingenious
software. Holy mackerel, a 300 baud modem.

- The Apple //: Its operating system, BASIC and
assembly interaction revealed what would become a
general principle of the machine, sensible (not
intuitive) usability. It was a great hacker's box but
cost too much.

- The Amiga 500: Like a successor the Commodore 64,
this was a keyboard form factor machine that was
unusually powerful. It used the same 68000 processors
as the Mac, had intense graphics and a custom
interface to code them quickly, and automatically
compressed all files written to disk. No machine since
a UNIX had illustrated multitasking to me like this

- The Macintosh SE: I really liked the idea of a
machine that Mom could use without training. It became
frustrating when the user needed to get past the
interface to fix the kinds of things engineers would,
like tweaking values or changing raw data. Otherwise,
a lot of fun, and I pushed this machine to its limits.

- The 386: Clone computers hit their apex about this
time, and you could carry home a lot of power for a
couple grand. DOS wasn't so bad after UNIX, but like
the Macintosh, was somewhere between the raw power and
a pleasant, blythely ignorant interface. But all the
really nifty software ran on this.

- The 486: A linear upgrade but the new power was
appreciated. Ran a webserver on this, and encountered
in full detail what was meant by "rock-stupid PC

>From then on, it has been variants of the same. New
Macs, new Windows machine, and the ability to install
FreeBSD and Linux on the old ones and watch them fly.
I've also used BeOS and VMS and briefly played with
OS/2, an Atari ST intermittently, and CP/M machines
like Kaypros and a Victor PC clone. Anyone remember
the Commodore Colt?

--- Liz_Vela -at- bcbstx -dot- com wrote:

> Remember the first mouse?

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Re: Old PC Technology (too long, sorry): From: Liz_Vela

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