Re: upgrade treadmill...

Subject: Re: upgrade treadmill...
From: Matt Ion <mion -at- DIRECT -dot- CA>
Date: Thu, 27 Jul 1995 21:27:04 PDT

On Fri, 21 Jul 1995 18:07:00 -0400 you wrote:

>Geoff writes:
>Change is good, right? Moore's Law states that the power of the processor
>doubles every 18 months. Who wants to have guests over and show them a 386
>SX with a CGA monitor?

Actually, I impress plenty of people with my little systems. One's a mere
386DX/40 with 4MB RAM and cables everywhere connecting up the three hard
drives (two IDE, one SCSI), four modems, SCSI tape drive and other assorted
junk. It only has a VGA monitor, but that's all it needs. The fact that it
happily runs a four-line BBS day in and day out is what blows minds.

I also get far more functionality out my Warped 16MB 386DX/33 than some people
I know get from the latest, greatest 486DX4/100 with 32MB or more of RAM and
toys galore and bogged down by DOS and Windoze. Oh sure, the big tower case
with blinking lights is great for the gee-whiz factor, but when they actually
have to start USING the thing, what you've done with the hardware and what you
use to bring out its full potential is far more important than the specs of
the hardware itself.

>Geoff, I think you're right to start this thread, even if your tongue may be
>slightly in cheek, because it gets to the heart of what makes us good
>technical writers -- the technical part.

AMEN!

>I've met too many tech writers that are good at editing and text manipulation,
>but couldn't tell me how to swap out a hard drive.

Keeping in mind that "technical writers" don't always write about computer
maintenance. A "technical writer" might instead write a shop manual for a
car. He may not know a hard drive from a laser printer, but he could probably
swap out a complete 350 rat, add some street cams and a modified HEI, jam in a
set of headers and drop a Holley double-pumper onto a high-rise faster that
you can say "radar trap". =)

>Soon I was reduced to sucking my thumb in the fetal position while they laughed
>at me. Needless to say, I learned a lot that time -- I stopped doing upgrades
>in public!

Same holds true for computer hardware as for cars - after a few rebuilts, you
have enough parts left over for a whole new machine :) First time I rebuilt
the engine in my old Mazda, it took me two days to figure out why it wouldn't
start once everything was back in place. Finally discovered that my jokester
buddy who'd come over to help out, had disconnected the fuel line at the tank
(nicely out of sight).

Of course, once that was fixed, she fired RIGHT up. :-)




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