A Chip Down Memory Lane

Reuters has a slide show on the evolution of the . It’s fascinating.

Start here.

I remember the first laptops I used. I was on a campaign to convince my boss to buy me a laptop because I was traveling frequently and wanted to be able to call my local BBS’s from the road.

The IS department had a couple of laptops to lend out for business travel. They had DOS 3.1 or 5.0, modems, DisplayWrite3, and a few other programs on them.

I’d reserve one, travel down to Washington to pick it up (I was based in Philly at the time), load Telemate (my favorite comm program) on it, take it with me, make sure to write something significant and work-related to bring home to the boss, and have fun calling the No*NameBBS and the Royal Castle at night after dinner.

I worked for the railroad. Hopping on the train and running down to Washington for the morning was No Big Deal.

I would also download a list of local BBS’s for whatever city I was going to be in–Chicago had some great ones–and call them too just to see what they were like.

When I returned, I’d remove Telemate and any files I had put on it and turn the box back in.

One was an 8086–I can’t remember what make–and the other was a Toshiba 8088 (yes, 8088, the only 8088 that I ever saw). It easily outperformed the 8086.

I remember reading somewhere that the main reason IBM settled on the 8086 chip rather than newer, technologically superior ones was because it was more easily adopted to mass production.

The boss finally broke down and got me an IBM Thinkpad 486/33. I was in heaven.

It has been a long evolution from those four- and five-pound monsters to my little Dell Mini 9.

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