My first real PC was a "Portable" with a flip open LCD that had a contrast ratio of about 1.5 to 1. My second was A DAK special 386 that had a bum printer port (skipped the odd character - probably why DAK got them :-) But I had fun with all of them and learned a lot.
Early netbooks were niche products. That niche is ultra-portability at low cost. For traveling, they are fabulous. The trouble started when people bought them thinking that they were just cheaper laptops. It got worse when manufacturers tried to turn them into cheap laptops. They got bigger, heavier, and more expensive. In the end, they were bad laptops that no longer served the original niche.
I wouldn't have the VIC20 on that list as it would have been the enrty point into the world of computing for so many. Certainly I first 'discovered' computers in my secondard school's computer lab which was full of them. The C16 would be a more worthy inclusion from the Commodore stable, or perhaps the SX-64.
I actually had that emachines unit. It did its job, but eventually the power supply did burn up on me. At the time, no standard PC power supply would fit inside the case, so I just lashed one to the case frame with hose clamps. The outside cover wouldn't fit anymore, so I just ran it open. I still have the case... it is mini-ATX compatible, and it houses my current home PC.
How could the VIC-20 be a bad machine if it was the 1st make/model to sell over one million units?! The article is mostly frivolous and tries to find faults with mostly older machines which were still fairly new given the amount of integration and technology for the time. Not fare! By the way, when my father bought me the VIC-20 from Germany (I was in Egypt at the time), it was a German version called VC-20 (for Volks Computer)!
Also, as far as I know, the 1st commercial computer in space was actually the GRiD Compass laptop, used on the space shuttle starting somewhere between 1982-1985.
The worst computer I ever used was the Sinclair ZX-80. It had a whopping 1K of RAM, which you could easily exhaust writing the most elementary of programs. It couldn't even display text while executing code. It was so bad I hesitate to even call it a computer.
NASA's Orion Flight Software Production Systems Manager Darrel G. Raines joins Planet Analog Editor Steve Taranovich and Embedded.com Editor Max Maxfield to talk about embedded flight software used in Orion Spacecraft, part of NASA's Mars mission. Live radio show and live chat. Get your questions ready.
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