I really get a kick out you young-uns talikng about "antiques" that your PARENTS had! In my personal museum I have several items whose vintage brackets the advent of the IBM PC in 1981! These are portable computers of a sort: the older one is an Epson unit with a 4x20 monochrone LCD screen and a digital microcassette drive that is a bit smaller than the Thinkpad 420 I'm using right now. It still works (although its batteries are surely deceased by now, it still should work on external power). I "inherited" it from an old employer; we used these as portable field service computers, with a serial client program to allow connectinfg via RS232 to our products (energy management systems and PABX/Call center systems). I also have a bunch of games for it on microcassettes!
The "new" tech item is also a good conversation piece: a Canon portable laptop PC-AT clone with a BUILT-IN inkjet printer! I bought that one in 1993 (used) for $1900 for the consulting business I was a partner in. It weighs about 15 lb so it was not exactly a joy to "wear" running through FRA for a connecting flight! I haven't fired that one up for a couple of years but I believe it's still functional, although the printer head may be clogged (and the cartridge dried out....). It's in my home office closet next to the Panasonic 1624 printer (with several ribbons!) and my Mustek SCSI interface flat-bed scanner, both in its original box.
In the late 1980s and early 90s, I worked for Extech. The company sold the Psion Organiser and we were desinging printers and modems for it. Psion later came out with the Series 3 and then 3a. I had a 3a. Psion the hinges off the Casio. It was even programmable through a Basic-like language called OPL.
Psion did a magnificent job designing the cases, though my hinge did break after a few years. I found another one and used that for acuple of years, then bought an HP PDA. I still have it but don't use it. The WiFi was terrible.
Casio didn't abandon this field until recently. Back in the '90s I was an enthusiastic owner and programmer of the Casio PV palm-sized PDA (here my web page about it, never touched since, I guess, ten years or so!) and I remember the excitement when they published the SDK for this NEC-Renesas SoC-based device. It wasn't an ARM CPU yet at that time, but the SoC brand experience (about releasing the SDK) later convinced me to purchase another Renesas-ARM tablet, which I enjoyed hacking the Kernal and Android AOSP as well: here my group. It's a real shame Renesas isn't in the game anymore...
This article brought back some of my childhood memories. My dad had one of these with a colour LCD. It was so futuristic. I played with it for a while to understand all the functions and helped my dad punch in all the contacts and taught him how to use it. In hindsight, maybe he was just trying to have quality time with me :)
It even had a screen saver like function that showed a cruise ship sailing by with a dolphin in the background. It was the most impressive thing I had seen.
The battery comment also reminded me how I used to carefully follow the instructions when I was changing them for him :)
I had a similar one but not a Casio, some name starting with 'K' (Kaice or something I think). I never got to use it. After all how many phone numbers would a 12 year old need in the 90s ?
Impressive! I did something similar with a PCMCIA SRAM card and my Toshhiba T1000. Acting as a hard disk, I loaded up WordStar, VP Planner spreadsheet, and Procomm for logging in to the work. It had a 10 MHz 8086, and had snappy performance. The battery lasted 2-21/2 hours, too. Finally, I even had a reasonable text to speech program that PWMed the speaker which produced good quality, understandable speech! These days, the splash screen for some apps is bigger than systems of some years ago that did real work. I did play around win an HP95, but only to put VI on it...
A Book For All Reasons Bernard Cole1 Comment Robert Oshana's recent book "Software Engineering for Embedded Systems (Newnes/Elsevier)," written and edited with Mark Kraeling, is a 'book for all reasons.' At almost 1,200 pages, it ...