Hidden Advantage

Marko writes about the retirement of my old Sony Mavica FD. It really is an obsolete system, with its non-standard battery pack and a resolution bettered by most cell phones these days.

The Mavica FD had one thing going for it however, the reason I bought it back in late 2001: With its photos being stored on its built-in 3.5" floppy drive, its storage may have been limited, but spare disks could be acquire anywhere. Also, what other digicam could interface, dongle-free, with any desktop computer built since the late '80s?


Trash 80...

Back in the early '80s, I was involved in a gifted students' program sponsored by a major university. Basically, they let a whole bunch of 7th graders take the SAT with the intention of keeping up with the brainiacs. Those of us who did best on the standardized test were invited to the Big University campus to take part in an awards ceremony. There were fabulous prizes for those who did best on various parts of the SAT, and while I got a softcover copy of A Handbook to Literature, that's not the prize I wanted.

The prize I wanted was what they gave to the real mental giants among us: A Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 100 portable computer. This computer was the granddaddy of both the Alphasmart (with which Marko's so happy,) as well as every laptop on the market today.

Sporting a 32K ROM, among the last pieces of software actually coded by young Bill Gates, the Model 100 was a fantastic laptop computer for its day. Totally silent in operation thanks to its firmware-based operation, it blinked into life immediately, had a built-in 300 baud modem, and could be hooked to a variety of peripherals. With its full-stroke keyboard that is tactilely superior to the Logitech 'board I'm typing this on, plus its 20+ hours of battery life on 4 AA cells, it's little wonder this machine was still popular among writers and journalists long after its day had passed.

When my friend Byron came up to VFTP Command Central this weekend, he brought a Model 100 that had been darkening his attic for the last dozen-and-a-half years or so.

Who knows? Maybe I'll use it to write the next great American novel.