back to article BOFH: You think you know a guy...

"He seemed..." the PFY says, gazing out the window sadly. "...So normal." "I know," I respond. "But you never can tell what's going on in someone's head." "But he was such a good bloke!" "I know," I say again. "You think you know someone, then something like this happens..." "Something like what?" the Boss asks, entering …

COMMENTS

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  1. Ross Fleming Silver badge

    The coverage is complete

    Ah well, at least now we have complete coverage of Mac-bashing in El Reg!

    We know it's just deep-seated jealousy. For exampe, I want OSX but don't want to buy the hardware (er, isn't that a monopoly??)

    Ho hum

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't diss the Arc

    It's still ahead of its time. Unfortunately.

  3. M

    Archie's

    But it _WAS_ ahead of its time damn it..... I admit it, I've still got two... and I even use them sometimes.... <zzzrrttt> ahhh...

    >hat>coat>taxi

    as they say at el reg

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    LOVE the freudian slip!!

    "because your PowerPoint is dead"

    So true... SO TRUE!!

  5. Kenny Millar

    Mac? Archimedes? WINDOWS?

    Ah, the big wide green jealous streak of a Vista user who thought his new OS would blow Mac OS X out of the water, but then realised he'd bought a pig in a poke....

  6. PaulK

    Not scary enough...

    An ICL OPD. Now that would have been frightening.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Brave, very brave.

    Wow Simon.

    Pissing off the OS/2 fans I can understand (there's only two of them and they don't have time away from babysitting their machines to come round and knock on your door).

    Having an occasional dig at the Linux fraternity is fairly safe, as in the event of any nastiness developing you can always get them to turn on each other by asking exactly *which* Linux distro is this "best thing since sliced bread" that they're on about.

    Saying rude things about Windows is always safe as all Windows users know in their heart of hearts that it's all true.

    But you've gone and wound up the Clone Army. I shall miss your BOFH column, for the worshippers at the feet of Jobs brook no criticism of their Chosen Way, cannot be deflected from their single-minded purpose and will surely throw you to the Tiger and the Leopard.

    If you wish to survive, save your ammunition. Don't fire until you see the whites of their iPods.

    Let the flame-fest begin.

    TeeCee

  8. Rob

    But it was ahead of it's time...

    .... what are you doing with that wheely chair in here?

  9. andy gibson

    acceptable machines?

    Surely an Archimedes would be an acceptable machine for any IT nerd - classed as 'retro'?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sweet .....

    The sweet, sweet smell of frying geek. All we are missing now is the smell of stale cigarette smoke to complete that authentic early computer dawn.

  11. Craig

    RISC OS 4TW!

    So I'm not the only one who gets a warm fuzzy feeling every time an Archimedes is nearby...

  12. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Itchy Feet .... Fleet of Virtual Foot

    Magic Tempestuous Code, Simon. ...... for Perfect Butterflies.

    PGP Full Monty Fans/Space Driver Engines/Virtual Machines.

    Is El Reg going to do anything Revolutionary in Velvet with IT?

  13. Danny

    sounds familliar

    this brings back fond memories of my "MAC vs PC flamewars". i'm not averse to MACs at all, but the heart and soul that went into those flamewars always made me come back for more.....

  14. Steve

    BWAHAHAHAHAHHAAAA

    Dance monkeys, dance

  15. Adam

    Oh dear

    I'd better keep that old BBC Model B I have at home well hidden!

  16. Adam Potts

    All the way up to 11...

    Made me smile...

  17. Stefan van den Heuvel

    Owl logo

    Owl logo is something only known in the UK so for the rest of the world the following explanation.

    It is something from the early 1980's.

    The BBC had a computer program, and made a deal with a computer manufactorer about delivering the equipment. The manufactorer could then use the Owl Logo on the computers it sold.

    These machines where a big hit in the UK. Selling over a million pieces.

  18. Jonathan Adams

    I still have my Acorn Electron

    Stuck in the loft ... hasn't been powered up in about 5 years

    but i still have it.

  19. Chris Cheale

    eeeeeep!

    Oh shit - my mum's still got a couple of old RiscOS archies kicking about somewhere... I remember Zarchzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz! ... fk

  20. Mark Randall

    Shocking

    Another shocking cliffhanger to the BOfH...

    In the next episode:

    Will the PFY find himself strapped to a chair?

    Will the boss ever finish his powerpoint presentation on time?

    Will Simon remember to recharge the cattle prod?

    None of these questions, and more, answered on the next episode of...

    BOfH.

    :O :O :O :O :O :O

  21. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    Archimedes

    I'm not sure that the Archimedes ever carried an owl logo. This was the logo for the BBC micro, not Acorn, and although the A1000 may have been marketed as a BBC micro, I don't know that it carried the logo.

    I am prepared to be proved wrong, especially if someone can post pictures.

  22. Greg

    @Ross and Kenny

    Wahey! We bagged a few! :-D

    By the way, Kenny, there's no point banging on about Vista when the story quite clearly mentions a *Linux* user group.

  23. Ross Fleming Silver badge

    @ Peter Gathercole

    http://bbc.nvg.org/history.php3

    makes reference to the owl.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acorn_Archimedes

    shows a picture and tells you which machines/keyboards had the Computer Literacy Project logo on it.

  24. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    British Broadcasting Corporation Computer

    My BBC model B, board issue 3 with patch leads and all, serial number in the 1000's is still (very) quietly ticking along. Brilliantly built machine (apart from the keyboard PCB, where the tracks keep breaking). Such a good teaching system.

    Problem is, I don't appear to be able to buy blank soft-sectored 5.25 floppies any more! And does anybody know how to link it up to my Gigabit Ethernet! An Econet-to-Ethernet bridge would be good, except that I never upgraded my own BEEB for Econet.

    Bit of history. The BBC were sued for using "BBC" as the brand for the computer. A company called something like "Brown Baveri" used to produce a Modula 2 compiler and had registered a "BBC" trademark for use with computers, and stopped the British Broadcasting Corporation from using the abbreviation. Sometime around the board issue 7 systems, BBC disappeared from the perspex function key strip cover to be replaced with the name spelled out in full.

  25. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    BBC

    Wish I would learn to do my research first. It was "Brown, Boveri and Cie" (it's in Wikipedia, of course).

  26. Richard Speight

    I don't know which way to turn...

    Arggghhhh, I still have an old Archimedes at the bottom of my cupboard (it was pretty powerful, had a 20meg hard drive, and everything!). It sits on top of my old BBC Model B. Ahhh, retro geek heaven!

    And I've just ordered a MacBook Pro. Do I have to cattleprod myself?

    And, for Mr Gathercole's benefit, the early Arcs came in 2 flavours -- the cheaper 2 had red function keys (you know what I mean retro geek boys), and an owl logo. The more expensive 2 had grey function keys and no owl. I had the no owl version...

  27. Steve Medway

    re:Archimedes

    Sorry Peter but your a sick individual. You've committed a heinous crime.... There never was an Archimedes A1000, BBC A1000 or even an Acorn A1000, that number was for used on a crappy 16bit Amiga....... Hang your head in shame!

    The BBC Archimedes A305/A310 & the BBC A3000 had the owl logo. The A3000 also had an Acorn logo as well as the owl. All other RiscOS machines has the Acorn logo only.....

    I remember because I swapped my A310's keyboard for one from my schools A440/i because I didn't like the red key function keys (and I'd busted the plastic function key insert on mine)...... oh dear I can't believe I've just admitted that in public please don't call the cops - it was a swap not a 'steal'! lol

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Watch Out...

    [quote]I'm not sure that the Archimedes ever carried an owl logo. This was the logo for the BBC micro, not Acorn, and although the A1000 may have been marketed as a BBC micro, I don't know that it carried the logo.

    I am prepared to be proved wrong, especially if someone can post pictures [/quote]

    ...its a trap if you post pictures they will be able to track you down...just lock the doors, wrap yourself in tinfoil and hope for the best.

  29. Steve Hill

    Eureka

    http://acorn.chriswhy.co.uk/Archimedes.html has pics - you'll see the owl on the A310/1 keyboard.

    I get the distinct feeling I shouldn't know these things, and should have flipped the anonymous bit.

  30. Lee

    logo

    http://www.archimedes.be/Images/logo.png

  31. Darren

    Re: Archimedes

    I'll grab a couple of pics of my Arc from the loft... :)

  32. matt

    @Peter G

    Heya Peter...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acorn_Archimedes

    "The BBC Computer Literacy Project 'Owl' appeared on the keyboard, above the function keys on the Archimedes 300 series and A3000 keyboards."

  33. Hugh_Pym

    Lisa - Reminds me,,,,

    ... didn't there used to be a journo, Computer News I think, many years ago. Used to call herself Lisa Israel. Tech journalism was tough back then, you needed to work deep undercover, no-one could no your real name.

    You Reg guy's have it easy now. There are so a few disastrous 'new age of computing' projects to laugh at these days back then there where hundreds; Lisa, OPD, INMOS, sinclair ST... the list goes on.

  34. Phil Rigby

    Logo

    Yeah I think the logo was for the BBC, therefore the Beeb range of computers.

    A beeb with 32k of ram, Winchester floppy disc drive and a copy of Dare Devil Denis - can't go wrong :-)

    Or POD, the educational game - trying to see how many rude words he could understand.

  35. AB

    Owl logo on Archimedes

    Peter Gathercole: see http://www.beebmaster.co.uk/GenFiles/A3000.jpg for an example. The left-most symbol in the orange area above the numpad is the owl logo.

    Archimedes had some awesome games, I seem to remember... some shoot-em-'up rings a bell.

  36. Chris Burns

    @ Peter Gathercole

    ..that must be the most thinly disguised request for geek porn I have ever seen.

    Well done that man.

  37. Chris Priest

    @Adam

    Oh crap, I've got 4 of em and a couple of Masters as well......

    *straps himself into the wheely chair*

  38. Ian North

    A3000

    According to Wikipedia, the A3000 did.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acorn_Archimedes

  39. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    A1000?

    Yes. I admit. I was confused (comes of getting old, and anybody who was using these systems will be getting on, even a little bit).

    I also have an A3050 (I think, please don't flame me) with green keys, but it does not start Arthur any more. Gets stuck with a *OS prompt. It runs all OS commands, and if I remember, it will start Basic using the whole screen. I never got into RiscOS to know how to fix it. Any ideas?

  40. Adam

    Monopoly?

    "I want OSX but don't want to buy the hardware (er, isn't that a monopoly??)"

    You can't have a monopoly on your own product. That'd be like Pepsi having a monopoly in the Pepsi market.

  41. Trygve Henriksen

    OS/2

    TeeCee, there ARE more than two OS/2 users...

    I should know as I'm one...

    (I'm about to install eCS on a HP Omnibook 600, to tie me over until I can finish upgrading my ancient tower PC)

    I'm also a Mac addict(typing this on an 12" iBook G4/133GHz), use a Psion S3c for notetaking, a Palm Zire when I'm out GeoCaching, have a Archimedes A3000 I'm TRYING to get to work(doesn't seem to want to cooperate with my monitor, which even works with my SGI), and my first computer was a 'Speccy'(Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Well, it was my brother's, really)

    I still haven't tried to boot the Apple III I recently aquired, though, but that's because I don't have any place to set it up...

  42. martin

    A3000

    first pc i used at school

    also first recorded use of pc mis-use

    found lemmings on it

    i was 8

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All this talk of Beebs ...

    ... and nobody has mentioned "Elite" yet. Yes, Daredevil Dennis was a pretty decent game, but come on, "Elite" was the reason the BBC Model B was placed upon this earth ;-)

    Not sure if a version was written for the Archie though ... I don't recall one but could be wrong. However, I *do* remember how much the Archimedes upset some of the Amiga fanboys at uni at the time :-)

  44. Fluffykins

    And no Vista either!!!

    Joy

  45. Steve Medway

    A3050??? Arthur????

    Hey! Your memory isn't just fading it's non existent......... I smell a rat me thinks you've never owned an Archimedes ;-) ;-)

    There never was an Acorn A3050, there was an A3010 which was white and had green function keys & cheesy pics above the keyboard.

    The education variant of the A3010 called the A3020 which was cream coloured with red keys..

    Neither of those machines came with Arthur, Both came with RiscOS 3.11

    If you really do have an acorn try typing '*configure mode 12' '*configure wimpmode 12' '*desktop'.... but I doubt it'll work because well you know why!!!!!!!!

  46. Gerrit Tijhof

    Loved it

    Always tell a joke in front of people capable of laughing :)

    First computer: Aster CT80, in school. Yeah...

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    yawn

    Ok, admittedly I am one of the filthy heathens. And there is a lot one can laugh about when it comes to Mac users. Sadly, none of it ends up in this episode. It's not exactly... funny.

  48. Tom

    Oh, well back to something more reilable

    Maybe a TRS80 (Color Computer, of course) to have religion. The CoCo could use OS9 (the original one!) and even support terminals!

    Anything else, well, I guess one could go back to OS/360 or some such with hard copy terminals (ASR33's?, or more likely IBM 2741's).

    Back to the past.....

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A30x0

    "I also have an A3050 (I think, please don't flame me) with green keys, but it does not start Arthur any more. Gets stuck with a *OS prompt. It runs all OS commands, and if I remember, it will start Basic using the whole screen. I never got into RiscOS to know how to fix it. Any ideas?"

    It'd be either an A3010 or A3020, can't remember which one had the green keys.

    The CMOS RAM settings are probably corrupt if it's not been used for a while, that can stop it booting to the desktop.

    Hold down Delete (IIRC) while powering it on to reset to factory defaults and see if that works.

  50. Guy

    Fond Memories

    I recall back in the day being a tech at a school with rooms full of Archimedes.

    That OS was brilliant, if a little confusing in some areas, but man was it responsive or what?

    Oh and yes, you could quite happily play Elite on it.

    All this talk would normally have me reaching for my ebay account and diving into worlds long gone, but to be honest, theres been so many security scares recently I'm not sure I can take the risk.

    (I certainly won't be using my gmail account for a while)

  51. Peter Kay

    Of course there was Elite for the archimedes

    Check out Ian Bell's Elite pages, and you can download it for free. 'Regarded by many as the best ever elite ' apparently.

    I wouldn't know, as I was never drawn by the Archimedes; then again I still have an OS/2 box at home for running my tape drive so what can I say? (No, it doesn't need babysitting - it's fairly bombproof, and yes my main system is XP. I'm no masochist)

    I do wish Elite had been released for the PCW though.

  52. SpacedCowboy

    A cautionary BBC tale

    BBC's (and Archimedes, for that matter) were the ultimate hacker tool, "back in the day". They came with a documented, powerful OScall interface, and a built-in assembler.

    Back in the mists of time, when I was a lowly undergrad fresher, the Physics 1st-year lab had ~50 of these machines - physics labs loved them for their multitudinous i/o ports, and networking. So, being an undergrad, and seeing the floppy-based viruses that were all-the-rage at the time, I wrote a (harmless, just to see if I could) virus that transmitted itself over the network :)

    For the tale, and rather unexpected consequences, see http://blog.gornall.net/files/viralConsequences.html :-)

    As for Macs - I'm about as hard-core techie-programmer as they come. As a hobby, I learnt verilog, designed my own CPU and implemented it on an FPGA then wrote a C compiler for it; I've contributed to gcc, linux, PHP, perl and more; I've been coding on unix boxes since the time of JANet (shudder), and set up my first webserver when you still had to register a website with CERN. Having established my credentials, let me say that I love the Mac - ever since OSX, that is, it was POS before that. OSX, however, is the best damn unix workstation I have ever used, and I've used a lot.

    Still, given the popular (mis?)conception of Mac-users as being all arty types, I grinned at the above.

    Simon [who's been asked more times than he can count, whether he is in fact the BOFH :-]

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nostalgia

    When i was 10 years old, i was a member of a group of active hackers/crackers in the eastern US. we were a half dozen kids, ages 10-12, with a desire to take apart and understand anything related to computers. we tried several different group names but finally settled on calling ourselves 'the elite' after watching an episode of 'Dr. Who' (the episode where Davros invents the daleks)

    ** YES we were the original group. sadly, like the illuminati, the name became more legendary than our short lived group.

    ** NO we never spelled it l33t. slip-text or rot-text was not necessary until the government started scanning with carnivore.

    ** NO we never hacked into any government, military or wallstreet computers. networks barely existed back then, and phreaking didn't become part of the hackers skillset until modems became more widely used.

    that being said, i would like to voice my opinion, that the uber-hacker culture would not be what it is today without the apple II and its built in hex editor / disassembler.

    prior to the plague rats (mice) infesting the computer labs and the continuing decline in computer literacy that has followed ever since, computer techs understood that the OS was just another program to use for convenience and not a list of limiting choices attached to a few icons.

    macs windows and now linux have all made the mistake of trying to service the immediate needs of an illiterate adult work force, and failed to recognize that the children are the future. pc's of the past were like educational toys, legos and erector sets. now we give our children click-and-watch applications that are no better than endless cartoons. when i was 10 years old, i was reverse engineering and programming in assembly code... what is your child doing with their pc ?

  54. This post has been deleted by its author

  55. Jan Buys

    Hehehe

    Seems Simon T. really hit a weak spot according to the many reactions. He'd better look for some bulk discount on wheely chairs. :-)

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re : Nostalgia

    "... what is your child doing with their pc ?"

    fap fap fap ....

  57. abb3w

    In defense of the Mac...

    The dual processor quad core Mac Pros have serious kick to them. They're even powerful enough that Vista isn't sluggish -- though XP or server 2K3 is a better choice.

  58. Adrian Esdaile

    As Comic Book Guy would say:

    Best. BOFH. Ever.

  59. Ben Warre

    Avid Fan

    Ah, the old Acorns.

    Until around 1999, I used them regularly, and yes, Simon Ward, there was a version of Elite that I've played on the A5000. We almost bought a Phobe before they scrapped the project, but my Dad still runs his RiscPC happily.

    I keep meaning to dig out the old A3010 (no hard drive - running off 100Mb Zip discs!)

    Draw is the greatest DTP package ever written.

  60. Sceptical Bastard

    @ All of you

    While you're all busy flaming each other's choice in retro computing, I have an even more shocking confession.

    Yes, my friends, pity me... I actually still have my vinyl In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida and, what's worse, I still *play* it!

    Ah, side two... seventeen minutes of thumping riff, clumsy solos and sententious lyrical bollocks.

    "Nurse! The cattle prod!"

  61. Chaitanya

    CORNY

    Took me about 10 minutes to remember what the HECK an Archimedes is. In fact I've only heard it called that once.

    Thats another batch Os2, Mac, Linux and Acorn loving fans alienated. On purpose :)

  62. Andy Taylor

    Hmm,,,,

    Better not mention the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park then, you can find pretty much all of the machines so far mentioned there and <whisper> actually use some of them </whisper>

    My first computer was a Video Genie (TRS-80 clone) as my Dad thought the ZX-81 wasn't very good.

  63. Tim Butterworth

    When British computers roamed the Earth...

    In its day, the BBC computer was the world's biggest selling PC and the UK was the global centre of PC manufacturing.

    Then there was Amstrad which once had 25% of the European PC market share. If it wasn't for Alan Sugar dropping Amstrad for Spurs, you could well have been reading this on an Amstrad PC!

    Ahhh, those were the days.... jumpers for goal-posts...

  64. Gethin

    takes me back

    Still got a sharp z80, sinclair ZX80 and zx81 in loft along with a acorn electron (with expansion board for ROMS)

    does that make me a real old fart ;o)

  65. Jack Moxley

    2 years to late

    The mac is again the machine of choice for the decerning geek, mind you last time that happened, everyone was waiting for a george orwell prediction. Luckily thats happened in the past 2 years as well. Sparkling Wine (all the champaigns been turned to vinegar by the eu) all round.

  66. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Hmmmm?

    "Then there was Amstrad which once had 25% of the European PC market share. If it wasn't for Alan Sugar dropping Amstrad for Spurs, you could well have been reading this on an Amstrad PC!"

    Yes, that was a strange move? Too much Pressure, maybe? IT is a QuITe Psychotic, [Single Minded, Multi Dimensional] Field prone to Excessive Compulsive Behaviour.

  67. Jon Tocker

    Most hysterically funny BOFH episode in ages.

    And I was expecting the comments to be filled with rabid fanbois ranting at the besmirching of their beloved iToys. Instead, it's been mainly a nostalgia trip induced by the references to the Archimedes and a mere token effort by the fanbois, one of whom thinks Vista is a version of Linux.

    So if we're going to have a nostalgia trip:

    At college I learned Pascal programming on an old Apple IIe, taught myself BASIC programming on a Sinclair ZX80 and (later) a ZX81 (only machines I could afford on my budget - would have killed for a Commodore 64 and committed genocide for an Archimedes or better). First "IBM-compatible" was a Sanyo MBC-555 (ok, partially compatible) running PC-DOS and I progressed to IBM-clones.

  68. Dunhill

    frogger

    Reading this and remeberin playing Frogger on my brand new 1K ZX80 makes me feel soooo old ............. :(

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Macs

    Well, a PowerPC box properly cleansed off MacOS and installed with PPC Linux is actually quite powerful to start with. You install quik or yaboot (depending on which world your Mac is from) with the PPC Linux distro and the few OpenFirmware tweaks, and all of the sudden you're feeling smug for giving apple the one-off and running a superior operating system on an good piece of hardware that is otherwise put to waste with the default OS it shipped with.

    Now, if someone would get the onboard video of a Beige G3 to work with linux, and I will do just that.

  70. Herb

    Memotech

    I spent my early days with a soldering iron in hand fixing broken memory add ons for the ZX81 - then became involved in the Memotech MTX500. We wrote the operating system in 32k (we nearly squeezed it into 16k). And wrote some of the original games from Continental Software for the MTX machines.

  71. James Anderson

    Sinclair Spectrum.

    My old Speccy is still cool though, and Skool Daze is still the coolest game ever.

    Must be, I'm sure of it, Isn't it ?

  72. breakfast

    When he armed himself thus...

    I'm sure the PFY knew the risc he was taking.

    It's alright, I hadn't taken my coat off.

  73. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    A30x0

    Gawd. I asked you not to flame me.

    I assert that I do own the aforementioned 3000 series Archimedes, but I will admit that I never really used it. I was really a BBC micro enthusiast, using it to teach computer appreciation at a Polytechnic in the early 80's (if you are not a BEEB fan, you would not believe what were able to attach to it). I had the chance to buy this Arc. at a car boot. I did power it up, but it was mostly looked after by my oldest son. He has now abandoned Acorn systems for a Windoze PC (he's been sent to Coventry now), and I just could not face throwing it out.

    I did not transition from BBC to Arc myself, because my OS of choice is UNIX (real, genetic UNIX derived from Bell Labs. code, and also by association, Linux), but I always kept a soft spot for Acorn systems. (And yes, I know A440 class systems run/ran RISCiX and that Linux is available, but the hardware used to be expensive)

    I also assert that, bloody hell, it's over 20 years ago that some of this happened. I'm significantly the wrong side of 40 now (pushing 50), and much water has passed under the bridge. I was away from home when I posted, and could not 'just pop upstairs' to have a look at it. It is an A3020, for those who were wondering.

  74. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    A440

    OK, left a bit, up a bit, FLAME.

    Yes I said A440. I'm going to be told that the first RISCiX system was actually an R140, aren't I.

  75. Andy Enderby

    Old kit

    First personal computing I came into contact with..... hmmm, Commodore PET 8k with tape drive. Owned by the school, during that O'Level Computer Science class I reckon I did more work on that thing than anyone else, to the point of being locked into a store room with the thing to complete the programming project work. Second intake at our school to study computing..... Outside of the school premises..... DEC PDP-8 (programming classes), Research Machines Z80 based micro (ditto), work experience on the mighty Univac 1110 - now that was a real computer. You think modern UPS can be bulky, the UPS for the 1110 was the size of a decently large office, with loads of lead acid batterys and exposed busbars. Great fun.

  76. breakfast

    Also...

    The Archimedes version of Elite really was the best one. The AI was the most convincing of any game I have played, right up to now...

  77. Michael Born

    And I started out on in the computing industry...

    An OLD BBC computer (showing my age now) and it worked OK - Had to vector all graphics images using the mouse (no tablet and pen in those days!!!).

    The unit worked a treat, and for once was a testament to British micro-electronics!!! (probably the ONLY time British equipment was ever revered and respected!!!)

    Nowadays, everything has it's own processor (my phone, TV, DVD player, etc - lack of decent intelligence though!!)

    To be honest, I find that the older kit (when you come across it) still works OK but lacks a little bit in support and peripherals - However, having worked on some MAC's in my time, I feel that Simon has a point - They are a pain in the proverbial butt, and can cause more problems that they solve!

    The worst case is a MAC evangelist!! Living proof of the requirement for involuntary euthanasia if ever there was a need to justify it!!!)

    Give me a PC/Server based on Intel/AMD anytime - I KNOW where I am with it!!!

  78. Craig Peters

    Biz Macs

    With the release of iWork you could say that a mac can be used for business. however until they release iSlackoff I am not interested.

  79. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Old software

    The old software was properly designed, small and fast (ZX81 Chess in 1K)

    much better than the bloatware that gets peddled these days!

    Still an assembler programmer at heart!

  80. Roland Korn

    Those were (are?) the days ...

    Getting on the ole' nostalgia waggon myself I can remember my first hands on taste of computing, even if I had been a voracious reader of Creative Computing for a few years before then dreaming of getting a IMSAI, Sorcerer or such.

    School had a WANG 2200 when they finally statrted a computer class and the teach brought in his PDP-8 for the bit bashers in the class who were interested. Ah 8" floppies and tape drives and the scary punch card reader that whipped you disks if the got too close.

    By the end of high school I bought my first Apple IIc and not long after got into the Apple repair in the basement gig .... I still have 2 working Lisas and every flavour of apple except the original and nearly every add on (anyone remember school-bus?) .... yes including the C64 box ... I even had an Apollo for a while till the OS when krrzzzppttt along with a board or two ... *sigh* ... it made a great space heater in the winter ... ^_^

  81. Joseph Zygnerski

    First computer

    My first computer was a TRS-80 (the portable one that looked like a small box with a tiny non-flip screen - the Wikipedia article is no help). My mother used to program little games in BASIC on it. Later on we got an Apple II.

    I actually used the same TSR-80 in college for taking notes in classes. Unfortunately, it broke and we must have gotten rid of it.

  82. xjy

    Never, ever, lusted after Windows

    Weird - I'm a compulsive luster-after, and have junkshop dust and grime in my genes, so I read a lot of buy-it-cheap and do-it-yourself crap in computer mags while (some of us were lucky) I was compelled to use a Mac for real work. But the only non-Mac stuff I lusted after was really the Acorn/Archimedes and the Next (later on). If I had been a compulsive gamer it would have been Atari, I spose, but I wasn't. And thank Christ I wasn't a compulsive builder, just a compulsive binge-fiddler, or I'd have been dead by now. The only fun columns in the mags after checking out the latest and greatest hardware or some software how-tos were the minority pages at the back.

    Strikes me that the failure of MS Clone-Mind was not persuading me its real was what I needed to get. That and the robotic zombie level of (computer) culture in every IT department I've ever been forced to communicate with.

    And the tears of joy and gratitude being wept here for the morsels of nostalgic consolation carelessly swept off BOFH's table for the mange K9 crew to fight over - it's like flowers showing up through the Antarctic ice, or a rose through the asphalt. Or an instant of real pleasure spreading through the soul in a wasteland marriage. The melancholy thing is that (like the old IBM) when MS and Clone Computing are extinct, no one will be able to remember living under their rule. People will just shudder a bit, shake themselves, wake up and start smiling and smelling the flowers, and splashing the dew off the grass with their bare feet. After an eternity as Undead sleepers.

  83. Michael

    @ Anonymous

    When I was 10 years old, I was Jesus. What now?

  84. Chika

    Of course, you know why a PFY might hate Arcs.

    Well, first of all, they are an ex-school system, and more than a few former pupils had to cut their teeth on the things. These days, however, they can scream at the crappy school peecees that the various know-nothing governers have foisted on todays' schools.

    However, the main reason why a PFY (or a BOFH for that matter) might loathe and despise a RISC OS machine is the fact that they can't sod about with them like they do with a peesea. The damn things are pretty robust too. It's one of the lesser reasons why Acorn couldn't sell anything (if they aren't breaking, then the replacement market is likely to be a bit on the small side). Of course, Acorn's abysmal record on marketing didn't help!

    And, for the record, if this is an Archimedes with an owl on it (the BBC IT Literacy owl is what I take this to be a reference to), you are talking about the kind of Acorn that hasn't seen the light of day in over 10 years now (the A3010, as I recall). Even current RISC OS users tend to scorn those old beasts!

  85. Chika

    @Anonymous Vulture

    "I also have an A3050 (I think, please don't flame me) with green keys, but it does not start Arthur any more. Gets stuck with a *OS prompt. It runs all OS commands, and if I remember, it will start Basic using the whole screen. I never got into RiscOS to know how to fix it. Any ideas?"

    "It'd be either an A3010 or A3020, can't remember which one had the green keys."

    It was, I recall, the A3010 that had the red keys. Actually, they were the same computer under the hood except that they had different components added during the last bit of manufacture reflecting their different target users. There was also the A4000 which used a similar board to the A3020 but in a case which looked like a half-height A5000. These all got killed off when the RISC PC came out.

    I never heard of an A3050, the A3010/3020 being the last to use that series numbering. A305, certainly, especially if you are using Arthur!

  86. ben edwards

    All the way up to 11!

    The big question is, is BofH a Kingdom of Loathing player or is he aware of that funky posse, Spinal Tap?

  87. Rhys

    Does a working

    Apple IIe make me anything? :P

  88. Anthony Hulse

    Archimedes archischmedes

    Never was interested in Arch. Now NeXTstep, there was an OS.

    Whatever happened to that exactly?

    ;-)

  89. Christos Georgiou

    All the way up to 11

    ben edwards: I'm betting that it's a Spinal Tap reference. Simon is old enough to know.

    And for the SGI Irix workstation users out there reading the Reg (all 3 of them), open a shell and run:

    audiopanel -spinaltap

  90. matthew dunbar

    @Anthony - OS X is the direct descendent of NeXT Step :)

    Part of Steve Jobs return to Apple was Apple's purchase of NeXT.

    NeXT Step made many contributions to the core foundation of OS X, which still uses the Mach O kernel.

    Really, the BoFH should be clearer on the distinction between the older MacOS and OS X. As several folks of appropriate lineage have already observed, OS X is a true, formidable, and respectable *nix.

    (With the completion of its full POSIX support, it is now even officially recognized as a true, fully-Unix OS.)

    Wikipedia has a cursory discussion:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NEXTSTEP and

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OS_X .

    For more detail, while not completely up to date, there's an excellent discussion of it by Amit Singh on kernelthread.com at:

    http://www.kernelthread.com/mac/osx/history.html , with a broader overview at

    http://www.kernelthread.com/mac/oshistory/ .

  91. Morely Dotes

    Broody Herr!

    That's funny, that is. Ling you berr!

  92. tony trolle

    RISCpc

    funny how the RISCpc OS way back then looks like ubuntu now........

    funny how the x86 card could run win95 & win98 back then

    funny you can emulate RISCpc OS on XP now

    funny I tried RISCpc emulation just to remind myself back then

    funny I will never see those 30 mins again now

  93. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    It lives

    Instructions given by Steve Medway did not work, unfortunatly. Holding Shift and Delete while turning on the power did! NVRAM must have been well and truly corrupt.

    Desktop restored. Now all I need to do is find the application disk, and work out what I want to do with it.

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