back to article El Reg's contraptions confessional no.2: Tablet PC, CRT screen and more

Before wandering to pastures new, Bill Ray revealed he is definitely of the mind that, if it still works, why chuck it? His old kit isn't sitting in a box in the attic, he uses it all regularly. Hantarex, HP and Motion Computing Hantarex hails from Italy but established a UK operation in 1981 and is still going strong. The …


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  1. Fihart

    Ancient laptop.

    Sharp with a Japanese language keyboard, a built-in ethernet port and a Netgear PCMCIA wireless G adapter is my weapon of choice for fixing friends' wireless woes.

    Pentium (P2 at 600 mhz ?) and early XP. Slow and heavy, I'd say it's best-finished laptop I've laid hands on -- perhaps because it was actually made in Japan. Personal import by neighbour who donated it when she upgraded.

    The Netgear adapter has the best wireless survey/signal strength software. Unlike modern laptops with Win7, will display two routers that happen to have the same name.

    1. Lunatik

      Re: Ancient laptop.

      Even the crappiest Android device running Wi-Fi Analyzer can show unique APs with the same SSID. Why carry around that old junk?

  2. Jerome 0

    Model M

    Prosaic though it may be by comparison, I just want to put in a word for the IBM Model M keyboard (I doubt I'll be alone in that either).

    This particular beast has been serving me well for longer than I care to remember, and the mechanical keys are still a typist's delight. Cherry MX keyswitches are apparently all the rage with the kids these days in their fancy new mechanical keyboards, but have you seen the prices they charge for those things?! Besides, there's not a one of them that can hold a candle to either the build quality or the charm of the original.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Model M

      A truly excellent keyboard, may I also put in a recommendation for the Compaq rack mount keyboards from the 90s, I don't use the built in trackerball much, but the action on the keys is great.

      1. bofh80

        Re: Model M

        Oh yeah, gotta agree with the compaq rack keyboards. While not a mechanical, i still use the old compaq desktop keyboard KB9860 , which has a very similar feel to those rack keyboards. I can't use another keyboard, when this one finally goes again, i find em on ebay or amazon with the model number. Also the mouse, the logitech mouseman wheel M-CW47 big ergonomic, comfortable and has a 'back' button . PS/2 rules. :)

    2. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Model M

      I'm typing on one right now, plus 11 of them over in the closet... Plus some sort of I-think-its-84-keys mini keyboard with buckling springs and 3 tiny LEDs.

      I don't have room for things, so I've tossed all my junk. The most satisfying was an HP printer that kept falling off the USB bus, until one day it fell off the back of my bike in front of an SUV that was tailgating me in the right lane.

      1. Jean Le PHARMACIEN

        Re: Model M

        B**t**d! Sell one to me, I.'ve only got two (in daily use. ) had to rewire cable on one as all tje insulation cracked and fell off. Still the best - just dont drop it on your foot. Mine are 1987 vintage made in Scotland I think from label on th back.

      2. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: Model M

        "until one day it fell off the back of my bike in front of an SUV that was tailgating me" - which came off worse, the SUV or the printer?

    3. Ryan 7

      Re: Model M

      Cherry switches may well be mechanical, but they're shitty plastic bendy mechanical — not the glorious buckling spring.

    4. Fihart

      Re: Model M

      Made in Scotland from girders. Still in daily use in my place. One I'm typing this on dated 1990.

    5. Van

      Re: Model M

      I salvaged a couple of model Ms from the skip at work in the late 90s, when they lobbed 30 or so PS/2s, what a crime that turned out to be. It was the only keyboard I used throughout many DIY PC builds because it was free, I was unaware how good it really was until buying a couple of pre-built systems. Didn't realise they had a cult following amoung coders until I sold them both on ebay in the end, as my PC was moved to the living room and they were just too noisy and a bit to big to sit on the lap in my easy chair.

      Elonex did a version that looked and felt very similar, only not as deep, quieter and had a windows key.

      1. Robert Sneddon

        Re: Model M

        I have a little project on the back burner, hacking up an old USB keyboard to provide a separate custom keypad as an adjunct to my Model M, with plans to include a Windows key in the array. I've still got a box of old Cherry keyswitches somewhere I salvaged from a dead keyboard way back when...

        1. Not That Andrew

          Re: Model M

          I know I keep shilling them, but Unicomp bought the right to the Model M and are still making them and some minor variations, see

          1. David Given

            Re: Model M

            The only trouble with the Model M is that if you use one in an office environment, you do eventually run the risk of being beaten to death with your own keyboard --- they're not quiet. I have heard it's possible to get variants that don't have the Incrediclicky(TM) sound, but I don't know if they're any good.

            1. Helldesk Dogsbody
              Thumb Up

              Re: Model M - David Given

              You won't be getting a buckling spring for that but the Cherry MX browns are rather nice and can be very quiet (dependant on how much of a ham handed typist you are). They have a nice tactile "bump" without the audible click you get from the blues. Much appreciated in my office as my coworkers are less inclined to use my keyboard as a bludgeon on me.

          2. myarse

            Re: Model M

            'I know I keep shilling them, but Unicomp bought the right to the Model M and are still making them and some minor variations, see"

            Unicomps are great except that they are completely destroyed with even a little spill of liquid. I went through two, one was a replacement, in about eight months due to spills during drunken gaming,

            Model Ms can be washed in the dishwasher.

    6. Steve Graham

      Re: Model M

      I grew up on DEC terminals, not IBM. I have a nice LK250 keyboard, which was the PC-compatible version from the VAXmate. It does work (briefly) via a PS/2-USB convertor, but I think it's drawing too much current -- it either just stops, or keeps rebooting. I've always meant to rig up a separate power supply and use it full time.

    7. Mike Richards

      Re: Model M

      Lovely things. I had a Mattias Touch Pro on my office Mac which had the same microswitched keys - accurate, fast and it even had all the character accents printed on it - and then they moved us to an open plan office.

      I would have happily kept it, but the rest of the building didn't like a sound akin to the skeleton fight from the Jason and the Argonauts soundtrack.

  3. BeerTokens

    HP 4L

    From the time of the dinosaurs and still running through some jigery pokery and my 6 year old synology NAS.

    As said before my IT kit is in desperate need of upgrade but as it just keeps working I can't justify it.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: HP 4L

      I'm still using my HP 4M. Postscript and network port (bnc and RJ45) so likely to still be of use until the end of time :-)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have two immaculate apple newton messagepads

    Quite amazing whilst being almost unusable! Still, with the right cables and software, they can sync address books and calendars with my iMac. But by god, hasn't screen technology and high precision mass manufacturing come on in the last 15 years?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I have two immaculate apple newton messagepads

      I loved my Newton, I think Jobs made a big mistake cancelling it.

      1. Christian Berger

        Re: I have two immaculate apple newton messagepads

        Well I'm not sure if that was a mistake, however the Newton was essentially one of the few sensible mobile computing concepts. If that concept would have been given a chance, it would have been a serious replacement for PCs. Pen input is, when properly done, close to as efficient as keyboards.

    2. Peter Galbavy

      Re: I have two immaculate apple newton messagepads

      Me too. I actually bought on when on a trip to SF and I was given the other one by an old colleague in a clearout. They haven't been turned on in over a decade :)

  5. Anonymous Coward

    WIndows 200 on wife's computer? She told you that?

    1. MrT


      ... that was the version where the logo was in stained glass...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    HP 995c on Win7?

    Other people seem to have it working.

    1. Uncle Slacky

      Re: HP 995c on Win7?

      "Works perfectly" under Linux, too:

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    HP have always been bad for providing updated drivers when a new OS comes along -- I had to pass on a laser printer with years of use in it to a friend when Win 7 turned up. Non-green behaviour which I have penalised by never buying -- or considering buying any HP product.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      "HP have always been bad for providing updated drivers when a new OS comes along "

      HP have been bad on printer support, full stop (and generally the most expensive to run)

      Thankfully $okrplace has listened and theyr'e no longer on the allowable purchase list.

    2. Squander Two

      I never buy HP because their printers won't print in black-and-white when they run out of colour ink.

    3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      HP have always been bad for providing updated drivers when a new OS comes along

      Not always. Win7 still has drivers for the LaserJet 4-series printers, and I expect so does Win8.

      But of course the LaserJet 4s were good printers, built to last, not disposable junk like all consumer-grade inkjets are.

      In another thread last month, I mentioned that I'm still using my 21-year-old LaserJet 4 - which I manually upgraded to the equivalent of a 4p by opening it and sticking in the Postscript board I took out of another LJ4p; try that with a crap inkjet printer.


    Psion netBook

    The original and the best. Put a 'Pro' battery in mine for longer life (the Win CE Pro is not match for the original)

  9. Sir Sham Cad

    XP tablets

    Think we've still got a couple of the clunky Compaq ones with the stand and attachable rotating keyboard that are now on lots of skinny convertible tablets. They were abandoned very quickly as they weren't responsive and by Christ they were heavy!

    1. StripeyMiata

      Re: XP tablets

      Sounds like the TC1000 model which I still have one of I use if I'm going on holiday, as I'm not that worried if someone nicks it. The reason it was so slow was it used a Transmeta processor, which emulated x86 instructions. Good in theory, but in reality it was a bit of a dog, I think when I benchmarked my 1000Mhz one it was only as fast as a 600Mhz PIII.

  10. Duffy Moon

    Still happy with my Samsung Q1 Ultra, running Windows 7. I put 2GB RAM in and tried a cheap SSD until that failed. It doesn't get used so much, but it's great to play music on, running Foobar and with a USB DAC.

    My Lexmark C510 laser printer still works well. Bought a set of extended toner carts for £40, which should keep me going for years!

  11. Christian Berger

    And what exactly is old with that?

    I mean monitors last for ages, particularly the video ones. At my parents place I have a Commodore monitor set up. It's a great video monitor and works great (though with slight sync problems) on the RGB output of most satellite receivers.

    Other than that, 11 years is no age for a printer, not even for an inkjet one. There's lots of people using old HP LaserJet 4 printers. Mine is from 1992 as far as I know and still works like a charm for what is now probably just fractions of cents. And no, there are no problems getting it to run, it just works, just like any proper printer does since it uses open standards written down in the manual... just like you'd expect from any printer.

    Laptops of that age also aren't unusual, particularly tablets.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There's old hardware, and there's good, old hardware

    I'll upvote you for the monitor (like a light saber, an elegant device from a simpler time) and the tablet (curiosity) but the printer surely should be relegated to the dustbin of history. As should pretty much all soho inkjet printers, with a special place in hell for Windows GDI printers.

    As for the IBM mechanical keyboards, they were a classic. Any records of it being used as a weapon? Maybe near IBM Greenock? Begbie characters and a 10lb keyboard = "tha's a greet bat, ya hoor".

  13. Aslan

    I kept my Apple Performa 637CD Money Magazine Edition from 1995 on my desk until 2002 when my mom forced me to donate to the church. The machine had a 33MHZ 68040 in it and a 40 MHZ version was the last naturally occurring 68040 in the mac line. It was upgraded from 8MB ram to 40MB ram, and used SCSI internally and externally. I was pissed too despite having a decent AMD K6-2 333MHZ Windows 98 machine with a Voodoo 3 card in it, I still used the Mac for writing, creating, page layout and awesome Mac games. I know there's more professional options than Claris Works 4.0, but I've never found anything as cohesive, logical and Maclike as it. (I've yet to try Appleworks and it's successors) I still run Claris Works 6 on Windows when I need to do some layout, for this or that. It's amazing what you can do with that program if you know what a well laid out document should look like. Plus I had lots of extras for it, a high quality 300DPI Mustek scanner, an "Epson Stylus Color" printer (No model number because it was the first with that name), and a SCSI Iomega Zip 100 drive. It's a shame Iomega didn't conquer the world, and has been reduced to rebranding flash drives. Coming at the end of the 68K line and being a Mac there was a timelessness to it. I do love Macs even if I don't own one at the moment. I'd still use that computer if i could.

    Other than that, a RAZR 2 v8m which has an opera web browser and can still render most web pages and stream internet radio, and stream Youtube videos. A fantastic phone for it's day. I want to brag about the old laser printers I have but I can't figure out what year they were made. I kept coming across laser printers for sale for $20 with a spare cartridge, and for $20 I couldn't say no. I now have 3 black laser printers and a sweet 1200DPI color one, and I paid $70 total. I shouldn't have to buy black toner for at least a decade.

    1. Michael Thibault

      >It's a shame Iomega didn't conquer the world

      No, actually, it isn't. What is a shame, however, is that the market didn't crush the life out of Iomega posthaste, as doing so would have spared many, many people much grief. So many off-the-mark products it's difficult to begin the list of charges of crimes against technology...

  14. EL Vark


    It might not be the oldest living thing in the game, but my one and only daily use machine has been in service since Y2K. Granted, the only actual original bits apart from the case are the motherboard, CPU, and for some reason the sound card (Asus P3V4X, P3-533B, and SB PCI-128, respectively), though I got the Sammy SyncMaster 750s just a year later and it's still jest foin. The original Quantum 15GB drive died three days or so after the warranty and was replaced c.2002 with an IBM 60GB IDE(still works okay and it was always noisy) but was swapped out for a fatter, faster WD a few years back. The ATI 8500 AGP card bought as an upgrade a year after the system was built crapped out last year, so I'm now seeing through the original Voodoo 3-3000, which is mighty sharp. PSU's come and go, of course, and memory and Ethernet cards get bumped up every so often, and a USB 2.0 add-on was necessary, but I have zero complaints. Can't play any games released since, oh, 2003 or so, but haven't really seen any that grab me, so who cares, it does literally everything else I want it to do.

    Sooner or later the whole thing will dissolve into a puddle and I'll be forced to join the 21st and a bit century (and beyond!), but I'm not looking forward to having to rely on a tablet or similar. But, hey, I spent a lot of time researching components and paid a pretty penny for this thing, so I'll be damned if I'm going to "upgrade" every few years just for the sake of it.

  15. jason 7

    Motion Tablet.

    I remember we used to use those for our engineers years ago. The main reason was due to them being about the only such device you could use outdoors which was quite important for such a device.

    Back around 2006, we'd been using them for some time and I was organising getting in a refresh when one of the other IT guys who was managing a different fieldforce project stormed in and accused me of "adding another piece of kit to the portfolio of mobile kit!" Apparently he wanted to know why I was buying in these tablets when he had decided his guys were all getting Panasonic Toughbooks.

    I simply said "Its not new tech as we've been using them for the past four years! Oh and I guess you tested the Toughbooks screen for outdoor use as well?...Cos these tablets are about the only device that works outdoors!"

    He went quite pale and ran out of the office. I don't ever remember seeing any Toughbooks after that.

  16. M Gale

    Typing this in front of an AOC 5glr monitor. 19" CRT, runs at 1600x1200 nicely and you can push it to 2048x1536 if you don't mind interlaced flicker-o-vision. It's TCO '99 compliant, to give you an idea of vintage.

    I have a G3 Power Mac sat on the floor with a bust PSU. Useless but at least it looks pretty. Right next to it is an Amstrad PPC640, which while in perfect working order, is only marginally more useful. Got two of those. One was bought from a Flea market, the other rescued out of a skip. Hefty buggers. Not so much "laptop" as "luggable", and two 720KB floppy drives on each one. Hard drive? Only if you've got an external to plug into the parallel port.

    One working Megadrive and Mega CD (second edition), waiting for me to be bored enough to pull them out again. I always liked the original ones more, though.

    Oh and a "domestic electrical test meter" that someone gave me, that seems to have come from the early days of the Roman empire. Just modern enough for modern UK plugs, but really not much more modern. I have no idea who it's made by. Neither the device nore the manual give any clue to that, just that it's called "The Mighty Meter", has a removable socket tester, and a socket built into its case for testing appliances, amongst other functions.

    1. AJ MacLeod

      PPC640 could be bought with an internal hard disk - my brother has one which I fired up about a year ago out of curiosity and it all still worked perfectly (well, I didn't test the built in modem but I'm sure it'd be fine!) Funny, when I regularly have to bin failed hard disks that are less than a year old - outrageously expensive "enterprise" grade SAS or dirt cheap SATA, they're all short-lived rubbish these days.

  17. Mage Silver badge

    Modern UK plugs

    Came in about 60 years ago!

    Inspiron 7500 PIII 450 laptop controls/GUI on Win2K for a valve curve tracer/tester (it had NT4.0) all its working life. Ethernet and USB 2.0 both via PCMCIA cards.

    A Dell slimline 286 desktop for DOS and programming channels on ancient Motorola VHF & UHF mobile radios via a home brew dongle on serial port.

    I have one piece of test gear from 1945 (100kHz to 21MHz AM signal generator) I actually use. A mechanical AVO in a box somewhere. Rarely needed except for Transmitter valve PSU measurements, a £5 DMM (if you are not killed) goes woof with a blue flash at 600V on the 1000V range!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My old kit…

    Sun GDM-5410 20" CRT which runs happily at 2048x1576 resolution. This is the monitor I use on my desktop (AMD Phenom IIx6)

    Silicon Graphics Indy (R4600SC CPU at 133MHz, 256MB RAM). Still works, but the PROM battery has died, so one has to dig up the MAC address and punch it back into the PROM if it hasn't been turned on in a while. It has Gentoo Linux/MIPS on it.

    I also have the Indy Presenter 15" LCD, with removable backlight (for placement on an overhead projector), and a SGI 20" monitor to go with it.

    Silicon Graphics Indigo2 (R10000 CPU at 195MHz, 384MB RAM). No longer goes, but makes a good door stop. The hard drives also have Gentoo Linux installed. Fun and games, because the Indigo2 was never designed for a CPU like the R10000, so gcc and the kernel need hacks to work around the hardware bugs that arise.

    Silicon Graphics O2 (RM5200 CPU at 300MHz, 128MB RAM). Still goes, I upgraded it from a R5000 CPU, then had fun and games updating the PROM to support it. It runs Gentoo Linux as well.

    Silicon Graphics Octane (R10000 175MHz, 128MB RAM). No longer goes, I think I killed it trying to clean out the dust. One SCSI port was always bad, as the PROM used to sit there for 10 minutes trying to initialise it, then the machine would come good. I had it running Gentoo, which was fun because the power supply serial number wasn't recognised, so I had to go patch the kernel if I wanted the keyboard to work (don't ask). Being a 175MHz unit, I'm guessing this must've been one of the first Octanes released.

    SGI Indy, Indigo2 info

    SGI O2 info

    SGI Octane info

    Gateway Microserver (rebadged Cobalt Qube II; RM5231 at 250MHz, 128MB RAM). Still goes, although the hard drive is dead now (I have some spares). It too ran Gentoo, in fact was the main build host for the Cobalt stage3's during my time working on Gentoo. The RM5231, which lacked secondary cache, was agonisingly slow at times. The boot ROM doesn't like bigger hard drives (I tried a 160GB and it failed miserably).

    Whilst nowhere near as old, I also have a Lemote Yeeloong netbook PC. I bought this direct from China during my time at university, and was a great little machine. Sadly, the original power supply died, and the replacement was nowhere near as good, so it didn't get much use after that. The battery has also died. It still goes, runs Gentoo Linux/MIPS.

  19. Duffy Moon

    A lot of you chaps must have houses/offices that resemble the one in the IT Crowd. Anyone still using a Commodore PET?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Those puppies lasted in many a scientific lab for years. I remember switching one out for a Mac as late as 2005 in a none-too-wealthy European country. Apparently PETs were badass at data collection. The Mac walked soon after, sadly.

  20. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

    I still have a Sirius 1 and an Atari 2600 sitting in a cabinet in the shed. I also kept a pair of 12MB 3dfx Voodoo2s for the nostalgia value. None of this equipment is in current use, but it still works (or did last time it was used).

    1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      I should add the 10+ year old Nokia that lives in my pocket.

  21. jake Silver badge

    Old, working, useful kit under my roof?

    Anything steam that I can afford & have room for.

    Miscellaneous firearms that have helped feed the family since the mid 1850s.

    Great-Grandad's logging tools (late 1860s, ish).

    Grandad's woodworking tools (mostly hand-built before the Great Depression).

    Depression-era farming tools (I collect & use them).

    Mid 1950s Western Digital Model 500 rotary dial telephone (yes, my CO still supports pulse dial).

    Smith Corona portable typewriter from the 1950s.

    Cars, boats & motorcycles pre-1970.

    TOPS 10 PDP kit from 1972 (maintenance platform for an obscure contract).

    1976 Xerox Daisy Wheel printer (used when I know a contract will be read by an old-timer).

    1977 LSI-11 based Heath H11A (teaching tool ... nothing beats DEC kit as a teaching platform!).

    Early 1980s Bridgeport CNC (ran DOS 3.26b (looks like 3.3), runs Slackware as of early 2011).

    The 1988 Sun 3/470 "Pegasus" is still happily providing email, gopher, usenet, ftp and that new-fangled WWW-thingy for my personal friends & family "portal" (if you are old enough to remember what that means).

    And, of course, my Cell (13 year old Nokia 5185) and Laptop (9 year old HP Pavillion 5185) are used daily as my primary personal telephone & computer.

    My motto? If it still works as intended, why change it?

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Old, working, useful kit under my roof?

      I guess on that note I should mention my Sears 19" LXI TV which is a rebadged Sony Trinitron that I got as a going-away-to-college gift. It's got a manufacture date of "AUGUST 1986" on it and still works fine.

      1. Squander Two

        Re: Old, working, useful kit under my roof?

        When I was growing up, our household TV was a little Trinitron that my mother had got in the Sixties. It lasted thirty-odd years.

  22. Sgt. Pinback

    nice collection but a bit on the boring side

    Props to the HP printer that still runs, I've got one of those.900 series printers and it's still rock solid. Like those old Laserjet4s or whatever they used to make.

    Anyone here own a FingerWorks iGesture keyboard? Mine's still getting used everyday, got it around 2002. I can't imagine a working life without this keyboard. Analog text cursor ftw!

    Or own any H3D Glasses from back in the first days of 3D accelerated games? Used to play a lot of quake 2 in 3D with those specs back in the day (when I thought it was somehow cool) on my Pure3D (that's right Voodoo 1 chip but with 50% extra VRAM! oh yeah)

    And then there's the collection of minidisc players that just never break. I still use the amazing powered condenser mic for speech in tf2 and online gaming. Fantastic little mic, it's like having Steve Austin ears when you listen to it through earphones - picks up the sound the little gears make inside the minidisc unit ffs. sensiteeeve.

    come on reg commentards, I want to hear more about the crazy UNIQUE tech we own

    (Alternative modern tech is getting pretty rad as well. My mate coded me up a webapp for my Pi that takes automated time lapse photography then renders the frames into a movie. I was amazed at how quick he got it up and running using BootStrap and the Pi.

    And I just bought my second nokia n9 off ebay but this time it's basically brand new with a valid warranty and is the 64GB thing - going from sixteen gig to sixty four fucking gig is going to be ridiculous. Love those n9s, miraculous little product from before Nokia chewed the cyanide pill.)

    1. jason 7

      Re: nice collection but a bit on the boring side

      Well last week I picked up a mint condition Dell Precision T5400 Workstation.

      Inside is -

      2.8GHz Quad core Xeon with 12MB cache. (room for a second)

      8GB DDR2 EEC Ram (room for 32GB)

      Card Reader

      875W PSU

      Firewire card

      Quadro GPU

      The cost?


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        Re: nice collection but a bit on the boring side

        It's probably almost as fast as a cell phone, and uses only fifty times as much power! Awesome! :D

        OK, the Xeons will probably stomp most cell procs per-cycle, but the Quadro won't be able to get out of its own way compared to the GPUs in a modern device. Kinda scary, really.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hp Laserjet Series II

    Just won't break down. When it does it will make a fine boat anchor.

    Scanjet 6300C may have to go as no drivers for x64.

    1. Spoonsinger

      Re: Scanjet 6300C may have to go as no drivers for x64

      Vuescan if on windows, or SANE if on something linuxy?

  24. David Given

    Where are the tiny monitors?

    There's a lot to be said for having a small monitor on a shelf somewhere for general use --- syslog output, portable console, wiring up to a cheapo composite spycam for spying on the neighbours... but they're surprisingly expensive. A 7" will typically cost you about half again as much as a full sized desktop monitor, and while it's possible to get 4" monitors for about 20 quid they're typically 320x240 composite and too small to read text on.

    I suppose it's all about economies of scale, and that there are more desktop LCD panels shifted than 7" panels and so the desktop panels are cheaper. But it still makes me cross that I can buy a 7" LCD panel with a satnav bolted on the back for less than I can buy a 7" LCD panel with VGA input.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Where are the tiny monitors?

      Or HDMI… a 7" with HDMI doing 720p would be nice for the Raspberry Pi.

      1. Mark #255

        Re: Where are the tiny [HDMI] monitors?

        Well, it's not 7", but the HDMiPi project was plugged recently on El Reg.

        I would have got one, but apparently we already have enough monitors.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm with the author on the monitor bit - I keep a couple of CRTs around for the same reason. But this?

    "What's annoying is that HP stopped supporting it years ago, so my poor wife is stuck with Windows 2000 and the responsibility of acting as a print server."

    Seriously, dude? You saddle your wife with that so you can avoid spending, what, like 35 bucks on a new printer that will be about fifty times better? You've found yourself a woman who is either very patient or very gullible.

    Or you look like Chris Hemsworth.

  26. Johnny Canuck

    You're lucky

    When I were a lad I had to make my own converters. My coco 3 rgb worked with nothing (except their own crappy monitor). I got hold of an Amiga monitor, built my own cable from mud and stout maple trees (and a 74ls02 to swap hsync). Aye, and I considered myself lucky.

  27. Graham O'Brien
    Thumb Up

    Still using Motion Computing LE 1600 daily

    I think I may have posted about them before (!) but even with the extended battery making it a bit porky it's still better for me than a laptop. Slot it into holder at work - instant dual-monitor system with mouse and keyboard. RDP into it at home while it's charging - using 2560x1440 monitor for multi-document work. In meetings or on a train annotating documents with the pen - fast, intuitive and convenient. Get knocked off a motorbike with it in a rucksack - it survives, albeit a bit chipped at the corners.

    Works for me - on a daily basis.

  28. Stilted Banter

    Participle left a-dangling

    Despite being around 24 years old I still use the Hantarex every month or so

    Old kit definitely has its limitations. I didn't realize the frequency with which one can use it declines in direct relationship with one's age. How often did you use the Hantarex when you were still, say, "around 23 years old"?

  29. Alan 19

    If it ain't bust

    I still use Quicken 98 accounts on a Windows 98SE/ Dell 933 tower, buried down there in the corner. Quicken is backed up onto a USB Zip drive or sometimes over the LAN onto a Synology NAS server (thanks to the free NTFS for Windows 98 driver from those heroes at Paragon Software). In an unofficial kludge I hooked a USB port from it to an old Brother HL-1450 laser, whilst the printer's parallel port goes to a 10 year old home brew PC 3GHZ that's now running Win 7. An Aten KVM switch does the honours. :-)

  30. Havoc

    No love for the HP calculators?

    Must be the most durable things ever made. Got an HP-15C I still use daily. Not a single key is fading, survived being submerged and is now after 28 years on its third set of batteries. I fully expect it to be working longer than me.

  31. Mike Moyle

    Don't know if Bill still pops in every now and then...

    "What's annoying is that HP stopped supporting it years ago, so my poor wife is stuck with Windows 2000 and the responsibility of acting as a print server. Researching this piece I discovered drivers for Windows XP, but buying an upgrade to an already-dying OS seems insane and there's no sign of support for anything more recent.

    "Third up is my Motion Computing LE1600 Tablet PC, running the pen-tweaked version of Windows XP that Microsoft thought would change the world.


    But the LE1600 is no iPad, it's a kilo and a half even without the extended battery, and the much-abused smaller battery will hardly give it time to boot these days, so it's been relegated to being an extended monitor…".

    So keep the tablet plugged in and use it as a touch-based print server and buy your wife a new computer -- there's a difference between being economical and being a cheapskate! <gr>

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