Wait, but laptop still have LCDs
Even though todays LCDs need almost as much power as plasma or EL displays, the TFT panels we have now are technically LCDs.
The can of worms we opened when we learned of the server switched off after eighteen years and ten months' service is still wriggling, as a reader has contacted us to tell of nearly 30-year-old laptops still in service. Reader “Holrum” says he has “a couple dozen Toshiba T1000 laptops from the mid 1980's still fully functional …
From the article: "it also offered a rather archaic LCD display as illustrated above"
I believe Christian read the article text as meaning that LCD technology in general was archaic, whereas the same sentance could be also read as meaning that this specific LCD display was archaic. I read it as the latter.
"The T1000 was introduced in 1987, but that's long enough that we'll forgive Holrum the slight lapse, not least because the machine was one of the very first computers to use a clamshell form factor."
Try Grid which came out in 1983.
It was also one of the first PCs to go up in the space shuttle. Although that one was modified to include a small fan to help keep it cool.
An yes, I am showing my age since I remember selling them bubble memory.
Try Grid which came out in 1983.
Wikipedia says the GRiD Compass came out in '82, actually.
The Toshiba also closely resembles the IBM PC Convertible (which obviously took inspiration from the GRiD), and the Convertible came out a year earlier.
Of course "one of the very first" isn't a terribly substantial claim, but I'd say it's a bit hyperbolic in this case. How many of these half-clamshell PCs (with the hinge in the middle of the top half) were there after the Toshiba?
"given the competition was 9600 baud dial modem..."
9600 bps V.32 modems were introduced back in '89. The baud speed was 2400. Baud speed is related to bits-per-second and in earlier modems the baud speed was essentially the same as bps.
Back in 80s the Ethernet was 10Mbps but there were also other, slower "standards" and plain old serial cable was also used in many places.
As you were. :-)
A TCP IP Stack can be implemented with way less that 512MB KB of RAM.
Indeed ... but we're talking about 512KB here ...
The typo is excusable, however ... nowadays PCs have multiple GB of RAM (though mostly not 512GB ... yet) and it's funny how the prefixes all blur together with time.
"DOS 2.11 and 512 KB is not enough to support the TCP/IP stack"
Uh ... yes, it is. I worked on a (still usable) version of TCP/IP on a 256K system.
The REAL problem is that DOS didn't have networking hooks until 3.11 ;-)
Dumb terminal on 2.11? Yes. Actual networking? Not so much.
Not quite as old as this guy, but those early Toshibas were great machines.
The 3100e was my first portable (probably early 90s?)... i don't want to call it a laptop because i would have burned my legs off if it had been on them.
It had an orange gas plasma screen that got really hot. Weighed too much to carry much.
Sold it to a collector in the end, ran for years and years in a construction site office.
Apparently the unchanged fact that most solid-state electronics are most of the time happily chugging along for decades without any issues (and why should they have any...) is nowadays planning its retirement in favour of the planned-obsolescent modern perception of things being necessarily junk after a mere few years. Let me offer a tentative rule of thumb: does it have a filament or moving parts? No? Then is should bloody well still be working regardless of how old it is...
Apparently the unchanged fact that most solid-state electronics are most of the time happily chugging along for decades without any issues
But not all. I finally found out last night why my Squeezebox Touch has been having issues when powering on. It turns out one of my Netgear gigabit switches has been failing for several months and last night finally expired. It probably explains the minor glitches I've been seeing and largely ignoring with various bits of my A/V kit.
So it might be digital but it seems there's a third state. On, off and 'mostly on'.
What is interesting about these Toshiba's is that the screen is still working. I seem to remember that screen burn fad was an issue with early LCD's. Also I assume the screen was attached to the motherboard via a real cable rather than the FFC style ribbon connectors which seem more prone to brittle fracture.
Aside from those obvious moving-part failures like hard drives and cooling fans, I've had all sorts of things mysteriously fail:
several of those ADSL filters that plug in to the phone socket,
one of a pair of CPUs (not through overheating, it just died),
RAM in a desktop,
a PC power supply (not the fan - that was fine - the control circuitry went doolally),
USB drives (I suppose they suffer some mechanical stress),
and most weird a single port in a 16-way gigabit switch...
Solid-state is not necessarily forever.
Some components will decay - electrolytic capacitors were a favourite when I wielded a soldering iron. Even in high quality kit designed to operate 24/7 for the life of the equipment I'd see failures at about 20 years. Some components will age faster if left unused - my rule of thumb is that the longer it is since something was used the less likely it is to still work.
yes - 'exercise' for longevity - electrolytics need some polarizing voltage to maintain the chemical layer between the plates. remembering a 'make work' project that involved charging all the spares ! controls like being rotated to clear up and quiet down. I've found that sprays tend to get into the bearings and start more than they solve(nt)
We had a load of those up till 2000 in the server room. Used for some weird dial up program to the bank (not payments IIRC but invoices ? can't remember. Was very sad when the last one got given to the Marketing Hall of Fame (The Dusty Cupboard of Doom and Forgetfulness)
Mind you, the company I worked for was Toshiba. We had the little models of Laptops in the shape of biscuits used in Marketing form the mid 90's in a display cabinet.
... I lugged one of these around the world for a couple years:
38 pounds (including case, modem, manuals & floppies), but at least it had a built-in printer :-)
It has an MFM controller in the expansion slot, a 20 meg hard drive in one of the floppy bays, and an aftermarket hack that upped the stock 256K of RAM to a more usable768K. I used an external modem. Yes, I still have it, and yes it still works. Came with Panasonic-labeled MS-DOS 2.2, but it currently boots MS-DOS 3.3 ... It might be hard for some of the younger readers to believe, but a LOT of RealWorld[tm] work was done with such primitive devices.
The one to have was the T1000LE. Crisp 640x400 screen, 1MB RAM, 20MB HDD, and an (almost) 10 MHz clock speed. Superb hardware; the best keyboard I've used this side of an IBM Thinkpad. Ran for years. Unfortunately Toshiba dropped the ball. They had embezzlement issues of their own.
Perhaps not that surprising given the cost of early laptops sometimes ran into thousands. My first brand new laptop (I'd had a few second hand ones since the early 90s) was a Sony VAIO in 99. That came in at just shy of £2K (a sizeable chunk of a house deposit in many parts of the UK then). Their QA was already crap given my own experience.
Now you can pick up a reasonably specced laptop for under 300 notes, and a tablet for well under 100 so it's perhaps more surprising that modern computers work as well as they do for as long as they do.
Reminds me NEC had a similar machine back then. The NEC did not have the floppy drive (pricey item back then). It ran CP/M not the trendy MS-DOS (CP/M with floppy was a nightmare, people made a living transferring CP/M data from one manufacturer's floppy drive format to another and there were loads of them!). With the NEC you just squirted the data down the serial port. NEC used a smaller screen I think. The NEC keyboard was nice but not quiet so not good in meetings. It was a sought after bargain laptop at Morgan Computer in the wild west end :)
Beware of the external PSU's on these old crocks. Following a recent 'test of the fire alarm' at one site I visited, digging the computer out, powering it on, and 'going for lunch' leaving said crock unattended whilst it booted up, almost resulted in its own, and the buildings untimely (or not) cremation.
I have a T1000XE albeit not in a working state. Shortly after refurbishing it the 20mb drive gave up the ghost and I was unable to find a suitable replacement.
Odd thing about them is they have TWO batteries. There's the obvious external one which is easy enough to replace. Then there is a second internal battery that runs along the front edge of the keyboard. Even with a new external pack, the unit will not run long with a bad internal pack. IIRC the internal pack is just 4x (maybe 5x?) AAA batteries in series. I was able to take one to the local BatteriesPlus shop and they built a replacement for me.
Anonymous because I might have accidentally forgotten to take it back to previous employer when I left them. Although they hadn't used it for at least a decade by that point and when I asked to take it home to play with no one bothered to record where it was going.
Still have one of these venerable beasts though I haven't fired it up in a while
Was trying to remember the laptop my dad borrowed from work in the late 80's that had a modem and Telix. That was my intro to Fidonet and thence to 'the internet'.
Good fun times, apart from the phone bills which suddenly overtook the GDP of several small nations....
Apparently some manufacturers (notably the less expen$ive budget phones and camcorders) use my idea (circa 1993 aged maybe 13) of color phase sequencing backlights.
This allows them to display full color without the usual RGB filters, but at the cost of some flicker and image breakup at high refresh speeds.
The trick is to flash the LEDs very quickly for very short duty cycles and this helps a bit with slow panels, also keeping the panel at 40c helps too.