Dig through enough archives, old texts, magazine ads or historical archives and you're bound to see one: a bulky plastic oddity that looks vaguely like a portable sewing machine, save for a detachable keyboard and miniscule display sticking out of the front. This clumsy, unwieldy behemoth is the Osborne I, and the story of its …
first true portable
There's lots of love for Osbornes in the vintage community. The 5" diagonal, 52 character wide screen looks particularly cool.
Steve Jobs was clearly the asshole
The only person who looks bad in that story was Jobs. Really, what a cnut that man was.
I remember him more for being the author of 'An Introduction to Microprocessors'. The latter volumes were hefty tomes giving full technical details of all the chipper currently available in this field. If memory serves, volume 2 was microprocessor chips and volume 3 support devices. The best aspect was that these volumes came in large loose-leaf binders and update pages were available on subscription, truly useful in an area where massive changes came almost daily.
Remember his portable
10 kilo, 5" screen and a keyboard which became visible when you opened the box. It was humongously expensive. I only saw it on fairs and trade shows.
Wizards of the Coast managed a sort of Osborne Maneuver (by Proxy) when they announced the new version of D&D years ahead of its release and killed the market for the extensive, heart-of-the-business-model publications for the current release, hanging out to dry their retailers. WoC are big enough to absorb the damage, but not so the retailers who have much tighter margins.
It's interesting to hear about the industry bullying that went on well before Windows/Office. The way some tell it you'd think BG invented the practice.
I'm going to ignore this birthday because his 76th birthday will be better
You mean he might not be dead by then?
Count me in.
'Tis beta to live in whatever than to be dead whatever, as the Drab said.
"You mean he might not be dead by then?"
Woosh.... It is a sad day when you have to explain a joke....
Osborne was the "inventor" of the Osborne Effect: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osborne_effect whereby people don't buy the current product because the pre-announcements make the next one sound more appealing.
Get the joke yet?
If not, let me continue... Since I expect the 76th birthday to be better than the 75th, I an going to apply the Osborne Effect and ignore the 75th and wait for the 76th.
Get it now???
If not, I want my typing back.
My right arm is probably longer than my left from carrying the Osborne I back and forth to work. What a great machine. I got mine when they were including dBase II for free. This was quite an upgrade from the KIM 2 - screen, enclosure, and 2 floppy drives. Unfortunately, the ex made me get rid of the KIM and Osborne when I bought a new Gateway computer. Bad choice.
Re: Memory Lane
Indeed, it was a luggable, rather than a portable.
But I remember working for a small company which was building embedded systems. I went along to demonstrate a new release for a customer. They pointed out an error; I was able to fire up the Osborne, correct the software, attach a PROM burner, burn a new prom and install it, and demonstrate the problem was fixed - in less than fifteen minutes. One happy customer. Something like that simply wasn't possible before the Osborne - you'd have had to return to base to fix it.
But haven't we come a long way since then?
His Halloween party in the Berkely hills was Hollywood meets Geekworld.
Great friend, brilliant strategist. RIP
Ah, the Good Old Days. I couldn't afford an Osborne. After playing with a scratch-built COSMAC Elf, I plunked down for a TRS-80 Portable, that cost twice as much as the quad-core, fuel-injected, PosiTraction PC I'm using now. But those early machines were exciting! In the words of Moriarity, this system is "bo-ring!" RIP Adam.
The one with the fondleslab in the pocket.
Scratch-built COSMAC ELF
Ah, the memories. When I was buying it the company called it a kit, but what I got gave me a lot of practice soldering sockets onto a circuit board so I could stick in CMOS chips. I also learned a LOT of troubleshooting with essentially no tools, which were way too expensive. Substitution are us and finding the chips to substitute involved a lot of looking.
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