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back to article Remembering the true* first portable computer

A lot of folks tend to honor the Osborne 1 as the world's first mass-produced portable computer. The machine was admittedly an early pioneer in totable systems in 1981, but another, much-earlier computer perhaps really deserves the credit. This old box logo Some 20 years before the Osborne's release, the American government …

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Helped more than you think

Many of these were given to colleges when they were retired, and there was a livley exchange of hacking tips, distributed as mimeographed newsletters. Many students got their first exposure to embedded computing from these systems.

I/O, IIRC was 5-level TTY input, Servo control output. Many of the early questions were of the form "How do I get human-readable _output_?"

Linux? Um, the Linux kernel is written not in ANSI/ISO C, but in gcc (A dialect, in the sense that Norwegian is a dialect of Swedish, or Bosnian of Serbian) gcc does not believe 24-bit computers exist.

Not to mention that /bin/true (even on an older FC4 system) is larger than this system's total memory, even when dynamically linked, and stripped.

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J
Alien

Cool

Nice article indeed.

But something on the pictures to give a better sense of the size of the thing would have been nice. It says that the computer weighted 60-something pounds, but it look like something much heavier. Was it a typo for 600-something, or is the impression of big size just an illusion?

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Black Helicopters

@Wayland Sothcott

"What do the military have right now that will be in our hands in 60 years time?"

In the case of the UK armed forces; a bunch of rifles that don't work and some flying white elephants.

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Great article!

Thank's ! a great read.

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Interesting Stuff

A very interesting read. I never really thought about how guided missiles go about their business until now. fascinating to think these things carried about an entire prehistoric computer system. It's pretty amazing what innovation and creativity can spring out of a Cold War scenario, eh..?

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Boffin

@AC RE Chrysanthemum

"You mean a bowl of petunias don't you? or a sperm whale."

Surely thats just too improbable...

Nice article..

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Geekish nitpicking

"The on-board system navigated by measuring velocity with gyroscopes and acceleration with an accelerometer"

Surely it measured attitude from the gyroscopes? It doesn't need to measure velocity, it can calculate it from the acceleration.

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Joke

ballistic nuclear misses...

...are these the ones the US now call 'friendly fire'?

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Jon

Great bit of writing

Some genuine laughs from reading that, thanks.

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genius

why i come back every day and why i have your igoogle gadget thing

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Brilliant, just Brilliant

Great Article. Informative, interesting and funny.

Ditto for comments.

Austin please write more.

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Boffin

Steven King, anyone?

"The Minuteman 1's missile guidance computer was a bleeding-edge 24-bit microcomputer made by Autonetics Division of North American Aviation."

Autonetics Division of North American Aviation. A subsidiary of North Central Positronics no doubt.

Great article, and the usual great comments, this one not withstanding.

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fission sandwiches

Made me laugh

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Paris Hilton

featuring....

I think you overlooked a current microsoft term to customers...

Sorry, you misunderstood... But, the nuclear explosion was not a bug, it was a feature...

We aim to improve on that feature with the next release...

We will call it 'Vista'...

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Dead Vulture

..never actually used

Maybe the North Koreans bought some at a US end-of-line sale. No doubt we'll find out soon...

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great article

more from this from this author

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