[LINK] In the old days ... [was: Link archives]

Adam Todd link at todd.inoz.com
Wed Jul 12 03:00:23 AEST 2006

At 02:10 PM 11/07/2006, Rick Welykochy wrote:
>--- Craig Sanders <cas at taz.net.au> wrote:
> > (i can remember paying nearly $2000 for the very first hard disk i owned
> > myself, a 20MB drive, back in the early 1980s. it cost me about the same
> > as the computer itself did a year or two before that. my new 300GB drive
> > is 15000 times the capacity for less than 1/13th the price. and $2000
> > was worth a lot more back then that it is now).
>That brings back memories of my first spend on RAM. $800 for 2 MB
>of RAM for ar early PC, mid 1980's.

Oh gawd, I can't remember the cost of RAM.  I just remember spending days 
at a time pushing in 64K memory chips into motherboards :)  I know in the 
late 1980's when there were global manufacturing problems, the price of RAM 
went from a few bucks a chip to $32 a chip and I cashed in fast with a 
stock of some 10,000 chips :)

To be totally honest, I think my first Intel PC's only has 640 KB of RAM.

YES KILOBYTES.  1 MB was the "top limit" for a PC back in dooose daaays.

Which was considered a huge amount and the maximum addressable without 
resident drivers!  (Man you are taking me BAAAAAACK!)  Ergh EMS and EMM 
drivers.  Shesh we've come a long way since then!

Trying the think back $800 for 2 MB was probably an little on the high 
side, but then I wholesaled and never really cared about the retail price.

>And around that time I felt very gratified
>to have a 20 MB hard ram with the 2 MB of ram on my puny little PC.

I'll bet!  And to think you didn't even have windows to gobble all that RAM 
up!  But did you have, what was it called?  Geowin or something like 
that?  The GUI that might have been, but wasn't.

>(But programming in an "EXT MEM" or the other vile memory mapper was
>completely and utterly brain damaging on the PC. Especially when I knew
>that *nix and DEC boxes ran fine with a flat 32-bit address space.)

DEC was a very different processor to the PC base Intels back then.  (Wow 
flashbacks in my head of x86 chipset internals flashing before my eyes!
  And my wife was telling me my son has taken a great interest in 
electronics and I'm tempted to bring out my FIRST 6502 PC and let him have 
a fiddle!  Ahh the Ohio Scientific Challenger 1P :)

I didn't do any unix in the early 80's wasn't until I had a need move from 
VMS System Manager, MultiDos and QNX to a more suitable platform in the 
mid/late 80s

I'll have to admit, I NEVER tried to program in the > 640K even though I 
eventually upgraded my 286 to 1 MB when MAXMEM memory manager came out 
:)  Getting all the resident TSR's I loved to write out of low memory was 
so cool!

>Back in 1984 I spent about $2500 for one of the first Macintoshes, i.e. the
>stand-alone floppy-only self-contained box.

Mac Classic?  I have two on my kitchen floor.  Both work fine.  Picked them 
up in a Council Cleanup last year ;)

>Put legs on it and it could have been one of the robots in Silent Running.

Hey now that's an interesting idea for all my old crud!

>My latest Mac is a quite powerful and wonderfully convenient Mac-mini, 
>purchased with all the add-ons (incl. 1 GB RAM) for less than half that price.

Of course you purchased the lower end machine and upgraded the ram, hard 
drive and added an external firewire/USB DVD burner right?

MacMini is such a cool design.  The mid priced machine (and prices went up 
this year) is a really good box, compared to a PC.  Of course for about 
$250 more you get a PC with 17" LCD, printer etc ...

I paid $2000 for a G4 Powerbook this year.  It seemed a reasonable price to 
stay within the G4 product range for compatibility and of course I'm a bit 
hesitant to move to the Intel based Apples - we've seen that before and it 
didn't last.

I'd have picked up two MacMini's but they aren't anywhere near as 
portable.  However If I had to buy a desktop workstation in the future, I 
seriously think the MacMini, even at the higher price compared to the 
wholesale PC stock I buy, is the way I'd choose.

I'm finding the hunble PC is getting a little big in the footprint and it's 
harder to find large sized shoe space in the desk.  Mind you, it's so easy 
to get yourself a Laptop with 1 GB or ram and a 1.6G or higher CPU and 17" 
LCD screen for around $1000 now too.

Unless you need for some unknown reason, a machine that requires it's own 
unconditional (like the three Celeron 2.8G boxes I put in as my new 
servers  for under $480 each, but the heat - man the heat!)

>And I am still amazed by the track record of my uni's old IBM 360 (and 
>subsequent Amdahl 370) that multitasked over 550 sumultaneous terminal 
>connections as well as ran Dept of Physics and Chemistry simulations in 
>the background. All using one CPU, 8 MB of core memory and drum (not disk) 
>for swapping.

Ahh but it wasn't running GIU :)  Shared terminal sessions are cheap!

>The disk units for the thing looked like washing machines and were famous 
>for marching across the machine room floor when overtaxed. Think platters 
>you could eat off.

Yep, got a few of those around here.  I have an RL06 on my front verandah 
:)  I've got some 300MB 8 platter disk packs around somewhere.  Maybe I'll 
fit them with fibre and turn them into table lamps?

Yes but I STILL have a DNS server that I built in 1990 running.  It's a 
386, with 1 MB of RAM and a 100 MB hard drive.  I'm STUNNED the hard drive 
still goes. It's only EVER been turned off for less than 80 hours in the 
entire time it's been commissioned.  I think it's still running Bind 4 or 
less :)

Sadly it's the last legacy server I have now.  I've moved 16 servers that 
ran an average load of around 75% onto two (mirrored) servers running even 
more stuff that before, with 1 Terabyte of Ram, and the CPU load is currently:

  02:54:15 up 10:54,  7 users,  load average: 2.00, 2.01, 2.00
  (Latest Linux)

The uptime is terrible. We had three 9 second power outs today and that's 
when I discovered the UPS on the server farm isn't acting like a UPS.  It's 
odd, it says the batteries are good and the other UPS's held fine.  <sigh>

>And you tell that to the kids of today and they don't believe ya!

Hey I'm about to give my Son my C1P!  It only has 8 x 2114 cmos memory 
chips in it :)  That's 8K bytes for those who don't known the chip 
numbers!  And it's just a 6502!  (Like the Apple IIE and the Apple IIc I 
have, but they have more memory, probably 64K.)

(I kept typing MB or M instead of K and then realised how ridiculous the 
figures looked!)

Rick, even *I* find it hard to believe the amount of memory we use these 
days for doing simple tasks.  OK sure, graphics and lots of colour on a 
screen takes up memory, but applications really don't need to be so all 

I write a lot of code in tiny blocks.  My Apache servers (on the new 
servers I have really loving!) have dozens of pre-loaded and loadable as 
needed modules I've been writing.  My entire Module library is barley 1 MB 
in size and most of what I've written is equal to an MS IIS server which 
consumes around 400 MBs of library code.

I guess I come from the era of sticking things in small spaces and it's 
something that I've never grown out of.  Even when setting up an SQL table, 
I'll be sparing on the field sizes and types.  I could just "INT" and 
"TEXT" everything but what's the point?

What else you got to reminisce about?

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