Hot Computer Mail
Micro was a real-time operator and dedicated multi-user. His
broad-band protocol made it easy for him to interface with
numerous input/output devices, even if it meant
One evening he arrived home just as the sun was crashing, and
had parked his Motorola 68000 in the main drive (he had
missed the 5100 bus that morning), when he noticed an elegant
piece of liveware admiring the daisy wheels in his garden.
He thought to himself, "She looks user-friendly. I'll see if
she'd like an update tonight."
Mini was her name, and she was delightfully engineered with
eyes like COBOL and a Prime mainframe architecture that set
Micro's peripherals networking all over the place.
He browsed over to her casually, admiring the power of her
twin, 32-bit floating point processors and inquired "How are
you, Honeywell?" "Yes, I am well," she responded, batting
her optical fibers engagingly and smoothing her console over
her curvilinear functions.
Micro settled for a straight line approximation. "I'm
stand-along tonight," he said. "How about computing a vector
to my base address? I'll output a byte to eat, and maybe we
could get offset later on."
Mini ran a priority process for 2.6 milliseconds, then
transmitted "8K, I've been dumped myself recently, and a new
page is just what I need to refresh my disks. I'll park my
machine cycle in your background and meet you inside." She
walked off, leaving Micro admiring her solenoids and
thinking, "Wow, what a global variable. I wonder if she'll
like my firmware."
They sat down at the process table to a top-of-form feed of
fiche and chips and a bucket of Baudot. Mini was in
conversational mode and expanded on ambiguous arguments while
Micro gave occasional acknowledgements, although, in reality,
he was analyzing the shortest and least critical path to her
entry point. He finally settled on the old "Would you like
to see my benchmark subroutine," but Mini was again one step
Suddenly, she was up and stripping off her parity bits to
reveal the full functionality of her operating system
software. "Let's get BASIC, you RAM," she said. Micro was
loaded by this stage, but his hardware policing module had a
processor of its own and was in danger of overflowing its
output buffer, a hang-up that Micro had consulted his analyst
about. "Core," was all he could say.
Micro soon recovered, however, when she went down on the DEC
and opened her device files to reveal her data set ready. He
accessed his fully packed root device and was just about to
start pushing into her CPU stack, when she attempted an
"No, no!" she piped. "You're not shielded."
"Reset, Baby," he replied. "I've been debugged."
"But I haven't got my current loop enabled, and I can't
support child processes," she protested.
"Don't run away," he said, "I'll generate an interrupt."
"No, that's too error prone, and I can't abort because of my
Micro was locked in by this stage, though, and could not be
turned off. But she soon stopped his thrashing by
introducing a voltage spike into his main supply, whereupon
he fell over with a head crash and went to sleep.
"Computers," she thought as she compiled herself, "All they
ever think of is HEX."
End of list.
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