Saturday, April 15, 2006

Feeling old sometimes...

Feeling old sometimes.  Was reminded of that by this posting by Howard about trying to find a real PS/2 mouse (not a USB mouse with an adapter).  Made me think about some of the keyboards in a box I have that have the old “huge”  (on the left in the picture) AT style adapter.  How long has it been since I’ve had a computer that could use one of those (but I still hesitate to throw them away..)

I like to use analogies and not long ago – I was talking with two technical people and used what I thought was a perfect analogy.  It involved how extended memory (XMS) versus expanded memory (EMM) used to work in the olden days (back when 640k was standard, big even).  I remember how the EMM used a “window” and you could page your data into this window in 4-16k chunks.  It wasn’t easy to use in a program, but it could be done.  And the flat memory addressing of XMS versus the paging memory of EMM worked great for the analogy.

Anyway, one of the people I was talking with had sort of a quizzical look on their face – the other was nodding their head in agreement.  Then, the one that was agreeing laughed out loud after looking at their co-worker and said something to the effect “you do know that George here is 23 and has never heard of nor worked with any of this stuff you are talking about”.  I didn’t even think about that.  I remember spending many hours with Quarterdecks QEMM and their loadhi/devicehi tools to figure out the best way to pack my TSR’s (terminate and stay resident) programs and devices – without causing the machine to become highly unstable (moderately unstable I could live with).  Ah, the good old days.

Also, last night sitting in the Red Carpet club in Seattle waiting for my redeye back home, I read this post.  Too funny – I found myself wondering if I was sitting in the same chair as the guy that wrote it (he too was in the Seattle airport – but about 12 hours in front of me).  Really laughed at the two of everything comment in there – I do have two of everything so I never forget my toothbrush, razor, whatever.

But today, I am remembering why I never take redeyes.  If I just flew home in the morning – I’d be getting in just about now, and since I am just starting to feel normal again right now, it wasn’t necessarily worth getting home earlier.  


Blogger Roderick said....

I don't travel as much as I used to, but I do keep a little travel pack ready to go. It has an electric shaver, toothbrush, and trial size versions of any toiletries I might need. I should buy extra travel chargers for my laptop and cell phone though. I almost always find myself rushing back inside because I left one of them behind (and I don't know why I go over my mental checklist only after I've started the car).
All those memory management issues with PC-based OS'es is why I decided to concentrate on Unix.

Sat Apr 15, 05:35:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Beth said....

YES! I swear, it must be like a disaster-preparedness indoctrination that burns into business travelers' brains.

I used to travel ~40%. Even thought it's been over 3 years since I had that job I STILL keep a travel pack filled with toiletries/ibuprofen, and a laptop case with a 25-foot phone cord, universal power adaptor, and network cable, "just in case."

Pretty silly, really. I mean, as a university dba (now) how likely is it a project manager will ask me to fly to Belgium in two days?

Gotta love it!

Sat Apr 15, 08:45:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

EMM and are going way back Tom. I remember the time I think it was 1993 when I was writing assembly code for a diskette duplicator to make 6 copies of a 1.44MB source diskette. I wanted to read the source diskette once so I paged it into the extended memory (or was it called expanded memory?). So easy in assembly and all code will fit into a 32k EPROM. Thinking about that time, I have to get my Mbs and Gbs right. Was the Seagate drive really 20MB or was it 20GB? Then I remember that 20GB was unheard of in 1986. Is it even possible to extrapolate what next 20 years will do to the computers?

Sat Apr 15, 09:24:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

I STILL keep a travel pack filled with toiletries/ibuprofen,

Yes, I have the double of everything, carry the cables (whether I need them or not), every converter for plugs I might or might not need (did you know that some plugs in Zurich are different from the ones in Oslo - I did not, glad I had every adapter).

And I travel with a mini pharmacy. Nothing like being in a foreign country, in the drug store - trying to just find the cold medicine you are used to.

Everything is always in the suitecase, always.

so I paged it into the extended memory (or was it called expanded memory?).

If you were paging it in and out - it was likely expanded memory (EMM)..

The next 20 years, scary isn't it.

Sat Apr 15, 10:06:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Q u a d r o said....

Hey - i'm 24 but i remeber all this EMM/XMS stuff you are talking about. I spent plenty of time with that before Win 3.11 came to my desktop :-)

Sat Apr 15, 10:49:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Robbert said....

I actually have a small pile of old keyboards with DIN plugs lying around. Most of those are old enough to not even have caps-lock, and num-lock lights yet.

No modern keyboard types the way the old cherry keyboards do, so whenever I have the opportunity to get one, I'll bring it home in case my current keyboard breaks down.

To be honest, I should see if these keyboards work with both a DIN-PS2 and a PS2-USB adapter.

Sun Apr 16, 05:01:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

Quadro - that would have made you about 10 or 12 wouldn't it! 1994ish...

Not sure if I had ever even seen a computer in real life (besides pictures) at that point in my life...

Sun Apr 16, 06:41:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Q u a d r o said....

"Not sure if I had ever even seen a computer in real life (besides pictures) at that point in my life..."

My first home PC was Intel 386DX-40.

Back then i remeber myself playing around with Norton Utilities BE (batch enhancer) program writing some ".bat stuff". After that i moved to play around with FoxBase for DOS creating tests for my mom based on table data (i was about 14 years old at that point).

From 14 to 19 i became a "hardcore" C++ guy (i know you never liked that C++ stuff :-).

And from 19 i started to use Oracle Database (it was under HP-UX) and very quckly became a truly big fun of this RDBMS. Now i tend to spent 8 to 10 hours with Oracle RDBMS every day (can i say i became "addicted" by Oracle?).

But i completely missed up the "mainframe age".

Sun Apr 16, 07:32:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Bill S. said....

I actually still have a copy of QEMM/386 at home gathering dust. Seems that no-one needs it anymore :-D. I recall that my first O/S was actually Windows for Workgroups 3.1 (still have backup copies of the install diskettes for that one LOL).

We've come a long way.

Mon Apr 17, 08:39:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Rob H said....

Quadro, I'm so with you. I'm 27 and I used to love tweaking my 'config.sys' to try and pack all my devices so I could always have 600+k of free mem. Oh the good old days. The only time I had to use Expanded Memory was to rnu Lucas' Tie Fighter :D

as for the year of '93, I was already downloading pictures of the Sports Illustrated girls in BMP format across my 2400 bps modem.....

My mom would get SO ticked....

Mon Apr 17, 04:11:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Q u a d r o said....

So Tom - for you see you are not such an "oldish" guy :-)

Mon Apr 17, 10:54:00 PM EDT  


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