What does IBM compatible mean?

What does IBM compatible mean?

When you hear someone over the age of 50 talk about computers, or read old computer magazines from the 1980s, you may hear or see the phrase IBM compatible, or less commonly, PC compatible. What does IBM compatible mean? What does PC compatible mean? I’ll explain.

These phrases sound a bit odd today. After all, IBM made its last personal computer in 2003. And isn’t every PC just a PC? It wasn’t always. And that’s why we used to make a distinction.

Read more

Commodore Plus 4 and Commodore 16

Commodore Plus 4 and Commodore 16

Dan Bowman kindly pointed me to former Commodore engineer Bil Herd’s discussion of the ill-fated Commodore TED machines on Hackaday. Here in the States, few remember the TED specifically, but some people may remember that oddball Commodore Plus 4 that closeout companies sold for $79 in 1985 and 1986. The Commodore Plus 4 was one of those TED machines. So was the Commodore 16.

What went wrong with those machines? Commodore miscalculated what the market was doing. The TED was a solution to too many problems, and ended up not solving any of them all that well. Read more

AOL history

AOL history

AOL, also known as America Online, wasn’t the first online service. But it became the biggest and most popular one. For many people of a certain age, AOL was their first experience with a modem, or with the Internet. Let’s take a look back at AOL history and how its legacy affects things even today.

AOL long had a reputation as a place where inexperienced, unsophisticated computer users hung out, but the company had a long streak of innovation and was ahead of its time in many regards. I’ll bet you had no idea the history of America Online begins way back in 1983. And you may also be surprised to hear the company still exists, though in a different form, even today.

Read more

What was the Y2K problem and what was the solution?

What was the Y2K problem and what was the solution?

Hang around enough people like me who’ve been in IT for decades and eventually the Y2K problem comes up. But what was the Y2K problem? What was the solution? And was the problem overblown?

I was in an odd position. I argued in 1999 and 2000 that any problems we had would be relatively minor. But I don’t think the efforts to fix Y2K were overblown. I may be in the minority opinion on that but I’ll explain.

Read more

Cleaning NES games and consoles

Cleaning NES games and consoles

Anyone old enough to have played with an original Nintendo NES knows the problem: You plug in the cartridge, turn on the system, and get a blank screen and the power light blinks at you. The schoolyard fix is to take out the cartridge, blow into it, then put it back into the system. Then, with a little luck, you can play your game. The trouble is, that’s just a short-term fix. In the long run, it makes the problem worse and eventually the system can’t play games at all. The solution is to clean them. Here’s a process for cleaning NES games.

Read more

WordPress Appliance - Powered by TurnKey Linux