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  • Bruce H. McIntosh
    scotsman@afn.org
    Visit my work homepage
    Last revised Jun 10, 2017

    I am the operator
    Of my pocket calculator

    A Heterogeneous Agglomeration of Thisa and Thata


    Ok,so every self-respecting geek has to have some kind of catalog,bragsheet,paean to the muse of technology,whatever you want to call it. So,without further ado,here's mine.

    I've almost always had some kind of technological froofra around me. From childhood memories of the Teletype ASR-33 Dad had at home,right up until the present day and its piles of archaic laptops,fiercly-clung-to sound and video cards (Gravis Ultrasound, anyone?) and PCs running 24/7 all over the house... I get lonely without my little digital minions surrounding me,keeping the universal angst and bad vibes away. That said,I *do* still have something of a stick-in-the-mud Luddite streak in me - my road bike only got indexed shifting last summer,and I still use toe clips and straps.

    The Stuff I Use Pretty Much Every Day

    ...and lug around with me whether I use it or not!
    Home linux workstation
    2GHz AthlonXP 2400+,1GB RAM,80GB and 200GB ATA HD,DVD burner,GeForce 6200,24" HP widescreen LCD,Gentoo Linux
    Palm T|X
    In the face of the smart phone revolution,I cling tenaciously to my trusty TX. I like having a hires color screen that's big enough to read. In addtion to the lovely big screen,it has 128MB memory,SD slot (permanently stuffed with a 1GB card),bluetooth and wifi,good battery life,good sound quality... all the bells and whistles I want. I use it for the usual PDA things - calendar,phone book,to do list... I also have a bunch of MP3s and Palm ebook format novels loaded,along with several flavors of Bible. Here's what I use most often in the way of software:
    Sanyo SCP-3100 flip phone
    It's a phone. It makes phone calls,stores phone numbers,and displays occasional text messages. It's got a 640x480 camera,'cause you can't hardly get a phone without one. It's got good range,good voice quality,and good battery life. Since it's a flip phone,I can carry it in my pants pocket without my keys or pocketknife dialing random phone numbers as I walk. It doesn't do wifi,G3,or email; it doesn't play mp3s or teeny ultracompressed movies; it doesn't pretend to be a GPS receiver. It's a phone. And I like it that way. At least until Sprint offers an Android,or a Palm Pre becomes insanely affordable. Maybe.
    Kenwood TH-22AT 2 meter HT
    I've got to have some kind of ham radio gear with me everywhere.
    IBMLenovo Thinkpad T61
    This is my work laptop. Most of the other engineers in my group got Macbook Pros,but I got this guy 'cause it's got the same CPU and RAM and display and came in at half what Apple's contract price was for the MBP. And it's got the TrackPoint. I can't stand the scoot-your-finger mousepads; I'm never comfortable using them. I insist up on the TrackPoint. And the keyboard is wonderful. Granted,it's fairly hefty; it's also (thanks to that titanium cage inside the case) well night indestructible.
    Tandy Model 102
    I can live (barely) with the 40 column display and somewhat limited software. It's got really really long battery life,a great keyboard,and prettymuch armorplated durability. I use it for ham radio logging when I'm operating portable. It runs for about 16 hours straight on 4 AA batteries. Tough to beat that,though my latest acquisition (a Poqet PC (see below)) may someday dislodge the beloved M102...

    Stuff that's cool but that I don't use every day (or at all in some cases)

    Poqet PC
    This little gem is a fullblown PC XT running DOS 3.3 from ROM,and a whopping 512KB (yes, as in kilobytes of RAM. The kicker? It's about the size of a VHS video cassette, and runs for 24 hours straight on a pair of AA batteries. And it's got a readable (in good light - need one of those IttyBitty Book Lights for night use) 80x25 screen. Downside? It uses somewhat-scarce 3V PCMCIA SRAM cards for rw media. Gotta find me a couple of them before the thing is really useful to me.
    IBM Thinkpad 600E
    My first laptop at my current job was a 600E. I loved the combination of decent power for the time, a great display, and a really good keyboard (a Thinkpad hallmark). It ran whatever flavor of linux I cared to run and pretty much just plain worked. I rescued this one from the throwaway pile at work. It needs a new keyboard, which I have in a box in the garage.
    HP Omnibook 600CT
    This was a cool little 486 laptop that had the tethered mouse that popped out the side. It's small; it has a decent keyboard; it runs Windows98, Win95 or DOS (it'll run linux but apparently has some personality quirks that make that a difficult proposition). Mine needs a new battery pack.
    Sharp Zaurus SL-5500
    I had such high hopes for this linux-based PDA. The screen is flat dazzling, the thumbstyle keyboard works well, and with CF and SD slots it's infinitely (well sort of) expandable. It's a marvelous book reader, wireless web browser, mp3 player, video player, game machine (I can run Doom on it! :-) ),but,thanks to braindead organizer software,it's a lousy PDA. I replaced the Sharp supplied software with OpenZaurus but to no avail; the calendar and to-do list software just don't compare to DateBook 5 on PalmOS. Still,I lug it around and read the occasional book or play games on it.