Signs of technological advance

If you\’ve got an old desktop computer with as little as 348MB of RAM, it could be fun and useful again with the help of Jolicloud.

As little as 384 MB of RAM?

Dang, I still recall the day my XT was upgraded to 640 kb.

17 thoughts on “Signs of technological advance”

  1. Looxory. I remmber when my flatmate’s computer was upgraded from 16k to 32k. And as far as basic tasks go today’s computers aren’t much better than that one was.


    (the group of “people who get both references” is limited, but I suspect higher here than in the general population).

    Remember the bit when, because MS-DOS was shonky, you upgraded your PC-type computer to 1mb and then had to designate the RAM over 640kb as “ENHANCED” or “EXTENDED” memory that was more-or-less treated by software as a disk?

  3. John B

    Thanks for that flashback, brings back memories of config.sys, autoexec.bat and wishing I had an Atari ST…..

  4. Any computer that old is worthless as it is on the point of failure.

    Let their corpses rot happily – frankenboxes are more trouble than they are worth.

  5. So Much For Subtlety

    I remember my first computer. And someone paying to upgrade its memory from 16k to 32.

    You could play some nice games on it too.

    BASIC kind of sucked though.

  6. Michael Jennings,

    That’s because Microsoft wrote it. Hey, it may have even contained some code that Bill Gates wrote himself.

    BASIC was originally developed in 1964.

  7. Luxury…

    The first computer I ever laid hands on (before the Sinclair ZX80 was released) was the schools RML 380z

    This was shared amongst all of the pupils of the school, but strangely enough only the geeks were allowed the programming disks.

    The school geeks (all 3 of us) were more interested in seeing what we could do with the machine. I remember writing a routine to dump out the lower memory and ooing and ahhing at the machine encoding.

    It wasn’t very long before I was programming my own very basic z80 assembly code routines to pop-and-push values into memory slots, make binary additions and subtractions to them and then printing out on the screen.

    Nowadays, this seems like something akin to the stone age, but then we felt like rocket scientists, no better still – gods.

    By the time WarGames came out some years later, we were all on our way to careers as IT specialists which have lasted our whole lives. We laughed at the stupid gimmicks, but understood the need to work the problem.

    Give me time, coffee and a CPU and the world’s problems could be solved we thought then.

    Naïve, sure – but isn’t that the thing about geeks – they trade their youth for knowledge.

    To this day, that still seems like a good trade.

  8. I’ve gone backwards. I started programming on a C64 with 64 kB of memory and 192 kB of storage. Now most of my coding is done on AVR devices with 0.5 to 4 kB of memory and 16 to 64 kw (kilowords) of storage. Clock speeds are roughly comparable though.

  9. So Much For Subtlety

    Michael Jennings – “That’s because Microsoft wrote it. Hey, it may have even contained some code that Bill Gates wrote himself.”

    Microsoft brought out one version of BASIC much later, but I think this computer may have predated their release.

  10. I like the AVR devices, too. I’m playing with 2048 bytes of RAM, 1024 bytes of EEPROM and 32256 bytes of storage (the other 512 being the boot loader). That’s enough to do some amazing things. I raided Radio Shack to get a bunch of 555 timers, passive components, LEDs etc. and I’ve been having a lot of fun interfacing the outside world to my Mac. My day job is writing enterprise software so it’s a relief to get back to basics. I haven’t delved into Atmel machine language yet, but it’s probably only a matter of time.

  11. My first computer was a ZX80 that already had the 8K ROM upgrade (but was still only 1K RAM).

    Some people did stonishing things on that, too. Psion once released a version of Chess that could play against you, in 1K. OK, so it couldn’t do castling or taking en passant, and it only looked one move ahead, but still…

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