Electronic anthropology
Thursday November 10th 2011, 12:58 am
Filed under: Family,Life

I was working on a project I badly wanted to finish and block tonight when the phone rang.

Help Cecil help!

It took longer than it should have to get myself to respond, I’m a-comin’, Beanie Boy; I really wanted to…but I instantly knew: so much for that.

My car’s in the shop, he came home to get me, I had dinner ready, we bit into it and threw it out. So much for the quick prefab Costco dinner–I wonder what aisle it got moved to and then put back in their freezer. Or something. We scrounged and scrammed.

His office was being moved and the building was being vacated and everything had to be packed or tossed, and having someone there with zero emotional attachment to anything really speeds an awful job along–not to mention simply having someone else there pitching in. Call it a date night.

Tuesday’s picture of our grandson holding his lion tail was the screensaver on the monitor. Love it.

We’d done a lot, we were tired and slowing down, when he opened a bottom drawer.

Wait. What is this thing?

Oh, he told me, pulling it out and handing it to me, that’s a laptop.

Really?! (Opening it up. Or trying to. Fumble. There’s a latch like that? On an electronic…?) But, I asked him in confusion, it says Digital. (You know, DEC, the big computer company that went blooey before laptops were invented. The folks that moved us to California 24 years ago. Good people there back in the day, we miss them.)

No, they were invented already, and yes, they did call them notebooks, he assured me. (The thing says HiNote Ultra II.)  But they were nothing like today’s. Still. This was really cutting edge, he told me. (Well, yeah!) It was way lighter than anything else out there. It had a floppy drive you could take off, and it had an internal hard drive.

Did you work on this project?

Nah, not that machine…

Dang this thing is cute. (No emotional attachment, eh?)

(Here at home, I just weighed it: both pieces come to 4.4 lbs–we’d guessed five at least. The darker gray piece is the floppy drive.)

Does it still work?

Yeah, probably.  There’s that battery pack I just had you throw in the electronics trash down the hall.

I ran back down there. Irretrievable.  So much for that.

He pulled out a weird-looking plug: there you go.

I’ll probably take it back to that electronics bin tomorrow, but I just have to play with it a little first.  It was like a lost puppy (and I’ve lived in Silicon Valley too long, clearly). As someone who remembers watching the original Apple IIe in action, I had to see what this one looks like when it’s all lit up.

So far, given how wiped we both feel, I’ve only gotten to blogging about it. I keep wondering what its appeal was: maybe it was all in the pretty packaging. So ugly it’s cute. Note that I photographed it on the chair I inherited from my grandmother; gray and gray and age on age, it fit.

I know, give me a day and the novelty will wear off.

5 Comments so far
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What a fun little look… aside from the icky dinner. Those are never fun.

Comment by Channon 11.10.11 @ 7:48 am

Looks like Parker will be playing left tackle for the 49ers next year.

So ugly it’s cute? Steve Jobs would NEVER design something like that. We had an Apple lle.

Comment by Don Meyer 11.10.11 @ 10:34 am

Love your story…up to and including the Beanine and Cecil reference….did I ever tell you my maiden name?

Comment by Ruth 11.10.11 @ 10:41 am

We have quite a computer graveyard in our house. Branden can’t resist the call of an old computer promising to be good for something someday.

Comment by Erica 11.11.11 @ 4:47 pm

This story reminds me of when we were packing up my husband’s home office 7 years ago, preparatory to our move to our current home. I pulled a cardboard box out of his office closet, opened it up and found…what?? When I asked my beloved what the heck I was holding, he laughed and said it was a floppy disk. I’d never seen the like. When I’d started working with ‘puters, floppies were about 5 inches big. This thing was over 8 inches square and truly floppy. I’d never seen such a thing and my darling had no explanation as to why he still had a box full of them!

Old greeting card joke: Why is it hard for an aging woman to keep her computer workstation tidy?
Because it’s hard to keep her floppies off the desk!

That was a lot funnier 20 years ago, when it was just a concept…. 😉

Shirley (in gray, cloudy SW Ohio)

Comment by Shirley 11.24.11 @ 11:53 am

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