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My Tech History in a Museum
A person can start to feel old when seeing what used to be cutting edge technology ensconced in a museum display case. I used an 8” floppy disk (80-256k of storage) to write the business plan for my first company on a Bain & Company IBM Displaywriter word processing workstation. Then, after we got some seed money, my Compaq luggable had a 5.25” floppy drive (360-720k), alongside its very cool 20Mb hard drive. (I didn’t get the 40Mb drive because, after all, who would ever need so much disk space, and besides, it added $1,000 to the cost of the $4,500 machine — that’s 1985 dollars, folks). And finally, the disk at the bottom of Paris’ Musée des Arts et Métiers display window is a 3.5” rigid floppy (720-1400k), a feature of my first Compaq laptop in the late 1980’s.
Apple pioneered the 3.5” disk, and, in a bit of Jobsian hubris, one day announced that it would no longer sell machines using 5.25” floppies. People screamed for a few months, as they are doing now while Apple transitions to the Lightning connector for the iPhone 5 and the latest iPad, but the new product was so clearly superior to the old one that after a brief while, the old disks were consigned to, well, museums.
Message to the young out there: You are not immune to the above. In three or four years, people will be asking you if, when you were a student, the hard drive in your computer really had spinning disks in it.
August 14, 2013
Breaking: Of Crips and Bloods and Memories of Ghetto Parties
History repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce, or sometimes it just repeats itself. From the New York Times on November 30, 1998: At Dartmouth College, white students at a ”ghetto party” dressed…
June 25, 2013
Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson’s War on Students Part (2/2)
Part 1, Part 2 Today’s post again recounts the events that befell the Freshman. However, the content of the Hanover Police department report reproduced in this space yesterday is supplemented by information from my own…
October 18, 2009
When Love Beckoned in 52nd Street
We were at San Francisco’s BIX last evening, enjoying prosecco, cheese, and a bit of music. A full year of inhabitation in Northern California has unraveled to me no decent venue for proper lounging, but…
October 9, 2009
D Afraid of a Little Competish
So our colleague and Dartblog writer Joe Asch informed me that the D has rejected our cunning advertising campaign. Uh-oh. The Dartmouth is widely known as a breeding ground for instant New York Times successes,…
September 4, 2009
How Regents Should Reign
As Dartmouth alumni proceed through the legal hoops necessary to defuse a Board-packing plan—which put in unhappy desuetude an historic 1891 Agreement between alumni and the College guaranteeing a half-democratically-elected Board of Trustees—it strikes one…
August 29, 2009
Election Reform Study Committee
If you are an alum of the College on the Hill, you may have received a number of e-mails of late beseeching your input for a new arm of the College’s Alumni Control Apparatus called…