August 20, 2001-- Newsletter #144

By Joe Burns

Goodies to Go (tm)
August 20, 2001--Newsletter #144

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Greetings, Weekend Silicon Warriors,

How much would you spend for something on Ebay? I am a huge fan of Delta Blues music and a 78 from Robert Johnson is coming to an end on Ebay. The current bid is over $1500.00. If it's real, it's a once in a lifetime chance. Most sources say that only 15 to 30 copies even exist. If this was in a store or I was buying it in person from a collector, I'd jump all over it. It's just that it's on Ebay, you know?

I'll finish writing this newsletter while my copy of "The Complete Vocalion Recordings" plays in the background to boost my courage.

Did you hear...

If you're a fan of Christian music, you can now break out of the copyright concerns of streaming your favorite music. For $14 a month, you can download what you'd like from the EMI Christian Music Group thanks to Make sure your cookies are enabled when you go. The site needs them to run.

Look out Gateway country - The Apple Store just opened up in the Mall of America. Take a trip and check it out, or don't. Apple expects to open 24 more within a year.

Even with the merger, AOL will be cutting "hundreds" of jobs to meet their financial expectations. The lay-offs should come before the end of the month.

CNN is reporting that the U.S. government spent 6.2 million to allow overseas soldiers to vote online. The experiment netted 84 votes. Do the math - it's pushing $74,000 per vote. Critics are starting to make their opinions known.

Have you hear about the couple making it known that they will name their child after a corporate logo for a half a million dollars? These are the times when I wish I had all the money in the world. I'd just have to pay and get that kid named "Goodies".

Now onto today's topic...

Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday dear PC
Happy birthday to you.

Well, the PC is 20 years old according to all those that matter. That means in just another year, it'll be legal to drink.

The IBM PC was "born" in Boca Raton, Florida when Bill Lowe convinced the top people at IBM to build computers for the end user. The computers would be composed of parts bought from other companies, which was rather odd to IBM at the time. It's also the reason you see so much open hardware standards when it comes to IBMs. There are a few IBM knock-offs to say the least. The personal computer made Intel a rather rich company.

Bill Gates and Paul Allen convinced Big Blue to use their basic formatting and operating system. The rest, as they say, is history.

The first PC, nicknamed "the acorn," contained a charging 4.77 MHz Intel 8088 microprocessor. The RAM was a standard 16 kilobytes. Of course it was expandable...right up to 256k. You could have one or two 160k floppy disk drives. The monochrome monitor came standard, but one could upgrade to the amber- chrome or a color monitor.

All of this for the low, low price of around $1500. In today's prices, that's somewhere around four grand.

You can't have a birthday without a party, so the PC world threw one. Last Wednesday, those who received an invitation gathered for a wonderful PC birthday party.

Here are some of the highlights from that party:

When everyone arrived, the Apple people seemed confused proclaiming they had been around for a while wondering when everyone else would show up.

Cake was served on 5 and a quarter inch disks. Those in attendance couldn't find much else of a need for them.

Wang, Tandy, and Amiga were sat next to Jugdish, Sidney, and Mohammad.

The cake was beautiful. Everyone was surprised when a young lady jumped out. Where her bikini was supposed to be, it simply read, "data missing". It was very exciting.

The presents were given later on. They were peripherals mainly. The problem was each time the PC was given a new gift, someone else would give the same thing proclaiming his or hers was faster, or better, or something.

Some of the presents made the PC least the screen.

We all played pin the floppy on the iMAC. There wasn't anywhere else to put it, so we just pinned it on.

The one unpleasant part of the night was when a drunk 386 proclaimed Big Blue was a "big phony" and that he could beat Kasparov any day of the week.

Many at the party asked why the woman had to throw the hammer in that Super Bowl commercial, breaking the big TV and ruining such a good thing.

The desktops, laptops, and PDAs all posed for lovely family pictures.

Pentium 75s and 100s assured one another that they weren't getting obsoleter, they were getting better. They also said something about a fine wine.

One funny part of the evening was when someone taped a sign to the back of an IBM Think Pad that read, "Upgrade Me".

A lot of the PCs that attended the party were out of work so a great deal of networking was going on.

Everyone was enjoying the party until that Gates kid showed up. Man, he has to run everything.

A Gateway was hung from the ceiling while smaller computers with their monitors disconnected hit it with sticks. Everyone loved it when colorful transistors fell out everywhere.

A few 486 computers came dressed in corsets and riding on a horse and buggy saying something about it being 1901.

The party finally shut down by everyone pushing their collective START buttons.


That's that. Thanks for reading.

Joe Burns, Ph.D.

And remember: A big blood drive is underway around my neck of the woods. When you go to give blood, here are some facts that will show the person with the needle that you know what you're talking about. The most common blood type is "O". The most rare is AB. If you factor in the Rh factor, AB Rh-negative becomes the most rare blood type. It is estimated that only 1 percent of people have this blood type. It's been suggested that here in the U.S., only five percent of our citizens donate blood. That funny, since we all have so much to give. The average male has 12 pints gushing around while the average female has about nine pints coursing through 60,000 miles of blood vessels.

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