Feeds

Naked at 30: Osborne 1 stripped to its chips

He ain't heavy. He's my TV typewriter

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

Port authorities

If 30-year-old computer ports are of little interest to you, you might want to jump to the next page, where I'll show you the Osborne 1's logic board.

If, however, you feel a wee frisson when someone says "GPIB", here's a waltz down memory lane.

Osborne 1, second version - keyboard port

One of the second-generation Osborne 1's improvements was the coil-cord keyboard hookup (click to enlarge)

Osborne 1, second version - IEEE 488 port

When is a port not a port? When it's a IEEE 488 GPIB edge-card connector (click to enlarge)

Osborne 1, second version - battery port

An optional battery pack could be plugged into the front of the Osborne 1 (click to enlarge)

A year after the original Osborne 1 was announced at San Francisco Computer Faire, Adam Osborne used the same venue to introduce two upgrade options to his eponymous luggable. One was a double-density floppy upgrade – more on that in a minute – and the second was an external battery pack.

Called Portable Power, the battery weighed 4.6 pounds, retailed for $390, provided up to an hour of power, and was intended mostly as a backup power source in case of power failures, according to Osborne – the man, that is.

Osborne 1, second version - modem port

Despite what the raised lettering says, this isn't what your normally think of as a modem port (click to enlarge)

Another optional accessory for the Osborne 1 was a 300 baud (remember that term?) modem. The modem unit slipped into the bay beneath the left-hand floppy drive – usually used to house extra floppies – and plugged into the modem port. You plugged your phone line into a phone jack on the modem itself, and controlled the modem with bundled COMM-PAC software.

Osborne 1, second version - RS-232 port

The Osborne 1's Serial RS-232 port included helpful pin-number engravings (click to enlarge)

Osborne 1, second version - video port and reset button

The external video port could mirror the CRT on a non-composite TTL video monitor (click to enlarge)

Although the Osborne 1 could drive an external video monitor, I have never seen one hooked up. And as I discovered when performing an autopsy on this one – which I'll explain in a bit – I couldn't test this option, in any case.

That hefty Reset button, however, would have been a frequently used tool in the early days of software development.

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Apple takes blade to 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
Shaves price, not screen on mid-2014 model
iPhone 6 flip tip slips in Aussie's clip: Apple's 'reversible USB' leaks
New plug not compatible with official Type-C, according to fresh rumors
FEAST YOUR EYES: Samsung's Galaxy Alpha has an 'entirely new appearance'
Wow, it looks like nothing else on the market, for sure
YES YES YES! Apple patents mousy, pressure-sensing iVibrator
Fanbois prepare to experience the great Cupertin-O
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
TV transport tech, part 1: From server to sofa at the touch of a button
You won't believe how much goes into today's telly tech
Apple analyst: fruity firm set to shift 75 million iPhones
We'll have some of whatever he's having please
Things are looking up in Flappy Bird sequel
'Swing Copters' offers the same gameplay but in a different direction
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.