IBM images... (column) Susan Glinert-Cole.
Last month I recall bemoaning the fact that my predecessor's desk, as opposed to my own, was probably overloaded with all manner of interesting items. In what must have been a fit of malicious glee, Will indulged in some thorough housecleaning. The end result of this arrived on my doorstep this week. The UPS deliveryman's back is improving every day, and he will be out of the hospital next week. The dining room has once again lost its epicurean elegance and has taken on an appearance usually associated with second-hand furniture stores.
There is an unexpected benefit to this situation; a typical social conversation now goes something like this: "We'd love to have you over for dinner next Friday; I hope you don't mind
eating on the floor ..." If the other party is on the ball, the response is "Um, well, why don'
you guys come over here instead?"
So far we haven't had to do any baseboard entertaining, in fact, we haven't had to do any entertaining at all. Half of our friends commiserate with us in our loss of the dining room and and the other half is afraid to visit lest they fall into a box of arcade games. I have assured everyone that we will honor our social backorders just as soon as I can get around to reviewing all that stuff. I think 1995 will be a real busy year for dinner parties.
In addition to the entire contents of Will's garage, a few quality utilities also arrived, and are well worth reviewing in detail; I will say a few intelligent words about a little-known aspect of the p-System, and wind up with a convenient method of labelling function keys. Before I get to these items, there is first ... The Big News of the Month
In case you have been worrying that IBM hasn't been keeping up with planned obsolecence, take heart. Your PC has become last year's good news, and DOS 1.1 is now another item for the yearly yard sale. (Our yard sale this year will unquestionably be the most unique in the history of South Windham Maine.)
IBM has announced its newest version of the Personal Computer, the XT. The XT is, at heart, a PC, but sports such built-in features as a 10Mb hard disk (referred to as a fixed disk), 128K of memory, one dual-sided floppy disk drive, and an asynchronous communications adapter. The system unit housing of the XT has the same exterior appearance as the PC, but inside there are eight expansion slots, three of which come occupied by the floppy disk, hard disk, and asynch adapters. The cost of this wonderful system is (sigh) $4995.
Before you start gnashing your teeth and wishing you had waited just two weeks longer to purchase your computer, there wer some more announcements at the press conference which will remove at least some of the sting from your semi-obsoleseced unti. First, expansion units are now available for both the PC and the XT. The expansion unit for both computers comes with a 10Mb hard disk and eight expansion slots. Of these eight, six will accept ful size option cards and two will take only smaller cards. Two of the six full size slots come alredy equipped with the hard disk adapter and the card which interfaces the system unit with the expansion unit. (Don't forget that one slot in the main system unit also needs an interface card.)
This leaves four full size and two less-than-full-size slots for you to fill up with an interesting assortment of option cards. The smaller slots will accommodate the IBM printer, asynchronous communications, game or prototype boards. The expansion units may not contain memory cards, main display adapters or diskette adapters, since the expansion unit accepts two hard disk drives onl