So here I am at work (yes, on a Saturday) trying to resurrect our mail server which appears to have been a victim of the recent storms. For reasons unknown, even though it’s connected to a UPS, we had a brief power cut and two out of the three hard drives in its RAID array died. A support call to Dell is pending but in the mean time I’m setting up another box to take its place.
As you can imagine it’s a fun job but watching progress bars of varying forms complete their tasks can only hold your interest for so long. And I’ve read all my blog feeds in FeedDemon, played Pizza Frenzy, Bejeweled 2 and Zuma to death, drunk enough Tassimo produced “liquid” to have me up all night peeing and I’ve tidied my desk.
Ok, so I’m lying about the last one. But anyway, I was out of things to do and I know what you’re thinking, why don’t you actually do some work work whilst waiting for the server to install? Ha, don’t be silly, that would be a constructive thing to do and I can’t possibly do two constructive things on a Saturday.
So I needed something else to do and went to look in the place. Yes, the place, every office has one. Even yours. What is the place? Well, it’s were “crap that nobody uses any more but want to keep just in case we do need it” is stored and in this case, it’s the desk opposite me. On it and under it at the moment are:
- A 17” CRT monitor (TFT’s FTW!)
- An OKI A4 letter printer (that sounds like a machine gun when running)
- A Lexmark black and white laser printer (that has the most annoying out of paper beep ever)
- A paper shredder that only works in reverse (kinda looks like it’s vomiting paper back up, very cute)
- A PS/2 keyboard
- A fan heater
- A Dell Dimension 4100 with Pentium 3 processor! (and Windows 98 Second Edition)
- A second non-descript Dell tower
- A cardboard box containing another fan heater and some misc wires
- A plant pot which had the remains of the office plant in that died because nobody watered it
- And finally an IBM Personal Computer XT
An IBM XT. One and half tons worth of Personal Computer with 4.77Mhz of pure processing muscle, a gigantic 128kb of RAM and a whopping 10MB hard drive. And! A colour screen.
A billion pounds worth of XT’s circa 210 BC
It’s almost, but not quite as old as me. A bit ago we’d moved stuff round the office and this got put in the place. Whilst faffing with it we went though it’s old floppies (of the 5 and quarter inch variety) and found old DOS copies of our software, but more importantly disks with games on.
Two disks from the riveting, I’m sure, PC Plus, Issue 54 February 1991, had been overwritten with an innocuous looking “Chess” game. So I fired the beast up (lots of hand cranking and billowing of steam followed). After 5 minutes of booting up (some things haven’t got any better) I had a DOS prompt where I quickly copied across 600kb’s worth of Chess goodness.
Imagine my surprise when I ran chess.exe and saw this:
It wasn’t just any chess game, it was Battle Chess in all its CGA glory (not VGA as shown here)! Amazing stuff. It even had PC speaker sound effects, which now sounds like a cat being put through a mangle (I know from experience), but was the height of sophistication back then.
Surely this would help pass the time? Unfortunately not since I’m still as crap at chess as I was nearly 20 years ago and promptly lost within 5 moves…