Saturday, 5 June 2010

Some technology never dies - A lament for my AST computer

These days, when technology hardware only seems to last for a short time before it's out of date or becoming faulty, my AST Bravo LC P/100 computer stood out, quiet and proud.

It's sat on the office desk year after year chugging away in its own sweet time simply getting on with the job. Around it, other PCs have come, become unwell, caught nasty things, been fixed and finally been disposed of.

A new fangled laptop and LCD screen now adorn the office, concepts in their infancy or not even conceived when the AST was bought back in the steam driven pre internet, pre email days of 1995.

In its day, the AST was used for everything that a busy Guesthouse
required of it, letters, brochures, accounts etc etc. It's 8 megabytes of RAM ( that's 250 times smaller than a modern computer), later upgraded to a whopping 24MB - and diminutive hard drive coped perfectly with everything thrown at it. The P/100 I think meant Pentium 100.

How many computers are still running Windows 95? This AST is.

You couldn't burn CDs on it nor copy files via USB nor connect it to a modern network - because it hadn't got any such fancy things. This became a problem. When I finally decided that we really ought to be running on a higher spec computer, my database files were too large to copy onto floppy discs (remember those?).
Hours of trying to transfer files with a cross over cable connected to the modem port ( remember modems?) didn't work. Finally managed it using the Windows File Transfer Wizard and some old floppies dug out of our ancient business records in the loft.

So there we have it - suddenly, we didn't need the AST any more. It sits in the store room, still in perfect working order, awaiting me taking a lump hammer and cold chisel to its hard drive before off to the recycling centre.

The secret of why it just kept on working? It was very well made and I never connected it to the internet with all its viruses and massive security and program updates. If I had it would have had to go years ago.

So thank you Albert Wong, Safi Qureshey and Thomas Yuen (Credit wikipedia), you made me a great computer.

Goodbye old friend.

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