Monday 22 October 2012

Dobbin rides again

My first PC was an IBM PC, bought in 1983, and that's how we started S&S. But at some point, we acquired another PC, which was used in Data Recovery, and which was affectionately called "Dobbin" because it was used as a general purpose work horse.

Dobbin is an 8088 computer (or maybe an 8086, I don't remember, and I can't see the CPU chip). There's a full-length mono card (no graphics, just text), a Torus ethernet card (which doesn't have the modern plug-in type of connector so isn't much use now), and a 5 1/4 inch, full-height, 10 mb hard drive, and the full-length card to control it.

I tried three monitors before I found the one that worked. Dobbin tried to boot up, but didn't have a floppy drive. So I found an old 360 kb floppy drive, and that worked. Then I rooted out an old Dos 3.2 diskette, and Dobbin booted from that. This is the first time Dobbin has started up since 1990 or so. 22 years later, it started first time!

I also rooted out an old Hardcard, put that in, and was able to boot from that. I could run Lotus 123, and Turbo Pascal, and I read a few old documents I'd written. That Hardcard hasn't been used for 20 years, but that also worked perfectly first time.

And all this, was just to demonstrate that my old IBM PC keyboard, which I want to get back into use, still works. Which it does, very well!

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