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Re: [midatlanticretro] historical? - Zenith minisPORT laptop

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  • Jim Scheef
    The Netbook form-factor from before the net (or small hard drives). Jim
    Message 1 of 15 , Mar 5, 2010
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      The Netbook form-factor from before the net (or small hard drives).

      Jim

      Evan Koblentz wrote:
      >
      >
      > Mildly.
      >
      > ---------------------------------------------
      > > Historical or not? This laptop has a 2" disk drive, manuf around 1990,
      > > DOS 3.3 in ROM, LCD, 80c86 cpu.
      > >
      > > http://vintagecomputer.net/browse_thread.cfm?id=323
      > <http://vintagecomputer.net/browse_thread.cfm?id=323>
      > >
      > > Bill
      >
    • Evan Koblentz
      But only one of many, and not even close to the first. That s why I say mildly .
      Message 2 of 15 , Mar 5, 2010
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        But only one of many, and not even close to the first. That's why I say
        "mildly".

        ---------------------------------------------
        > The Netbook form-factor from before the net (or small hard drives).
        >
        > Jim
        >
        > Evan Koblentz wrote:
        >
        >>
        >>
        >> Mildly.
        >>
        >> ---------------------------------------------
        >>
        >>> Historical or not? This laptop has a 2" disk drive, manuf around 1990,
        >>> DOS 3.3 in ROM, LCD, 80c86 cpu.
        >>>
        >>> http://vintagecomputer.net/browse_thread.cfm?id=323
      • Bill Degnan
        It s more historic because it s one of the few laptops with a 2 disk drive. The size is not anything special at all, it s the same as most LCD laptops of the
        Message 3 of 15 , Mar 5, 2010
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          It's more historic because it's one of the few laptops with a 2" disk
          drive. The size is not anything special at all, it's the same as most LCD
          laptops of the era. I don't know of any other laptops that had a 2" disk
          drive, does anyone?
          bd

          -------- Original Message --------
          > From: "Evan Koblentz" <evan@...>
          > Sent: Friday, March 05, 2010 12:22 PM
          > To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
          > Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] historical? - Zenith minisPORT laptop
          >
          > But only one of many, and not even close to the first. That's why I say

          > "mildly".
          >
          > ---------------------------------------------
          > > The Netbook form-factor from before the net (or small hard drives).
          > >
          > > Jim
          > >
          > > Evan Koblentz wrote:
          > >
          > >>
          > >>
          > >> Mildly.
          > >>
          > >> ---------------------------------------------
          > >>
          > >>> Historical or not? This laptop has a 2" disk drive, manuf around
          1990,
          > >>> DOS 3.3 in ROM, LCD, 80c86 cpu.
          > >>>
          > >>> http://vintagecomputer.net/browse_thread.cfm?id=323
          >
          >
          > ------------------------------------
          >
          > Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
        • Evan Koblentz
          Just because something is a mutant doesn t make it historic. If some kid is born with 19 arms, that doesn t make him an important part of human evolutionary
          Message 4 of 15 , Mar 5, 2010
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            Just because something is a mutant doesn't make it historic. If some
            kid is born with 19 arms, that doesn't make him an important part of
            human evolutionary history.

            In a many centuries from now, Bill Degnan the 19th will post to a list
            and write, "But that kid was the only one with 19 arms! I don't know of
            any others. I best blog about it...." :)

            ---------------------------------------------
            > It's more historic because it's one of the few laptops with a 2" disk drive. The size is not anything special at all, it's the same as most LCD laptops of the era. I don't know of any other laptops that had a 2" disk drive, does anyone?
          • Bryan Pope
            ... But in the VHS vs Beta war, wasn t Beta important? This laptop was trying to go up against the 3 1/2 disk. Beta lost even though it has better quality
            Message 5 of 15 , Mar 5, 2010
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              On 3/5/2010 12:43 PM, Evan Koblentz wrote:
              Just because something is a mutant doesn't make it historic.  If some 
              kid is born with 19 arms, that doesn't make him an important part of 
              human evolutionary history.
              
              In a many centuries from now, Bill Degnan the 19th will post to a list 
              and write, "But that kid was the only one with 19 arms!  I don't know of 
              any others.  I best blog about it...."   :)
                
              But in the VHS vs Beta war, wasn't Beta important?  This laptop was trying to go up against the 3 1/2" disk.  Beta lost even though it has better quality video.  This lost even though it could hold more data.

              Cheers,

              Bryan

              ---------------------------------------------
                
              It's more historic because it's one of the few laptops with a 2" disk drive.  The size is not anything special at all, it's the same as most LCD laptops of the era.  I don't know of any other laptops that had a 2" disk drive, does anyone?
                  
              
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            • Jeffrey Frady
              My ASUS EEE 701 is vintage! $10,000 on eBay. ... -- See you space cowboy...
              Message 6 of 15 , Mar 5, 2010
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                My ASUS EEE 701 is vintage!

                $10,000 on eBay.

                On Fri, Mar 5, 2010 at 12:43 PM, Evan Koblentz <evan@...> wrote:
                 

                Just because something is a mutant doesn't make it historic. If some
                kid is born with 19 arms, that doesn't make him an important part of
                human evolutionary history.

                In a many centuries from now, Bill Degnan the 19th will post to a list
                and write, "But that kid was the only one with 19 arms! I don't know of
                any others. I best blog about it...." :)

                ---------------------------------------------
                > It's more historic because it's one of the few laptops with a 2" disk drive. The size is not anything special at all, it's the same as most LCD laptops of the era. I don't know of any other laptops that had a 2" disk drive, does anyone?




                --
                See you space cowboy...
              • Bill Degnan
                ... of ... But that was not my point. I was saying, IF this system were historic, it s not because it s a mini laptop as Jim Sheef said. It s no smaller than
                Message 7 of 15 , Mar 5, 2010
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                  -------- Original Message --------
                  > From: "Bryan Pope" <bryan.pope@...>
                  > Sent: Friday, March 05, 2010 1:08 PM
                  > To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
                  > Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] historical? - Zenith minisPORT laptop
                  >
                  > On 3/5/2010 12:43 PM, Evan Koblentz wrote:
                  > > Just because something is a mutant doesn't make it historic. If some
                  > > kid is born with 19 arms, that doesn't make him an important part of
                  > > human evolutionary history.
                  > >
                  > > In a many centuries from now, Bill Degnan the 19th will post to a list
                  > > and write, "But that kid was the only one with 19 arms! I don't know
                  of
                  > > any others. I best blog about it...." :)
                  > >
                  > But in the VHS vs Beta war, wasn't Beta important? This laptop was
                  > trying to go up against the 3 1/2" disk. Beta lost even though it has
                  > better quality video. This lost even though it could hold more data.
                  >

                  But that was not my point.

                  I was saying, IF this system were historic, it's not because it's a mini
                  laptop as Jim Sheef said. It's no smaller than others of it's day. The
                  only thing that could possibly make this a minor footnote in history is the
                  fact that it had the 2" drives.

                  My original question, which I believe has been answered, is - Is that
                  enough to be "historic" / "vintage". It's from 1989/90 so it's on the
                  fence years-wise in our context.

                  Side note - the 2" drive had more capacity than the 3.5 disk, despite what
                  they say in Wikipedia. I tested the drive myself, it's 812K.

                  Bill
                • Ray Sills
                  Once upon a time, I had a a music sampler that used a 2 drive (Akai S-612)). However, the disks used were quick disks .. It was an experiment to make an
                  Message 8 of 15 , Mar 5, 2010
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                    Once upon a time, I had a a music sampler that used a 2" drive (Akai
                    S-612)). However, the disks used were "quick disks"..
                    It was an experiment to make an easy-to-use fast loading storage
                    system. The disks were designed so that you could flip them over and
                    use either side to save data. The limitation was that the disks would
                    only hold 64K. That was OK for the intended use, and I think the hope
                    was that the format would be useful for the "home" computers of the
                    day. But, the format never caught on.

                    I think the design of the disk was that it did not use a director or
                    FAT.. but rather, started the recording track at the hub, and spiraled
                    outward. The user would dump the entire 64K content at one time..
                    either saving or loading. The data tracks were large enough that the
                    mechanical aspects of the drive could easily track the spiral. It was
                    meant to be simple and inexpensive.

                    And, it was fairly quick.. the 64K dump would only take about 10
                    seconds or so to transfer. Way faster than a cassette interface,
                    which is what a lot of gear of the time was using. The Ensoniq Mirage
                    sampler was a big step forward for the time, using single sided 3.5"
                    floppy disks, and due to the increased capacity, coupled with the DOS-
                    like ability to select individual files (samples), became a hit in the
                    marketplace.

                    73 de Ray
                  • Dan Roganti
                    just making some remarks about the distinction... Evan Koblentz wrote: Just because something is a mutant doesn t make it historic. The smaller drive form
                    Message 9 of 15 , Mar 5, 2010
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                      just making some remarks about the distinction...

                      Evan Koblentz wrote:
                      Just because something is a mutant doesn't make it historic.  

                      The smaller drive form factor which demonstrated a better storage density is an innovation not a mutant. Their LCD laptop may be an example of another mutant of that period but you can't dismiss the innovation.

                      If some kid is born with 19 arms, that doesn't make him an important part of 
                      human evolutionary history.
                      
                      In a many centuries from now, Bill Degnan the 19th will post to a list 
                      and write, "But that kid was the only one with 19 arms!  I don't know of 
                      any others.  I best blog about it...."   :)
                      
                      ---------------------------------------------
                        
                      It's more historic because it's one of the few laptops with a 2" disk drive.  The size is not anything special at all, it's the same as most LCD laptops of the era.  I don't know of any other laptops that had a 2" disk drive, does anyone?
                          


                      =Dan
                      http://www.vintagecomputer.net/ragooman/
                      

                    • David
                      I m glad this came back up, as I have been meaning to respond to this. I have one of these, and I HAD one back in 1992, which I purchased on clearance from a
                      Message 10 of 15 , Mar 6, 2010
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                        I'm glad this came back up, as I have been meaning to respond to this. I have one of these, and I HAD one back in 1992, which I purchased on clearance from a company through "Computer Shopper." I believe I paid about $299 for it. It's not significant in the history of personal computers, nor specifically the laptop, but I still find it very interesting. I had long given mine away, so I then starting looking for one a few years ago, and got one off of eBay.

                        So, I guess the better word for it is - collectible. It's very collectible, because it's unique enough and interesting. Not only does it have the unique 2" disk drive, but it could also have one or two meg of RAM, which you could allocate part of as a RAM drive. It also booted DOS 3.3 from ROM, plus, it has a very cool version of LapLink (I'm pretty sure that's the brand) in ROM, where you can just connect it to another computer, and transfer across to it, so you can then begin transferring files. I was in college part-time, and I was taking a course in both Lotus 1-2-3 and dBase III+. I purchased the computer to do my work at home, instead of at the lab (I had a Mac at home). I was able to copy the programs off of one of the lab computers to my minisPORT, shhhhhh. I only used the software for those courses.

                        This is a unique and proud part of my collection, along side at least two other, non-significant, but very cool computers -
                        the Canon Navigator
                        http://www.museo8bits.com/navigator.htm

                        and the Convergent Technologies WorkSlate
                        http://www.vintagecomputer.net/convergent/

                        I also used to see those advertised for about $1200 or so in the same timespan in "Computer Shopper."


                        Best,

                        David Greelish

                        www.ClassicComputing.com
                        The Home of Computer History Nostalgia

                        The Classic Computing Show podcast

                        Stan Veit's History of the Personal Computer
                        audio book podcast

                        The Classic Computing Expo
                        (planning / working towards summer 2010)
                      • Jim Scheef
                        The 2 drive was an attempt at a more portable computing environment when floppies were still an important storage medium. Unfortunately Zenith did nothing
                        Message 11 of 15 , Mar 7, 2010
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                          The 2" drive was an attempt at a more "portable" computing environment when floppies were still an important storage medium. Unfortunately Zenith did nothing to help owners get their data off the 2" floppy and onto their primary computer - their desktop. The reverse was also true so installing applications on the 2" floppy was also a problem. Like so many early laptops, this machine was an misconceived, poorly marketed and poorly supported experiment. Does that make it historic? Like Evan said - sorta. Is it collectible? Certainly, if this is what interests you, then add it to your collection! Of course it would be nice if it comes with a few of those hard to find 2" disks.

                          Jim

                          On 3/5/2010 9:34 PM, Dan Roganti wrote:
                           


                          just making some remarks about the distinction. ..

                          Evan Koblentz wrote:

                          Just because something is a mutant doesn't make it historic.  

                          The smaller drive form factor which demonstrated a better storage density is an innovation not a mutant. Their LCD laptop may be an example of another mutant of that period but you can't dismiss the innovation.
                        • Jim Scheef
                          David, Hooray for anyone who collects what s/he finds interesting irrespective of 10 year rules or any other arbitrary criteria. Collectible is not equal to
                          Message 12 of 15 , Mar 7, 2010
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                            David,

                            Hooray for anyone who collects what s/he finds interesting irrespective of 10 year rules or any other arbitrary criteria. Collectible is not equal to historic and historic does not define collectible.

                            I had not read your message when I responded to Dan and Evan and did not know about the embedded Laplink. HP did the same thing a few years later in the Omnibook 300/425/435 series and Laplink may have been embedded in more machines. The concept still existed as recently as WinXP (not sure about Vista or 7). Perhaps the MiniSport was the first? Maybe it is historic just a little bit more than sorta.

                            Jim

                            On 3/6/2010 10:47 AM, David wrote:
                             



                            I'm glad this came back up, as I have been meaning to respond to this. I have one of these, and I HAD one back in 1992, which I purchased on clearance from a company through "Computer Shopper." I believe I paid about $299 for it. It's not significant in the history of personal computers, nor specifically the laptop, but I still find it very interesting. I had long given mine away, so I then starting looking for one a few years ago, and got one off of eBay.

                            So, I guess the better word for it is - collectible. It's very collectible, because it's unique enough and interesting. Not only does it have the unique 2" disk drive, but it could also have one or two meg of RAM, which you could allocate part of as a RAM drive. It also booted DOS 3.3 from ROM, plus, it has a very cool version of LapLink (I'm pretty sure that's the brand) in ROM, where you can just connect it to another computer, and transfer across to it, so you can then begin transferring files. I was in college part-time, and I was taking a course in both Lotus 1-2-3 and dBase III+. I purchased the computer to do my work at home, instead of at the lab (I had a Mac at home). I was able to copy the programs off of one of the lab computers to my minisPORT, shhhhhh. I only used the software for those courses.

                            This is a unique and proud part of my collection, along side at least two other, non-significant, but very cool computers -
                            the Canon Navigator
                            http://www.museo8bi ts.com/navigator .htm

                            and the Convergent Technologies WorkSlate
                            http://www.vintagec omputer.net/ convergent/

                            I also used to see those advertised for about $1200 or so in the same timespan in "Computer Shopper."

                            Best,

                            David Greelish

                            www.ClassicComputin g.com
                            The Home of Computer History Nostalgia

                            The Classic Computing Show podcast

                            Stan Veit's History of the Personal Computer
                            audio book podcast

                            The Classic Computing Expo
                            (planning / working towards summer 2010)

                          • Bob Schwier
                            I ve been wondering if these two inch drives have any thing in common with the small floppies that Brother used even into the nineties in word processors and
                            Message 13 of 15 , Mar 9, 2010
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                              I've been wondering if these two inch drives have any thing in common with the small
                              floppies that Brother used even into the nineties in word processors and sewing machines.
                              bs

                              --- On Fri, 3/5/10, Bill Degnan <billdeg@...> wrote:

                              From: Bill Degnan <billdeg@...>
                              Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] historical? - Zenith minisPORT laptop
                              To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
                              Date: Friday, March 5, 2010, 1:17 PM

                               


                              -------- Original Message --------
                              > From: "Bryan Pope" <bryan.pope@comcast. net>
                              > Sent: Friday, March 05, 2010 1:08 PM
                              > To: midatlanticretro@ yahoogroups. com
                              > Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] historical? - Zenith minisPORT laptop
                              >
                              > On 3/5/2010 12:43 PM, Evan Koblentz wrote:
                              > > Just because something is a mutant doesn't make it historic. If some
                              > > kid is born with 19 arms, that doesn't make him an important part of
                              > > human evolutionary history.
                              > >
                              > > In a many centuries from now, Bill Degnan the 19th will post to a list
                              > > and write, "But that kid was the only one with 19 arms! I don't know
                              of
                              > > any others. I best blog about it...." :)
                              > >
                              > But in the VHS vs Beta war, wasn't Beta important? This laptop was
                              > trying to go up against the 3 1/2" disk. Beta lost even though it has
                              > better quality video. This lost even though it could hold more data.
                              >

                              But that was not my point.

                              I was saying, IF this system were historic, it's not because it's a mini
                              laptop as Jim Sheef said. It's no smaller than others of it's day. The
                              only thing that could possibly make this a minor footnote in history is the
                              fact that it had the 2" drives.

                              My original question, which I believe has been answered, is - Is that
                              enough to be "historic" / "vintage". It's from 1989/90 so it's on the
                              fence years-wise in our context.

                              Side note - the 2" drive had more capacity than the 3.5 disk, despite what
                              they say in Wikipedia. I tested the drive myself, it's 812K.

                              Bill


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