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Re: [midatlanticretro] historical? - Zenith minisPORT laptop

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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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