A Geek Love Story

Micro was a real time user and a dedicated multi-user. His broad-band protocol made it easy for him to interface with numerous input/output devices, even if it meant time sharing.

One evening Micro arrived home just as the sun was crashing. He had parked his Motorola 68000 in the main drive – he had missed the 5100 bus that morning, when he noticed an elegant piece of liveware inspecting the daisy wheels in his garden. “She looks user-friendly,” he thought. “I’ll see if she’d like an update tonight.” Mini was her name and she was delightfully engineered with eyes like cobol and a prime mainframe architecture that set Micro’s peripherals networking all over the place.

He shifted over to her casually, admiring the power of her twin 32-bit floating point processors and inquired, “How are you, Honeywell?”

“Yes, I am well,” she responded, batting her optic fibers engagingly and smoothing her console over her curvilinear functions.

Micro thought about a recursive approach but settled for a straight line approximation. “I’m stand-alone tonight,” he said. “How about computing a vector to my base address? I’ll output a byte to eat and maybe we could get offset later on.”

Mini ran a priority process for 2.6 milliseconds then dumped the results. “I’ve been put on a queue myself recently and a rendezvous is just what I need to activate my tasks. I’ll park my machine cycle and meet you inside.” She walked off leaving Micro admiring the way her dynamic resources were allocated and thinking, “Wow, what a cache! I wonder if she’s available for prime time maintenance.”

They sat down at the process table to a platter of fiche and chips and a basket of baudot. Mini was in conversational mode and expanded on ambiguous arguments while Micro gave continuation acknowledgements although, in background, he was analyzing the shortest and least critical path to her entry point. He finally decided on the old ‘Would you like to see some of my benchmark programs’ but Mini anticipated his flow.

Without a prompt, she was up and stripping off her parity bits to reveal the full functionality of her operating system software. “Let’s get BASIC, you RAM,” she commanded. Micro was executing firmware by this stage but his hardware policing module had an accelerated processor and was in danger of overflowing its output buffer – a bug that Micro had been consulting his analyst about. “Core dump!” he complained.

Micro auto-recovered however, when Mini went down on DEC and opened her divide files to reveal her data set ready. He accessed his fully packed root device and was just about to enter her kernel when she attempted an escape sequence.

“Abort!” she cried. “You’re not shielded.”

“Reset, baby,” he said. “I’ve been debugged.”

“But I haven’t got my current loop disabled and I can’t support child processes,” she protested.

“Don’t run away,” he begged. “I’ll generate an interrupt.”

“No, that’s too error prone – and I can’t abort because of my design philosophy.”

Micro was in phase locked oscillations by this stage and could not be terminated. But Mini soon stopped his thrashing by inducing a voltage spike in his main supply, whereupon he fell over with a head crash and went to sleep.

“Computers!” she thought as she compiled herself. “All they ever think about is hex!”