Vintage computing, relativity, and an obligatory parent brag

Anthony L. Eros tony.eros at machm.org
Mon Mar 23 18:34:24 CDT 2009


Much to my wife's chagrin, I've been collecting vintage computers since 1986, when a PDP-8/e and an ASR-33 started me thinking that it would be neat to have one of every computer for which I'd ever written code.  I did nearly reach that goal, lacking only a System/370, though I do have a Hercules emulator.

When my oldest daughter Casey was in middle school, her interest in writing led her to ask me for a computer to use.  I tried interesting her in one of my vintage systems.  I figured OS/8 or RSTS/E would be overkill, so my PDP-8 and the -11s were out.  I thought I'd start small.  "How about this DECmate?", I asked.  "Eeeeeww!  I'd really like a laptop, Daddy!!".  Okay...

My Hyperion was also a non-starter, as was the Mac SE, even though I'd taken it on several cross-country trips and had a nifty travel case for it.  A Bondwell (my first "laptop") didn't even make it out of its bag.  Finally, she reluctantly agreed to use a "really old system" - a DEC HiNote Ultra: 75 Mhz 486 running Windows 95.  I guess her definition of vintage computing is a lot different than mine...  In truth though, she really was grateful to have the use of any computer at all.

In February, writing under the pseudonym "Marian Watson", Casey submitted her novel, The House of Autumn, to Amazon's annual Breakthrough Novel Award competition.  Her submission was one of 10,000 entries.  After reading each of the entries, Amazon cut the field by 95%.  Last week, Casey got the word that she made the cut and is one of the quarterfinalists!
 
Amazon is providing free downloads of excerpts of the quarterfinalist entries and encouraging the public to read and post their own reviews.  Since it's my job as a parent to brag on my kids' accomplishments, I feel compelled to pass along a pointer to Casey's excerpt:
 
http://www.amazon.com/House-Autumn-Amazon-Breakthrough-Novel/dp/B001UG3C80/ref=br_lf_m_1000352101_2_39_ttl?ie=UTF8&m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&s=books&pf_rd_p=471968571&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_t=1401&pf_rd_i=1000352101&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0794HER1CV89Z7GWB9KH
 
In the upper right-hand corner of the screen is a "Download for free" button that you can click to get the excerpt.
 
If you get a chance, give Casey's novel excerpt a read and post a review - it's pretty good.  I'd like it even if it wasn't written by my daughter!! 
 
-- Tony Eros 



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