More on Computing History

If you are interested in historic (well I guess that means older then 10 years) computer hardware and happen to be in the Bay Area this weekend do not miss the Vintage Computer Festival 8.0 in Mountain View. I will certainly be there. The highlight is the Homebrew Computer Club Retrospective panel discussion Saturday at 1:00pm.
Looking forward I already signed up for the Sun Founder’s Panel on January, 11. IMHO this could be one of the best events next year. Having Andy Bechtolsheim, Bill Joy, Vinod Khosla, Scott McNealy, and John Gage in one room, do I need to say more?
Finally I rediscovered a lot of older hardware at my recent move. It is always suprising what shows up in those moving boxes, especially since I had a lot of stuff in storage for a number of years. My wife convinced me that there is not enough room in the house for all this “junk” (afterall I was single when I bought it), so I started to move the interesting pieces into my office to start my private handheld computing exhibition :-)

My little handheld computing history exhibition

The most interesting piece is certainly the Sony Magic Link PIC-2000 (in the back of the picture). It is from 1995 if I remember correctly. It is powered by General Magic‘s MagicCap. It is still my favorite handheld with a very intuitive UI and great features, like a build in modem, backlight and 2 PC Card slots. Back in 1995 I worked on a project with E-Plus, Cable&Wireless and General Magic connecting the Magic Link to a Cell Phone. So I could actually use it to request email and browse the web using wireless data connectivity (9600 kbps). We also developed a restaurant reservation system for Geneva, which we demoed at a global telecommunications conference in Switzerland.

Nowadays I am working without a PDA (just my laptop). I just find the current devices (e.g. Blackberry) not very compelling. However I am excited about the announced Motorola Q. Maybe that will convinve me to use a handheld again.