Yesterday morning my Dell XPS desktop computer died. While preparing for an on-line meeting I got an incredibly rare Windows 10 BSOD*. After several tries I realized that I couldn't get to the recovery partition, so I knew the hard drive had given up the ghost. I might have a recovery USB drive laying around here somewhere, but the image is old and, frankly, I didn't think it's worth the effort to keep trying. I guess I can't blame the computer. It ran virtually non-stop, 24/7, for almost five years. I got my money's worth out of it.
Once I realized I'd never boot this box from the hard drive I shrugged, pulled it off the desk and plopped my Surface Pro down in its place. Life goes on. But then I finally understood that the end of an era had arrived. For the first time since 1985 there was no desktop computer or tower sitting on my desk, and likely won't be in the future.
|My daughter and I playing on my Tandy 1000, around 1986|
|Today the IBM-PC layout looks ho-hum, but in the early 1980s it was groundbreaking |
and set the standard for most personal computers that followed
The IBM-PC was such a hit that the inevitable quickly followed. Competing manufacturers figured out how to reverse engineer the BIOS - reproducing instruction sets that did the same thing the IBM BIOS did, but doing it differently to avoid IBM's patents. Compaq was the first competitor to get this figured out. Less than a year after the PC appeared you could buy PC clones that ran non-IBM versions of PC-DOS, something called MS-DOS, developed and sold by the same kids in Seattle who had renamed their company to Microsoft.