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IBM PS/2 - Steady Progress

Written by Stephen
October 16, 2018

First things first - I have sourced a CRT! It was delivered for free and works great. Since the PS/2 System 50 has a weird VGA port, which was common in this time period, I had to break a pin off the monitor cable.

Even though the plastic colours do not match, I prefer it greatly over the LCD I used before.

I also received a USB floppy drive in the mail. I tried both MS-DOS and an IBM initialization disk image I found, but it kept dropping me into BASIC. After more troubleshooting, it turns out the floppy drive in the unit is broken. It's a common problem, and should be fixable by replacing its capacitors. When trying to get the drive apart, however, I found out that a few of the screws were completely stuck, and made out of a very soft metal which couldn't handle my screwdriver. I will probably have to drill them out and find repl...


IBM PS/2 - The Beginning

Written by Stephen
October 11, 2018

An IBM PS/2 model 50 computer showed up on Kijiji about a week ago and I knew I had to have it. For only 20 Canadian rupees, I got a 286-based machine with one megabyte of RAM. Its 40MB hard drive was blank, and I do not have a floppy drive, so I can't create a 16 bit boot disk.

Surprisingly, though, it still boots - there is a BASIC interpreter stored on ROM. I never learned BASIC, but the language was intuitive, and I only used a minimal amount of documentation. I manually retyped a mandelbrot generator I found on github, which worked perfectly! Unfortunately, the built in interpreter only supports 4 colours - which I configured wrong, resulting in a monochrome program output - and I only allowed it...


Thoughts on Javascript

Written by Stephen
September 28, 2018

Personally, I don't believe that JS is a bad language. It does what it was originally designed to perfectly - allow non-coders to script basic tasks on a website. There was no reason for it to be efficient, and so it isn't. However, the ways it is being used today is an abomination, and has ultimately been detrimental to the computing world.

Web Applications Suck

Why are web applications a thing? I don't understand. You could write the exact same software in something other than Javascript, and it would be so much faster. Google Docs is one of the worst offenders, in my opinion. It's just such a bad use of the technology. If you want to process a large spreadsheet without lag, you need a much beefier computer than you would with actual decent spreadsheet software. In many cases, a 386 with a handful of MBs of RAM can handle a large document better than Google Sheets on a modern PC. Libreoffice Calc takes 60MB of memory to look at an empty spreadsheet. So why does Goo...