Is The IBM PC/XT Doomed To Be Technology’s Next Dinosaur? A 1987 Article

As I read through the Steve Jobs biography I was reminded of an article that I wrote in 1987 for one of my journalism classes. Several years into my own micro-computer adventures I was intrigued by IBM’s hard-right-turn, having captured the small computer market, to try to make it completely proprietary with it’s proposed OS/2 operating system and PS/2 hardware. Besides reading scores of books and articles on recent micro-computer history, I interviewed several local micro-computer vendors. I love how they felt that multitasking systems, what OS/2 was supposed to do, would be too complicated and just not necessary. At the end of the article I’ve posted a video from this era, from the Computer Chronicles TV show. Enjoy

Is The IBM PC/XT Doomed To Be Technology’s Next Dinosaur?

by Joe Bustillos – November 17, 1987 – CSUF COMM201 – Feature Article #2

On April 2, 1987 IBM (International Business Machines) introduced a new line of microcomputers and an operating system for their micros that will be incompatible with the original IBM Personal Computer and its operating system (MSDOS). An operating system is an essential program that makes up the “brains” and “personality” of a computer. It enables the computer to “talk” to its disk drives and its screen and it’s what the computer user “talks to” when he types on the keyboard (and you thought nobody was listening). If two computers from two manufacturers, for example AT&T and Compaq, are running the same operating system (MSDOS) chances are pretty good that a word-processing program that works on one computer will work on the other computer.

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Following the Logic of Feelings

Some of my thinking lately has reminded me of this article that I wrote in the late 1980s about rediscovering the power and need to be emotionally alive. This article was part of a column that I wrote called “The Editor’s Wild Hair” for a little print newsletter that I inflicted upon friends and family called, “Air, Dirt & Ink.” [Sigh], the good ol’ days. … Continue reading Following the Logic of Feelings

Will Buying Heal Old Scares

One of my students commented in his blog that he’d just had a relaxing weekend, noting that he’d actually had time to do some yard work with his wife and how much better the experience was versus the typical weekend of continuous running around. Interesting. As I continue my own house-hunting adventure I wonder how this change from life-long renter to first-time buyer will change … Continue reading Will Buying Heal Old Scares

Will Buying Heal Old Scars

One of my students commented in his blog that he’d just had a relaxing weekend, noting that he’d actually had time to do some yard work with his wife and how much better the experience was versus the typical weekend of continuous running around. Interesting. As I continue my own house-hunting adventure I wonder how this change from life-long renter to first-time buyer will change … Continue reading Will Buying Heal Old Scars

Busy – My life as I knew it is over… and I feel fine

So, what the hell have I been doing for the past four weeks? `Yeah, there was this little thing called Macworld and believe it or not I’ve been editing photos since then and playing catch up with my FS courses. Now I’m in LA to restart my Pepperdine EdD. My life as I knew it is over… and I feel fine. Continue reading Busy – My life as I knew it is over… and I feel fine

The Road Back, Part 2


So I sent off my Request for Re-admittance email to Pepperdine yesterday afternoon and then went online to fill out the registration application and ran headlong into the essay part of the application. Ack. I’d completely forgotten about the essay and wasn’t so sure if I just wanted to re-use the one that I’d originally sent when I signed up four years ago. At first I couldn’t find the essay I’d written and when I did and read it I felt the gap between myself and the guy I was four years ago who knew nothing of the crushing pressures I had put myself through during the year and a half I had been in the program and slight death I experienced when I resolved to walk away from that dream. I took it as a good sign, though, that when I let the feelings wash across me I felt all the more determined to see this through.

2008 Version – Ed Tech Observations & My Goals Related to This Program:

Technology is expensive. Some would say too expensive. At a time when school districts are scrambling for funds to pay for books, cutting back on student services, and fighting to avoid any cutbacks that would touch on union contracts, one might be hard pressed to justify spending money on shiny new boxes. To me, the fact that we’re faced with this apparent either/or question indicates that this problem is much more than just an unfortunate fiscal shortfall. There are issues here that speak to the very purpose of our educational system.

At the very least the urgency of this ongoing “butter versus guns” question speaks to the cultural/social disconnects that one can find in the decision making process where these decisions are being made. For example, to the business world investing in a computer is just that, an investment to enable a worker to better communicate, to better facilitate getting the job done, and at the very least a business expense to write-off at the end of the year. It’s just part of doing business. In the elementary classroom, however, over twenty-years after Wozniak’s revolution, computers are still a dusty novelty sitting in a corner like a revered but untouched trophy meant to communicate our commitment to “technology and our children.” The computer is still something you do after you’ve finished your regular classroom assignments. And in this environment of “NCLB” there’s scan little time to do the curriculum, much less after-assignments “fun” activities.

 

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The Road Back, Part 1

MyPicture_5 As I’ve previously twittered, I contacted Pepperdine last week to get the 411 on finishing my doctorate in Ed Tech. Awesome Student Services Director, Besenia, sent me the info. Step one: I needed to write a brief explanation behind my leave of absence and why I was looking to be readmitted. So last night I sat down with my little OLPC (the MacBook Pro was busy backing up and uploading the new blog software) and revisited where I was at about two years ago when I stepped away for my doctorate program. I shouldn’t have been too surprised at how quickly the emotions rolled back to me as I tried to recall the details of those times. The question then became what parts of the story to include and what parts to keep out.

Steely Dan - Citizen Steely Dan 1972-1980 - King of the World Music: King Of The World from the album “Citizen Steely Dan: 1972-1980 (Disc 2) [Box Set]” by Steely Dan

 

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Another Writing Exercise from the Archive – Broken Back Basketball

bigchairbook More stuff stumbled upon during my prep to move my junk to Florida. As before this was another one called a Quick Draw Visualization Exercise. The instructions and story was written the day after the first one posted, over 12-years-ago, on March 6th, 1996… It should have been written closer to Halloween:

INSTRUCTIONS: Please do not show the photograph or the title of this piece to the students until the end of the exercise. Read the following story with as much dramatic license as you are comfortable with (the idea is to put an image with emotional impact in their minds). After the reading they need to spend 15 minutes (max.) producing their picture of what they thought they’d heard. Emphasis that this is not about their artistic expertise but to help them develop their ability to get the ideas in the their heads on paper (visualization)—an important step to good writing!

The face in the photograph made me think of a nightmare I had when I was seven or eight-years old. I used to love basketball. Just like you guys, every day before school, every recess, every lunch I’d be bouncing the big orange ball. I loved it so much that my dad put a hoop and backboard up above our garage (he was also probably just tired of hearing my brother and I hit the garage door when we would pretend to have a net). And at night, the Lakers were on the radio and I’d listen to Chick Hearn talk a thousand words a minute about some incredible play they’d be making. In a word, I had basketball on the brain.

Then one night I went to sleep and dreamed that I was at a Laker game. I was still too young to know any of the players but there I was standing courtside watching this one player making lay-ups. The whole arena seemed to be empty except for me and this player making lay-ups and some coaches walking along the sidelines. The whole place was dark except for where this guy kept circling. I was standing just outside the light. Then he started to do slam dunks. I don’t remember how many he did. I just remember that he was jumping higher and higher; higher than I had ever seen anyone jump. Then it happened.

He jumped up to slam one and he jumped so high that when he started to come down he hit the rim with the center of his back. I heard this horrible crack and looked away. I knew he’d broken his back. When I turned back around he lay on the floor in a heap, his legs and hips didn’t seem to be connected to his upper body anymore.

The coaches came running over to see what had happened. With one coach on either side of him they picked him up off the ground. Each coach had to grab the basketball player with one hand on a shoulder and the other hand at his hips, literally holding his body together. I knew that if the coaches let go of him that he’d fall to the floor like a pile of sticks. Then he started bouncing the basketball again and the coaches walked around with him in little circles. His legs barely worked and he almost didn’t seem to realize that he’d been split in two.

This went on for several horrible minutes. I couldn’t stand to watch, but I couldn’t look away. His body bent and broken with two coaches holding him together he just kept bouncing the ball and walking in little circles. I wanted to run. But where? And then he suddenly turned and stared me dead in the eyes and I saw his craziness, that he had become some kind of deformed monster. Then I suddenly woke up. jbb

(Click the link to see the original photograph that inspired the story)

 

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Temple on the Waters – A Writing Exercise

boynbook I went to work during my break to begin going through my stuff, tossing some of it and putting some of it in boxes, in preparation for my move to Florida. As is pretty normal for this process I had to keep myself from spending too much time reading through everything. As i was tossing papers left and right I found a folder with a couple writing exercises that I used to use with my 6th graders meant to help them with their writing. This one was called a Quick Draw Visualization Exercise and based on my notes it looks like I must have given this to a substitute to do with my students. The instructions and following story was written by moi over 12-years-ago, on March 5th, 1996:

INSTRUCTIONS: Please do not show the photograph or the title of this piece to the students until the end of the exercise. Read the following story with as much dramatic license as you are comfortable with (the idea is to put an image with emotional impact in their minds). After the reading they need to spend 15 minutes (max.) producing their picture of what they thought they’d heard. Emphasis that this is not about their artistic expertise but to help them develop their ability to get the ideas in the their heads on paper (visualization)—an important step to good writing!

I had no idea how long we’d been drifting down this river. I had dropped my compass and map into the water days ago. It was hard for me to trust the river guide, but I didn’t have any choice. I was tired and the days of endless rain made me want to curl up under one of the smelly canvas tarps to sleep the rest of this trip away. I was on the edge of getting mad because I hated hiding from the rain under this stupid tarp. I had gone into areas of this Asian country that I had been told to stay away from and now I was hiding from the rain and some very mean looking soldiers with big guns who were not particularly fond of nosy Americans with cameras. My mom told me that coming here was a bad idea. Thanks mom.

The river guide started chattering about something and he was very insistent about it. Part of me kept saying, “Just keep your head down and it’ll all go away.” But the guy wouldn’t shut up. If his blabbing didn’t attract attention then me sticking my head out to see what was happening wouldn’t mess things up either. I took a deep breath, anticipating the worst. Then I hesitated. I got my cameras ready. I figured if I was going to get my head shot off I’d at least try to get a good picture out of it. I took another deep breath and then threw back the tarp.

For a moment I was blinded by the sun. When I’d crawled into my hiding place the world outside had been filled with grays, and rain drenched drab greens. But now the sky was a bright shimmering blue with one or two pure white clouds scooting away from the sun’s brilliance. And on the water, the thing that the guide had been yammering about… rising out of the water on a beautiful white wooden platform stood a proud colorful Asian temple with a tall tower pointing up to the sky like a long thin finger. I just stood there for a moment with my mouth open, forgetting about the cameras hanging around my neck and whether there might be any solders hiding in the bush. It was all so different from what I had expected. And then without thinking I brought the camera lens to my face and started shooting.

The white platform had a railing all around it that looked finely carved and freshly painted. There were also stairs that led to the waters edge. The temple itself didn’t have any walls but just finely carved wooden beams holding up the red and orange and green roofs. It wasn’t just one roof like an American home and but in all four directions of the building there were three little roofs one above and scooted back from the other until they all met at the tower or spire that stuck out of the center of the temple. There were little pointy carved objects that stuck out of the crest or peak of all of the roofs. From this distance they looked like little carved unicorns. I could count ten of them on the edges of the roofs. The tower on the top of the center roof was as tall as the roof was above the platform. When I looked really closely I could see someone or someone’s statue standing in the center of the temple. I couldn’t see clearly who it was. Just then I heard the grunts of soldiers on the shore and dove back under my tarp. Then I spent the next endless hours crouched in the darkness praying that I’d get home to develop these pictures. jbb

(Click the link to see the original photograph that inspired the story)

 

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