Micro was a real-time operator and dedicated multi-user. His broad-band protocol made it easy for him to interface with numerous input/output devices, even if it meant time-sharing.
One evening he arrived home just as the SUN was crashing, and had parked his Motorola 68000 in the main drive (he had missed the 5100 bus that morning), when he noticed an elegant piece of liveware admiring the daisy wheels in his garden. He thought to himself, “She looks user-friendly. I’ll see if she’d like an update tonight.”
Mini was her name, and she was delightfully engineered with eyes like COBOL and a Prime mainframe architecture that set Micro’s peripherals networking all over the place. He browsed over to her casually, admiring the power of her twin 32-bit floating point processors and enquired “How are you, Honeywell?”
“Yes, I am well” she responded, battling her optical fibers engagingly and smoothing her console over her curvilinear functions.
Micro settled for a straight line approximation. “I’m stand-alone tonight”, he said. “How about computing a vector to my base address. I’ll output a byte to eat, and maybe we could get offset later on.”
Mini ran a priority process for 2.6 milliseconds then transmitted “8K, I’ve been dumped myself recently, and a new page is just what I need to refresh my disks. I’ll park my machine cycle in your background and meet you inside”. She walked off, leaving Micro admiring her solenoids and thinking, “Wow, what a global variable, I wonder if she’ll like my firmware.”
They sat down at the process table to a top of form feed of fiche and chips and a bucket of Baudot. Mini was in conversational mode and expanded on ambiguous arguments while Micro gave occasional acknowledgments although, in reality, he was analyzing the shortest and least critical path to her entry point. He finally settled on the old ‘would you like to see my benchmark subroutine’, but Mini was again one step ahead.
Suddenly she was up and stripping off her party bits to reveal the full functionality of her operating system software. “Let’s get BASIC, you RAM”, she said. Micro was loaded by this stage, but his hardware policing module had a processor of its own and was in danger of overflowing its output buffer, a hang-up that Micro had consulted his analyst about. “Core”, was all he could say.
Micro soon recovered, however, when she went down on the DEC and opened her device files to reveal her data set ready. He accessed his fully packed root device and was just about to start pushing into her CPU stack, when she attempted an escape sequence.
“No, no,” she piped, “You’re not shielded.”
“Reset, Baby,” he replied, “I’ve been debugged.”
“But I haven’t got my current loop enabled, and I can’t support child processes.” she protested.
“Don’t run away” he said “I’ll generate an interrupt.”
“No that’s too error prone, and I can’t abort because of my design philosophy”.
Micro was locked in by this stage though, and could not be turned off. But she soon stopped his thrashing by introducing a voltage spike into his mains supply, whereupon he fell over with a head crash and went to sleep.
“Computers” she thought as she compiled herself, “all they ever think of is hex.”
And they just for a while began to fly over the virtual mountains of Hildesheim for ever and ever again… because otherwise it wouldn’t have a happy end and every story should have one.”