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ScuzzBlog: Diaries July 2017

Entry 7th July 2017: Post: 1

Hardly Turing


Seriously, what would any collection be without a Colossus. Well I have 
two. Not exactly your Enigma cracking beasts but Colossus all the same 
and produced by Colossus Computer Corporation Limited.

It was an odd revelation that a colleague of mine at work had purchased 
a Colossus machine at pretty well the same time as I did. Around July 
1996. Both were Windows 95 albeit he did upgrade his to Windows 98. I 
was sifting through a pile of old floppy disks last night trying to find 
some old DOS stuff and came across a start-up disk for his machine.  I 
was sure he had given me the computer as I had the 4" thick manual and 
all the disks. So today I went on the last of my computer hunts.

I discovered the beast hiding below a workbench and somewhat trapped by 
a large monitor. Took me a while to extract but was successful.

Dusted the computer down, which is much larger in width than my 
Colossus. Love the coloured lights and turbo buttons on these old 
machines. First problem was the CMOS and the flat battery. Next was the 
checks that the BIOS wanted to do including memory and trying all the 
various flavours of DELETE and F-keys to get past the checks and into 
the BIOS. Changed date and fired up Windows98. Quite slow to start but 
relatively fast once in. Two drives and I managed to fill the D drive in 
no time being just 4GB.

I then swapped out a drive. Took me a while as the BIOS would not 
recognise three out of the four drives I tried. The 20GB was seen by the 
BIOS but not by the OS. I ran Command Com from inside the OS and fired 
up FDISK. It picked up the second drive and I formatted accordingly. In 
the process I lost the CD Rom.. 25X MAX no less.. Just a CD. I went back 
into the BIOS.. that was no help. I also ran the find new hardware on 
the machine, no luck. And then when I restarted.. not rebooted I got a 
found new hardware and it reinstalled the CD-Rom.

All was fine. Network card and so connected up to the system and just 
finished putting on a mini set up. I will connect to the 1200 with the 
Ethernet but also plan on mucking around with Ami-PC that I found 
lurking in the back of a drawer last night.

The manual just shows how far back we have gone with computer 
literature. When I compare the 3x4" five page leaflet I got with the 
Win10 machine I got earlier this year it really is incredible how little 
information there is now provided. The yellow 'Where do you want to go 
today?' leaflet is bigger than the Win10 guide.

Here is what you get with the Colossus.

A 4" thick plastic covered ring binder to hold all your manuals and 
First Section: Important: All about the recovery system and what to do 
when things go wrong.
Second Section: One inch thick user guide. 12 chapters on how to use the 
Third Section: Windows including all your disks and back up disks, 
drivers, Internet Explorer, and various drivers for cards and cd.
Forth Section: Another inch thick manual about the pre-installed software.
Fifth Section: Half inch thick guide on the motherboard. Full layouts, 
Jumper settings, port settings, memory, processor etc etc.
Sixth Section: Plastic sleeve filled with back up floppies and start-up 
Seventh and final section: Registration details and customer support.

Those were the days.... so funny.

Anyway just clocked off and got the old orange on black telling me its 
safe to switch off the computer. Kinda ages the poor thing... And on we 
go. Two in the morning and haven't been able to use the upstairs all day 
because of this bloody hot stuff. Man I hate the summer. Truth is I can 
always get warm but its like impossible to get cool.


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Last updated 17:59 24/07/2017

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