The Story of Micro and Mini
"A One-Night Session"
Micro was a real-time operator and a 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 will see if she would like an update
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 replied, batting her optical fibers engagingly
and smoothing her console over her curvilinear functions.
Micro settled for a straight line approximation. "I'm a 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 microseconds then transmitted 8k,
I've been dumped myself recently and a new page is just what I need to
refresh my disks. I'll mark 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'd like my firmware."
They sat down at the processor table to a top form feed and fiche
and chips and a bucket of baudot. Mini was in conversational mode and
acknowledgements 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 routine?" But Mini was a step
Suddenly she was up and stripping off her parity bits to reveal
the full functionality of her operating system software. "Let's
get BASIC you RAM," she said. Micro was loading by this stage, but his
hardware policy module had a processor of its own and was in danger of
overflowing its output buffer, a hang-up that Micro had consulted his
"Core", was all he could say as she prepared to log him off.
Micro soon recovered, however, when Mini went down on the DEC and
opened her drive 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 cried, "Your 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 is too error-prone and I can't abort because of my design
philosophy," she pleaded.
Micro was locked in by this stage though, and could not be turned off.
But Mini stopped his thrashing by introducing a voltage spike into his
main power supply, whereupon he fell over with a head crash and fell asleep.
"Computers", she thought as she compiled herself, "all they ever think
about is Hex.