Happy Lucky Tech Big Fun Super Go Surprise!
Posted by Trixter on May 8, 2007
I realized today that I’ve been very lucky when it comes to technology and surprises. Previously I mentioned the surprise IBM 5153 I found in storage, but today I was able to count many more:
- An i-river iFP-380 128MB MP3 player. Shortly after purchasing it, some “beta” firmware surfaced on the official support website that turned the player into a USB storage device. This means you could copy music onto and off of the device without using the severely idiotic crippled software that came with it. To date, I think this is the only hardware player series they’ve produced that allows you to do this — all prior and later models require the software to enforce DRM.
- My ReplayTV 5040. It was a Christmas gift, but shortly after I got it, DVArchive was released, and allowed me to suck the shows off of the unit via ethernet via a sensible GUI. This greatly increased the personal value of the unit, as I like to archive shows that are important to me.
- In the early part of the new century, I purchased a 3ware Escalade 6400 RAID-5 controller, intending to put it into a Windows system to function purely as a file server. A few days after I purchased it, and before I opened the box, 3ware announced Linux kernel driver source for driving the card, and a GUI to manage the card remotely! Needless to say, I installed Linux on the machine (a P933) and it’s been running for nearly 7 years — and does much more than a typical file server would, thanks to Linux.
- In a similar nod to the PC/XT I found, I pulled an IBM PCjr out of storage and tested it — and found out it was much more than I realized it was. When running Flight Simulator side-by-side with said XT, it was running faster than the XT! Further investigation showed that it is probably the most souped-up PCjr I will run across: It has a Jr HotShot installed (brings the machine to 640KB without additional memory sidecars), the 8088 was replaced with an NEC V20 for an additional 50% speed boost, and the motherboard was rewired slightly with the Tandy 1000 graphics modification (allows Tandy 1000 programs to run without graphics corruption). Oh, and did I mention that the packing material used in the box was a complete PCjr Newsletter set? Dang!
Anything like this ever happen to you? Technology goes from good to awesome as a complete surprise?