The Universe of Discourse

Tue, 16 Nov 2021

What is not portable

I had a small dispute this week about whether the Osborne 1 computer from 1981 could be considered a “laptop”. It certainly can't:

The Osborne
1 is a beige box the size of a toolbox.  Its lid conceals a full-sized
keyboard attached to the rest of the box by a ribbon cable.  Packed
into the box are a very small CRT monitor, two 5¼ inch diskette
drives, assorted I/O receptacles, and, not visible, the computer
itself. Bilby, CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The Osborne was advertised as a “portable” computer. Wikipedia describes it, more accurately, as “luggable”. I had a friend who owned one, and at the time I remarked “those people would call the Rock of Gibraltar ‘portable’, if it had a handle.”.

Looking into it a little more this week, I learned that the Osborne weighed 24½ pounds. Or, in British terms, 1¾ stone. If your computer has a weight measurable in “stone”, it ain't portable.

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