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sarongsong
2007-Aug-25, 06:17 PM
:wall:
10. Dell Dimension 4600 (2003)
9. New Internet Computer (2000)
8. eMachines eTower 366c (1999)
7. Commodore VIC 20 (1981)
6. Texas Instruments TI-99/4 (1979)
5. IBM PS/1 (1990-1994)
4. Apple III (1980-1984)
3. Coleco Adam (1983)
2. Mattel Barbie PC (1999-2000)
1. Packard Bell PCs (1986-1996)...
PC World (http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,129857-page,12-c,desktoppcs/article.html)

hhEb09'1
2007-Aug-25, 07:45 PM
Considering that the PCjr (#13) and the Apple Mac portable (#17) made their list of worst tech products (http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,125772-page,8/article.html) of all times, I'm surprised that they aren't on there. But, yeah, that's a smelly lot.

Serenitude
2007-Aug-25, 08:17 PM
I don't see Lisa or Aubrey there, but I have to agree. Packard-Bell PCs caused 99.9% of my friends and families "tech support" calls to me in that era :mad:

pzkpfw
2007-Aug-25, 08:55 PM
{rant}
I think they are way off on the Vic 20. (Though yes, it was the first computer I owned, so maybe I'm biased.)

The thing was built down to a price point (helped by use of MOSTEK chips), yet managed to pack in features that were pretty good. They forget that in those days it wasn't "PC" it was "home computer". It's a different context. Why do they think Commodore sold so many?

To put it in perspective, at the time I got the Vic the other serious choice was the System 80 (A TRS-80 Model I clone).

The Vic was quite a bit cheaper.

It had less memory and fewer characters displayable on screen, but had higher resolution graphics (and colour!) and a reasonable sound system.

The plotter I bought for it worked on the C-64 I replaced the Vic with.

There were way "worse" home computers, that did not make the list - though I do note they included that odd TI thing.
{/rant}

sarongsong
2007-Aug-25, 11:08 PM
I think they are way off on the Vic 20...Agreed; and their use of "PC" in the article's title as well. The Vic served as my introduction to the computer world when a friend decided to run a text-only [Scott Adams?] cartridge game about a saboteur running amok in a nuclear facility. It kept a group of us intrigued for days as we diagrammed the facility's layout and followed the written clues to a final successful conclusion. I was hooked. :)

Bearded One
2007-Aug-26, 12:15 AM
I owned a number of Packard Bell PCs from that era and never had any problems with them. One did have a POPAD processor bug, but that was considered minor and it never seemed to affect it. All in all the machines I had were well constructed, easily upgradeable and served me well for many years.

I also owned the TI 99/4 computer. It's main issue was the the proprietary nature of the hardware and TI's restrictive licensing practices. The chicklet keyboard and lack of lowercase letters were also big negatives. Such things were still common around that time though. The TI 99/4A addressed these concerns with a proper keyboard and something similar to lowercase letters. I say "something similar" because they tended to look just like smaller versions of the full size characters and the implementation was a bit spotchy. The TI 99/4 did offer a 16 bit processor which was rare at the time. It was limited by TI's use of 8 bit graphics memory and an interpreter-like programming language called GPL I believe. These aspects made the computer seem slower than it really was. Bit like running Windows :lol: When driven by straight assembler executed from true 16 bit CPU addressable memory it was one of, if not the, fastest machine you could buy at the time. It's unfortunate that not many apps were developed and written that way.

I still play some of my TI 99/4 games... using emulators. :)

pzkpfw
2007-Aug-26, 12:26 AM
The chicklet keyboard.... Such things were still common around that time though.

Fair call, too.

Were the various Sinclair things in that top 10 list?

[The ZX-81 had a membrane keyboard and even less memory than a Vic 20. [The Atari 400 had a membrance keyboard too.]]

So easy for them to criticise in hindsight, isn't it?

Cheers,

Larry Jacks
2007-Aug-26, 02:35 AM
I don't see Lisa or Aubrey there, but I have to agree.

If you're talking about the Apple Lisa, I'd have to disagree. I'm one of the relatively few people who actually got to use one (back in 1986). While the computer was a commercial failure (it cost about $10,000 in 1983, almost no software was ever written for it, and few were sold), it introduced the graphical user interface to the population and worked quite well. IIRC, it had a 12 inch monochrome (gray scale) monitor, 1 MB of RAM, a 5 or 10 MB hard drive, and a Motorola 68000 CPU running at about 8 MHz. The only software that we had for it was Lisa Works (Lisa Write, Lisa Calc, Lisa Draw, and perhaps a few more apps). They worked quite well.

While the Lisa failed, it laid the foundation for the Mac and later for Windows. That changed the way we use computers. Personally, I have no desire to go back to the bad old days.

As for the Vic-20 and all uppercase letters, didn't the Apple II and II+ first come out with only uppercase letters (40 to a line)?

novaderrik
2007-Aug-26, 02:40 AM
calling computers from the early 80's "the worst ever" is like saying that the Ford Model T was a bad car because it didn't have AC and power windows.

Larry Jacks
2007-Aug-26, 02:57 AM
There were some computers back in the early 1980s that were incredible stinkers and not just from a modern perspective. For example, from the introduction of the IBM PC in 1981 until about 1984 (when the Phoenix BIOS was released), there were a host of computers released that were IBM "work alikes". They were only compatable with maybe 40% of the PC software because the BIOS chips were incompatable. Computers like the Tandy 2000, Sanyo 550/550 and others were much cheaper than the PC and even did a few things better*, but you were out of luck if you needed to run most of the best software of the era. The Phoenix BIOS was the first that allowed competitors to create true PC clones instead of just work-alikes.

*The Tandy 2000 ran faster than a PC due to its use of a 8 MHz 80186 chip (the only computer that I know of that used that chip). It also had better graphics than what the old IBM CGA (color graphics adapter) could do. It wasn't quite up to the EGA standard released around 1984 but certainly better than the CGA.

Chuck
2007-Aug-26, 03:31 AM
My company had two Packard Bell 80286 systems way back then. Their hard drives were hideously slow but they did run reliably.

Serenitude
2007-Aug-26, 06:19 AM
There were some computers back in the early 1980s that were incredible stinkers and not just from a modern perspective. For example, from the introduction of the IBM PC in 1981 until about 1984 (when the Phoenix BIOS was released), there were a host of computers released that were IBM "work alikes". They were only compatable with maybe 40% of the PC software because the BIOS chips were incompatable. Computers like the Tandy 2000, Sanyo 550/550 and others were much cheaper than the PC and even did a few things better*, but you were out of luck if you needed to run most of the best software of the era. The Phoenix BIOS was the first that allowed competitors to create true PC clones instead of just work-alikes.

*The Tandy 2000 ran faster than a PC due to its use of a 8 MHz 80186 chip (the only computer that I know of that used that chip). It also had better graphics than what the old IBM CGA (color graphics adapter) could do. It wasn't quite up to the EGA standard released around 1984 but certainly better than the CGA.

Oh, that brings back memories. I had a Tandy computer in the '80s, that ran it's own, proprietary, windowed OS, long before Windows 3. Right from the floppy. It was extremely elegant for it's day. I can remember working extra nights, while in college, to save up the money to get the 256k memory upgrade card, so I could play some games :D Ah, the good old days...

hhEb09'1
2007-Aug-26, 12:02 PM
While the Lisa failed, it laid the foundation for the Mac and later for Windows. That changed the way we use computers. Personally, I have no desire to go back to the bad old days.The Lisa didn't just fail, it was nearly stillborn. Not long after it arrived, the Lisa II came out at half the price--but the only market for it were the owners of the Lisas, who were afraid to take another step. It didn't really lay the foundation for the Mac, the Mac developed alongside it, and slipped into that void.

As to when was the last time I used DOS? A couple hours ago. :)

Maksutov
2007-Aug-26, 12:58 PM
[edit]As to when was the last time I used DOS? A couple hours ago. :)Ah, QDOS!

My nephew had a Packard Bell back in the early 1990s. He liked it because if he tasked it to crunch a spreadsheet, he and his wife could then go off and fix a four-course gourmet meal, and finish the feast about the same time the Packard Bell completed the crunching of the spreadsheet.

Nicolas
2007-Aug-27, 10:15 AM
A good thing that the full list also gives the reason for the entry, because the 2003 dimension 4600 is an excellent PC (fastest running with those (not overclocked of course) specs I found), it's only in the list because it has a crappy PSU which failed on large numbers of people (and of course time and time again Dell "wasn't aware of the problem"), a PSU which I'm going to replace within a few weeks :).

I never liked Packard Bell PC's. Sloooow. I tried to make the best out of it by making it forget as much as possible it was a PB (clean windows on it). But you're stuck with sub-par, sometimes even second hand (!) hardware. I must say that that PC has been running fine for like 9 years now on its original hardware. It sounds like it's making coffee.

pilgrim
2007-Aug-27, 02:47 PM
I hate the Dell dimension desktops (think we had 4500 around 2002/03). Quite possibly one of the most painful experiences of my life. The thing was slow, unreliable and sounded like an airplane taking off when you gave it something to do. It made me go off Dells altogether. Though, right now I have an Optiplex 745 at work and I can't find a fault with that, so I might warm up to Dells yet.

NEOWatcher
2007-Aug-27, 02:50 PM
calling computers from the early 80's "the worst ever" is like saying that the Ford Model T was a bad car because it didn't have AC and power windows.

The best post that corresponds with my opinion...

I've sampled some of the explainations, and most of them had only some superficial peeve that the author didn't like.

Packard Bell is a perfect example.
Yes; PB's strategy left themselves open to major publicity and quality issues.

But; the bigger factor in a PB was that it was an early attempt at integrating more stuff together. So basically; if any small problem occured, virtually the entire guts needed an expensive replacement, rather than just a small board replacement.

The Barbie one? So what... there were lots of ugly low end computers over the years.

And like pzkpfw, I too owned both a Sinclair ZX-81, and its more powerfull descendent, the Timex 1000. (1K memory vs 2K)

Nicolas
2007-Aug-27, 02:52 PM
I guess it depends on the specific config pilgrim, because as I said my dimension4600 was the fastest running PC with these specs tested.

I've had quite some bad experiences with Dell things breaking up, so even though our PC for the coming years will be a Dell, I don't think I'll buy another Dell. Their warranty handling has improved though (already out of warranty, I still got a refurbished LCD for free when mine broke *again*, delivery at home and all!)

novaderrik
2007-Aug-27, 06:24 PM
i like my Dell Dimension XPS 350- bought it new back in the fall of 98. once i got rid of Windows 98 and put XP Pro on it, i stopped needing to do a complete reformat and reinstall of Windows every 3 months.
nothing has ever failed on it, and the only things i've changed since then is to add more memory, a CD burner, and a couple of different video cards.

weatherc
2007-Aug-27, 06:35 PM
I'm kind of surprised the Macintosh "Portable" didn't make this list.*


From Wikipedia: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macintosh_Portable)

"Weighing in at 15.8 pounds (7.2 kilograms), due in large part to the sealed lead-acid batteries used, the machine was widely considered more of a "luggable" than a portable..."

It was also priced at 6500 USD.




*As I've mentioned in other threads, I use Macs every day, and I generally like them, but I'm not such a fanatic that I won't call the company out (loudly) when they make a serious doozy of a mistake. Like that stupid hockey puck mouse (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Apple_iMac_USB_mouse.jpg) on the original iMac.

NEOWatcher
2007-Aug-27, 06:42 PM
Does anybody remember the Rainbow (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainbow_100)?

Van Rijn
2007-Aug-27, 07:52 PM
As for the Vic-20 and all uppercase letters, didn't the Apple II and II+ first come out with only uppercase letters (40 to a line)?

Yes, but the Vic-20 had 22 characters to a line. And very quickly I bought an display eprom for about $20 that had upper and lower case for my Apple II+

The Apple II and II+ had the 40 character limit because that's what a typical TV could handle, and higher res monitors were very expensive then. Today, even ignoring nearly 30 years of inflation, you can buy monitors, floppy drives, and printers for far less than you could then, and they are far more capable. That should give a hint how large the real cost was then.

Of course, add on cards soon became available for higher res on the Apple, and the Apple III and later Apple IIe had 80 character displays built in.

I never had a Vic-20, but I know someone who did. The key advantage, as with the Timex Sinclair, was that it was far less expensive than an Apple, TRS-80, or some of the other well known computers at the time. Of course, it was also far less capable.

Nicolas
2007-Aug-27, 08:20 PM
I'm kind of surprised the Macintosh "Portable" didn't make this list.*


From Wikipedia: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macintosh_Portable)

"Weighing in at 15.8 pounds (7.2 kilograms), due in large part to the sealed lead-acid batteries used, the machine was widely considered more of a "luggable" than a portable..."

It was also priced at 6500 USD.




*As I've mentioned in other threads, I use Macs every day, and I generally like them, but I'm not such a fanatic that I won't call the company out (loudly) when they make a serious doozy of a mistake. Like that stupid hockey puck mouse (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Apple_iMac_USB_mouse.jpg) on the original iMac.

As a mac fan with a sense of realism, I think that you agree that revolutionary as it was, the original Imac also had serious hardware flaws. The battery is empty quite fast and an empty battery can likely cause dead boot situations. the number of dead mobo's is very large. Other hardware also is fail sensitive, but the mobo stands out. The oldest version was a pain to service too.

The Portable was a joke indeed :D.

Trebuchet
2007-Aug-28, 01:39 AM
Does anybody remember the Rainbow?

Does anyone even remember DEC? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Equipment_Corporation)

In a previous lifetime I was a VAX admin for about nine months. At which time the place went out of business. I had no idea what I was doing, but it was an interesting time nonetheless. I still miss the way you could interact with the VAX, and with DOS for that matter. Type a command. The computer does what you tell it. Done.

By the way, what's the problem with the Dell 4600? I'm typing this on one right now, although it's the second attempt since the server was too busy this morning at work. We've had this computer about four years and never had a bit of trouble.

Nicolas
2007-Aug-28, 07:26 AM
Many 4600 saw their PSU fail after about a year and the PSU is underpowered if you have a heavy gfx card in it. That' it. Mine has been working for 4 years too so we're lucky. But I will replace the psu nonetheless, because I don't want to sell it with a dubious part.

So the 4600 is a good system, only its standard atx psu is bad.

boppa
2007-Aug-28, 10:30 AM
Actually I think they are being a bit unfair to the old vic20
I owned one and yes its 3 1/2k oF ram was small, but still quite usable (I learned on a sinclair zx80 with a whole 1k of ram and the vic seemed huge in comparison!!)

fair enough too that others had 16k of ram- but NOT at the same price!
I had a choice when i bought mine- either the vic20 ($399 australian)- or for the same price an unassembled 16k trs80 clone called the super80- that required soldering together!!

from memory there was the system80 from dick smith electronics assembled @$799 and a `proper' trs80 was over a grand!!

so imho the vic is being treated rather unfairly in their comparison article- bit like comparing a mini and a rolls-royce and complaining the mini is small and lacks features without mentioning its a dam sight cheaper
;-)

weatherc
2007-Aug-28, 02:05 PM
As a mac fan with a sense of realism, I think that you agree that revolutionary as it was, the original Imac also had serious hardware flaws. The battery is empty quite fast and an empty battery can likely cause dead boot situations. the number of dead mobo's is very large. Other hardware also is fail sensitive, but the mobo stands out. The oldest version was a pain to service too.

The Portable was a joke indeed :D.Ah yes, the wonderful PRAM battery. Whenever a machine that's more than a few years old starts suddenly going wonky, that's the first thing I replace. That usually fixes things right up.

I haven't heard about any consistent problems with the motherboards on the iMacs, but I don't know too many people who had the Rev. A machines. I have taken apart the Rev. B iMacs to upgrade hard drives, is a pain, but I've heard the Rev. A iMacs were even tougher to take apart.

I don't imagine that even that can be as bad as taking apart a Powerbook, which I had to do recently to replace a broken hinge. I still like the machine, but dang, what a pain that was.

Nicolas
2007-Aug-28, 02:16 PM
I have a revA Imac, and it used to block often and sometimes not boot. replaced PRAM battery, reset PRAM, didn't help. A short time later, it refused to boot at all. I think the mobo's gone. My SO wants to keep it because it looks nice (true that), but I think that replacing the mobo would be ridiculously expensive for its capabilities...

weatherc
2007-Aug-28, 02:19 PM
My SO wants to keep it because it looks nice (true that), but I think that replacing the mobo would be ridiculously expensive for its capabilities...I would agree with that statement. I wonder if you could get a Rev. A iMac pretty cheap on eBay, and just use one for spare parts?

Maksutov
2007-Aug-28, 02:33 PM
I like the CIBM brand. Never had a problem with any of them that couldn't be diagnosed and solved quickly and easily. And those problems were usually minor and infrequent. Only drawback was upgrading the OS. But if one waited a while that software quickly became affordable. And open source/freeware/shareware would fill in the gap quite nicely, as well as providing all the apps one needed without paying Billzebub his due.

I've been using that brand since c. 1987. Works for me.


CIBM = Computers I Built Myself.

Nicolas
2007-Aug-28, 02:47 PM
I would agree with that statement. I wonder if you could get a Rev. A iMac pretty cheap on eBay, and just use one for spare parts?

I wonder if I can sell a broken one (doesn't boot, likely only mobo broken) including working keyboard, mouse and new PRAM battery (worth 10) for 25€...

Nicolas
2007-Aug-28, 02:50 PM
I like the CIBM brand. Never had a problem with any of them that couldn't be diagnosed and solved quickly and easily. And those problems were usually minor and infrequent. Only drawback was upgrading the OS. But if one waited a while that software quickly became affordable. And open source/freeware/shareware would fill in the gap quite nicely, as well as providing all the apps one needed without paying Billzebub his due.

I've been using that brand since c. 1987. Works for me.


CIBM = Computers I Built Myself.

The best CIBM computers are built with PYKTYS parts.

PYKTYS = Parts You Keep Transfering to Younger Systems.

I have a voodoo˛ that has been in at least 3 systems already :).

weatherc
2007-Aug-28, 02:57 PM
I wonder if I can sell a broken one (doesn't boot, likely only mobo broken) including working keyboard, mouse and new PRAM battery (worth 10) for 25€...I'm not sure how much you could sell it for, but I'm sure someone would want it for parts. That would at least get it out of your house and to someone who can use it.

mugaliens
2007-Aug-28, 06:40 PM
First computer last nine years, and it's not on the list. Bought a Gateway in 1995 that I replaced just three years later.

sarongsong
2007-Aug-28, 10:00 PM
Current top five PC global market vendors:
Monday, August 27, 2007
1. Hewlett Packard Co.
2. Dell Inc.
3. Acer/Gateway
4. Lenovo Group
5. Toshiba Inc.
The Oregonian (http://www.oregonlive.com/business/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/business/1188269741268160.xml&coll=7) (FACTBOX)

Nicolas
2007-Aug-28, 10:07 PM
I've never used a HP computer, but the SO likes her HP at work. Are they better than Dell as a large PC manufacturer?

Dave J
2007-Aug-29, 02:45 AM
CIBM...yeah, last computer I bought for myself was a PB386.
Started with a C64, C128, then Amiga. After the PB, started building, and haven't looked back. I did but the wife a cheapie eMachine (Vista, with less than 512 mem...imagine!) for simple browsing and stuff.
Me, I do flightsim and orbiter...power is good...
Still have the Commodore machines stashed away, with my DOS, WIN3.0, and every other windows disks and CDs. Would be fun to crank up the 64, hook up the cassette reader and play some of those old European games again...

sarongsong
2007-Aug-29, 03:37 AM
"CCS64 (http://www.computerbrains.com/ccs64/) is a Commodore 64 Emulator for PC..." :)

It's (still) alive! (http://analogik.com/gallery_64_myer.asp)

Nicolas
2007-Aug-29, 07:15 AM
I have a real C64, but EVERYTHING fails on it. Now the sound's gone, I just hope it's the monitor and not the SID. If it's the SID, I don't know whether I'll spend any more money on it. Things fail time and time again.

Serenitude
2007-Aug-29, 07:19 AM
Maybe you need to download more RAM :)

http://downloadmoreram.net/

Nicolas
2007-Aug-29, 07:58 AM
:)

Just to be clear, do they provide ram cleaning software or is it a moot point since all your ram gets reset when you switch off the PC anyway, or ram architecture is such that there is no such thing as garbage bits in your ram?

I realize you do not simply download ram from them, nor can they know beforehand how much ram they could clean. :)

(edit: I spoiled the joke by reasoning about it, but the fact that the site gives no download confirmation warning is a hint too :). Nicely done though!)

Serenitude
2007-Aug-29, 08:35 AM
Hehe. It's still a good link to send to your PC illiterate friends :lol:

Nicolas
2007-Aug-29, 09:35 AM
The final message box is very nicely worded :D.

Neverfly
2007-Aug-29, 12:27 PM
:)

Just to be clear, do they provide ram cleaning software or is it a moot point since all your ram gets reset when you switch off the PC anyway, or ram architecture is such that there is no such thing as garbage bits in your ram?

I realize you do not simply download ram from them, nor can they know beforehand how much ram they could clean. :)

(edit: I spoiled the joke by reasoning about it, but the fact that the site gives no download confirmation warning is a hint too :). Nicely done though!)

It doesnt give the confirmation...
But while playing around with it
I uhhh....
Well when the progress bar was doing its thing I just couldn't stop myself from checking my ports and making sure it wasn't doing something <Blush>

All in all it's hilarious. Im gonna send this out to people and see how many fall for it.

farmerjumperdon
2007-Aug-29, 12:33 PM
calling computers from the early 80's "the worst ever" is like saying that the Ford Model T was a bad car because it didn't have AC and power windows.

My sentiments exactly. It's like saying a Cessna 182 is a lousy plane because it can't even make a round trip flight to the Moon.

Nicolas
2007-Aug-29, 12:34 PM
if you right click on the DL or process bar on that ram site, it immediately shows the end result of that bar. You heard it first from me! :D ;)

But seriously, it's a nice joke and totally safe and clean for your PC.

pilgrim
2007-Aug-29, 12:44 PM
http://downloadmoreram.net/

Send it to my mum. Big mistake! Had to spend 10 minutes explaining what it was and why it was funny... All via Skype...

Nicolas
2007-Aug-29, 01:06 PM
:D not good :D

tbm
2007-Sep-03, 03:01 AM
As a mac fan with a sense of realism, I think that you agree that revolutionary as it was, the original Imac also had serious hardware flaws. The battery is empty quite fast and an empty battery can likely cause dead boot situations. the number of dead mobo's is very large. Other hardware also is fail sensitive, but the mobo stands out. The oldest version was a pain to service too.

The Portable was a joke indeed :D.

But portable enough to be the first notebook in space.

tbm