The Story of Micro and Mini

Micro was a real-time operator and 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 6800 in the main drive (he missed the 5100 bus that morning ), when he noticed an elegant piece of hardware escorting her daisy wheels in his garden. He thought to himself, "She looks user-friendly," "I'll see if she'd like an update tonight."

Mini was her name, and she was delightfull, 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 inquired "How are you Honey Well?." "Yes I am well," she responded, batting her optical fibres engagingly and smoothing her console over her curvilinear functions.

Micro settled for a straight line approximation. "I'm stand-alone tonight," he said, "How about computing a vector to my base address?" "I will cut out a byte to eat, and maybe we could get an offset later on."

Mini ran a priority process for 2.6 milliseconds then transmitted OK. "I've been dumped myself recently, and a new page is just what I need to refresh my disks. I'll park 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 process table to a top of form feed of fiche and chips and a bucket of bawdots. Mini was in conversational mode and expanded on ambiguous arguments while Micro gave occasional acknowlegments, 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 subroutine?" but Mini was again one step ahead.

Suddenly she was up and stripping off her parity bits to reveal the full functionality of her operating software. "Let's get Basic, you RAM," she said. Micro was loaded by this stage, but his hardware polling module had a processor of it's own and was in danger of overflowing its output buffer (a hang-up that Micro had consulted his analyst about). "Core," was all he could say, as she prepared to log him off.

Micro soon recovered, however, when he went down on the DEC and opened her device files to reveal her data set ready. He accessed his fully packed root device and was about to start pushing her CPU stack, when she attempted an escape sequence ....

"No, No" she cried, "You are 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 will generate an interrupt."

"No that's too error prone, and I can't abort because of my design philosophy."

Micro was locked in by this stage though, and could not be turned off. But Mini soon stopped his thrashing by introducing a voltage spike into his main supply, whereupon he fell over with a head crash and went to sleep.

"Computers," She thought as she compiled herself, "All they ever think of is HEX."

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