Back in 1992 !
Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the Web, on July 18th 1992
seconds before uploading the first picture on web:
"Les Horribles Cernettes"
I always have thought what is the oldest PC available at my work, we have pile of old PC. Digging one out and challenge myself trying to enter in the challenge hall-of-fame, would be very cool. Interesting challenge: mixing old electronic hardware, web and telco skills, computer settings.
So I decided to move on a week ago, summer holiday for many colleagues and folks around, ideal time for spending some time on this challenge. This would be as:
- Search and identify the most ancient computer in the basement, which seems operable but useless for my company.
- Clean it from dust
- Plug in, set up all the hardware part.
- Try to turn it on, see capabilities
- Identify softwares to install
- Setting up system, install drivers and softwares
- Browse the web!
I want to thanks my fellow colleagues who gave some piece of advices and provided some help on the tasks:
"SuperDidier" , "LL" and "Pat aka Clostermann".
My searching target was : before Pentium and >25years old
So I identified an old useless PC from 1992 :
- COMPAQ PC Desktop
- CPU Intel 80386DX 25MHz
- 4 MB RAM
- HD 300 MB
- VGA card
- Ethernet NIC: 3Com Ethernet II/16 (AUI and BNC)
- DOS 6.20
At the end, I added "3c503.com -W 0x60" in autoexec.bat, this way system was ready at boot up, just needed to launch Arachne webbrowser.
Incredible to browse "graphically" on a 386 on DOS, but this is VGA 640x480 256 colors. I didn't try to see if any upper config would have worked. You can notice the dithering effect on images, yes it displays only 256 colors!
Download effective bandwidth is like 10-50 kbps, I feel like browsing with a 33K modem... Despite 10Mbps ethernet card, packet processing is a heavy task for this kind of machine.
Browsing some random wikipedia pages now:
Finally, why not displaying the oldest picture on the web, uploaded on 1992. it is still available on CERN website (but not actually the original file uploaded). Read the full story here and also there.
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