Raspberry Pi of Death Blog

By N. Leveck

Nostalgia Tripping

I have been inspired to dig out my HP 200LX palmtop computer and my Omnibook 530 notebook. I am seeking ideas for the Omnibook in particular. Details follow...

The 200LX had a dead CR2032 coin batt when I stuck two AA's in it this morning. After replacing that, I realized that the CMOS battery also keeps the C: drive flash alive. Years ago I bought a copy of acedrive3.com from Thadeus computing to be able to read a 1gb compact flash card in this palmtop. I hated the fact then, as now, that I was obliged to pay for a driver to be able to utilize my hardware, but I digress.

I also have an HP 10MB PCMCIA flash drive that the 200LX reads without additional drivers. This is where the Omnibook 530 comes in. It is the only PC in my house that possesses a PCMCIA slot. So I booted it up and copied the acedrive3.com file from the 1gb card (I was at least smart enough to put it there a decade ago) to the OB530 c: drive. Then reboot, swap cards quick to the 10MB card (there is no ejecting these cards properly in Win95, it sees them as nonremovable hard disks), then copy the file over to it. a quick copy con config.sys later and I am seeing my 1gb card on the 200LX.

The 1gb card has Windows 3.0 on it, which was the last version of Windows to run in real mode (no XMS memory or 386 extentions required). I also have Excel 1.0 on there. Ten years ago I was using the device to type up my daily report for work, out on oil and natural gas wellsite locations. Even then, this was extremely retro.

Now the Omnibook...

It originally came with Windows 3.11fwg, I think. Long ago I had a wild hair and installed Windows 95C on it. In hindsight this was a mistake. This little thing is a 486sx running at 33MHz. By the late 90s, I did not consider anything less than a 486DX4100 to even be a viable PC. I should have recalled this as I copied the Win95 upgrade over to the PCMCIA card. Performance is dismal.

I did take the time to flesh it out, at least. I purchased a copy of MS Office 95 on CD off ebay for it, downloaded some old games, even purchased a parallel port NIC for it.

This brings me to now...

I am thinking of running this laptop as a server. Why? Because I can. Candidate OS's are FreeDOS or Linux. FreeDOS would be neat to run, Linux may be more useful. I have no idea as of me writing this what Linux distros would be able to run on a 486sx33. I will indeed be hitting duckduckgo but if you have an idea about what to do with this thing, leave it in the comments...

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