[Ed: For those who are tired of endless repostings of the Sex Life of an Electron, which I first read when I was 16, here's a different one. ]
Micro was a real-time operator and a dedicated multi-user. His broadband 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 68000 in the main drive (he had missed the 5100 bus that morning), when he noticed an elegant piece of liveware admiring the daisy wheels in his garden. He though to himself, "She looks user-friendly. I'll see if she'd like an update tonight."
He browsed over to her casually, admiring the power of her twin 32 bit floating point processors, and inquired, "How are you, Honeywell?" "Yes, I am well," she responded, batting her optical fibers 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'll output a byte to eat and maybe we could get offset later on."
Mini ran a priority process for 2.6 milliseconds, then transmitted 8K, "I've been recently dumped myself and a new page is just what I need to refresh my disk packs. 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 bottle of Baudot. Mini was in conversational mode and expanded on ambiguous arguments while Micro gave occasional acknowledgements although, in reality, he was analyzing the shortest and least critical path to her entry point. He finally settled on the old line, "Would you like to see my benchmark subroutine?" but Mini was again one clock tick ahead.
Suddenly, she was up and stripping off her parity bits to reveal the full functionality of her operating system. "Let's get BASIC, you RAM" she said. Micro was loaded by this stage, but his hardware policing module had a processor of its 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 she 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 into her CPU stack, when she attempted an escape sequence.
"No, no!" she cried. "You're 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'll generate an interrupt."
"No!" she squealed. "That's too error prone and I can't abort because of my design philosophy."
But Micro was locked in by this stage and could not be turned off. Mini 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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