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Untitled Document

Andy Holyer reports:
I was the main support officer for the Orb in the summer of 1984. They did indeed come in a choice of eight colours, including a very fetching skin-tone which was called "Sable".

My main memory was being sent out to upgrade the BIOS of all the dealer machines. The big user support problem was what was called an "Uninitialised Interrupt" - basically a sharing violation which crashed MP/M and froze all the screens. You have no idea the user flak we got from this. My BIOS patch included release notes which contained this wonderful bit of prose:

"Uninitialised Interrupts: The Orb no longer suffers from Uninitialised Interrupts. In future they will be referred to as Unexpected Interrupts".

To be fair, they now only froze the screen which had caused the exception, allowing everyone else to save off their work, but still.

The Achilles heel of the Orb was that it couldn't run DOS programs - no Wordstar, no WordPerfect. We were always waiting for Digital Research to replace MP/M with DR DOS, but for historical reasons you are no doubt aware of, that never happened.

I did a lot of programming on the Orb in Machine code. Towards the end of my time at ABS I had a look at the DOS API for comparison: compared to MP/M it was so grim that it set off a revulsion for Microsoft which has persisted to this day.

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