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,
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.