The Toshiba T5200 that sits under my desk is the computer that made the biggest impact on my computing life.
It had a 20MHz 80386 processor, a VGA gas-plasma screen with 16-grayscale display, 92 full-size keys, and a 100MB hard disk! — deserving of an exclamation mark in that era — and for about a year a half was the world’s fastest, biggest-capacity portable computer.
It weighed 8.6kg (18.5 pounds) and carrying it between work and home every day was made easier by its suitcase-style handle. I paid HK$64,000 for it (US$8200) in 1991, when dollars were worth something, and I never regretted it. I loved sitting in a dark room watching words appear in orange on black in WordPerfect 5.1.
My most memorable experience came one day when I was taking the lift up to my office at DDB Needham. I was relaxed, holding the 5200 by its handle, when a businessman entered the lift, saw the computer, stopped in his tracks and asked in a reverential tone usually heard in church, “Is that the Toshiba with the 100-megabyte hard disk?”
“Yes, it is,” I said kindly, and stood a little straighter.
He remained speechless and slightly agog throughout the rest of our journey and I left him with the memory of meeting a man who actually owned one.
If you’re into these things, here is a PDF of the specification sheet. The photograph was taken yesterday and the poem that just fits on the screen is by Robert Frost.