7 of 8Image
Another company that fused engineering smarts with marketing fruitbattery was Acorn Computers, which never recovered from having a huge success with the BBC Micro. It thrashed about wildly with monstrous concepts such as the ABC — Acorn Business Computer — examples of which are exceedingly rare, although Bletchley Park has a couple in its back rooms.
Acorn did spawn the ARM chip, which became successful after it left the control of the company. Before that, it found itself making computers such as this 1992 Acorn A4, the company's only portable. The A4 had business packages in ROM, a 24MHz ARM 3 chip, a price tag twice that of PC-based equivalents, and no sales to speak of. Brought out in the same month as Apple's Newton, also ARM-based, the A4 is a dead-end branch of a successful evolutionary tree.
The urge to 'be professional' led to many mutations. The PBS Executive IV is executive because it's built into a briefcase.
This, however, cannot disguise its true nature, which is a Spectrum+ with thermal printer and Microdrive storage: without a display, it is not entirely clear how it was supposed to work. Nothing else is known of this odd creation, hence the plaintive sign: if you know of (or even better are) the mystery PBS, let us know and we'll make a Spectrum collector a very happy man.
It would have been possible to compose an entertaining photostory about the Vintage Computer Festival at Bletchley Park without including a single shot of a computer, purely by documenting the ferociously varied and quite extraordinary mixture of people who came along. Here, we see one of the very rare sightings outside San Francisco of an extreme geek garment, the Utility Kilt — essentially, a dress with pockets worn by those either very comfortable with their sexuality or quite unaware that it exists.
The only other tribe who have taken to this admittedly practical and well-ventilated form of male attire are those connected with subgenres of the Death Metal/Goth Punker scene. However, we feel confident that our mature, bespectacled model is not a camp follower of Alkaline Trio but more concerned with interrupt latencies on the S100 bus.
ZDNet UK says: Bravo, sir!