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Thread: Gavilan SC on Ebay

  1. #1
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    Default Gavilan SC on Ebay

    I was in this one until I realized that bidder really wanted it.

    https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?m...2F223318694691

    Cool piece. Apparently the middle grey area on the bezel is an early form of touchpad. Not sure why they felt that was necessary on a DOS laptop.

    Probably will go up some in price.. I bid it up but chickened out as it got close to $500.

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    Wow! $810!

    Somebody really wanted that. I did, kinda... but I couldn't justify another MSDOS laptop for $800.

    Would have loved to have seen how useful the touchpad was.

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    I remember Manny Fernandez showing this thing off. I wasn't very impressed back then (the display was terrible) and still am not.

    The "hot" thing back then was a laptop/notebook PC. A couple of guys (names withheld) tried to recruit me as part of the development for one of those schemes. I think it was at the Coleman Still where I was shown something smaller than the size of a cigar box that was to be the product. My reaction was "wow, you managed to cram all that into that little box! How did you do it?"

    Lots of hem-ing and haw-ing followed with "we haven't solved the hardware techical issues yet". I declined--gently. Well, at least I got a free lunch and drinks out of it. As far as I know, nothing ever came of it.

    Today with all sorts of mobile devices, this doesn't seem like such a difficult job, but believe me, I would have been gobsmacked if it could have been done then (about 1983).
    Last edited by Chuck(G); Yesterday at 03:18 PM.

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    You really should write a memoir Chuck, if you haven't. I apologize that I never realized how involved you were. You've got some really interesting stories and have connected with lots of interesting people.

    I agree on the display. I've seen one of these working and.. yeah. Underwhelming. The Toshiba T1000 carried the concept much better (and lighter). But even that was awful. I'm not sure the Gavilan fits my criteria of being special enough to warrant collecting. It's not (I don't think) the first machine of it's type.. it's only the first (allegedly) to use the word 'laptop'? Is that even accurate? Or is that as accurate as Woz claiming to have been the first guy to type words digitally on a TV screen?

    $810 and no power adapter and no way to know if the thing even works. Wish I had that kind of money to throw around.

  5. #5

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    I like hearing Chuck’s stories. Always seemed to be in the “right place at the right time” when a lot of this stuff was going on. I seem to recall him mentioning being at Andy Capps tavern too.

    I’m only one year older than the release date of the Gavilan, but I still enjoy the lore behind this stuff.
    I don’t get how people could stand working on such a narrow screen like that... that screen size is even generous compared to some of the other machines around back then. I guess people didn’t mind the sacrifice for portability..... makes me wonder though... were people actually using the portables? Or like previously mentioned just a ”hot” item but no actual demand for them.

    I remember a computer chronicles episode where they were discussing portables and using them on planes, but then George Morrow was defending his plug-in only portable and said he never actually sees people use computers on planes. Actually it might even have been the same episode where they covered the seminar and auction off of Gavilan.

    Anyway Gavilans logo was pretty cool if nothing else. I would image that styling would be fairly outrageous for a computer company at the time.
    I have a Major in Post-Apocalyptic Economics.
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    Tandy Model 100s showed up with lots of reporters and probably can be seen in photos being used on Air Force One at the time. A few years later, the newspaper at West Point equipped staff with PC Convertibles to follow the sports teams. Weekly paper so not much requirement for a modem not that the publishing office (where I worked) had the ability to receive documents by modem.

    Unfortunately, a few thousand reporters who really want a very portable text entry system does not yield sales equal to their visibility.

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    I can testify that they were used. My Dad was issued an early T1000 as well as a Convertible. I forget which came first. I remember that one of them belonged to his employer and set the company back about $7k and I was only allowed to touch it under the strictest supervision. I recall getting one of the Sierra Quests up at my grandparents' house (the idea of being able to bring my games with me was quite appealing). But the screen was... yeah. It was brutal. But, we thought it was miraculous. A computer you could stuff into a (sturdy) briefcase and use anywhere.

    It's funny how much I remember those two machines. How they smelled brand new and the unique sound of the Convertibles 3.5 inch drives, which we were just getting used to. Good times.

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    Well, Grid sold a lot of units to the military; Zenith sold a bunch to the IRS. Apple sold a pile to the schools.

    I guess it all depends on finding the right customer. Grid (an 8086 Gridcase) was my first laptop. A Dell Latitude was my last.

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    It's interesting... since I got my Galaxy Note.. I hardly ever find a need for a notebook/laptop. I drag out my Thinkpad once in a while for work. But that's it.

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    Back in the late 80's/early 90's my government outfit issued our section a form of the H/P portable 110, not to be confused with a true laptop, as this thing weighed in at over 9 pounds. It had a small 2.5" HD as well as 3.5" floppy. The HD was not very reliable as we had contract service to repair them. We would pull the HD and send it in where they would disassemble the unit and replace the new HD with the previous HD's platen. There was no expertise or means for a backup in the field in those days save copying everything that mattered on the HD over to floppy's.

    This image is very close to what we used:

    HP110.JPG
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