A Swedish couple on Stadshuset balcony in Stockholm.  The woman was afraid of heights.

Collaboration Machines

by Philip Greenspun for the Web Tools Review.
Central Stockholm

My architectural wish list since 1993:
Every place that people congregate should have a Web browser, permanently connected to the Internet, with a display large enough to be seen by all present.
Someone who'd read A Pattern Language would probably see this as a pathetically simple goal. Yet I've been unable to achieve it. Our computer science lab spaces at MIT don't have public browsers, which I'll call collaboration machines. Our fancy computer science research new building won't have collaboration machines. The conference rooms I've been to at Hewlett-Packard and Oracle don't have collaboration machines.

Without these machines, it isn't possible to understand what the future will be like. You are having a conversation with someone about elephants and, seconds later, a bystander has pulled up an encyclopedia page. You're talking about Bill Clinton's impeachment and lean over a bit to grab cnn.com. It is especially important for those of us who build Web services. The kinds of discussions about page and interaction design or site structure that I encourage people to have (in Chapter 5 and Chapter 4) aren't really possible unless everyone can share a browser.

Since nobody at MIT, HP, or Oracle would listen to me, I started my own company: ArsDigita. When we moved into our new Cambridge offices, I decided that we'd try to achieve my dream. Individual offices were easy; every workstation has a 21 or 24-inch monitor, sometimes two (tip for would-be multiple monitor achievers: Windows NT software is stupid but Matrox hardware is smart).

The kitchen and dining room were a bit more of a challenge. GE has yet to adopt the idea, outlined in the last chapter of my Web nerd book, of the combination range/browser. So the kitchen is browser-free. However, immediately adjacent is a dining room with a big common table. Having a browser in your face while you're trying to eat is maybe just a little too brutal so we parked a small desk against the wall with a standard computer and large monitor.

Where we decided to push the envelope was in the living room. What would it be like to live in the future where your big TV could be playing a movie from the Internet one moment, browsing a text page the next, playing a DVD the next? It turns out that you don't have to work too hard to live in the future: you can just buy the future from Gateway 2000. They make something called a "Destination XTV". It consists of

In theory, what you can do with this is Playing blackjack in Atlantic City (New Jersey) Is this really the future? Sort of. It would be the future if it did all of these things without depending on any Microsoft software. In 1998, people are coming to the realization that they very seldom have to call for tech support on their televisions, telephones, toasters, or coffee grinders. All they really want from the Internet is email and a Web browser. Why should they have to put up with Macintosh or Microsoft software to get these things? What they want is an information appliance that does a really good job with a few basic tasks and doesn't plunge them into Microsoft system administration hell.

We knew all of this. We knew that we were taking a risk by going in the opposite direction, i.e., using a general-purpose human life-consuming PC to take the place of appliances that would work very nicely without anyone ever reading the manual.

One of my partners alleged that we were taking a risk by buying Gateway: "Half the brothers in my fraternity bought Gateway machines freshman year and the other half bought Dell. By senior year, nearly all of the Gateway machines had failed and none of the Dells had." I countered that his experience was a few years old and, in any case, this Destination XTV thing is unique; Dell doesn't make a clone. So we ordered one up from Gateway in November 1998. It cost $4,000 and Destination serial number 0011824311 was delivered about a month after we placed our order.

Good things:

Bad things: Burning car.  New Jersey 1995. Our new definition of progress: getting to place a tech support call on our TV....

Gateway Tech Support

On December 22, 1998 at around 3:00 am, I visited http://www.gateway2000.com/support/contact/contact_tech.html and tried to fill in the form but got stuck on the required Client ID field. A helpful link to http://www.gateway2000.com/support/start/index.html informed that, as of August 3, 1998 all Destination systems had a sticker on the case with the Client ID. Our system had a different sticker on the back that said it was manufactured on December 3, 1998 but no Client ID sticker. My request for tech support was rejected until I put a "1" in the Client ID field.

My support request was rejected by a Gateway robot because it couldn't recognize the serial number. So I called Gateway's 24-hour support line: 800-846-2301. After going through a maze of voicemail menus, the system said "we're busy now so we're going to put you into our automated tech support system; if you don't like this, go to our Web site and submit your request for support via email."

Unable to reach Gateway by phone or email, it is at this point that I notice just how ugly a big black non-functional 36-inch TV is in a living room....

The Brain Wipe

Even if I can't reach tech support, a few operating system glitches should be a big deal for someone like me. At age 35, I can tap into 23 years of experience with computer systems. The Unix servers that run photo.net alone weigh about 4000 lbs. and are bristling with CPUs, RAM, and dozens of disk drives. Having this vast experience behind me gave me the confidence to run crying like a baby to my partner Jin, point to the Gateway box and say "Machine no work."

Jin is a 26-year-old MIT grad who can take a random collection of parts from Microcenter and have it double-booting Win98 (for games) and Linux (for everything else) in 45 minutes. Jin reformatted the hard drive, reinstalled Win98 and all the Gateway sofware from scratch and ended up with ... a machine that didn't work.

The Year 2099 Bug

Three months after our doorstop was ordered, Sean at Gateway Tech Support calls to say "Maybe Windows 98 set your machine's clock to the year 2099. Microsoft does that sometimes." Sure enough, that was the problem. It isn't clear to me why Windows won't run if the machine's clock is set to 2099 but anyway it won't. Is the fix then as easy as resetting the time? Not exactly. I had to spending two hours wiping the hard drive and reinstalling from the Gateway CD-ROM and the Win98 CD-ROM.

We're watching DVDs again. The keyboard and remote control still seem a bit flakey. Sean told us to make sure to turn off the DestiVu software if we're playing games; it is a known performance hog.

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Reader's Comments

Hello, just a quick comment. I don't think having an info-device in every room is a very good goal. I don't need a toaster in every room, although conceivably it would be great to toast bread wherever I am. There are limits to complexity (and power consumption).

Great site, Philip!

-- David Carson, December 24, 1998

I was stoked to hear the first ads for the Destination series machine. A subsequent demo of the 27" model threw a bucket of cold Sioux City stock water on my enthusiasm.

My current inclination in the <$4k range is to go with a cheap PC hooked to a BoxLight 2025 (http://www.boxlight.com). I understand that there are other inexpensive VGA projectors out there as well.

-- Doug Luce, December 28, 1998

Hmm, you want a "big TV [that] could be playing a movie from the Internet one moment, browsing a text page the next, playing a DVD the next?"

So how about a WebTV (or variant)? It won't play your DVDs but it seems it'll do everything else, and it's only about $200! Isn't this exactly your "information appliance?"

Great site!

-- John Ha, December 29, 1998

WebTV is OK, I guess, but it doesn't have a 10baseT Ethernet connection. Nor does it have a DVD player. Nor does it run the Web browsers that most people use (e.g., Netscape, MSIE). Nor does it come with a monitor! Nor does WebTV support joysticks and games. So until we live in a world where huge flat-panel monitors are cheap and ubiquitous, I think something like the Gateway has tremendous value (because it maximizes the utility of the space- and money-consuming monitor).

-- Philip Greenspun, December 30, 1998

Evidently NCR is working on something close to your suggestion for the GE oven. Check out:

http://www.wired.com/news/news/technology/story/14 949.html

Maybe you can have Jin make it dual boot Win2k and Linux when it comes out...

-- Farshad Nayeri, December 31, 1998

I had to install one of the initial Destination systems at a former job. It didn't work that well either, so I feel your pain.

I read your stereophile suggestions a while back, Phillip, and I'm suprised that you bought some giant "all in one" solution. The first rule of yuppie hi-fi madness is that you don't even want to have the tuner and amplifier in the same box! An all-in-one boom-box is ok for listening to CDs at work but that's because it only costs $300 and you can throw it out when the disc changer stops working. If you are getting the yuppie components, you don't want to have the tuner and amp in the shop just because your Marantz CD player is skipping. You can just plug in a discman until you have to pay the $300 repair bill.

Likewise, it would seem like you would just want to get an NT box, stick a video out card in it, and hook it to a giant TV. You can get remote pointing devices or wireless keyboards. Then, get a dedicated DVD player. Plug in a playstation since those games are more fun anyway. Hook this all up to your stereo. If you want to be really cyber-hip, you can unplug the TV and plug in a sony LCD projector for huge-screen gaming/DVD parties. Etc, etc.

That being said, maybe you don't want to do this. I agree with the guy who said having an info appliance in every room might not be the best goal. I kinda enjoy leaving my office filled with 12 workstations and going home to my apartment where there is no TV or even any digital clocks. Balance is a good thing.

-- Thomas Leachmere, January 7, 1999

Hello, the concept of a browser in every room was certainly backed up by the 1999 Las Vegas consumer electronics show where compaq, diamond and cisco (among many other companies) announced a commitment to the "home network" concept. i am (and have been for several years) a big believer in this concept, and feel that Tut Systems rj-11 based 1 mb/sec ethernet is a major break through for mainstream adoption. I think the next major obstacle to overcome is an inexpensive easy-to-use server/router. basically a device that would distribute internet access from the main pipe and allow file sharing, print sharing and other LAN type activites. This new poduct will most probably be located near televisin, as televission has become the hearth (or center) of the american home. In addition, the cable line or satelite dish will probably be the most popular form of high bandwidth internet access, and obviously these lines allready come to the television. I am a dedicated webtv user (also a win/tel pc user, and mac for that matter) and with microsoft on their side, there is no limit to their potential. webtv has allready permeated the cable-box and satelite dish markets (see the deals with scientific atlanta and echostar respectively) and i suspect the deals have just begun. Sony's dreamcast is said to incorporate webtv features in it's internet access. Also of note is webtv 3rd generation box is rumored to have a dvd player included. it is therefore obvious to me that webtv (and similar information appliances) is a large part of our collective future. all i see missing is a tv-conncted "home server". i could go for hours about ths subject, so i will pause for reflection now and recomend anyone interested in the future of home technology check out www.replaytv.com digital video has arrived. there are other competive products from several companies. this combined with wide spread mp3 usage has made this an exciting and powerful time to be alive. i welcome all e-mail. jon

-- Jon Medlinsky, January 10, 1999
Why not use a high-quality screen projector instead of Gateway or 40" TV?


- Really large display whose size is adjustable.

- Saving in space (giant TV's take up way too much room).

- You can temporarily blackout the large display while you're doing black magic on your computer.

- Also the computer/monitor can be used for personal perpose even when there are many people in the room. (No need to display your mail on the wall, right?)

- Unlike Gateway thingie, you can easily add, upgrade, repair, and replace the computer and its cards/peripherals.

Big disadvantage: You have to dim the light in the room a little bit unless you get a very expensive, high-quality projector.

-- J Han, January 13, 1999

I'm in the market for a home PC, and am considering a Gateway Destination. ZDNet (http://www.zdnet.com) said mostly good things about it, so I was leaning towards getting one. After reading of your recent ordeal, however, now I'm not so sure. Thanks for sharing your experience. Good luck getting it to work. I'm off to browse around a lot more before I commit to something.

BTW, your comment about collaboration reminded me of the "ubiquitous computing" concepts being developed at Xerox PARC. You've probably heard of it already, but just in case you haven't, check out .


-- William L. Dye, January 28, 1999

Very interesting site. All the talk about the Gateway fiasco, while entertaining, really just underscores one of the key issues we face. In a really collaborative, and useful world all of this stuff should be transparent...that is invisible.. I have email in my car (Toyota's MONET system in Japan)...I never use it. Not because it wouldnt be useful (anyone who knows me knows I live 60% of my life on email, and 39% on the web!), but because the process of getting it, and responding to it is such a pain in the neck, and it offers such limited utility that it isn't worth the trouble. Browsing the web while loking at a turkey cooking isn't exactly my idea of utility either. The key to this whole idea is utility, and that comes from transparency. The Gateway epic is really just a good example of non-transparency. You couldn;t do the things you wanted because the implementation was always in the way

I was at the MS exhibit of the Auto PC in 1998..the guy doing the demo proudly showed me that with only about 10 keystrokes, and a couple of tries at voice commands, he could move a phone number form his PDA to the car and dial the phone...I even got to watch the gray bar as the little 1K download was done...Wheee! This is about as transparent and utility focused as mud...The PDA should have already introduced itself, and the phone should simply ask the PDA for the number and dial it. There is NO NEED for any user involvement in this process other than stating the need ("want to call Joe", and responsing to the result ("Hi Joe!").

We need to address the hardware, and the software from this utility and transparency perspective. When we do that we will see the applications blossom. Scott

-- Scott Andrews, February 18, 1999

Hi Philip,
I'm still trying to understand the social engineering of what you want. Who gets the remote? How long can he hold on to it before things get thrown at him? I can imagine that divergent paths in web browsing will cause much mayhem if a group is forced to share the same 480,000 pixels.

-- Charlie Yawitz, February 25, 1999

I have a system much like the Destination, but unlike the Gateway, mine is solid and works well. It consists of:

A mixture. Some of it is great, some of it is just OK, but it all works together. The main thing is that I didn't cheap out and use a software DVD decoder. The ATI video card and the DVD decoder even share an IRQ and I use them both at the same time!

The point is, you're an intelligent guy...you could put this stuff together in an evening. I'm showing this stuff on my video projector and it is reliable enough that I use it as my only DVD player.

Forget Gateway. By the way, you can pick up Destination monitors from Gateway for $399 for the 31" and $899 for the 36".

-- Chris Williams, March 16, 1999
At first, I wondered how engineers, designers, product mangers, etc., could build such a useless device. Then suddenly, it stuck me: they work 16 to 18 hours a day and simply don't watch TV, play video games, or do any of the other things that this box supposedly does. If they did, they would see the folly of taking a pile of disparate features of various products and throwing them together without thinking through what the Dimension XTV was trying to be, or even whether it would work reliably in an "average" home.

"Collaboration" means to "work together." In a sense, the Dimension XTV did function that way: it forced Phillip and Jin to work together with eachother and others so that the machine could be restored to basic functionality. However, I doubt this is what Phillip had in mind.

-- Frank Wortner, March 22, 1999

Electrolux/Frigidaire recently announced their web-fridge http://www.electrolux.com/screenfridge/ Both powerful and scary. Barcode scanner allows you to add the physical contents to the virtual fridge which you can browse from the car, from work, from your palmcomputer. Let's hope that the product database will be universal and open and updateable by everyone- like the open-source cd-database which allows you to play a cd in your computer and download the artist, title, and song data from a central db on the net to your player.

Netpulse has a browser/exercise machine where you can exercise, browse the web, and earn airline mileage too http://www.netpulse.net/

Qualcomm has the new pdQ phone which mates the PalmPilot with a CDMA phone http://www.qualcomm.com/pdQ/

Convergence- it's not just about the web and TV.

-- Gen Kanai, April 9, 1999

I visited the Gateway Country store in my local area, and was able to check out the PC/TV. I found the integration between PC and TV clumsy and the interface incredibly akward. The final straw was the hideous display with its 800x600 resolution. Even when this product works, it's not great; I could tell within ten minutes of plopping down in Gateway Country's chair that it wasn't for me. If you're curious about this unit, be sure to try it out at a Gateway store before buying. Incidentally, the gateway store is well designed and service seems good (although I didn't test it seriously). Might be a nice place to buy a computer - just not this one.


-- David H Dennis, May 21, 1999

I purchased one of the earlier versions of the Gateway Destination series of computers back in 1997. Believe it or not, I have not had too many problems with it. The monitor is the (dont think they still make it) 33 1/2 inch monitor. Goes up to 800x600. It came with Windows 95 installed and 64 megs of ram. Also came with a DVD player as well. The keyboard uses infra-red. From reading the previous posts here, I am under the impression that the new keyboard uses radio. Well I hate the keyboard myself. I think I have spent the value of the computer in batteries for it. But I digress...

My complaints!

There is no easy way to upgrade the Destination systems. Apparently (at least the model I have) has a very unique case. Putting new cards in is a nightmare. Gateway email support is a horrorshow. Spotshop.com doesnt even know what kind of computer I have! They never heard of it... <grr>

Well, I am going to attempt to upgrade my Destination. I will post the results if my computer still works! I plan on installing WinNT, Voodoo 3500 card, additional 64 megs or ram, and upgrade the processor. With the Voodoo 3500 card, I should be able to run TV thru that and it has built in support for DVD.. Should be scary to do this, but I'll give it a shot.

If anyone has done anything like this with there gateway Destination, feel free to email me with WARNINGS or suggestions!

-- Jan Ocken, June 24, 1999

In a private conversation with one of the guys who actually DID the Destination, they were happy with everything but the unreliable Microsoft software. It is Microsoft that did something really crappy (but to be fair it was Gateway that ships it).

-- Patrick Giagnocavo, October 16, 1999
Great column Phil, we need more informative articles like this one. One comment, someone should tell the Gateway guys that using a line doubler on their Destination systems (hidden way behind the stand, away from view) could be considered unlawful representation and fraud. Hope the showroom demos matched up to the one that you purchased.

-- anyone anyone, November 19, 1999

I was wondering if any one needs a 36 in monitor or a wireless keyboard that does not work. How about maybe a broken DVD player and a CD recorder that won't record? Maybe a wireless mouse/remote that does not work or a 500 XTV that constantly remains locked up. Ir also includes a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound that has no optical connection on it. Tell me how that is supposed work. It also kicks out the driver each time you exit a program so that each time you want to listen to a CD without static, you must reload the software. As for the 500 Pentium processor this is supposed to have in it, well I think my Acer 166 is almost as fast. I only wished I had seen this site before buying this piece of junk. The customer support is totally non-exsistant. Now get this, I go to the Gateway site to recall what I paid for this lemon and Destination XTV is no longer any where to be found. In short, not only does the XTV suck but Gateway sucks period!

P.S. It only took about 1 hour to type this on my wireless keyboard piece of crap!

See Ya,

Kelton Page Bryant, Ar

Hey how bout that, the first comment of 2000.

-- Kelton Page, January 30, 2000

Gateway had the right idea, they just paid the price of being ahead of their time. How many innovators have been punished for bringing an innovative product to market far ahead of mature consumer demand or technology? In 1998, the Gateway system was radical and expensive. Fast-forward a couple of years, and everything but the 36" screen is a commodity.

The fusion of PC and home entertainment system is a given; the only question is, what form will it take? From where I sit in February '00, I'm inclined to place my chips on the new Sony Playstation, combined with a high-resolution (72+dpi) display as the best contender for paradigm of the next 5 years.

-- Robert Rhode, February 8, 2000

Two unrelated comments: 1: I think this shows that for now, prtable wireless-linked tablets are the way to go (expensively) to get the idea of the future in every room. For further future, of course, there's glasses with display-superimposed-on-reality and it can be shared with others on the LAN. All of this is too far off, though. Really, I'm more interested in the first practical ubiquity, which I would guess to be no later than someone ports Linux/FreeBSD to a color-LCD cellphone-- say 4-6 years, at the outside. THEN, we'll need what my company (r-w.net) will provide, when it gets going...

2: The reason nobody rates your websites, Phil, is probably partially due to the fact that you have to click on a link specifically to do so. Now, if EVERY link leading off a page were actually separate same-target hyperlinks adjascent to each other (i.e. "Or you can go back to Collaboration Machines" if the last two words were a hyperlink so that clicking on the "Coll" part of the link (=left end) was a -2 rating, clicking on the "ines" part of the word "Machines" was a +2 rating, with the middle interpolated so that the center (=0) was the biggest bit), then I think people would rate things by consciously clicking on one end of an anchor or another. (At least 50% more often, I think, if they were reminded they could do so). People are lazy, thank god. Unfortunately, UI designers are people, too, so...

-- Evan GEISINGER, February 8, 2000

Actually I love the XTV despite it's faults.

Pros - great TV quality, excellent DVD quality, good web browsing with TV. Contrary to the above you can run quite nicely in 800 x 600 on the 36" which I have. Integration of the A/V center software ( DestiVu ) with the computer I/R controller output unit ( lets DestiVu control your VCR/Sat/etc. ) and program guide has great potential. Inexpensive 5.1 system is optional - DestiVu will control quite a range of HiFi. With 10/100 LAN, voice modem doing the a high end answering machine emailing me messages anywhere and USB Cam it's alright. ( I put in the voice modem and software and USB Cam ) The Voodoo 2 is ok if DestiVu is turned off - not rocket science there.

Biggest Con First : ** ORPHAN MACHINE - ARRGGGGH!! **

Cons - poor DVD controls, incompatible with about one in ten DVDs ( I bought an external DVD which the DestiVu controls just for the ones it can't play. ) Few updates to the software on top of so so Gateway support. I agree if this Machine was a DELL it would have been better. And to have a $4000 convergence center abandoned after a year and a half really burns me. Hardware upgrades practically impossible - I'd love to upgrade the ATI pro TV wonder card to the ATI 128 wonder but it would mess up the keyboard/remote/AV system/DestiVu combo. If I could only get the source to the DestiVU software!

Well just thought I'd say I'm typing this on the XTV while watching TV in the background and it's addictive. But obviously until someone supports it like a Dell I can't recommend it. Still a high rez system is great with PC capability. Regards, Dave Glotfelty

-- David Glotfelty, April 2, 2000

I purchased a Gateway Destination from someone on eBay and although I agree that it is far from perfect, it has a lot of potential. Nothing beats watching the tube and browsing the web or checking e-mail while the TV picture is in a window.

I knew the shortcomings of the system when I bought it. I planned to upgrade it as better technology became available. For anyone interested in either building their own convergence system or upgrading their Destination, the November issue of Maximum PC magazine has an article on it.

-- Stephen Carlson, November 18, 2000

I too own a Destination XTV and agree that it is one of the nicest attempts at a true home entertainment system I have found. It is indeed too bad Gateway gave-up on it so soon. Yes, it has some limitations, but al in all a nice semi-sound machine. Hopefuly somone will pick-up the banner soon. (i.e. digital decoder built in to go digital signal straight to monitor, higher res screen, and an abiliy to run Audio equipment through its shared IR/RF control system so I can run my 6-changer CD system through it.)

-- Scott Hoffman, January 22, 2001
I actually bought the 31 inch monitor off of ebay, and assembled a screaming machine off a custom atx case. Instead of the crappy gateway components, I built the machine with all custom parts. This was two years ago, but the machine is a rock. I used the ATI all in wonder board, an EPOX MB / AMD k62-400 chipset, a creative DVD/DXR2 dvd setup, and a diamond Monster Sound Card. I am actually looking at updating the entire thing this year, as I like the AirBoard setup. The best advice I can give is don't struggle with the hardware. Just throw in brand new components and forget that it was ever related to a Gateway Machine. You could actually probably assemble the entire thing for under $500 if you have to only replace the MB / Chip / Mem / Sound & DVD. You could spend much more if you wanted. E-Mail me if you want any tips. paulhaft@hotmail.com

-- Paul Haft, May 2, 2001
Hey all again -I have been getting lots of e-mail about how to set up one of these systems. My advice is simple. If you have the old gateway guts, it is time to upgrade. Prices are dirt cheap, and if you can ad a motherboard, you can easily build a system from scratch that will crush it. My setup has again been modified with the decline of prices since June. I am now running a new motherboard with dual processors and 1.5gig of ram. The card is an ATI All in Wonder Raedon (the obvious "key" component), and the sound is the Monster 400. If you need a better soundcard than that, I would recommend the new SoundBlaster cards, as they are now optical out. The stability issues most of you have are due to the old OS. The advice I have given everyone looking to tweak an old system is don't. Computer prices are in the cellar. Use www.pricewatch.com and get all the components you need. Computer systems are now a joke to build from scratch due to the fact that everything you will use is plug and play. If you feel you need anything at all off your old hard drive, just use it as a slave drive in your new setup. I am looking for a monitor upgrade, as I have one of the old ones that can't go out of 640x480, which means most games don't run. paulhaft@hotmail.com

-- Paul Haft, February 5, 2002
Gateway 2000 Destination 36" monitor; A Rare Beast

I have one of these monitors. It now (September 2009) lives in my garage. It serves as the main display of my (now retro) Windows 98 system. While 640x480 is quite a crunch for display technology today, this monitor serves me well for my (now) retro software out here in the wilds of my garage in Texas. (ever lived somewhere that it feels like you are breathing water? Its HUMID here during the spring/fall)

Just for history sake, lets look back at the life of my 'garage monitor'. Some time in 1997 my emplyer purchased 6 Gateway Destination 36" monitors for use in his Network Operations Center. A custom WALL was built to house these 6 monitors; 3 on top, 3 on bottom. These 6 monitors were connected to a custom build x86 PC (Dual P-III 700 if I recall correctly) with 2 3-head PCI Matrox Video cards. This 1 PC served as our primary network monitoring display system for around 5 years. Around 2003 it was decided by the powers that be that it would be better to export this network monitoring data to individual (20"+ LCD/ 2-4 display) Monitoring Stations. At that time these GIGANTIC BEAUTIFUL fossles of antiquity were destined to the dump ground. I had the mind to ask for one to take home. I found a way to transport this 250+ pound monstrosity to my garage in the back of my go-cart (my old 1996 Ford Escort Station Wagon). There it slept. This unbelievable 36" CRT technological triamph rested in my garage after 5 years of continious 24 hour operation. There was no joy in its storage. It lived on its on wheeled platform which consisted of the caster mount of a 19" Dell Server rack. The server rack sits on the ground, devoid of its casters. It took a good part in the consumption of my side of the garage; A two car garage which my wife insisted that she still be able to park in. I had visions of building this maginificant beast into a wooden retro gaming chassis to play old Arcade games. An upright arcade enclosure, much like the 4 player 'installations' of Gauntlet.( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gauntlet_(arcade_game) ). That never came to pass. Mainly because even then (2004), I could purchase a 27" LCD that weighs roughly 20 times less (10 pounds vs 250 pounds) and provides a much higher resolution. Now days a retro arcade cabinet can be mainly cosmetic and made of light particle board where as in times past it had to support the weight of a heavy CRT. I just could not let go of this unique VGA monitor. 36 INCH CRT!!! I have many old (working) parts from computer history (1982+) but this is still one of my favorites that I still use on an almost constant basis. Once it fails I am sure that I will have to learn about CRT repair to fix and maintain it. So far it has been quite a dream. While It might not be able to display as many pixels as the newest device, it does what it does like a champ. I wish displays built now lasted as long as this old CRT.

-- Project Twenty Three, September 22, 2009

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