Micro and Mini : A Love Story
     Micro  was  a real time operator and  dedicated  multi-user.  His
broad-band  protocol made it easy for him to interface  with  numerous
input/output devices, even if it meant time sharing.
     One evening he arrived home just as the sun was crashing, and had
parked  his Motorola 68000 in the main-drive (he had missed  the  5100
bus  that  morning),  when  he noticed an elegant  piece  of  Livewire
admiring the daisy-wheels in his garden.  He thought to himself,  "She
looks user-friendly. I'll see if she'd like to update tonight."
     Mini was her name,  and she was delightfully engineered with eyes
like  COBOL  and a prime mainframe architecture that set  the  micro's
peripherals networking all over the place.
     He browsed over to her casually,  admiring the power of her twin,
32-bit   floating   point  processors  and  enquired  "How   are   you
Honeywell?".  "Yes,  I'm  well",  she responded,  batting her  optical
fibres  engagingly  and  smoothing her console  over  her  curvilinear
     Micro settled for a straight line approximation. "I'm stand alone
tonight",  he said,  "How about computing a vector to my base address?
I'll output a byte to eat, and maybe we could get offset later on."
     Mini ran a priority process for 2.6 milliseconds then transmitted
8K,  "I've been dumped myself recently,  and a new page is just what I
need  to  refresh  my  disks.  I'll park  my  machine  cycle  in  your
background  and  meet  you inside."  She  walked  off,  leaving  Micro
admiring her solenoids and thinking,  "Wow,  what a global variable, I
wonder if she'd like my firmware?".
     They sat down at the process table to a top of formfeed of  fiche
and chips and a bucket of Baudot.  Mini was in conversational mode and
expanded   on   ambiguous  arguments  while  Micro   gave   occasional
acknowledgements although,  in reality,  he was analyzing the shortest
and least critical path to her entry point.  He finally settled on the
old "Would you like to see my benchmark subroutine?", but Mini was one
step ahead!
     Suddenly  she was up and stripping her parity bits to reveal  the
full functionality of her operating system software. "Let's get BASIC,
you RAM" she said.  Micro was loaded by this stage,  but his  hardware
policing  module  had  a processor of its own and  was  in  danger  of
overflowing its output buffer,  a hang-up that Micro had consulted his
analyst about.  "Core" was all that he could say,  as she prepared  to
log him off.
     Micro soon recovered however,  when Mini went down on the DEC and
opened her divide files to reveal her data set ready.  He accessed his
fully packed root device and was just about to start pushing into  her
CPU stack, when she attempted an escape sequence.
     "No, No!", she cried, "You're not shielded"
     "Reset, Baby", he replied, "I've been debugged."
     "But I haven't got my current loop enabled,  and I can't  support
child processes" she protested.
     "Don't run away" he said, "I'll generate an interrupt."
     "No.  That's  too error prone,  and I can't abort because  of  my
design philosophy."
     Micro was locked in by this stage though, and could not be turned
off.  But  Mini  soon stopped his thrashing by introducing  a  voltage
spike into his main supply,  whereupon he fell over with a  head-crash
and went to sleep.
     "Computers",  she thought as she compiled herself, "All they ever
think about is hex."
                               THE END