CHAPTER 2

BACKPACKERS: AN UNENCUMBERED MIND

                  Some of the world’s greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible.

—DOUG LARSON

The business computing scene in the early 1980s was dominated by what industry experts called “big iron.” Mini and mainframe computers the size of delivery trucks, isolated in AC-controlled rooms in corporate data centers, looked impressive but offered little computing power for the price. In 1980, Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) came out with a mini computer with a not-so-mini price tag ($30,000). This state-of-the-art machine boasted a robust computing platform for the time and served as the backbone of many corporate information systems. The next year, when ...

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