John Cleese: Compaq Portable computer vs. dead fish



I had the first version Compaq “Portable”, a great piece of engineering, built like a tank. However it was liable to give you a hernia if you actually wanted to move if more than 50 feet without a car.


Judging by the date, “Dead Fish” is an upgrade from “Dead Parrot”.

You know it had to be said.

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Luggable, instead of portable, was the term we used. And you should see what earlier models of ‘portables’ were like.

I remember these fondly. One of my first tasks as a newly hired IT guy back in the day was to swap out one of the 5.25" floppies and install a half-height 20 MB hard disk (with MFM controller of course.) Had to have Tech Services whip up a lovely plexiglas bay cover.

I explain to people in what way those luggables were ‘portable’ thusly: “You bent your knees a few degrees, grabbed the handle, and then straightened out your legs - now your ‘portable’ was just a half inch off the ground.”


we used the term “Schlepptop” a bit later.

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i don’t know why, but my explicitly non portable PS/2 80 had a solid metal bar handle which you "could " use to lift it an inch from the ground with “both” hands.

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