Something on my grandniece’s Facebook page (shout out: Get Lost with Leanore) started me thinking about a guy I used to know. Let’s call him Kevin.
Kevin wakes me up one morning around 4:30, calling from an airport. “Marcus, hey, do me a favor. Run out in the parking lot and see if the NuVista card is there by my apartment.”
“That NuVista video card [big company, call it AT&T] loaned us. I think I left it on the back of the cab… Hey, that’s my flight, I’ve gotta go.” (Click.)
I drag myself out of bed, throw on clothes, and walk across the lot to Kevin’s building. I’m looking for an old-fashioned full-size NuBus video card, hopefully still in a box. Prototype or early run, I think. What… five grand? Ten? Twenty? I’m not sure. (Update: Now I’m hearing 58k. Can that be right?) After casting around for a little while I decide the card isn’t there. I go back inside.
Phone rings again. Kevin. Another airport. “Hey man, did you find it?” (No.) “That’s OK. Hey, can you do me another favor? Drive to [where we worked, call it Byte By Byte] and see if you can spot it on the road.” (Click.)
I turn out of the complex. It’s a little foggy, and very dead. Way too early for any traffic to be on the road.
Except garbage trucks.
I start seeing pieces right after I shift into second.
Back at my apartment, I’m looking over the remains and the phone rings. Kevin. Another airport. “Did you find it?”
Rows and rows of very expensive dual-port RAM ZIPs lying over like a regiment of dead soldiers. “Yep.”
“Marcus, man! I owe you my life! Is it OK?”
I look close. Buffer chips (74F2xx) cracked down the middle. Headers sorta punched into the five-layer epoxy PCB, so you can see the copper edge-on around each pin on the back, standing out in layers like an eroded ziggurat. “I’m sorry, Kevin. I don’t think so.”
“CAN YOU FIX IT??”!
Later, at the show, he meets with the wig he was supposed to see from AT&… big company. The guy smiles and gives him a warm handshake (I’m told). “So. I hear you’re the NuVista killer?”