Wednesday, 27 January 2010

TI PocketMate 300

pm400cdbSlowly chipping away at my unpacking.  The office has been the most interesting.  Some of these boxes haven't been unpacked in the last two to four moves.  The box filled with all the goof ball stuff I had on my desk at Deere was good for some laughs.  But the stuff from my desk at Tigercat was a real trip down memory lane.  Tigercat was my first job out of university so we're going back 10-12 years.

I dug through day timers and notebooks and newsletters and finally came across this gem of gadgetry.  The Texas Instruments PocketMate 300.  Before the smartphones, before the ipods, before the palm pilot and handspring, I had the PocketMate 300.  I believe it was a gift from my parents and I loved this thing.  It was basically an electronic day timer but I used it mostly for the contacts management.  I had every dealer, sales rep, office, and supplier number for Tigercat in this thing.  Numbers were instantly at hand.  It was fantastic.

I remembered how much use I had gotten out of it before shinier, faster, more functional gadgets passed it by.  I wiped off 10 years of dust and crud and thought "What the hell" and pushed the on button.

And the friggin thing turned on!

I couldn't believe it.  Dormant for at least 10 years and it pops back to life like I just put fresh batteries in it yesterday.  My cell phone can't last 10 hours on a single charge let alone 10 years.  Amazing.

So my unpacking came to a grinding halt as I flicked through the contacts that were once so important to me.  Strange feeling to run across my current employer whose gear division supplies transmissions to Tigercat.  I was once the angry customer calling up the supplier to give them hell for something or other and now, 10 years later, I work for that supplier.  Weird.

There was only one entry in the Notes section and, again, I laughed because it was labeled "TASC Ideas".  Back then I did my best to highlight the lameness of our employee social committee by launching my own after-work gathering of employees dubbed the Tigercat Anti Social Committee.  Activities were mostly of the beer drinking variety but membership was strong and enthusiastic.  This was before I had any kind of web presence so when it came time to write up planned TASC activities, I put them in a newsletter which was called the Really Angry Newsletter for Tigercat (RANT).  I'm pretty sure the note on the PocketMate was referring to potential article ideas for the RANT.  Below are the contents of that note:

  • New Year's Resolutions

  • Holy Fuck I'm the only one at work edition

  • Tyson's Sense of Beer (a reference to the 1997 classic Smilla's Sense of Snow)

  • All the Freaks in Freakville

  • Bonus Comment - Best Parents in Brantford (reference to the barfly and companion who would constantly bring her kid into our favourite bar while they drank their faces off)

Brought a smile to my face as I remembered what I was going to write for each of those topics.  Good times.  If anyone's interested, the only surviving copies of the RANT newsletters were scanned and e-mailed to me a while ago and I've posted them here.  The file's a bit big (14 mb), just a head's up.

Anyways three cheers to Texas Instruments and their PocketMate 300 for brightening my day.  They don't make 'em like they used to.


  1. Dude, it will not surprise you in the least that I had one of these. It was called a brain. I'm not being snarky, we seriously called those electronic daytimers "brains". Excellent for holding contact info and for tracking the number of trees planted each day. Another example of how we were seperated at birth! Clarify with your parents that you didn't have a twin...

  2. Dude. That's a little spooky. If it wasn't for the difference of opinion regarding alcohol, I'd be checking for common ancestry.