We ran across this piece somewhere back in the mists of time, like the '80s. Sadly, it was unattributed.

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 timesharing. One evening he arrived at home just after the Sun crashed and parked his Motorola 68000 in the main drive (he missed the S100 buss that morning and the commute was too short to take a backplane). He noticed an elegant piece of liveware admiring his daisy wheels in his garden. He thought to himself, "She looks user-friendly, I'll see if she'd like an update tonight."

Mini was her name and she was delicately engineered with eyes like COBOL and a Prime mainframe architecture that set Micro's peripherals networking all over the place. He browsed her over. She looked like she could be sassy, but suspected that she had just artificial intelligence. Casually admiring the power of her twin 32-bit floating point processors and polled, "How are you Honeywell?"

"I Be, MMMMM, well," she responded haltingly while batting her optical fibers engagingly and smoothing her console over her curvilinear functions. 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 can get offset later on."

Mini ran a priority process for 2.6 milliseconds, then transmitted an 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 symbol! I wonder if she liked my firmware?"

Mini and Micro paged into his address space and Mini asked for the location of the bit bucket saying that, "I need to swap out for a nanosecond to fix my cables."

Micro replied, "Down the channel, third device on the string," but added, "In my cache, you don't look a bit SCSI."

They sat down at the process table on top of a form feed of fiche and chips with a bucket of Baudot. Mini was in conversational mode and expanded on ambiguous arguments while Micro gave occasional acknowledgements, although in the background, he was analyzing the shortest and least critical path to her entry point. He finally settled on the old line, "Would you like to see my benchmark subroutine?"

But Mini was one step ahead. Suddenly she was online and stripping off her parity bits to reveal the full functionality of her operating system software. "Let's get down to BASIC's, you RAM," she cried. Micro was loaded by this stage, but his hardware policing module had a processor of its own and was in danger of overflowing it's output buffer. (A hang-up that Micro had consulted with his analyst about.)

"Core" was all he could say as she prepared to log him off.

Micro soon recovered, however, when Mini went down on the DEC and opened her divided files to reveal her data set ready. He accessed his fully packed root device and was about to start pushing into her CPU stack when she attempted an escape sequence.

"NAK! NAK!" she cried. "You are not properly shielded. I haven't got my current loop enabled and I don't want to spawn 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 because of my design philosophy."

Micro was locked in by this stage though, and could not be turned off. 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 though as she compiled herself and called for a carriage tape. "All they ever think about is HEX."