On the "Days without a pony" web page

Reader Mark Eichin was curious about the "Days with a pony" web page. Here's what it would look (suitably redacted) if it were still operating:

December 23, 2005: Still no pony

From: Raymond Chen
To: Xxxx Xxxxxx
Subject: Laptop order
Date: Mon, 27 Mar 2000 09:47:19 -0800

I want a pony and a train set and an NEC Versa SX laptop (NECVS4E0E7A).

Maybe you can help.

Did I mention the pony?

From: Order Management
To: Raymond Chen
Subject: Order Confirmation
Date: Fri, 31 Mar 2000 14:28:19 -0800

Your order has been confirmed. Please contact your Central Sales Representative if you have any questions.

Customer PO# 1174384
Order# 5549416
Order Date 3/31/2000
Item # Mfg Part# Description Price
A143831 VS4E0E7A-0300A0 NEC VERSASX PII400 #,###.##
0373140 OP-570-69002 NEC BATT PK ###.##
A021502 KTN-VSLX/128 KINGSTON 128MB OD V ###.##
A025063 3CXM556 3COM MCD 56K CELLUL ###.##
A136063 OP-270-69002-1 NEC DVD PC ACCELERA ###.##
Total #,###.##

From: Raymond Chen
To: Xxxx Xxxxxx
Subject: FW: Order Confirmation
Date: Fri, 31 Mar 2000 15:12:19 -0800

What, no pony?

The laptop itself is still operational, assuming you don't need to see anything. The LCD backlight died a few years ago, so you either have to type blind or work in a really bright room. For some reason, the video output also died, so the standard fallback of using it as a very small desktop machine (with external keyboard and monitor) doesn't work. As a result, the machine sits in a drawer unused.

[Raymond is currently away; this message was pre-recorded.]

Comments (22)
  1. gedoe says:

    An old nec versa V50 is still serving as a linux webserver (just for the fun of it)

    Screen is still working FD broke HDD replaced.

  2. Brendan says:

    Pssst. Wanna run some seti on there for me?

  3. teh win says:

    I have a laptop with similar problems. It’s got a fairly big hard drive though, so I use it as a better-than-nothing backup for some files on the network. I use VNC to do whatever maintenence it needs, of which there is very little. Uptime is approaching a year now.

  4. I think you need to specify the brand and model of the pony. Purchasing people can be a little obtuse sometimes if you aren’t specific.

  5. Laurence Hartje says:

    Since you only complain about the pony, I assume you got the train set… How was it? :)


  6. DavidE says:

    Back in the mid-80s at MIPS, there was a yearly tradition in which one of the devs would put in a purchase order requisition for a Ferrari (I forget the model), and management would approve it all the way up to the CFO.

  7. :: Wendy :: says:

    Gosh, you can ask your employer for Cash, what was the 25 pounds for?


  8. Norman Diamond says:

    Friday, December 23, 2005 3:38 PM by DavidE

    > Back in the mid-80s at MIPS, there was a

    > yearly tradition in which one of the devs

    > would put in a purchase order requisition

    > for a Ferrari (I forget the model),

    This one?


    I’ll bet they could produce a Pony model too. Mr. Chen might have to use a bit of subtle persuasion: If Acer doesn’t produce a Pony, scrollbars will stop working on Acers ^u^

  9. Smokinn says:

    "Subject: FW: Order Confirmation"

    Shouldn’t that be RE: Order Confirmation?

  10. Mat Hall says:

    On a totally mundane note, replacing the backlight on an LCD is fairly trivial:


  11. BryanT says:

    The process uses the cold cathode tube as a replacement, I’ve seen some monitors which use what appear to be LED lights spaced from top and bottom of the screen. They may be a little more expensive, but I think less dangerous than working with mercury vapor, and LED lighting doesn’t have the same issues with burning out that these tubes seem to.

  12. ChicoCyclist says:


    The message from "Order Management" appears to be an automated confirmation of his order. Raymond is forwarding that with his pony comment to Xxxx Xxxxxx.

  13. Wang-Lo says:

    It is now Wednesday, December 28, 2005.

    It has been [ 05 ] days since Raymond Chen has posted a new article on his blog ‘The Old New Thing’.

    I’m jonesing! I need my fix!


  14. Mike Dunn says:

    Raymond’s postbot is on vacation too ;)

  15. :: Wendy :: says:

    Raymond, we miss you :-)

  16. MIKE says:

    Raymond, are you okay? Should we send someone to check up on your and your automated blog posting application?

  17. ChicoCyclist says:

    I need my morning Old New Thing fix! Where’s Raymond and who gave him 7 days off?

  18. Puckdropper says:

    I’m fairly new to reading this blog, having only read it for several months. It is my suggestion to get your fix by reading the archives.

    Why you have to click on "Start" to shut down the computer makes perfect sense now that it’s been explained. (See July 2003)

  19. Anonymouse says:

    This proves that there is no such person called Raymond Chen. It is actually a machine that has broken down.

  20. :: Wendy :: says:

    But if Raymond and his ‘bot’ are ‘offline’ how are the postings being reviewed for ‘acceptability’ could I slip a swear word in and get it automatically published? mustresist…must resist……

  21. It’s my understanding that Raymond has a separate "moderator-bot". Just because the "post-bot" is offline doesn’t mean the moderator-bot is offline too.


  22. :: Wendy :: says:

    This is a fundamental realisation for non-tehnical me. Bot in UK children’s jargon is a ‘shorthand’ slang for ‘Buttocks’, that Raymond has mulitple ‘bots’ conjures multiple innappropriate images that will probably not be censored due to linguistic/slang peculiarities. None-the-less I’ll ponder on this pink, rounded, UK peculiarity…

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