HP Internet Advisor: $20,000 Monster 486 Laptop

HP Internet Advisor: $20,000 Monster 486 Laptop


It’s time to look at another computer
that I find fascinating and been wanting to talk about,
and now’s the time to do so, because arbitrary reasons. This is the Hewlett-Packard J2301B Wide Area Network
Internet Adviser. With an E4594A-T1
telco undercradle. [Silly giggle]
What even is this? Well, It is the most complicated
and bulletproof laptop I own. Although calling it a laptop
is a bit misleading; It weighs 20 pounds!
(9 kilograms) You do not want
this thing on your lap, and there’s no practical reason
to own this nowadays; it’s just enjoyable overkill. I just like having
silly machines like this and as soon as I saw it
on eBay some years back, I had to have one, and…
well, this is the one I picked out! My machine was
manufactured by HP in 1998, but the division responsible for it
is now known as Keysight, which itself is a spin-off of a spin-off
of HP known as Agilent. And you’ll see a lot of internet advisor machines
under the Agilent brand. They did really well for themselves too! In fact, in November 18th, 1999, their IPO was the largest in
Silicon Valley history up to then, at 2.1 billion dollars! So yeah, they did really well
with the equipment like this. And considering the cost,
I mean I guess that makes sense. It was $20 000 for this in 1998, down to $13 500 for
the later C model in 1999. I have no clue what the
T1 undercradle underneath costs. This module is just probably
several thousand more dollars at least. Well, what does all of this even do,
though, is the question! Well it is a 486-based computer so it runs Windows 95 and games and DOS, and, you know whatever.
It’s just a 90s computer at heart. [Flips switch]
[PC fans start whirring loudly] [Hard drive clicking] [Floppy drive noises] But it’s got a bunch of
specialty hardware and equipment that the idea is that it non-intrusively
monitors and decodes WAN and LAN protocols
by capturing packets. Basically, the internet advisor
advises technicians about the internet! And it’s specialized using various
undercradles, like the T1 module in this case. Take that off, swap it out for other things.
Whatever you needed. This was leased out
to various telcos and other companies
that needed this kind of stuff. It was never really made for consumers, but they ended up flooding
the consumer market anyway after they were decommissioned
some time in the mid- to late-2000s. The more predictable
consumer-level hardware is the 486 DX4 100 MHz CPU, 16 MB of RAM, 1.3 GB hard drive, SVGA graphics,
1.44 MB 3½″ floppy drive and a PCMCIA slot. Yeah, nothing terribly groundbreaking,
especially for the late 90s. It’s just a million and a half other ports
and DIP switches and all these things… I don’t know what they do,
but they look great. Makes me feel like
I’m doing something important. Speaking of being relatively clueless
as to what some of this crap does, I won’t pretend to know
what all this software does. There’s a lot of it that was preloaded on here
for doing all kinds of diagnostic doohickeys, but I don’t know. This is completely
out of my realm of expertise, so maybe someone that actually worked
on these things back in the day could enlighten me in the comments
because I am curious beyond what I can already find
on Google and Wikipedia. It also has a 10½″ TFT LCD, which is pretty small for how big
the rest of the machine is. And the keyboard itself has
a rather cramped layout too, with a really mushy set of keys. I’m not very much a fan of this. And oddly enough, since this was
designed for Windows 95 and 98, there’s no Windows keys on here at all. I guess they just didn’t need them,
but I don’t know. Kind of strange. Another neat feature is
that it’s so big, they just stuff the whole
power supply inside the computer. It uses a standard three-pronged
PC power cable. And you might be wondering,
“Well is there a mouse at all?” “I don’t see any touchpads or anything”,
but yes there is! It has an amazing mouse,
look at this! You press this little mouse square here, and it pops right out! Appropriately enough, this is
called the HP pop-out mouse, which was also used in their
HP Omnibook series of computers. It’s a really cool industrial design
just all over, and that’s really why I got this.
I just like the way it looks: There’s a lot of metal everywhere,
nothing gets in the way, there is no plastic crap
hiding things. In fact, when I got this, I replaced
the backlight bulb for the LCD because it was really dark. But, oddly enough, that didn’t seem to help.
It’s still a really dark screen, so I end up using
an external monitor whenever I wanna do anything
on here beyond a few minutes. And there’s stuff that
I do wanna do on here! I mean, it’s got a 100 MHz DX4. Sadly, it does not have
any sound card. I could install one via PCMCIA,
although I don’t have one of those. It does have a PC speaker
that is amusingly shrill, sharp-sounding.
Listen to this! [Computer beeps a few songs
and sound effects] Anyhow, overall the HP Internet Advisor
is just stupid fun to me. It’s heavy, it’s loud
and it’s just delightful. There’s all sorts of little
features that I just dig, like when you turn it on,
it lights up like a Christmas tree! Look at all these lights! 😄 They just keep flashing
and animating all over the place! This stuff doesn’t really
do anything in my case, I’m not using all of
the telco components, but here it is anyway,
and I appreciate it. Playing games on a machine
that was $20 000 at one point is completely ridiculous,
and that’s why I like it. I mean, it’s like taking a
steamroller to a drivethrough! It’s huge, and expensive, and way more for the task at hand, but that’s what makes these kinds of things
so awesomely enjoyable. And I hope you at least found this
somewhat as enjoyable to watch as I’ve enjoyed messing with it! And if you enjoyed this quick look
at a thing of computers, then you might enjoy some more of
the other LGR stuff I have on my channel and coming up in the future.
New videos every Monday and Friday. And as always, thank you
very much for watching.

Danny Hutson

100 thoughts on “HP Internet Advisor: $20,000 Monster 486 Laptop

  1. Dear LGR,
    I know quite a bit about networking and I have access to a router or 2 with serial connections like are on your protocol analyzer. I would be interested in helping you try the device out for its intended purpose and I’m currently trying to locate one for myself because to be honest even though it’s old I have a use for it. Anyway you can message me to my email [email protected] and let me know if you want to collaborate.
    Thanks,
    Vincent

  2. Oh dude, that's an Internet Analyzer! Yeah! One use case is to hook up the RX and TX sides of a T1/Trunk or other carrier interface (both sides, one coming from customer building and the other from the LEC/CO at the cross connect/DMARC) and look for what kind and the direction and which wire pair(s) errors are coming from (to better pinpoint where a wiring or equipment issue may exist, and whose causing it such as customer versus LEC versus ISP). Use cases for this kind of equipment still exists, but I think businesses were forced to finally dump ancient Windows unsupported software and unsupported hardware where you can't find a reliable/reputable support/supplier anymore.

  3. correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't a 486 outdated in 1998? maybe my memory is confused, but i think i had a Pentium 133 or 300mhz at that time

  4. I would say telnet to hp based switches with a bunch of comm ports on the shelf bracket mounted in the switch closet i suspect the docked laptop likely comes off the docking mount

  5. This definitely would make use of the tons of tools available and provided on GNU/Linux (free open source software). Especially the network and penetration modules it includes (likely what telcos used too).

  6. Wait that's a $20,000 computer wow okay how much is it worth today because you better take care of it something like that would belong in some type of museum because sure enough 10 more years from now or 20 more years from now there probably won't be any of them left especially in good working condition.

  7. The sporting goods store runs out of Barbells and they are throwing out some of these to upgrade they say you can use them they drill holes threw the middle and you get extreamly healthy

  8. I wonder if this is what Strong Bad's Lappy 486 is based off of. It was advertised as "an extremely portable 42 lbs with a battery life of one half of 10 minutes", soo…

  9. All those switches are a way to physically/electrically control the network transmission protocols for analog and digital. Look up the pinouts for serial and parallel cables and you'll see the same initials.

  10. Damn, that laptop is bigger than my desktop PC. Can't imagine having to carry that thing around with me everywhere back in the 90's.

  11. Agilent manufactures oscilloscopes and other lab analysis tools. It has also manufactured patient monitors before.

  12. That is absolutely ridiculously massive for 1998. The 1991 Acer 1100LX I had wasn't quite that large.

  13. Now, rebuild this whole machine. The part that connects to the laptop could be scooped out and could be used as a Tower. Just imagine a 1080ti or even a 2xxx NVIDIA Graphics Card in there, and, of course, a newer and faster processor. Lastly, just switch out the panel, cut the frame a bit bigger, and fit a FHD 240 hz Panel in it. The real gaming machine!

  14. It weighs so much that it can double as weight training equipment when your done filling bank statements or analyzing mainframe server data XD

  15. This LGR guy is such a doucher, just listen to him, he sounds like such a douche. And look at him, he looks like such a douche. And touch him, he feels like such a douche. And lick him, he tastes like such a douche. And watch him eat, he eats like such a douche. And bend him over and insert the part of your body that makes you a male into his butt, he fucks like such a douche.

    Jk, he doesn't fuck like a douche, he fucks like an absolute dream, and he makes excellent content. Keep at it LGR man, and I'll keep at that ass

  16. what the absolute fuck is that large piece of shit. HP why did u decide to make this I WOULDNT EVEN CONSIDER IT A GOD DAMN LAPTOP!

  17. Some F1 teams up until recently still needed those to connect to there cars. https://www.google.ca/amp/s/www.theverge.com/platform/amp/2016/5/3/11576032/mclaren-f1-compaq-laptop-maintenance

  18. a laptop with hardwired packet filtering. Jesus fuck you could have wrecked MP games with that beast back in the day.

  19. HAhaaa, i have a Nixdorf Computer 8810 M25 from 1984 its a true Laptop with 30 pound weight price 18000Dm (Deutsche mark)

  20. That was one of the most honest reviews on something Ive ever seen. Dont know what it does, but I like it because I like it. Awesome lol.

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