Go Back   Team-BHP > Around the Corner > Shifting gears > Gadgets, Computers & Software


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 16th November 2014, 15:53   #31
Senior - BHPian
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Dombivli/Gurgao
Posts: 2,602
Thanked: 1,119 Times
Default re: Nostalgia: Computing in the 20th century

DOS, actually, was pretty powerful. Not as much as the shell scripts of Unix, but someone who knew it could do pretty cool stuff.
honeybee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th November 2014, 17:20   #32
BHPian
 
TheTeacher's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Space-Time
Posts: 477
Thanked: 314 Times
Default re: Nostalgia: Computing in the 20th century

It wasn't so much DOS but the great programs that ran on it in the early days. I was expecially proficient in WordPerfec 4.2 (running on DOS) and could produce near type-set quality ouput on a good printer because WP offered such precision control (leading, kerning, etc.), supported a multitude of fonts, wrote their own drivers for every model printer in the market that were 100x better than the drivers the printer manufacturers themselves released, etc.

There were also forms software for DOS that were much better than the crap Windows versions that were released later. Some very good calendering programs as well.

I still use an early '90s version of Calendar Creator. It originally ran on Win 3.1, but successfully ran on Windows 95, then on W98. It will not run on anything later, so I run it on W98 running inside a virtual machine on my W7-64k Ultimate. Why still clinging to it? Once you enter somebody's birthday or anniversary, it will show the correct "John's 47th birthday" in the calendar in that month. When someone passes away, make a small change, and it will show "John's 90th birth anniversary". I bought succeeding versions and many different programs, but none is as simple yet powerful as this one. I was scared it will stop working because of Y2k, but amazingly, it still works correctly (how well they programmed it in the late '80s!). The only feature that failed after Y2k is that it does not show moon phases anymore, but that's a minor thing I don't miss. Even the hard copy features are awesome. I print two months on one sheet of paper, and my wife puts it on the fridge and will hound me to print the next two months when the time comes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tilt View Post
Sorry, I just realised that the thread topic was re. computing in the 90s and here I am, talking about computing in the 80s! My apologies.Cheers
Nice memories, eh? I did send a note to the mods about renaming the thread to the "Computing in the '80s", but it's not been done. They're all too young to know what we're talking about!
TheTeacher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th November 2014, 18:23   #33
Distinguished - BHPian
 
IronH4WK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 3,504
Thanked: 3,513 Times
Default re: Nostalgia: Computing in the 20th century

the first time i laid my hands on a computer was in the mid 80s; was a PC XT or AT - one of those that booted with external 5.25" drive, the size of a bread box. used to play the Paratrooper on that.

btw, anyone remember Wolf 3D?
IronH4WK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th November 2014, 18:43   #34
BHPian
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 161
Thanked: 58 Times
Default re: Nostalgia: Computing in the 20th century

Well I too worked on an HCL Busybee XT 8088 based machine on DOS in the mid 80's. It had a 20MB HDD and 640Kb floppies. Prior to that I had worked on a Uptron 8088 machine with 2 floppy drives and no HDD.

With those machines using Lotus 123, Dbase 111 and FoxBASE it was possible to create various functional applications.

Looking back.. the usability of the computers changed with the internet. Now I can not imagine a world without Google. IMHO the game changer was not computing power but the internet.

Last edited by adnaps : 17th November 2014 at 18:45.
adnaps is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th November 2014, 18:51   #35
BHPian
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Canada / B'lore
Posts: 232
Thanked: 433 Times
Default re: Nostalgia: Computing in the 20th century

Quote:
Originally Posted by IronH4WK View Post
*SNIP* btw, anyone remember Wolf 3D?
It was called Wolfenstein 3D and was the precursor to Quake. IIRC it was the first ever first-person shooter game.

I also remember that the only way to verify PC-manufacturers' claims that their PC was IBM-PC compatible was to run Microsoft Flight Simulator. It only ran on 100% compatibles and not on anything else. So, all our salespeople had the floppy with them to demo the computers that we sold

Microsoft Flight Simulator in those days came on a bootable 5.25" floppy. The computer would have to be booted from that disk for the game to run. Put the disk in the drive and turn the computer on, and there you were, inside the cockpit of a Cessna 172 in glorious 8-bit graphics with just Cyan, Pink and Black. There was no way of running that program from a command prompt.

Cheers
tilt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th November 2014, 21:15   #36
BHPian
 
raghu.t.k's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Chennai
Posts: 446
Thanked: 161 Times
Default re: Nostalgia: Computing in the 20th century

Quote:
Originally Posted by adnaps View Post
Well I too worked on an HCL Busybee XT 8088 based machine on DOS in the mid 80's. It had a 20MB HDD and 640Kb floppies. Prior to that I had worked on a Uptron 8088 machine with 2 floppy drives and no HDD.
...
Today I was looking at the spec of X99 boards and their processors. The High end processor comes with 20 MB Cache!!
raghu.t.k is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th November 2014, 22:01   #37
Senior - BHPian
 
blackasta's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Kolkata, WB
Posts: 2,729
Thanked: 873 Times
Default re: Nostalgia: Computing in the 20th century

My first introduction to computers was in 1995 while at school - writing GWBASIC programs in MSDOS, and playing Prince (of Persia) when no one was looking!
Our school had a huge computer lab with 30-40 machines of all mix n match - PC AT , PC XT, BBC Micro etc. Most of those systems did not have any HDD, and we carried bootable floppies to boot them up.
I guess in 1998 or 1999 we got to see color monitors and windows OS (few machines)
We first had 5.25 inch floppies, and later we graduated to 3.5 inch ones while in class 9 or 10.
2001/2 was the time when a lot of change happened very fast - got my own PC while in class 11 - and had BSNL dialup internet using 56.6 kbps modem - this generation would never know that sound a modem makes while connecting!
blackasta is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th November 2014, 22:27   #38
Team-BHP Support
 
Samurai's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: B'lore-Manipal
Posts: 22,042
Thanked: 13,487 Times
Default re: Nostalgia: Computing in the 20th century

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTeacher View Post
Nice memories, eh? I did send a note to the mods about renaming the thread to the "Computing in the '80s", but it's not been done. They're all too young to know what we're talking about!
Don't jump to conclusion, we only look young. We have two mods who were born in the 50s and 3 more more born in the 60s. I did my engineering project work during 1989 in a PC that only had 256KB RAM and no hard drive. It had DOS 3.0, and could run 8085 cross compiler. Then I used to transfer the code to a EPROM via parallel port.
Samurai is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th November 2014, 22:46   #39
Distinguished - BHPian
 
Thad E Ginathom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Chennai
Posts: 7,600
Thanked: 6,686 Times
Default re: Nostalgia: Computing in the 20th century

I was born in the early 1950s, but didn't catch up with computers until late Eighties.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTeacher View Post
It wasn't so much DOS but the great programs that ran on it in the early days. I was expecially proficient in WordPerfec 4.2 (running on DOS) and could produce near type-set quality ouput on a good printer because WP offered such precision control (leading, kerning, etc.), supported a multitude of fonts, wrote their own drivers for every model printer in the market that were 100x better than the drivers the printer manufacturers themselves released, etc. ... ...
I don't remember the numbers, but WordPerfect was available for Unix too. Yes, on a non-WYSIWYG dumb terminal too. Lotus-123 too, although I had a lot of trouble with the terminal description files (eg termcap, terminfo, but I expect Lotus had their own) to get it do accept all the keystrokes and display everything on all the customers' terminals.

Wordperfect (although I was not at all fond of it) was much better than Office (Word). I still groan every time I write a letter and want to put the phone number, flushed-left, and the first line of the address, flushed right, on the same line. WordPerfect: easy, you just do it. MS Office... Ye Gods! You have to crate a table.

It was particularly bad for me, as, before I used any sort of general-purpose computer, I did photo-typesetting, where everything could be put just where it was wanted, every character combination could be customised ...everything. By comparison, WP, and even DTP has always been but a shadow. Those Linotype machines only had "dumb terminal" screens too. Everything was done in mark-up codes and nothing was wysiwyg. but it was WYGIWYW*, so long as you knew how to ask for it





*What You Get Is What You Wanted

~

Last edited by Thad E Ginathom : 17th November 2014 at 22:50.
Thad E Ginathom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18th November 2014, 10:39   #40
BHPian
 
raghu.t.k's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Chennai
Posts: 446
Thanked: 161 Times
Default re: Nostalgia: Computing in the 20th century

The sound of 56kbps modem brings back memories. It was the only way those days to connect to the outside world. The speed and stability was a very good guess.

I used to do over night production support using such modems, and the result of any database query would take ages to display over the sql server client. Sometimes it was easier to dump it into a csv and download it rather than check it on the client. A couple times the speed was so pathetic, that I found it more convinient to call a cab and reach office. Today even a mobile provides decent connectivity compared so the 56kbps modems in the city and the ADSL or Cable allows us to download enitre OSs, sofwares and even support video chat!!
raghu.t.k is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18th November 2014, 10:50   #41
Team-BHP Support
 
Samurai's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: B'lore-Manipal
Posts: 22,042
Thanked: 13,487 Times
Default re: Nostalgia: Computing in the 20th century

When I visited India in 1995, I connected my PC in Bangalore to a friend's PC in USA over a 9.6kbps modem. But the noisy Indian phone would only allow me to connect at 2.4kbps speed. Now I use a modem that is 3000 times faster.
Samurai is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18th November 2014, 10:59   #42
BHPian
 
TheTeacher's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Space-Time
Posts: 477
Thanked: 314 Times
Default re: Nostalgia: Computing in the 20th century

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
Don't jump to conclusion, we only look young. We have two mods who were born in the 50s and 3 more more born in the 60s. I did my engineering project work during 1989 in a PC that only had 256KB RAM and no hard drive. It had DOS 3.0, and could run 8085 cross compiler. Then I used to transfer the code to a EPROM via parallel port.
My bad, sir! GTO did respond to my request, stating that the very first post in this thread refers to a '90s issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thad E Ginathom View Post
Wordperfect (although I was not at all fond of it) was much better than Office (Word). I still groan every time I write a letter and want to put the phone number, flushed-left, and the first line of the address, flushed right, on the same line. WordPerfect: easy, you just do it. MS Office... Ye Gods! You have to crate a table.
Sir, not true! To do this in Word, set a Right-Justify tab at the right margin on the concerned line. Then type your phone # (on the left), hit Tab, type or paste your address whick will sit flush right on the same line.

If you want all the address lines to be left justified on the right side of the page, you'll have to set a left margin for the longest line so that when done this longest line is right justified at the right margin. To do this it helps to set a temporary left margin, type the longest address line, then highlight the line, and then move the tab to the desired spot. Then apply the same formatting to all the address lines.

I left WP and moved to Word kicking and screaming, raving and ranting. The old versions of Word sucked donkey's **lls. MS improved it steadily, and by the 2003 edition it was acceptable. I had to stop using WP after version 6.1 (the Windows version) because they started relying on Windows printer drivers and the output started to suck. I learned Word the hard way, and now can get it to do almost anyting I want. Still does not have the precision of WP, but meets needs sufficiently.
TheTeacher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18th November 2014, 13:25   #43
Distinguished - BHPian
 
Thad E Ginathom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Chennai
Posts: 7,600
Thanked: 6,686 Times
Default Re: Nostalgia: Computing in the 20th century

Quote:
To do this in Word, set a Right-Justify tab at the right margin on the concerned line.
Why didn't you tell me that years ago!
Thad E Ginathom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18th November 2014, 13:39   #44
BHPian
 
sumathindra's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 601
Thanked: 190 Times
Default Re: Nostalgia: Computing in the 20th century

Quote:
Originally Posted by IronH4WK View Post
the first time i laid my hands on a computer was in the mid 80s; was a PC XT or AT - one of those that booted with external 5.25" drive, the size of a bread box. used to play the Paratrooper on that.

btw, anyone remember Wolf 3D?
You bet, my first was a PC AT!!! The most played game used to the "Prince of Persia" DOS version :-) and I had cracked all the levels (with and without the crack codes)
sumathindra is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18th November 2014, 17:45   #45
BHPian
 
raghu.t.k's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Chennai
Posts: 446
Thanked: 161 Times
Default Re: Nostalgia: Computing in the 20th century

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
When I visited India in 1995, I connected my PC in Bangalore to a friend's PC in USA over a 9.6kbps modem. But the noisy Indian phone would only allow me to connect at 2.4kbps speed. Now I use a modem that is 3000 times faster.
The sad part is the propogation and cost of the High speed internet is not the same across cities. While in Hyd, I could subsribe to Beam which gave me around 20mbps, in Chennai, this is a distant dream for the home segment. Even Airtel does not provide such speeds in Chennai. ACT is available only in some areas so far.
raghu.t.k is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Early 20th century road infrastructure/bus transport services/automobile traffic Stefan Tetzlaff Pre-War 36 11th August 2017 14:47
The Nostalgia Thread - Tales of Middleschool DIY & Soldering Iron Burns Vivekphadnis In-Car Entertainment 45 23rd November 2015 20:58
Is 20th & 21st century the right time to be born? nandishpal Shifting gears 46 19th May 2009 23:57
Nostalgia normally_crazy Shifting gears 22 5th March 2008 17:22
Multi-computing from ONE computer? Any reviews on this? GTO Gadgets, Computers & Software 26 20th June 2007 10:17


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 13:05.

Copyright 2000 - 2017, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks