Simple notes for the use of Windows 95

Thursday, 10 May, 2012

Notes for the use of Windows 95

Some very straightforward instructions for using Windows 95, clearly written for someone with very little knowledge of computers, and given their clarity and brevity, make for a model style guide when composing directions for less literate computer users.

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Learning from legends of missed operating system opportunities

Thursday, 21 July, 2011

Who knows exactly what opportunities US computer scientist and software developer, the late Gary Kildall, missed when he decided to go flying rather than meet with representatives of IBM, who were hoping to use the operating system he had developed, for a new line of their computers. Instead IBM approached Bill Gates, who supplied them with his DOS operating system.

The legend goes like this: One fateful day in the summer of 1980, three buttoned-down IBMers called on a band of hippie programmers at Digital Research Inc. located in Pacific Grove, Calif. They hoped to discuss licensing DRI’s industry-leading operating system, CP/M. Instead, DRI founder Gary Kildall blew off IBM to gallivant around in his airplane, and the frustrated IBMers turned to Gates for their operating system. This anecdote has been told so often that techies need only be reminded of “the day Gary Kildall went flying” to recall the rest. While he’s revered for his technical innovations, many believe Kildall made one of the biggest mistakes in the history of commerce.

Events didn’t in-fact quite unfold according to the “legend” however, but the story, in this context, still has a lot to say about how easy, how all too easy, it is not too fully grasp the significance of certain opportunities when they are presented to us.

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Demu, an online museum of all things DOS

Thursday, 31 March, 2011

Even ten years ago few people would have given much thought to preserving DOS (Disk Operating System), and other legacy Windows, games and applications, but Demu, a repository of such software, aims to archive as much of this early software as possible for ongoing use.

What use though are applications, designed to run on say MS-DOS 4, to anyone other than a hardened geek? Well, some of them still run on the most recent versions of Windows, so they’re not entirely redundant.

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One computer, many windows, upgrading all Windows systems

Monday, 7 March, 2011

Say what you will about Windows Operating Systems, but as Andy, a Scottish tech enthusiast, recently discovered they have a surprisingly good level of backwards compatibility, when using virtual machine technology, he carried out a series of system upgrades, from the very first version right through to the latest, Windows 7.

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Going the way of the Cadillac then… Windows operating systems

Tuesday, 26 October, 2010

Yes, everything is getting smaller, computing systems (or smartphones if you prefer) and operating systems along with them, and while I’m all for streamlining software, especially applications that are crucial to the functioning of a computer, just how far can an operating system be stripped back while maintaining its ability to support resource intensive software, such as say, Photoshop, rendering programs, and games?

Small, light, fast, and to the point, the new breed of operating system is purposeful, specific, and if I may coin a term, infodynamic. Not only this, but the empowerment of the mobile phone, the tablet, the car, the toaster, to reach the internet, understand its location and purpose, and so on, comes at the expense of the centralized personal computer. The generalist PC isn’t going to disappear, exactly, but the desktop OS will have to become as streamlined as a mobile OS, a tablet OS – hell, a Roomba OS. The era in which people had only one computer, one operating system in their life is ending. The Cadillac era of computing is ending.

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More robust than PCs and Macs, living organisms don’t crash

Thursday, 6 May, 2010

The molecular networks of living organisms, and the control networks of computer operating systems, are both complicated structures, so why don’t we crash while computers do?

Both E coli and the Linux networks are arranged in hierarchies, but with some notable differences in how they achieve operational efficiencies. The molecular networks in the bacteria are arranged in a pyramid, with a limited number of master regulatory genes at the top that control a broad base of specialized functions, which act independently. In contrast, the Linux operating system is organized more like an inverted pyramid, with many different top-level routines controlling few generic functions at the bottom of the network.

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Microsoft right on time with Windows 1.0 GUI interface design

Thursday, 16 July, 2009

A short history of operating system interface designs since 1981. But what does it say about an operating system – Windows 1.0 in this case – when the only thing that can be said for it was that it had an interesting animated analog clock?

In this year Microsoft finally caught up with the whole graphical user interface craze and released Windows 1.0, its first GUI based operating system (although no one would dare to refer to it as one). The system featured 32×32 pixel icons and color graphics. The most interesting feature (which later was omitted) was the icon of the animated analog clock.

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A quarter life crisis for Windows?

Tuesday, 18 November, 2008

It is 25 years since Bill Gates unveiled the first Windows operating system. I don’t know about anyone else, but it seems to me there has been very little noise made about this… milestone. Isn’t that odd?

Way back in 1983, when big hair, even bigger shoulder pads were the norm and the goodnight Kiwi and his cat made the nightly trek up that transmitter mast, Bill Gates unveiled Windows 1.0 operating system for PCs.

The Goodnight Kiwi, by the way, used to be seen on New Zealand television when broadcasts ended for the day. Yes, television broadcasts actually used to cease overnight at one point in the past.

No wonder people managed to get so much done back in the day, limited TV, and no Windows operating systems to contend with…

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Linux: Who got it right, who got it very wrong?

Friday, 16 May, 2008

Linux: Who got it right, who got it very wrong?

An in-depth article that looks at the uptake of Linux powered operating systems and servers.

While Linux has enjoyed a moderate rate of adoption it hasn’t quite been at the levels predicted several years ago.

In 2004, IDC predicted that growing Linux adoption would push the operating system from three percent market share to seven percent by 2008, with sales of PCs running Linux to hit US$10 billion. Even those figures paled compared to the predictions of Siemens Business Systems, which in 2003 predicted that Linux would have captured 20 percent of the enterprise desktop market by 2008. It is now 2008, and Windows is still the dominant operating system; if anything, Mac OS X has supplanted Linux as the alternative desktop of choice.

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Future operating systems to remain Windows and Linux

Friday, 4 April, 2008

Future operating systems to remain as Windows and Linux

Looks like there’s going to be no respite from the likes of Windows Vista for sometime, according to UNSW professor of operating systems, Gernot Heiser, who says the current “big name” operating systems (which, as some consolation, include Linux), are here to stay.

Previously big companies had invested a lot of money to fight the Windows monopoly, Heiser said, but that’s not likely to be repeated. Thanks to timing, Linux managed to break through and become an alternative to Windows. The server and desktop space would be stable at least in the foreseeable future, he said.

And, what, no mention of the Apple operating systems?

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