back to article You've duked it out with OS/2 – but how to deal with these troublesome users? Nukem

Welcome to another leap back to the shooters of the '90s, and how to deal with them, in The Register's regular Who, Me? feature. Today's story comes from the southern hemisphere, and a brave soul working in the technical support department for a major bank. It was the early 1990s and "Bill", which is not his name, dealt with …

  1. tip pc Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Expensive

    Duke Nukem cost a fortune, the cost of the game wasn't too bad but the 3dfx card i had to buy for my Mac cost a small fortune, especially as a student with little funds and a high maintenance girlfriend, i just had to have that game and run it in all its gory glory.

    Fun times :)

    1. joeW Silver badge

      Re: Expensive

      I gave it a replay last year - still immensely good fun after all these years. Although the less said about the eventual sequel the better.

      1. Steve K Silver badge

        Re: Expensive

        Yes - HoloDuke was a great idea - rehashed in Fortnite currently!!

        The dialog was great - especially when you found things like the pinball machine.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Expensive

        "Although the less said about the eventual sequel the better."

        High Maintenance Girlfriend: The Return

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Expensive

          OK, but the subtitle needs work.

          High Maintenance Girlfriend: Major Release

          High Maintenance Girlfriend: Hyper-Critical Update

          HMG: Refactored

          HMG: Zero Day

          HMG: License Expired

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Expensive

      The original Duke worked entirely in software rendering. What did you need a 3DFX card for?

      1. tip pc Silver badge

        Re: Expensive

        we got Duke Nukem 3D on the mac. the game was far more visually appealing with the graphics card,

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Expensive

          How strange. The press release from the developers doesn't mention anything about a 3DFX card...neither needing one nor offering an enhanced experience if you do have one..

          https://web.archive.org/web/19980111201259/http://www.apogee1.com/press/macduke.html

          https://web.archive.org/web/19970522063438/http://www.wizworks.com/macsoft/Duke.html

          And this preview doesn't say anything about 3D acceleration either

          https://web.archive.org/web/19990429182332/http://www.macledge.com/Reviews/duke-pre/duke-pre.html

          1. Dabooka

            Re: Expensive

            Memory plays tricks.

            I recall having to upgrade my card at a similar time, and prudence then suggested you hopped onto the 3D bandwagon*; maybe the need vs obvious purchase have become somewhat blurred over the last 25 years?

            If I recall, by pulling in a favour from a supplier at work I managed to acquire some generic 'S3 ViRGE' chipset jobs for about £35 a pop for me and my pals. Nothing flash, I think they had 2Mb onboard but with the little brown sockets where you could upgrade with another 2 x 1Mb chips (or 4 x 512s maybe, but in my mind they were 1Mb chips).

            Anyway, my point being that maybe the brown box 512kb card that came with the PC was no good, hence the jump to something more substantial just to get the thing to work.

            1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

              Re: Expensive

              The Virge is a terrible accelerator, but it's a solid card for 2D, and works well in DOS too.

            2. DropBear Silver badge
              Boffin

              Re: Expensive

              There was a version of the S3 Virge that got sold with LCD shutter glassed though - and there was a version a Descent that could actually use them. It was absolutely glorious...

          2. MrDamage

            Re: Expensive

            You didn't "need" a 3DFX card, but it certainly helped. Think of it like very early SLI.

            1. ByeLaw101

              Re: Expensive

              Originally, No 3D card helped with this game, it didn't take advantage of any 3D acceleration and was purely a software renderer.... 3DFX would never help here.

              However, in later years some clever people hacked around the Build engine to enable 3D acceleration, and higher resolution textures... which is nice.

              1. Glen 1 Silver badge

                Re: Expensive

                I believe it was Quake (at least the patched GLQuake) that lead to the rise of 3dfx.

                My first card was a Voodoo3 2000 during the Half-Life era a few years later.

      2. veti Silver badge

        Re: Expensive

        The original Duke rendered at 320 x 200 pixels and 16 colours. Most people nowadays consider that to be a somewhat - dated look.

        1. Paul Shirley

          Re: Expensive

          The original DN3D rendered at whatever resolution you told it to. It did however only reserve enough rendering buffer for something like 1600x1200 (if I remember right) and crashed if you went too high. Wasn't a problem at the time because monitors couldn't do hi-res and hi-framerate simultaneously and we all chose fps, though I don't remember ever needing to use 320 - our developer boxes were more powerful than office PC's :)

        2. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

          Re: Expensive

          It did, but here they're talking about Duke Nukem 3D, the first 3D Duke Nukem game.

    3. RandyC

      Re: Expensive

      I remember my older brother had his first PC and he installed me DN and omg I've spent hundreds of hours on that game.. Yet I was extremely disappointed with the new one, it was bad on so many levels for me

      1. Steven Raith
        Mushroom

        Re: Expensive

        I tried to run it on a 486 SX 25 with 4MB ram.

        No go.

        Then set up a virtual RAM disk on my HDD (a 120mb IDE jobby) to give it another 4MB of memory. I couldn't tell you how on earth I did it, but I'll wager it was an autoexec/config.sys hackery with something being preloaded at boot. It was over 20 years ago....

        Game loaded. Awesome. But every time it hit the 'swap' section, it'd take a couple of seconds to load the data.

        And the data was literally every sound, or animation frame it couldn't fit in to real RAM.

        It was a lot.

        I went back to Doom after that as RAM for that computer was pricey and I couldn't get mother dearest to justify it. She got annoyed enough when I played Doom for hours at a time....

        Aaah, good times.

        Steven "Blow it out your ass" Raith.

        1. Steven Raith

          Re: Expensive

          On a related note, the death of that computer was when I tried to install OS/2 on it.

          I'd used Doublespace (I think) to make more space on the disk, and tried to install OS2 on it. It didn't like doublespace and so asked me to remove it.

          So I cleared down the space, and set Doublespace to decompress everything. Which would have been fine.

          Had Mother Dearest not turned the machine off part way through because it was making annoying rattling noises.

          I wasn't quite sharp enough at ten years old to know how to fix it, and mother dearest didn't want to spend money on a 'toy' so it was permafucked.

          I became a console user for about a decade after that. Ah well.

          Steven "Parents feck you up" R.

        2. Marco Fontani

          Re: Expensive

          I had the same ~mid nineties (SX, 4MiB, 120MB IDE spinning rust). Was *so* glad I managed to upgrade it to a DX2 and 8 MiB RAM a few years later.. and MUCH later to IIRC 16MiB.

          I eventually (much, much later) ended up replacing it with a Pentium 2 (or was it a Celeron?).

          Still, the poor old 486 DX2 continued to work *so* well that the thing ended up being sat at a ISP's desk, hosting my MUD and corresponding website... *this* side of the century. 486DX2, 16MiB RAM, spinning rust, running Slackware Linux.

          Nowadays, one wouldn't even *hope* of getting that mileage out of a PC...

        3. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Expensive

          "I went back to Doom after that as RAM for that computer was pricey"

          We found DOOM useful as a ram test:

          About the time Doom came out there was a burgeoning industry of hacking BIOSes and shipping 386/486 machines with fake cache ram (remember when cache was SRAM on the motherboard?)

          Linux would manifest this as Sig11 faults when compiling the kernel, but of course you'd have to install the OS and drive it hard to find this.

          DOS Doom would simply CRASH hard after 5 minutes or less, so it became the first test we'd run on a new machine.

          Several retailers we worked with got bloody stroppy with us returning systems over this issue and swore blind there was nothing wrong with the boards - until the largest distie in the country was slapped with a $StonkinglyLarge fine for distributing boards with fake cache - and the commerce regulator determined it was a deliberate strategy of deception in collusion with the manufacturers.

          After we pointed this out, many of the retailers still disputed the issue and produced letters from the distie saying it was all a misunderstanding (the distie also posted the same excuse to Usenet).

          The Usenet posts and a couple of copies of the letter got back to the commerce regulator, who then _tripled_ the fine because the distie was denying the issue (remember they'd already determined the activity was deliberate) and went after the distie's management in court - they also issued a press statement putting any retailer who continued to deny the issue in the crosshairs for further fines - only one in our area was stupid enough to continue after THAT came out (unsurprisingly, a retailer who specialised in selling the cheapest nastiest most unreliable possible - including cases with razor sharp edges - at the highest prices, to the local evangelical christian crowd, who were convinced that as he was "one of them" he could do no wrong - that was my first real introduction to how gullible evangelicals really are). After the commerce regulator went after him he simply phoenixed the company and went on doing exactly the same thing.

    4. Timbo

      Re: Expensive

      ...but do you remember the night club scene with the strippers and Duke singing "Born to be Wild"...now THAT was enough to keep me playing. I seem to recall playing DN on a PC having an Intel 486DX33 CPU with 16 Mb of RAM.

      I've still got the original CDROM somewhere, assuming it hasn't got "CD rot".

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: Expensive

        Ah a 4mb rage 2 with orchid righteous 3d. King of the hill PC at the time.

    5. Blackjack

      Re: Expensive

      That's cause you were playing on a Mac.

      On PC the game worked with a standard video card as long as you had enough Ram. Granted it may not looked the best it could look but it still looked better than Doom and that and the tricks to see naked chicks was all we cared about.

      I got the game on the CD that included Duke Nukem 2 and a Level editor for Duke Nukem 3D, I might still have the actual box somewhere. And I found the CD last week when I was looking for my MDK CD.

    6. Sudosu

      Re: Expensive

      and a high maintenance girlfriend

      Brings new meaning to "I don't have time...to play with myself"

  2. jake Silver badge

    A wunch of bankers ...

    ... getting their just deserts. Sounds good on paper, but I wouldn't do it that way. Its an ethics thing. "Thou shalt not fuck with userland" is one of the prime tenets.

    Instead, I'd have it drop a note into the system logs and then run the program they expected, followed by another note when they closed it down. Cleaner, and they self document their on the clock time wasting.

    1. Admiral Grace Hopper
      Pint

      Re: A wunch of bankers ...

      Well, quite, but if they had been carpeted for it there would have been a queue of colleagues offering beers after the no-biscuit/no-tea interview with the boss.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: A wunch of bankers ...

        My way they get carpeted anyway, without the added cost of fixing the computer. Much less without the risk of losing any corporate data on said computer when the banker calls his mate to talk him through fixing it over the phone.

        I doubt the beers would be forthcoming Those bankers stick together like glue.

        1. Admiral Grace Hopper

          Re: A wunch of bankers ...

          The bankers can do what they want - I would hope that the fellow toilers at the IT codeface would stump up for the beers.

          1. jake Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: A wunch of bankers ...

            We always have.

            This round's on me ::hic::

        2. MrDamage

          Re: A wunch of bankers ...

          You know what dissolves glue? Cattleprod, roll of carpet, shovel, and quicklime.

    2. NoneSuch Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: A wunch of bankers ...

      Vice Presidents / Senior Managers LOVE to be told what to do. And your job security is guaranteed if you do.

  3. richardcox13
    Boffin

    > Note: we'd recommend using something a little more... shreddy... if you want to completely wipe all data before passing on a hard disk.

    While calling it NukeTheMBRIfYouAreReallyReallyReallySure.exe miight help avoid accidents this would have to be a DOS level program... and thus rather more limited file naming.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      If it's operating on DOS (or any Windows prior to 95 or NT 3.5) that filename isn't going to help you. At all.

      8.3 Filename system

      The relevant bit: 8.3 filenames are limited to at most eight characters (after any directory specifier), followed optionally by a filename extension consisting of a period . and at most three further characters.

      I'm sure many a person here has groaned at the problems caused by too long filenames in DOS and early Windows. (I have and as a 30-something spring chicken I've barely used those)

      1. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble? Silver badge

        Funny, it was only the other day we were reminiscing in the office about the emergence of the C:\MYDOCU~1\ directory.

        Aah, the memories. Or should I say AAARRRGGH! The memories!

      2. katrinab Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        If would appear as NUKETH~1.EXE, which isn't the sort of thing a 1990s gamer would run.

      3. Blofeld's Cat

        BLFLDSCT

        As a former DOS programmer, I still have the ability to seamlessly pronounce eight-letter words with no vowels.

        1. veti Silver badge

          Re: BLFLDSCT

          Ah, but can you pronounce them recognisably?

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: BLFLDSCT

          "eight-letter/number words with no vowels."

          FTFY. Who here didn't make filenames up such as FILECR8R (File Creator), RUN1CE (Run Once) etc.

      4. NoneSuch Silver badge

        Users today have 430 character file paths on our system.

        \\domain\folder\Fax Scans received from ABC Company\Fax Scans Saved by Doug R\Doug R scans for ABC Company with finance info for 2017-2018 calendar year including errata and recalc of invoices\Adjustments for ABC Company - Dorothy P - Sandra S - Melissa C rework of schedule VIII Excel Workbook 9.1\ABC Company year end ending May 31 2018 - NO payroll adjustments - See Bob P for that\Sheet4XXXXXXXXXXXXX_2017_18.xlsx

        File path shortened as I shrank last names and edited a few things out.

        1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

          Know thy MAX_PATH

          "In the Windows API (with some exceptions discussed in the following paragraphs), the maximum length for a path is MAX_PATH, which is defined as 260 characters"

          also... (keep this very quiet)

          "The Windows API has many functions that also have Unicode versions to permit an extended-length path for a maximum total path length of 32,767 characters"

          https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/win32/fileio/naming-a-file

      5. MrDamage

        > I'm sure many a person here has groaned at the problems caused by too long filenames in DOS and early Windows

        That problem is still there, only now it applies to the combination of folder and file names totaling more than 256 characters.

        Anyone who has had to restore files for users who believe that the folder structure can have an infinite amount of characters, knows this pain.

        1. Sudosu

          Especially the business areas that understandably use descriptive full sentences for every folder name down the tree and the files within.

    2. jake Silver badge

      So stick an "untypable" character into the file name. Sorted.

      1. bpfh Silver badge

        Alt+255 as a directory name

        Adding a null character as a directory name or in part of a file would through quite a few people but the GUI took the fun out of it

        1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Bronze badge

          Re: Alt+255 as a directory name

          No need for GUI, Windows learned command line completion long ago.

          ren <tab><tab><tab><there is that stupid file> normal-name

          Done.

          You can even drag and drop a file into an open cmd shell, and you won't have to <tab> around.

          There are command.com replacements with the same capability for real DOS.

  4. Alister Silver badge

    I also had a little utility called nuke.com, built in Borland Turbo Basic if I remember rightly but compiled to a single file. It wiped the MBR and then did an fdisk and format of a single partition.

  5. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

    Timing is off..

    To be picky, that wouldn't be OS/2 Warp, it'd be OS/2 2.1 at most

    Windows '95 was out in.. guess

    Windows 3.1 was released on April '92

    OS/2 2.0 was also released April '92

    2.1 end of March '93

    3.11 November '93

    Warp was October '94, Connect versions in 95

    Then Warp 4 in '96, IBM having wasted a lot of time with the stillborn OS/2 PowerPC in the interim.

    Duke Nukem was pretty good at the time though, it's still fun today using eDuke32 (although the first episode is the best, I lose interest part way through the second)

    1. MarkET

      Re: Timing is off..

      Used to run SQL (Sybase) on OS/2 1.21 - installed from 3 floppy disks at the time. Command line only. Installation would fail on some systems with drives bigger than 512MB - found to be a BIOS / motherboard issue with floating point divide exceptions not being correctly cleared.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Timing is off..

      OS/2 1.2 was in 1991-ish. I took a programming (night) class on it, shortly before Windows 3.0 released.

      From the article: "OS/2 was a joint development project taken on by IBM and Microsoft back in the 1980s and was regarded as the future by evangelists of the time. Things turned sour as sales of Windows 3.0 took off ".

      I'd like to add some history to that, VERY relevant to today.

      At that time Windows 2.x was all "2D and FLATTY" (like some so-called "modern" windows versions are today). And, so was OS/2 until version 1.2. But then, OS/2 1.2 'Presentation Manager' added full color support [requiring VGA as I recall] and 3D Skeuomorphic appearance to all of the various 'control' windows (like buttons and checkboxes and list boxes and so on) and of course that intuitively understandable GUI we all know and love from the Windowx 3.x days. It was a design based on ease of use and a transition from text-based interfaces normally found on the PC.

      IBM wanted OS/2 to be synomymous with PS/2, however, like a high-end OS for their high-end PC. They were VERY angry about "the clones", essentially driving them out of the low-end PC market. unfortunately this meant that NOBODY could buy OS/2 for a clone - you could ONLY buy it for a PS/2, unless the PC maker had "an OEM version" of OS/2 for their line of PCs. Good luck with that.

      Enter Windows 3.0 which was a marketing success because it TARGETED THE MASSES, ran well (enough) on non-standard PC configurations, and had that (much covetred) 3D SKEUOMORPHIC APPEARANCE. It was TRULY SUPERIOR to EVERYTHING at that time, except maybe for OS/2, which Microsoft ALSO wrote.

      IBM blew it because of their STUPID marketing of OS/2 + PS/2. Microsoft WON because they did what people WANTED, i.e. a 3D Skeuomorphic multi-tasking GUI add-on that ran on existing MS-DOS machines [and was still compatible with old MS-DOS programs].

      (but of course NOWADAYS you have MS turning into something WORSE than what IBM was back then... and NOT listening to customer wants, and instead "millenial PHONE-Y FEELS")

      1. MarkET

        Re: Timing is off..

        The PC clone market took off when IBM licensed their BIOS to Compaq et al.

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Timing is off..

          it's my understanding that the Phoenix BIOS was NEVER licensed in any way from IBM. Instead, the IBM BIOS was reverse engineered, then a new one was re-written from scratch by a different team (see article link). I'm pretty sure that THIS was the trigger that REALLY started the clones ("true clones" and not things IBM approved of, nor illegal copies). There were many OTHER BIOS makers besides them, and it was mostly done without IBM's blessing nor consent... because the hardware specs were essentially "open" and generic enough.

          This was a reason for microchannel for PS/2 by the way...

          1. MarkET

            Re: Timing is off..

            The IBM SurePath BIOS code was licensed to Phoenix in May 1993 as part of a joint development project.

            1. Alan Brown Silver badge

              Re: Timing is off..

              "The IBM SurePath BIOS code was licensed to Phoenix in May 1993 as part of a joint development project."

              That was a very LONG time after the Compaq Phoenix BIOS made its appearance - as in around 12 years after.

              By that point IBM had given up on protecting PS/2, microchannel and any hope of proprietary BS on the PeeCee platform - they'd even put OS/2 into general release to compete with WIndows 3.11

              My very first "MessyDos PC" was a ~1982 Sanyo MBC-550 with a whole 64kB ram (upgraded to 256kB) - acquired as a swap for a case of beer in 1985. It was limited but it did the job (primary need was Wordstar 3.3 and 1-2-3), all off a single 360kB floppy (quickly upgraded to a 360kB floppy AND a 180kB floppy)

          2. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: Timing is off..

            No need to reverse engineer it, the BIOS assembly language source was printed in the back of the IBM PC user manual.

            IIRC, the process went: Clean room team writes a spec, based on reading the source, then second team implements from the spec.

            1. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: Timing is off..

              No need to reverse engineer it, the BIOS assembly language source was printed in the back of the IBM PC user manual.

              IIRC, the process went: Clean room team writes a spec, based on reading the source, then second team implements from the spec.

              A good example of how the 1980s was so very different today; today this behaviour could form the basis of a copyright infringement court case - like the Oracle v Google one over Java.

            2. Pseu Donyme

              Re: Timing is off..

              >IBM PC user manual

              I seem to recall it was the Technical Reference*, Appendix A. Also, importantly, there was a documented, cleanish** API to the BIOS - a hardware abstraction layer of a sort - via software interrupts with registers used for parameters and return values.

              * http://www.retroarchive.org/dos/docs/ibm5160techref.pdf

              ** In practice the IBM PC programming interface included much of the memory map and hardware details as BIOS variables, frame buffers, i/o port mappings and such were often used directly in application code (these too were documented in the Technical Reference)

        2. nobody1111

          Re: Timing is off..

          Right for the wrong reasons. Compaq did launch the clone market but they reverse engineered the BIOS.

          As it was later the first company to produce computers based on the 386 processor you could make a tongue in cheek argument that at that point IBM became the clone.

      2. StargateSg7 Bronze badge

        Re: Timing is off..

        I am STILL running an IBM PS/2 Model 80 server with Warp-4 even after 30 years to run my favourite text editor / word processor XYwrite and Lotus 123 spreadsheets !!!

        We actually ran THEOS operating system in the late 1980's/early 1990 on various early IBM PS/2's and when the Model 80's first came out we then ran IBM OS/2 Version starting from 0.xxx (we were an OS/2 developer at the time!) until Warp-4 became my standard super-stable OS. I've replaced Capacitors on the Power Supply AND on the motherboard so it all still runs and I've got 64 gigabyte SSD's to work under SCSI/ATAPI mode partitioned as virtualized multiple disks of no larger than 8 gigabytes each (that size works for me very well!) -- 8 gigs was also an ATAPI disk size limit at the time.

        When the accountants finally depreciated everything downto ZERO in 1998/1999 or so, I got FREE server class gear which STILL works doing super stable word processing/spreadsheets and today I even run a custom Warp version of a cut-down Firefox for modern HTML-5 web browsing. I also modified the protocols of one of the FIRST fibre optic MicroChannel Buss (MCA) network cards to work as a 10 megabit Ethernet-over-fibre network connections. It's good enough for me! It even has JPEG display and PDF reader custom compiled for OS/2.

        It's actually MORE STABLE than my normal Windows 10 computer!

        Because I know all the Lotus 123 and XYwrite macros by heart and have all that fancy REXX-based internet text parsing batch code I've program over the years, I will CONTINUE to use the x386 Model 80 server-case and OS/2 Warp for ANOTHER 30 years!

        It's Great!

        .

        1. Stevie Silver badge

          Re: Timing is off..

          Good LORD, man, stop CAPITALISING to show EMPHASIS because it makes READING your fascinating stories TEDIOUS as I IMAGINE you leaning in and RAISING your voice to MAKE your point a-la Clive JENKINS.

          1. Imhotep

            Re: Timing is off..

            I LIKE when people emphasize words with caps.

            1. MrDamage

              Re: Timing is off..

              The standard for using capitals to emphasise words, is to capitalise the first letter only on words of importance. Using all caps for random words simply makes you a moronic shoutyman.

              1. theDeathOfRats

                Re: Timing is off..

                SQUEAK? ¬¬

            2. Glen 1 Silver badge

              Re: Timing is off..

              When used SPARINGLY. Not seamingly EVERY other WORD.

              It starts to read LiKe A cHiLd oR DaIlY mAiL rEaDeR Is WrItInG

              I personally use *asterisks*. Many chat apps format that as bold.

              Or you could y'know do it properly

              Sidenote: Stargate and Bob are apparently not the same person.

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: Timing is off..

                "Stargate and Bob are apparently not the same person."

                Not even close. Who would think that?

              2. baud Bronze badge

                Re: Timing is off..

                "Stargate and Bob are apparently not the same person."

                could have fooled me...

                1. jake Silver badge

                  Re: Timing is off..

                  Either you forgot your sarcasm icon, or you are rather easily fooled.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Timing is off..

            I have an aunt that types emails like that. To be fair, that's how she talks too!

            1. Claverhouse Silver badge

              Re: Timing is off..

              Yesterday on the Young Turks channel I saw an attack on The View, an American political TV thing for retarded women. Whether they were talking sense or rubbish, the voices were glass-breakingly shrill and too unpleasant to follow along --- which seems to indicate impossibility to take them seriously.

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxd3urnzWnM

          3. Claverhouse Silver badge

            Re: Timing is off..

            Had to look him up, though I was alive at the time.

            A bitchy obit from the Guardian, which shows they were snidely rancorous even before they turned all wokely neo-liberal and Daily Mail-like over the last 5 years:

            https://www.theguardian.com/news/1999/sep/23/guardianobituaries.keithharper

        2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Timing is off..

          If that Model 80 gives up the ghost, and you can't find a Model 95 to upgrade to, consider ArcaOS.

          "…based on IBM’s last release of OS/2 Warp 4"

          https://www.arcanoae.com/arcaos/

          and run OS/2 on more modern hardware.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Timing is off..

        I once had an Ambra PC... a genuine IBM clone made by a genuine IBM subsidiary!

      4. spold Silver badge

        Re: Timing is off..

        Incidentally "Presentation Manager" was mostly coded at IBM Hursley Park in Hampshire, leveraging a lot of programming experience from the IBM/370 Graphical Data Dispaly Manager (GDDM) coupled with the interface work done by Xerox PARC. Some of the other related work was obviously done by Microsoft, a very boutique company at the time... I had to make a trip to IBM Boca Raton to dig into the build & integration methods they (Microsoft) used (basically "we will chill out mostly until the day before the build, then drink extreme amounts of caffeine and code like fuck"), because they were rather alien to IBM at the time.

        A bunch of the IBM OS/2 Presentation Manager stuff was folded into Windows NT.

      5. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

        Re: Timing is off..

        @bombastic bob - "It was TRULY SUPERIOR to EVERYTHING at that time, except maybe for OS/2, which Microsoft ALSO wrote."

        It's worth adding that the key difference that made OS/2 superior was the pre-emptive multi-tasking. Win 3.1 had "co-operative multitasking", meaning the OS would pass control to each task in turn, if it ever got control back from the badly-behaved ones. On Win 3.1, you didn't want to do anything during a big download, just scrolling too fast in your wordprocessor document might cause too much delay and a timeout in the download protocol.

        To complete the history lesson (not for you, bob, for the PFYs), after MS and IBM argued, they continued development independently, MS renaming their version to NT. The Win 3.1 line continued through 95, 98 and ended at Win ME, so Windows 10 is a direct descendant of OS/2.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Timing is off..

          To really complete the history lesson, at the same time Microsoft was pissed off at IBM because Apple was actively courting them ... which resulted in the Pink/Taligent dead-end clusterfuck a couple of years later instead of IBM being involved in Microsoft's Cairo vision, which was another dead-end clusterfuck. Gawd/ess knows how much money was wasted between the three of them during the decade long three-way hissy-fit ...

    3. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: Timing is off..

      I remember having my own small part in the whole OS/2 vs MSWin saga.

      At one PCExpo in the early 1990's, Microsoft had their big OS/2 vs MSWin pavilion set up. The dimwitted younger brother of the owner of my then employer was sitting in on one of MS' rigged demonstrations, just sucking up all the hype. Afterwards he was all excited about all the BS MS had handed him, and I knew logic was far beyond his capability.

      That evening there was a get-together of members of the PCMag forums on CompuServe. I was sitting with other members of the OS/2 Forum, including William F. Zachmann himself. The decision was made to make a formal challenge to Microsoft the next day, with a properly optimized OS/2 system against Microsoft's optimized 3.1 machines (rather than the intentionally kneecapped OS/2 machines they were using in the demo). Microsoft, obviously, refused.

      It was a week or so later that a directive came down to Zachmann that he had to straighten out his attitude and start supporting Microsoft, which led to his eventual departure from Ziff-Davis' "MS Fanclub". Always seemed an interesting coincidence that should have happened shortly after the PCExpo confrontation.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Timing is off..

        people knowing people. Looks like "the elitists" won. Looking at what MS excretes nowadays in the form of Win-10-nic, I'm NOT surprised.

    4. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

      Re: Timing is off..

      I can remember the big fuss when OS/2 on a single CPU outperformed NT on a quadprocessor setup, read it on OS/2 eZine (I think).

      Still looking for that link though.

    5. Keith Langmead

      Re: Timing is off..

      Yeah I remember OS/2 Warp being shown off at the Computer Shopper Show in 1994, with loads of PCs available for people to have a go on.

      What really let it down was they'd clearly made no effort to tune the machines to work at their peak on those machines, so they performed really badly. A friend actually bought a copy and installed it at home on a slightly lessor spec machine than they had, and once he'd taken the time to actually ensure the correct drivers etc were installed had it running way better than the ones they had on display.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Timing is off..

        "What really let it down was they'd clearly made no effort to tune the machines to work at their peak on those machines, so they performed really badly."

        That was supposedly deliberate - so that people would hype them up as working far better than the demos instead of griping that they only got 80% of the demos as was common in windows builds.

        (Dale Carnegie redux - if you undersell and overdeliver you win converts. If you do it the other way around you not only make enemies, they tell EVERYONE about their rotten experience)

        One of the bits of OS/2 lore in the early 90s when it was finally released as platform agnostic was that the IBM devs were deliberately NOT given high performance systems - forcing them to optimise the shit out of everything rather than forcing customers to buy the latest/greatest hardware (ie: the expensive stuff the devs had built the OS on) for the newer releases.

        With MS releases driving increased higher spec hardware sales and OS2 releases not doing that, retailers quickly came to the conclusion that it was not in their interest to sell OS/2 systems or OS/2 _at all_ - and many would actively rail against it if a customer wanted it. Which frequently didn't go down well - those customers who knew what it was knew why they wanted it and weren't happy about a 2-bit sales idiot trying to stop them buying it.

        This was also the time when a system (or even a motherboard) "MUST BE SOLD WITH AN OPERATING SYSTEM" supposedly to prevent piracy - so you got windows bundled whether you wanted it or not. Retailers would frequently refuse to accept returns of unopened OEM shrinkwrap due to suppliers hitting them with a 25% restocking fee, etc - which annoyed a lot of Linux and OS2ers (about this time I saw a lot of Novell tower servers with an unopened win 3.1 license sitting in the box containing the paperwork)

    6. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: Timing is off..

      Here's a bloke called Bill promoting OS/2 as the platform for the 90s...

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmiwiUeEn4k

    7. bpfh Silver badge

      Re: Timing is off..

      Was still cloning office PC’s for IBM internal use in 1999 using Warp....

  6. bpfh Silver badge

    Why reinstall Win3.1?

    When Warp came with a far more stable version of Win3.1 compared to the standard DOS version?

    1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: Why reinstall Win3.1?

      IIRC that was an official marketing slogan at the time - "A better DOS than DOS, a better Windows than Windows"

      ....and then NT launched and is was light-heartedly referred to as "a better OS/2 than OS/2"

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Why reinstall Win3.1?

      Warp was what OS/2 should have been in the first place. It's what happens when you get the market completely wrong (like IBM did, see my earlier post as to why) and they have to play "catch up" only everyone has ALREADY standardized on one thing, so why change?

      reasons to migrate (back then):

      DOS to Windows - makes sense

      DOS to OS/2 - makes sense if you don't run windows stuff

      Windows to OS/2 - why bother? NO compelling reason!

      1. Down not across Silver badge

        Re: Why reinstall Win3.1?

        Windows to OS/2 - why bother? NO compelling reason!

        Stability.

        I had a DEC 486sx and SparcStation 10 on my desk at one previous workplace.

        I replaced the WFWG with OS/2 Warp, out of curiosity mostly. Granted, getting the Pathworks ethernet cards to play ball was bit painful. Once it was up and running it was bloody fantastic. Better performance and virtually no more crashes. Also if something did crash it didn't take the whole OS down with it, unlike with WFWG.

        Why did I need a PC when I had the SS? Well, the usual word/excel crap. Oh and ALL-IN-1 (sorry... for anyone else who had to use it)

      2. ChrisC

        Re: Why reinstall Win3.1?

        "Windows to OS/2 - why bother? NO compelling reason!"

        The ability to get around the utter bilge that was Windows excuse for multitasking back then. I was a postgrad at the time, doing some stuff with Matlab/Simulink which has now fled into a deep dark recess of my memory banks from where I refuse to even attempt to coax it back out into the light... Anyhoo, that Win3.1 version of Matlab was quite probably the most multitasking-hostile thing I ever used on 3.1 - once you started it going off on a set of calculations, the PC was useless for anything else until it finished.

        After several weeks of time spent waiting for the PC to finish grinding its way through the latest set of calcs, I idly wondered WTF the PC couldn't simply multitask as well as the Amiga I had sitting at home, despite said PC having somewhat more in the way of processor grunt and free RAM. Whilst reading up on what made PCs so utterly crap at multitasking, I then stumbled upon a reference to OS/2 Warp which suggested it held the answer.

        Taking a gamble, I forked out of my own pocket for a copy of Warp (red spine edition IIRC, as I already had the necessary Windows 3.1 licence) and installed it on my PC at home (which, despite being even faster than the PC the uni had provided me in the lab, was still no better at persuading Matlab to multitask within the 3.1 environment - all the extra performance did give me was a shorter wait before I could get on with the next bit of work). After a bit of faffing around getting it to run properly with all the required hardware drivers, I gingerly fired up Matlab to see what would happen...

        O.. M..G..

        Matlab went off crunching through its calcs in its own window, but the rest of the system was still completely responsive to my inputs. Could it be, a PC finally capable of multitasking like an Amiga? Oh hell yes. I then fired up Word, and praise be, I could continue writing up the latest section of my research notes whilst Matlab was still churning away in the background. All that time wasted over the previous weeks and months just because Microsoft's idea of multitasking at that time was "yeah well, it'll work if everything running on the PC lets it work, but otherwise tough"

        And still, 20+ years later, Microsoft continue to demonstrate that they don't really get pre-emptive multitasking, despite all the improvements they have made since those bad old days of 3.1. When the multi-core, multi-GB PC sat on my desk today, featuring more processing power than a supercomputer of old, can still be brought to its knees by a rogue task leaving the UI unresponsive, it makes me weep at what could have been if MS hadn't gained such a stranglehold over the PC marketplace.

        1. Luiz Abdala Bronze badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Why reinstall Win3.1?

          These days, on Windows 10, on a machine with a Ryzen 5 and 16GB of RAM,( that is, no slouch), allowing GTA Five in the Core 0, (where the rest of the system is) almost causes a crash on my system.

          Forcing the game to run on cores 2 and above, leaving 0 and 1 alone, simply makes the whole PC responsive and grants some 10 FPS gain on the game.

          Microsoft never learned to multitask, they still allow a single executable to hog the entire core it is running on and halt everything else on it, instead of reallocating anything to empty cores.

          1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Bronze badge

            Re: Why reinstall Win3.1?

            Sounds like you over-optimized your system to make it run GTA5 deliberatly bad just to write a comment in a public forum complaining about how bad that OS is. 10 fps? On a Ryzen 5? Are you running on a GTX 460 in 1080p with maximum details or something alike? You leave out vital details to make your post creditable.

            1. Luiz Abdala Bronze badge

              Re: Why reinstall Win3.1?

              Actually, I blame both Rockstar and still Windows 10. There are reports of newer machines running Ryzen 7, with a super-duper RTX 2080Ti, where no cores are fully pegged, neither is the graphic card, and still, the game stumbles below 144 FPS, sometimes 90 FPS, when it should be blasting to the limit of the monitors / graphics card.

              It is a known problem for GTA Five engine, poor utilization of multithreading, being a 6-7 year old engine.

              My own machine is irrelevant, given all the reports on Reddit, and Steam. The stutters seem to get worse in full lobbies, where the network chip is being hammered for some folks (hence it is stealing resources from the main cpu to run, drivers to blame), which is also a documented problem. Denying the lowest core to the game improves the situation a lot, because of these aspects.

              In fact, Windows 10 is saving the cake here, allowing to reallocate executables by hand, because older stuff is unable to share, a core still can't handle multiple programs peacefully. It is so evident that first suggestion is to run the game in high priority, and the second is to deny one core for it, let it hog the other 5 cores / 10 threads.

              Newer games are being designed to spread over several cores, instead of running a spaghetti code for a single core... remember that the PS3 was the first videogame with 8 cores... and GTA was created on that era, with the PS3 limitations in its zero-day design. Today, next-gen GTA is blocked from the PS3, exactly for surpassing some features that the old consoles can't handle, while others can't be bypassed without re-making the game from the ground up.

              Video encoding is a fully parallel task, where you can send each chunk to a core, so the programs were quickly updated to take advantage of it. Games run on several rules and AI, which are not divorced from each other easily after the first design, being unfair to compare both.

          2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

            Re: Why reinstall Win3.1?

            "Microsoft never learned to multitask, they still allow a single executable to hog the entire core it is running on and halt everything else on it, instead of reallocating anything to empty cores."

            Not my experience. I've never see a core being left idle when there is a thread ready-to-run. I do often see a thread maxing out a particular core and I also see that thread being migrated around the available cores on a longer timescale. Staying on one core in the short term is actually the only sensible strategy, because switching cores just for the aesthetics will cost you a squillion cache misses. On a longer term, however, hopping to a different core lets the first core cool down. (Modern cores can run for short periods at a clock-rate that generates more heat than can be shifted off the chip on a continuous basis.)

        2. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Bronze badge

          Re: Why reinstall Win3.1?

          > And still, 20+ years later, Microsoft continue to demonstrate that they don't really get pre-emptive multitasking

          Oh, they did. I constantly run video encodings, recently with rav1e, in the background and play modern games (like The Surge 2) in the foreground without problems.

          Windows NT 4.0 (never tried NT 3.x) could multitask quite nicely, and programs couldn't fuck it up. But drivers could, and did a lot.

          > can still be brought to its knees by a rogue task leaving the UI unresponsive

          That is the explorer.exe problem, that is the point where it shows how many thing MS does half assed. But the reason why this happens is that Windows is still a somewhat open OS where every program can hook themself into the explorer "for preview pane", "more information" popup and "Thumbnail Generation of 30+GB videos" and the like. Once that is cleaned up it works better.

          You describe a typical problem arising from having the wrong software on the system, though the OS itself is still there and fully functional your UI gets fucked up.

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Why reinstall Win3.1?

            "Windows NT 4.0 (never tried NT 3.x) could multitask quite nicely, and programs couldn't fuck it up. But drivers could, and did a lot."

            The Windows NT kernel is great - it should be as it has a *lot* of VMS in its fundamental DNA - and programs run on a NT box are great too - IF you get rid of the GUI.

            That GUI has always been the MS weak point and decades of development haven't solved the way they deal with it - only one program at a time gets to access it, if something along the line is badly behaved your UI grinds to a halt (even if things are chugging along nicely in the background)

            That's why WARP was so useful - each iteration of windows (screen) had its own rigidly enforced timeslice and if it screwed up it only screwed up in its own window. Quarterdeck's offerings did something similar on top of a dos system which you could run windows inside of - but generally didn't need to as it had its own UI and would run windows programs directly woth FAR better memory manglement.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Why reinstall Win3.1?

              "Quarterdeck's offerings did something similar on top of a dos system which you could run windows inside of - but generally didn't need to as it had its own UI and would run windows programs directly"

              Eh? I ran Quarterdeck's stuff from Desq on (pre DESQview). I do not remember any of their products that would allow one to run Windows programs without Windows. Elucidate?

        3. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Why reinstall Win3.1?

          "And still, 20+ years later, Microsoft continue to demonstrate that they don't really get pre-emptive multitasking, despite all the improvements they have made since those bad old days of 3.1. "

          Those of us with long memories and experience on lots of systems remember that this style of multitasking was also the norm on the 68*00 Macintoshes for a _very_ long time and had most of the same problems.

          Before Linux and WARP the done thing for home PC-class systems was "Coherent" - BSD on PCs at the time was "difficult" (specific hardware requirements, wouldn't use a lot of PC hardware, no GUI, SSCI only for a long time) despite being "free" - meaning it was virtually impossible to get running unless you had an experienced guru available.

          Whilst BSDers might decry Linuxers it remains the case that SLS and Slackware provided a path into *nix that up to that point was unavailable to most people because there was a huge hurdle to get past simply getting up and running (Who remembers the Platypus?). Thankfully BSD devs took up the challenge and made it more accessible pretty quickly with PCBSD forks from FreeBSD - the devs that did that are still around (IxSystems) - but it was always several generations behind the latest hardware for a long time due to a lack of critical developer mass (no longer the case thankfully)

  7. chuBb. Bronze badge

    Had a mischeif disk...

    Exploit #546574 from my school days

    The shiny new multi mejuh seedy rrrroms pc's my schol got for becoming a language college (aka bloody pointless to start teaching foreign languages past age of 8 as ur brain has shut down its language learning pathways, and well the rest of the non english speaking world starts at age 5-7 and well whats the point as you can converse like a 4 year old french/german/spanish/italian/russian/chinese/japanese child while your exchange partner has a decade of ability on you, and corrects your grammer...) came with a nifty/what were they thinking ability to alter the loader in config.sys to load and execute batch files once it executed in autoexec.bat, mischeif disk would assign a random code page with a 50/50 chance of disabling the mouse. The best bit was that the finger was always pointed at the guaranteed to work (well its marketing shite from RM, it was a PC of course it would run) language software

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: Had a mischeif disk...

      aka bloody pointless to start teaching foreign languages past age of 8 as ur brain has shut down its language learning pathways,

      That is the end product of an uncastrated, adult, male head of cattle aka rose fertilizer.

      and well the rest of the non english speaking world starts at age 5-7

      Wrong again, I started English and French when I was nearly 12 and most of my class mates were already 12 at that time. I also started German (and Latin) one year later (and classical Greek yet another year later).

      and well whats the point as you can converse like a 4 year old french/german/spanish/italian/russian/chinese/japanese child while your exchange partner has a decade of ability on you, and corrects your grammer

      I regularly have to correct the grammar in both English and German for native speakers. Unfortunately, I let my knowledge of French lapse as I didn't need it much.

      1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

        Re: Had a mischeif disk...

        "I regularly have to correct the grammar in both English and German for native speakers. "

        General observation, speaking a language like a native, rather than fluently, means you speak it "wrong" in the right way. Hence why written language is trickier (and requires more formal grammar) than spoken, since you can't just miss out certain words and get the point across.

        Same way there are several different versions of English (British, American, Indian) that are mutually intelligible, conversationally similar, but when written start to differ more, due to the "higher" level grammar rules, such as structuring arguments, different levels of formality etc.

        So exactly what is and isn't correct grammar differs by context and culture.

        Since I'm usually the native speaker on a projects, I tend to view it as clarification rather than correction. Especially when it's getting the tone of a piece right.

        1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

          Re: Had a mischeif disk...

          You are correct. Normally I can pass as a native speaker of English, but speakers of the British version of English assume I am American while those using the American version assume I am British. This is due to a different preference in word choice versus pronunciation. And both are quite surprised to learn I am Dutch and still living in the Netherlands.

          And drop me in Germany for a couple of days and my German is up to the same level again as well, although I won't reach the level of my father, who once had to pull his passport to prove he wasn't German. It happened when he was acting as an interpreter between the German police and a couple of Dutch tourists in a minor problem. After it was solved the German police officer asked my father how he happened to speak such good Dutch as a German, upon which my father showed him his Dutch passport and told him he was a teacher of the German language.

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Had a mischeif disk...

          "Same way there are several different versions of English (British, American, Indian) that are mutually intelligible, conversationally similar, but when written start to differ more,"

          Knowing how they differ - and why - is useful to weed out people who "aren't from where they say they are" - someone assuming a non-native idiom will always slip eventually in ways that speakers of the other idiom will let slide, but which is a red flag if you're looking for it.

          Once you understand the differences, things like standardising communications on International(Maritime) English start to make a lot more sense.

    2. Trbonja

      Re: Had a mischeif disk...

      I have to politely disagree with this statement of yours: "past age of 8 as ur brain has shut down its language learning pathways".

      There is no such thing as "brain shuts down...". Granted, it gets slower with the age but as long as you keep your brain/mind occupied and busy, you will still be able to learn the subject in question.

      I'm not in the medical field but I have learned several languages in last 40 years and currently, I'm tackling Mandarin. No, I’m not a rain-man. Just an average but very stubborn bloke - "I can't" was never in my vocabulary.

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: Had a mischeif disk...

        "I can't" was never in my vocabulary.

        It is in mine, e.g. "I can't allow such stupidity to pass".

        1. Trbonja

          Re: Had a mischeif disk...

          I've failed to be very specific and you sir got me!

          1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

            Re: Had a mischeif disk...

            It wasn't even meant for you but for somebody a bit higher up in the discussion, who was erroneous in his statement nobody above the age of 8 could ever learn another language properly.

            1. Olivier2553 Silver badge

              Re: Had a mischeif disk...

              For some, "takes too much effort I would bother with" is equivalent of "can't'.

              That is true for learning languages, after a certain age, it becomes more difficult, but the more languages you learn, the easier it becomes.

              1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

                Re: Had a mischeif disk...

                True, such a shame most native speakers of English haven't even learned their first language properly, leave alone any foreign languages.

            2. chuBb. Bronze badge

              Re: Had a mischeif disk...

              That wasnt my statement, its fact that the younger you are the EASIER it is to learn, not impossible, and it is bloody pointless because apart from the natural linguists in the UK school population, the majority would be better served with STEM over language, it may be wonderful you can order a baggete in french, but have an inability work out a percentage or understand simple weights and measures which would be much more useful on a day to day basis

              That is why if you speak 2 langauges to a baby it will be fluent in both, becasue we have from a young age the ability to absorb langauge from the surrounding environment, which is much easier than trying to hammer it in through repetition, and yes once you hit the start of puberty the absorbing pathways in your brain shut down and its much much harder to learn, which is why english is OFTEN (i will mind my adjectives for your pedantrys acceptance) taught from a young age (5+) in europe.

              My point still stands though the best of kids in my school had the abilility to hold an infant level conversation, in french, while our exchange counterparts were able to speak in english to a MUCH higher level than our french. Why because they started 7 years before we did, and i guess have a reason to learn a foreign language, i mean if you speak english why bother other than to say please thankyou and beer, business uses english for anything important and any international meeting defaults to english. It was for those reasons i decided learning european languages was pointless, and looked at numbers instead, mandarin has numbers on its side so i learnt that (from age 13) as well as the other mandantory 1.5 gcse's i had to do (french and half course german, which was farscical in exteme learn vocabulary skip grammer), and even now that is a skill i no longer need as anyone i deal with in china speaks better english than my mandarin.

              1. Alan Brown Silver badge

                Re: Had a mischeif disk...

                "the majority would be better served with STEM over language"

                STEM _is_ another language in many ways - and it has similar effects on neural pathways - there's a strong correlation between "only speek one language" and "anti/utterly ignorant of science/math etc"

                One of the largest problems in the english speaking world is that we don't regard teachers very well and pay them badly - this makes the area a prime target for underachievers (anyone with decent skills/qualifications can get jobs elsewhere) and religious groups (evangelicals have been pushing their young women at teaching as a way of recruiting out of the 5-10yo pool for decades - my mother noticed this occurring whilst a school principal as far back as the 1970 and it became a flood of anti-STEM religious nutters in the 1980/90s)

                Yes there are a lot of good teachers - but they get drowned out in the tide of jobsworths only there to put in their hours and the even more toxic red tide of naive religious fruitcakes

                Of course the fact that the low pay and shitty conditions have resulted in recruitment of several generations of lousy teachers means that teachers GET low pay and shitty conditions. It's a vicious loop.

                1. chuBb. Bronze badge

                  Re: Had a mischeif disk...

                  Strongly agree with you there [says the person who got a detention for blasphemy for saying OMG i forgot to do my homework from an evangellical], personally religion has no place in schools, and can be indulged on your own time, like larping, knitting, am dram, sports or any other optional hobby with tendancies to take over

                  And well yes Math is the language we will talk to aliens with, while farting will remain between me and the chimps at the zoo, we both laughed it was good

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Had a mischeif disk...

                    Downvoted for gratuitous religion-bashing. "religion has no place in [public] schools" is a valid point, but calling it an optional hobby and comparing it to knitting is really beyond the pale.

                    1. jake Silver badge

                      Re: Had a mischeif disk...

                      "calling it an optional hobby and comparing it to knitting is really beyond the pale."

                      True enough. Knitting is an important skill that keeps people warm and alive in cold climates. Religion? Not so much, unless you are one of the shamans suckering the rubes.

                      I call for the deletion of this gratuitous knitting bashing immediately!

                    2. chuBb. Bronze badge

                      Re: Had a mischeif disk...

                      How so, religion is not the same as faith.

                      Faith is what you believe, religion is what you are told to believe. Religion is an optional attribute of your faith, especially if you accept the doctrine present in most religions of free will and self determination...

                      Then again the 3000+ years of infighting, genocide, biological warfare, witch hunts, and oppression of minorites over the interpretation of the gospel of knit one pearl one probably does make knitting an unsavory comparision.

    3. baud Bronze badge

      Re: Had a mischeif disk...

      I had my first English lessons at 12 and I started really working on it 5 years later (both at school and on my own time), so it wasn't pointless since I think I have a good level for an ESL. But starting earlier would have been easier.

  8. demon driver

    Downgrading OS/2 to Windows 3, really?

    I bet there weren't much more banks which did that. Especially banks and insurance companies held on to OS/2 even for many years after IBM already abandoned it...

    I guess Windows NT4 was the first Microsoft offering that would have justified a migration if there would have really been good reasons for one, i.e. something other than "we don't like OS/2" or "we're to stupid to administer and run OS/2". But OS/2 used to run DOS and Windows 3 applications better than DOS and Windows 3 themselves back then, as long as the machines were powerful enough, which they should have been in this case as they were already running OS/2 in the first place...

    1. HildyJ Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Downgrading OS/2 to Windows 3, really?

      You can still find OS/2 in the wild if you look. For a long time ATMs clung to it as a far more stable operating system than Windows.

      1. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: Downgrading OS/2 to Windows 3, really?

        A former boss of mine - nice bloke - lost a CIO position at a large multinational because he was an OS2 evangelist and it turned out IBM weren't after the budget was spent.

      2. fobobob

        Re: Downgrading OS/2 to Windows 3, really?

        I remember seeing the lonely Warp machine languishing at a standalone desk with a burned in Mag CRT every time I went to my dad's office as a kid, well into the early 2000s. I was told never to touch it. Would not be shocked to learn that it still exists in spirit form, in a VM.

      3. demon driver

        Re: Downgrading OS/2 to Windows 3, really?

        I think it was last year that I read that the New York City subway ticket system still ran on OS/2...

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Downgrading OS/2 to Windows 3, really?

          Rumors of OS/2's demise have been greatly exaggerated. I've been selling and supporting OS/2 solutions for over 30 years. Granted, nowadays it's EComStation and ArcaOS ...

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Downgrading OS/2 to Windows 3, really?

      "I bet there weren't much more banks which did that. Especially banks and insurance companies held on to OS/2 even for many years after IBM already abandoned it..."

      Not many at all. Guess where Redhat's largest customer base is?

  9. trevorde
    Paris Hilton

    Monitoring usage

    Many years ago, I wrote a program to replace some flaky Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheets. To encourage engineers to use it, I displayed some NSFW images after the program performed some calculations. It also logged the Novell NetWare user name, so I could see which engineers were using it (or were excessively h0rny!).

    Paris Hilton icon, even though it was long before her 5 mins of fame.

  10. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Reg Anonymiser needs re-calibration

    Bill?

    If he's from the Southern Hemisphere, surely the Anonymiser should have chosen "Bruce"?

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: Reg Anonymiser needs re-calibration

      It would have if it didn't happen to be his true name.

    2. Stevie Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Reg Anonymiser needs re-calibration

      Well spotted cobber.

      Let's go grab a jumpbuck by the billabong.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Reg Anonymiser needs re-calibration

        SheilaShirley that's jumbuck?

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Reg Anonymiser needs re-calibration

          Only if your tucker bag is full of wombats

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Reg Anonymiser needs re-calibration

            Shirley one's tucker bag should be full of dunny roll in this age of the "we're all gonna die!!!1!111!!!!!" Corona virus? (Is it called the Fosters virus down under? The two are equally vile ... ) Besides, mine was set upon by an angry Thylarctos plummetus.

  11. fobobob

    Error

    ""so the process took only 1 to 2 to seconds to run, even on old 40GB IDE HDDs. "

    Just noting here that it should probably be 40MB not 40GB; 40GB would have been rather expensive when Win 3.x was relevant.

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: Error

      Stuff expensive, 40gb wouldn't have been addressable by win3.1

      1. fobobob

        Re: Error

        Very true, though with 4x ~2GB partitions on 5x ~8GB SCSI disks, it might be possible to make that much storage available.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Error

          Except that 8gig drives weren't available to the public until very late in '97 (Maxtor's first 8.4 Gig drive was on store shelves in time for Xmas) ... at which point the price had dropped to about 8.5 cents per meg.

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: Error

      Indeed, at around $6/meg ... My receipts of the time suggest about $7/meg at the beginning of '92, dropping to about $5 at the end of the year. Win3.1 was released in April. It wasn't until roughly the middle of '94 that HDD space dropped below a buck a meg ... I sold a 1gig Seagate drive to a client for $850 in January of '95; my notes suggest I sold it at cost, and that it was the first drive I personally sold for under a buck a meg.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is the Windows 98 era...

    ...And machines had on average 128 MB of RAM, but they ran 1GB of TSR's in my company, or something in that level of stupidity.

    Hard drive swap file trashing, anyone?

    All of them were the resident kind of spy memory modules of some firewall maker, who made the machines run *godawfully* slow. These were all loaded per command script, and loaded straight from windows/system. (Which is totally unprotected on Windows 98). But removing/renaming them would cause the script to simply load another copy from the network.

    So... here goes the thinking... these scripts were expecting to load an executable with a certain name.

    So I could rename something else with THOSE names. Something as basic as windows calculator. Except... I would get multiple copies of the calculator running upon boot. So I needed an executable with a mutex (is that the term?) to prevent other copies of itself from running on memory, and preferably something that doesn't pop-up an error of "program already running".

    Cue job/task scheduler for Windows 98. Every Win98 had it running from factory, and its loading had all those premises: it doesn't load more than once, and it fails to load multiple copies silently. Plus it only takes 50kb of RAM.

    After a few dozen copies of the task scheduler properly renamed and in the correct folders where the script was looking for them, I had a beast of a machine, running like 500% faster, without all the hard drive swap file trashing.

    TLDR: A simple renaming of a couple dozen of pesky memory hoggers, replaced by a simple executable already in Windows 98, made the machine unbelievably faster.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: This is the Windows 98 era...

      "And machines had on average 128 MB of RAM"

      128megs would have been exceptional during most of Win98's run. Most machines of that era had 16megs, and ran a moderately loaded Win98 very badly. 24megs worked OK on the same machine. Some were upgraded to 32megs and were usable; rarely businesses would spring for 64 megs.

  13. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Use case

    A better OS that makes life easier for a minority of specialised users but makes no difference to the usual word'n'spreadsheet users will struggle in a mass market unless it has a very strong offer or really clever marketing.

  14. SALOME SMITH

    DUKE NUKE'EM

    DUKE NUKE THEM, perhaps one of the best First Person Shooter ( FPS ) Video Games.

    Excellent lines that work well across different cultures. There is often a story that Duke Nuke'em Forever won't get released but I bought a copy from Chris Booth at the Ritz Video Store in Hazlemere Bucks. Many happy hours blasting them all up. Last I saw Chris was workung with GAMES WORKSHOP, rember the ones that brought you Thrud the Barbarian.

    NOX, UPLINK AGENT OVERSEER

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: DUKE NUKE'EM

      I think you just b0rked my parser ...

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: DUKE NUKE'EM

      "Thrud"

      My memories of that character go back to early issues of White Dwarf

  15. Edgar Scrutton

    Back to the Future

    Still using OS/2 aka Warp2 eComStation and now ArcaNoe to run Allison's Travel. Nothing beats Mesa2 and Rexx scripts to run a dual currency (CDN &USA) set of accounting books. Dual currency accounting packages were not available back in the late 80's. Some things are Oldies but Goodies ... OS/2 is one. At one time I ran five printers and a file server on one 386 machine!

    1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Bronze badge

      Re: Back to the Future

      > At one time I ran five printers and a file server on one 386 machine!

      Sounds Novel to me...

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