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30-up: You know what? Those really weren't the days

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

she is way more coherent than normal

That she speaketh of things you cannot follow does not always imply *she* is the incoherent one :).

Ah, Turbo Pascal. I used to save money on software by being a beta tester for Borland and although I never amounted to much as a programmer (at least in my eyes) I have done a lot of weird things with both Turbo Pascal and Paradox.

On one occasion I replaced two man weeks of typing with a 15 minute batchfile that (a) ran a report on the central server to generate a report (the thing that was normally typed in by 2 people over a week), (b) grabbed the resulting file with Kermit (that the sysadmin agreed to install), (c) stripped the headers and cleaned it up with some Turbo Pascal code, (d) ran a Paradox script to import the result, chew on it some and then spit out the result those typists were after. But accurate (my motivation was not the speed - the inaccuracies always messed up my work).

As I wasn't allowed to do this (programming was seen as a magic process by management, not to be performed by mere unauthorised mortals lurking in outposts and warehouses on the dangly end of a serial MUX) I had to do it on the sly, and even after I got it to work it was sort of not acknowledged because that would piss off the programming gods at HQ.

But boy did it get a workout :).

Come to think of it, it was in those days the first inkjet arrived, and in those hallowed days you could still give something a "BJ xxx" (BJ 130) designator without people sniggering in the back (yes, I heard you) as Canon called it a "bubblejet" which was mercifully silent compared to the Start dot matrix I just overheated by accidentally making it print a page of solid black (don't ask, but it failed very spectacularly :) ). Of course, I came up with the idea of using the thing as a barcode label printer which was completely out of spec for the poor thing, but it just worked and as a "proper" thermal transfer printer would have set us back for a factor more, we didn't care - we'd get a new one if it broke (which, to Canon's credit, it never did).

In those days the amount of buyers was still low enough for Canon to spot that we where blowing through ink at about 4x the expected rate ('coz we waz printing a lotta black, man) so we got a call, "WTF were we doing, is the printer bust?". When we told Canon we were torturing the poor thing with barcodes, we were told it would not stand up to that and break in a month. Telling them we'd been doing it for half a year now with no problems earned us a personal visit of the EMEA head - which turned out to be a former Borland rep. Small world - but you could get sh*t done.

As for BBS et al - does anyone recall DoubleDOS? :)

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