[vcf-midatlantic] Help with installing 1980s DOS program

Evan Koblentz evan at vcfed.org
Fri May 17 11:17:04 EDT 2019

>> there's no intrinsic (look it up)

Why would you think we don't know that word?

On Fri, May 17, 2019, 11:09 AM Herb Johnson via vcf-midatlantic <
vcf-midatlantic at lists.vcfed.org> wrote:

> > Devin Heitmueller: I would assume there's a good chance that the user
> isn't so much
> > interested in using an ancient word processor for nostalgia, but
> > rather to gain access to some old documents.
> >
> > Evan Koblentz: Nope. He refuses to upgrade! He had it running for eons
> on XP, then that
> > went haywire, so he was desperate for someone to get it back running for
> > him.
> Evan is correct. That is, this user wants what he wants for the reasons
> Evan stated; and not as Devin speculated. This caught my attention,
> because I resell old Macintosh computer parts and systems. "Old" as in
> 68K and PowerPC based, 1980's and 1990's.
> While many of my customers are just playing with old Macs for nostalgia,
> or for non-use interest; a good number of them are "desperately" trying
> to keep their original, now-vintage systems running with now-vintage
> software.
> Why? 1) they have a stable environment, which they learned to use. It
> supported their line of business or work for decades. It still does. So
> there's no intrinsic (look it up) reason to change.
> 2) "modern" programs on modern computers add complexity or undesired
> features. The MS-DOS environment was either pure command-line, or used
> an 80 X 24 text display (in color sometimes) and "escape sequences" on
> the keyboard to navigate that screen. Or, yeah, a mouse. For touch
> typists, and for users who do repetitive work, keystrokes are faster
> than a mouse. Oh - and no networking needed.
> 2a) Some modern equivalents of now-vintage programs, can't do what the
> old programs did. Or they do something different. That's annoying to
> persons who find it hard to change their established habits. It's more
> than annoying, when you don't get the results you want from a "new"
> program. The forms look wrong, the images aren't the same, the
> calculations aren't the same. Sometimes that matters.
>  From a business point of view, they would find it hard to rework
> "scripts" and forms to perform the same tasks. Or worse, hard to find
> someone able to both understand the "old" and provide the "new". *And*,
> provide patient training and support, to the now-new user of this new
> set of hardware, operating system, software... on and on.
> I don't offer any of that service, by the way. And many of these
> customers know, if they try to go the "replace everything" route, they
> will be abandoned with new stuff that won't work for them; and old stuff
> that's now "broken" and doesn't work either. In short: total failure.
> That's their view, and who am I to argue otherwise? Without offering to
> fix it?
> 2b) For some who use their computers with embedded equipment - say a
> mass spectrometer - they *can't* change the programming. Or possibly
> they can't change the hardware interface, or internal bus-hardware card
> (NuBus in the case of desktop Macs, ISA for old PC's, etc.)
> 3) Given the decades of use so far, these users simply want to run the
> clock out. They will retire soon; why make efforts to change everything,
> only to walk away from it a few years from now? And when the new-person
> will simply abandon whatever they've left behind, most likely? "We don't
> do that anymore, it was obsolete and the person retired."
> You-all should get the idea, at this point. For many people, use of a
> computer was yet another part of the "mechanics" of doing their job or
> running their business or service. They weren't programmers. Changing
> programs and computers, was simply not necessary, for a stable service.
> And believe it or not, there are still niche businesses, and
> long-running equipment, where "stability" is more important than "new".
> And where "new" doesn't necessarily mean "better".
> Many of you reading all this, if you haven't stopped already, have
> decided this is dead-end thinking, old-people who lack flexibility, or
> just incomprehensible. I only bothered to post it, because, well, this
> is a list about vintage computing, right? You are interested in vintage
> computers, right? Do-ya-THINK, some people used these for *purpose* at
> some time? And if so, maybe some people *still* use them for purpose, now?
> And, even so, it's worth preserving how and why these computers and
> programs were used. It's already largely forgotten. But that's another
> discussion.
> regards,
> Herb Johnson
> --
> Herbert R. Johnson, New Jersey in the USA
> http://www.retrotechnology.com OR .net
> preserve, recover, restore 1970's computing
> email: hjohnson AT retrotechnology DOT com
> or try later herbjohnson AT retrotechnology DOT info

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