The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

13 December 2003

No hard drive jokes

The upheaval that comes with a move — on the severity scale, I rate one move as roughly equivalent to 0.6 fire — inevitably means that some books at the bottom of the stack will be rotated upwards, which is how I found a 1992 Que manual called Real Men Use DOS, written by the presumed Real Man Mike Miller and the apparently Highly Unimpressed Shelley O'Hara.

Of course, the Home Improvement-like approach of this book is a bit on the silly side, which is probably why I bought it in the first place. Then again, sometimes it cuts deep. Chapter 17, written by Shelley, opens with the following assertion:

By now you should have figured out that DOS is like most men — unattractive and noncommunicative.

Hmmm. Do I have trouble communicating?

And just incidentally, eleven years after this book was written, the most avid DOS user I know is a woman; she fears no hardware known to man and sneers at dumbed-down documentation.

Posted at 3:29 PM to PEBKAC

And this one! DOS rocks. A perfectly usable system for simple tasks like word processing (Wordperfect for DOS. Do I have to say more?) and minor record keeping. (It's also good for the environment: you can keep that old 386 out of the landfill!) Fast, no bells and whistles to hold things up... if you really must have pretty pictures, you can always dig up a shell program like Windows 3.1, or something. I have an ancient 486SX laptop with a monochrome screen that has DOS 6.2 installed with Windows for Workgroups on top.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at 4:11 PM on 13 December 2003

486SX? You call that old? My 1986 Tandy 102 notebook runs a Microsoft DOS, BASIC, and some other lean software in 32K of ROM. The 2.4 MHz CPU keeps up nicely with the 300 baud modem. It really was the cat's meow. I tricked it out with an additional 32K of ROM and a full 32K RAM. It runs for 20 hours on 4 AA batteries and weighs less than 4 lbs. Fond memories.

Posted by: Mike at 6:08 PM on 13 December 2003

Hey, if you think DOS is a challenge, try the Windows Scripting Interface. It's an object-oriented Visual-Basic-like scheme for controlling every single aspect of a Windows 2000/XP computer system. It's got more objects buried in it than Carter's got Little Liver Pills, and every one of them has dozens of properties and methods. It's the only way to do many critical system administration tasks -- if you happen to be SysAdmin on a W2000 Server platform, as I am, that's unavoidable -- and it's not even documented.

Now that's job security...assuming you can puzzle out the thing in the first place, of course.

Posted by: Francis W. Porretto at 5:32 AM on 14 December 2003

Oops, almost forgot:

"You young folks don't know how lucky you are. Why, when I was your age,"

[...insert codger-rant of your choice here, but it must conclude with...]

"and you could get a really big one for a nickel."

Posted by: Francis W. Porretto at 5:35 AM on 14 December 2003

You could use that line to conclude just about anything.

Posted by: Vickie at 5:47 AM on 14 December 2003

If I had a nickel for every time I've heard that...

Posted by: McGehee at 1:55 PM on 15 December 2003

What this country needs is a good five-cent nickel.

(As opposed to, say, the Canadian nickel, which might be worth three cents on a good day.)

Posted by: CGHill at 3:32 PM on 15 December 2003