In Detroit, there used to be, and may still be, an adage about never introducing both new styling and new engineering in the same model year; you can change one or the other, but doing both will baffle the customers and result in low sales. Now I've never built cars, so I don't know how true this is, but this particular bit of wisdom might adapt fairly well to other human activities. For instance, I picked yesterday to perform not one, but both of these highly-strenuous acts:

  1. Install a CD-ROM drive
  2. Install Windows 95

The reader might well be forgiven for asking, "What was he thinking?"

What he was thinking, to be out front about it, was that he was fed up with juggling Winsocks and other collectors of lint under Windows 3.1, and that there was no way on G-d's green earth he was going to install Windows 95 from a box of floppies the size of a Delco battery. My convictions thus stated, I set out to acquire the appropriate goods.

The first thing I learned was that almost every single CD-ROM drive being sold in our superstores is bundled with an Enhanced IDE card, which is nice if you don't happen to have Enhanced IDE. For me, it would have been just another extra piece of hardware, and after looking at too many of these, I wound up in a strip mall buying a barebones quad-speed drive with the unlikely label "Manufacture Date: December 1955". For forty-something years old, it's held up pretty well — certainly better than I.

As a Microsoft-basher from way back, I was prepared for the Windows 95 installation with a full complement of uncomplimentary adjectives and wholly unprintable verbs to go with them. It only bombed out twice, which turned out to be my fault — I had forgotten to disable the CMOS don't-mess-with-my-boot-sector facility — and apart from sucking up an utterly astonishing amount of disk space, astonishing at least to someone like me who started out in the Jurassic period on a Commodore 64, Windows 95 seems to be serving me fairly well, by which is meant that it hasn't come crashing to the ground despite my best/worst efforts. My compliments to the Microserfs. And now, with Service Pack 1 and Power Toys on hand, I should be able to mess things up royally.

The Vent

#54
25 May 1997

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