Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Bees (Score 4, Insightful) 92 92

I found nothing about bees in TFA that was linked; perhaps the article has been edited because it does sound a bit incredible.

The claim that sharks are less dangerous than bees, lightning, or whatever, is a fine example of misleading with statistics. Bees and lightning can strike anyone who walks outside (that is everyone but the most extreme basement dwellers), but sharks are only going to attack people who swim, and while they are swimming.

For a start, I never go into the sea; neither does my wife, son, neighbours, 99.9% of the citizens of the Central African Republic, and I guess most people anywhere. Even of those who do enter the sea, the vast majority must spend a very small percentage of their time in it.

I would submit therefore that the risk of shark attack while in the sea is very significantly higher than that of a bee attack or lighting strike when walking around on land.

Comment Re:We are not amused (Score 1) 253 253

However, no entirely insane legislation has come from the EU

I don't know where to begin with listing insane legislation from the EU. Perhaps banning fencing creosote. Maybe that's OK in dry sunny countries, but not where i live in the hills of Wales where it is much damper than in your "majority of countries" in the EU.

Comment Re:OS/2 better then windows at running windows app (Score 1) 387 387

Microsoft - Dave Cutler's team - were working on the OS that was going to replace OS/2 (......Windows NT 3.1 and successors after the (surprising) Windows 3.0 success.

....Windows NT and OS/2 have no common ancestor. They are completely different OSes from bottom to top.

My understanding is that NT had quite a bit of OS/2 in it. It is true that Dave Cutler and his team members were recruited by MS from DEC, and came with with the the source code of a DEC OS called Mica (an evolution from VMS but later cancelled), and this (and Cutler's experience in DEC) was used in creating NT. DEC later got an out of court settlement from MS over this stolen code. Reference. Nevertheless, some elements of OS/2 were also used, like the printing sub-system I believe.

Seeing that MS had rights to OS/2 and wanted a new OS in a hurry following the breakdown of their partnership with IBM, it would be suprising if they had not used parts of OS/2.

Comment Re:OS/2 better then windows at running windows app (Score 1) 387 387

Win 3.0 was absolutely awful. It crashed and needed a reboot about twice an hour.


I should know. In particular it crashed every time you printed something from WordPerfect for Windows, which we needed to do a lot (for memos - had no email then). Fortunately the print job did get through first. Maybe it was WordPerfect's fault, I don't know, don't care now. Windows 3.0 frequently crashed when WordPerfect was not running too.

It was soon replaced with the improved 3.1.

It was two years between Windows 3.0 and 3.1.

I am talking about where I worked. We did not get Windows 3.0 the moment it came out. We did get 3.1 the moment it came out though, having found 3.0 so awful we hoped 3.1 was better, and it was. They should have called 3.0 the beta.

Comment Re:Meanwhile OS/2 and Xenix existed (Score 1) 387 387

One of [OS/2's] biggest failings was claiming that it was "a better DOS than DOS and a better Windows than Windows"... which i... helps to remove the motivation to build much of anything specifically targeting for OS/2, rather than Windows... and being an 'also runs' OS doesn't get you much traction for adoption.

Even worse, they marketed the version of OS/2 (2.1 AFAIR) which had Windows 3.1 on board already in a virtual machine as "OS/2 for Windows"!

As if OS/2 was some kind of app. It was like the tail wagging the dog, with OS/2 being a grown-up OS and Win3.1 being a dog's breakfast.

Comment Re:Meh. (Score 2) 387 387

IBM forcing Microsoft to make it run on the 286 was a complete waste of time.

It was, but you need to understand the culture back then. The processor arms race had not begun and people thought that 286s and 386s would be around for ever - 386s for power users and 286s for the rest of us. SLR cameras are an analogy - Nikon have both entry level and professional grade SLRs, always have, and no-one expects today's professional camera to become next year's entry level camera. The two lines develop separately.

That was when I was buying my first PC, and I was going to get a 286 as "it was all I needed", despite 386s being around. Then suddenly the arms race took off and I got a 486. I remember the dismay and even indignation of other guys who had just bought a 286 or 386 and were suddenly left behind.

Comment Re:Windows 3.0 (Score 1) 387 387

Windows 3.0 was not unstable. Sure, any application could crash the OS, which is a technical deficiency, but I don't remember any kind of unstability in general.

My work Win3.0 machine crashed so often that it is a fine point as to whether the blame lay with Win3.0 or the app. True, there was often the message "UAE" [Unrecoverable Application Error] but I suspect that Windows would have said that anyway. If it was the apps, then Windows should not have allowed the app to bring the whole machine down.

Win3.1 was considerably better with the same apps, so it could be done.

Comment Re:For me it's Windows NT 3.1 (Score 1) 387 387

Windows 95 was still sitting on DOS to a large extent .... if you typed the MS-DOS "mode" command with an option like 40-column you unmasked the hidden DOS prompt

The fact that you could get a DOS prompt does not mean it ran on DOS. I am running Mepis Linux right now, and can call up a DOS prompt in a virtual machine. I can also dual boot into DOS, which is effectively what Win9x could do if you needed it, especially for games then.

Comment Re:For me it's Windows NT 3.1 (Score 1) 387 387

The big change for me was with Win95. All earlier versions of Windows were bolted on top of MS-DOS

Windows NT came out in 1993, predated Win95, and had nothing to do with DOS apart from the capability to run DOS in a virtual machine. Its own command line interface was not DOS, even though many of the commands had the same syntax

although many people had it started by AUTOEXEC.BAT so they never needed to notice that DOS was still there. Starting with Win95, however, the default was for the computer to boot directly into Windows ..... And of course, the ability to have it autorun CDs when they were inserted was another great convenience.

Having an auto-starting app, even a GUI shell, is hardly a quantum leap in computer history, nor is auto-running CDs.

Comment Re:OS/2 better then windows at running windows app (Score 4, Interesting) 387 387

When OS/2 was launched it was a joint Microsoft/IBM product, and it was touted (by both) as being the replacement for Windows.

Exactly. I worked for a big corporate at the time and we all had PCDos on IBM ATs running stuff like IBM DisplayWrite and, most importantly, a mainframe terminal emulator because the (IBM) mainframe was where our serious stuff was. When Win 3.0 came out we were all handed boxed copies (I recently sold mine) - although Windows was MS, it seemed (to our management at least) the way to go, and was assumed to have IBM endorsement (a corporate essential) because it would run on IBM PCs. Management were unaware of the MS-IBM bust-up.

Win 3.0 was absolutely awful. It crashed and needed a reboot about twice an hour. It was soon replaced with the improved 3.1. It was not networked of course, but we would share printers in groups of four of us using a switchbox.

At about same time, one guy in our branch, our IT "co-ordinator" (who knew nothing about IT) was given OS/2 as a pilot. We all understood that would be the way to go fo all of us, but the whole thing stagnated (I guess because of the IBM/MS split). OS/2's price (its own, and that of the memory needed to run it) remained too high. I bought OS/2 for home but there were bugs (could have be sorted by IBM if they had their heart in it) and lack of apps. It seemed there was an anti-OS/2 camp within IBM itself.

But people, like our middle-aged management, who had never previously used computers (I had started on a PDP 11) or seen a GUI before, thought Windows and MS were absolutely wonderful. Us younger guys all had home computers by then, and knew better. Ironically, the generation after us also thought Windows and MS were wonderful because they never saw anything but Windows. It led to all the myths that we must now endure about Gates being a genius, inventing the PC, making computing affordable, and such like crap.

But Windows 3 (if we include its 3.1 bug-fix) was a milestone in that it popularised the graphical interface.

Comment Re:I see the master plan (Score 3, Informative) 123 123

Afraid not, a friend of my and myself actually tried contacting some of the old shareware companies .... we found was 1.- etc etc

You should have ignored them. Anyone has the right to distribute shareware. You do know how shareware works don't you? If so, I don't understand why you even contacted them and I expect they didn't either. Here is the first Google definition I've found :- "Shareware is software that is distributed free on a trial basis with the understanding that the user may need or want to pay for it later."

Perhaps there was a misunderstanding here. Shareware can be upgraded to fully paid versions by, well, paying. I guess that these companies were assuming, by your contacting them at all, that you wanted to pay for the upgrade to the full version. So it is hardly suprising if they were taken aback by such a request, and that they no longer had the full version of this ancient DOS stuff by their right elbow.

Frankly, Scarlett, I don't have a fix. -- Rhett Buggler