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Caluser2000

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We have a Computer store in my town that actually repurposes old kit and is fairly busy. We have a University and other educational identities whose students make use of these ye olde systems. The shops prices are very fair. I got some more ram for this P4 HT system a few weeks ago to max it out as well as a beige two port KVM(VGA/Mouse/Keyboard), another KVM (VGA/Mouse/Keyboard)Cable, as well as a gaming laptop two fan base I'll use in one of my projects. All for around $35.

They even sold , via or local auction site,an Acorn RiscPC with StrongARM card as well a 486DX cpu co-pro card. Gave the outfit a helping hand by boosting up the price to what I'd buy it for, That cut down the watch list a bit. I didn't need it and some one who really wanted it.

In time I'll ask it I can go have a look out back in the store an have a gander and maybe offer to do some inventory work part time.
 
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mbbrutman

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Your old 386 or 486 may have felt fast. It also had these other charming attributes:
  • It didn't handle character sets that the rest of the world needs very easily. Unicode has basically fixed that.
  • It crashed all of the time because programmers back then were just as bad, but they were using languages that didn't do garbage collection. It took me 20 years to stop instinctively saving my work every few seconds.
  • When it crashed it possibly corrupted your hard drive.
  • You had to load a program to view GIF images. Which were an incredible 256 colors (at most).
  • If you ran a windowing system it was quite a bit slower.
  • The games were point and shoot things; not these wonderful immersive experiences people insist on now.
  • Software updates came every year or two. After you paid for them. Each and every one of them. Unless you played shareware roulette.
  • If the software wasn't crashing then the operating system probably was.
  • Spreadsheets didn't have graphs in the sheet. Or comments. And sometimes not even text formatting.
  • Connecting to another system was something you prepared to do, and it was elaborate. You didn't have always-connected instant communication like you expect now.
I could go on. The point is, your memory is rosy. Those 386s and 486s were a lot less functional, much more difficult to use, and not as reliable for day to day use.
 

Caluser2000

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Spreadsheets had graphs in the 8088 era. I know, I used them.
I thought they did as do it in those damn so GUI thingies pre '80s as well.

GeoWorks Ensemble Pro 1.2 stayed on my 286 for quite a while and never found that slow at all. It came bundled Quatro Pro SE which could do graphs an I could import them to a PCGeos documents. You could even put cell to document your spread sheet. All on Dos 2.0 up using 512k of ram.IMG_20220719_131658.jpgIMG_20220719_133208_hdr.jpg

I will admit though that Linux(Deb Jessie and Slackware 14.2 boot 30secs quicker than plain OS/2 v3 Warp does with way less resources immediately available on OS/2 v3 on my AMD K6-2 400 rig with 256megs of ram..

Gmail does a HTML version. I prefer using that over the standard sweet.IMG_20220719_140405_hdr.jpg
 
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Chuck(G)

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Supercalc, for one had graphing capabilities and it was contemporary wtih the XT. Around that time I published a small freeware TSR that allowed one to use an HPIB plotter wtih an XT with only a parallel port. I used it to print SuperCalc color charts for a presentation.
 

Unknown_K

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I think it was way back in Windows 3.1 where you could drag text, data (spreadsheets), pictures and graphs into WYSIWYG documents. All that functionality created quite a bit of bloat compared to the simpler stand alone office apps that came before.
 

Caluser2000

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I think it was way back in Windows 3.1 where you could drag text, data (spreadsheets), pictures and graphs into WYSIWYG documents. All that functionality created quite a bit of bloat compared to the simpler stand alone office apps that came before.
Object linking and embedding- OLE. Change the spread sheat and the graph you had in the word processing document updated as well.

On a happy note I booted up strait in to GeoWorks Pro 1.2 on my 10Mhz XT Turbo Box with 640k of ram.. 1 minute and a bit minutes. Not enough time to boil water in the kettle from cold. Mouse feel/movement is no different to this Linux box running XFCE4 as it's DE.
 
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mbbrutman

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As was pointed out, I said graphs "in the sheet." Most spreadsheet programs had a separate graphing utility; you just didn't have a graph embedded in the data like what we expect today.

Skipping past the lovely large pictures of boxed software, the point remains the same - it is vastly more convenient to use a computer today. The the prices are silly cheap too compared to what we had. There really just is no point in complaining that today's software is bloated compared to 30 or 40 years ago; it's an entirely different ecosystem and set of economics. It's not a valid (or fair) comparison, and there are not legions of entitled software developers having a contest to see who can waste the most resources.
 

Caluser2000

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I'm glad I could supply some entertainment. The tension, and most likely imaged, in this thread seems quite tense. And nice to know spread sheet cell notation has been with us for a long time.

As you were!
 
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krebizfan

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Graphs in the sheet started with Informix Wingz from 1989. Sure, it made for a popular demo but it wasn't exactly useful. Anything larger than the tiny demo sheets required so much scrolling thanks to the limited resolutions that it was impractical. I have only seen it used with smartphone and web spreadsheets which make having multiple windows difficult.

DDE is mostly dead. MS turned it off in Office by default for security reasons though it can be turned back on if needed. Few companies other than MS bothered with it. I like the DDE concept of requesting only the data wanted as opposed to receiving whatever blob of data the user of the other program delivers. I admit I abused DDE to create some rather rickety bridges between programs which turned out to work far better than it should.
 

WimWalther

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Just to clear up a point: When I said "software developers" I wasn't referring to individual programmers. I probably should have said "the software industry" - inclusive of schools, development houses, publishers etc.
 

creepingnet

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Do you write code for hobby purposes or for a living?

Seriously - software developers are not in a gilded castle somewhere deciding where to train their "next laser beam of resource consumption" while they drink champagne and make fun of the masses. It's economics. If the standard cell phone today has 2GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, that is what they will target. It makes no economic sense to target a device or a computer that has long since disappeared from mainstream usage.

I don't think either side is cut and dry since the one's most likely tapping the champagne glasses are the C-suite guys breathing down the necks of the dev's bosses to get the coders to get the out ASAP, 100% working, fast, efficient, and optimized. And of course they hired VISA holders to code it because they can pay them less.

Then there's an economics of scale. Our old machines here were probably easier to code for and optimize because the platforms are simple by comparison. You have eight/sixteen bits flying by at 1-33MHz with 13 instructions to choose from vs. 64 or even 128 data lanes wide of traffic flying by at GHz speeds with OOE and hyperthreading support. It's far easier to code a simple text editor for an 8088 with the expectation that the output will look "computer-y" vs. coding a full featured WYSIWYG Windows document editor with a full dictionary, thesarus, and 26 volume Encyclopedia built in with 24/7/365 cloud connection that displays everything as high as 4K Resolution with smoothed fonts that look like an old typing press.

I take it that NZ doesn't have an aggressive recycling program for electronics. Around here locally, the program is used to train the ability-impaired and receives government funding. The result is that very little old stuff survives.

Where I live we have a local recycler shop that does something like this. The results are pretty hilarious and mixed. One of my biggest recent scores came from there.

I go there after work, they have an IBM Model "M" sitting on the rack. The manager there is about my age (Gen Y), says "I'll sell it to you for $40.00, very reasonable", which it is, so I waited until next payday. We talked a bit about brainstorming on making the retro stuff available at the shop and gave me a heads up on a "huge haul" coming in which I could not make.

Payday, At the desk is a young kid almost, Gen Z. The kid says "Sorry but we usually can't sell you that because it's PS/2 and that's obsolete, but I guess I'll charge you $4 for it.". So I paid $4 on a $40 keyboard that I could probably flip on E-bay for $80.00 or more,. Still using that IBM Model "M" to this day.
 

mR_Slug

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I'm not sure that all that software bloat is necessary. I can understand that good enough from a corporate standpoint provides software at a reasonable price. Something like a WYSIWYG editor that is optimized to the point of hand asm would require too many hours of programming and bug checking. But I do think standards have gone downhill.

Had some avast? or some antivirus that used nearly 256MB ram to download updates. It was so bad i messaged the company and said there was something wrong with the software. Their response was this was normal!. To me this indicates something is wrong. I am not a good programmer that can do magic like some of you can, just average. Even I can do a better job than this. Vistas copy file slowness. I looked into it and there is some kinda 'optimization' that if you turn off it works faster. Did this and it helped but is was still slow. Never really got that OS running well. It just baffled me how it could be so slow.

One thing I will say about post-XP is that the system seems to be less likely to BSOD.

UI design though is atrocious today compared with 15 years ago. It's like they took every design principle and did the opposite. Still think w95 style desktop is MUCH simpler for a novice to understand than post Win7. I have not used modern MacOS and some of the new paradigms in Linux desktop have not been well received either. Websites have gone downhill too. Why is everything an icon? three horizontal lines suddenly meant menu? Why not just write 'Menu'? Everything like textboxes has unneeded css to the point you're not sure it is a text box. JavaScript to load images? Really? Ok if a site is interactive like discord, I can understand it being js-laden, but most sites it is totally unnecessary.

I can understand new tasks being resource hogs like playing HD video. But stuff that could be done 20+ years ago with an average computer should not.
 

VERAULT

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UI design though is atrocious today compared with 15 years ago. It's like they took every design principle and did the opposite. Still think w95 style desktop is MUCH simpler for a novice to understand than post Win7.
Agree completely.
Also a major reason I gave up on Ubuntu years ago. The Unity interface might as well be blocky android touch UI.. Just awful. they take away all the abilities for power users treating everyone as if they are brand new to this sort of thing...
 

Chuck(G)

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The good thing about many Linux distros (Ubuntu included) is that the user can pick his UI. For me, after gnome went into disuse, it's been XFCE4; LXDE is also another candidate. I run both Debian and Ubuntu with XFCE4, the latter available as Xubuntu.
Since most of my work is with CLI, I don't care much for complicated GUIs.
 

krebizfan

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Icons make it easier to publish a version in different languages. Menu may be a short word in English but some languages equivalent is much longer. The hamburger menu is the same size no matter the language the user prefers.

I wish more UI concepts got tested before deployment to stop the pretty new interface designs that look gorgeous in a presentation but absolutely fail when handled by a user.
 

creepingnet

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I second the emotion. I was using Excel 97' to document some settings on a new guitar pedal I designed a while back on my 486 DX4 and was shocked to find even back then, in the 90's, we had separate "sheets" within a spreadsheet. So why do I need to use Excel 365 when I can use Excel 97', fit the XLS file on a floppy diskette with some nice, and easy to read formatting. Oh I know - (late stage) CAPITALISM.

As an I.T. pro, something I've noticed about these new UI designs is that they sometimes beautify the interface so much it's hard to tell where the decoration ends and the functionality begins - ie white bar with a soft or slight gradient, with a tiny, 4pt carat for an arrow, for some kind of basic function. I get that a lot of it now is to "slimline" the look or make it "easy for touch" but it seems to me a lot of what they really end up doing is ruining the UI of any usability from a regular person. Hell, I get confused by the modern UI's sometimes because of these tiny or subtle changes that are supposed to suggest a function, but with a contrast setting different, or heck, even just on the norm, it looks like nothing is there and/or the icon for it is not immediatley obvious. This is why I'm a huge fan of the old style Windows 95 and Windows 3.1x icon style - because it's so low-res, cartooney, and blatent, it's hard to miss that you have an icon. What's funny is this seems to mostly be a problem with commercial software moreso than with Open Source - which I have heard "normies" call "ugly" or "outdated" - but the thing is, sometimes, something "ooooooold" might actually be better suited functionality wise if the "new" style is damaging things that the old style developers did not have to account for originally.
 
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