* Posts by WallMeerkat

299 publicly visible posts • joined 13 Jan 2017


Saved by the Bill: What if... Microsoft had killed Windows 95?


WFG 3.11 memories

Memories of WFG 3.11 that arrived on our first home PC, a 486 that was destined for a corporate office that was never to be, being sold off by a local business systems company.

Despite having all the network utilities, and the fetching Schedule+ instead of Calendar, it didn't have a network card.

Upgraded the 4mb to 12mb at some point, along with a sound card (SB compatible 220/IRQ 7/DMA 1). Then tried to squeeze Windows 95 onto its 170mb hard disk. Took ages to boot, then I doublespaced to free up space, which took about 15 minutes to boot.

Win95 was the shiny though, its hard to explain to folks who are used to iteratively evolving versions of windows how big a step it was.

I think it was the right OS for when the home PC was gaining mass acceptance - suddenly everyone in school had a Packard Bell pentium running win95.

I think though that Program Manager would make a fine shell for touchscreen OSs - touch to enter program group, touch to launch application (or app). Windows 8 tried but was a mess.

COVID-19 was a generational opportunity for change at work – and corporate blew it


> I've discovered just how bad much of our built environment is not designed for people to just walk for exercise.

Not just cities, I'm quite rural living in a housing estate in a village, but if I walk 5 minutes in any direction I lose the footpath and am stuck walking on a narrow 60mph road amongst drivers who think they're Colin McRae.


Re: Practicalities

> They have larger houses so have space.

This is a great point. When I started WFH I was converting the small room to an office, but soon had to give that up to the impending arrival (new baby). I'm trying to figure out how to nail my finances to get a slightly larger house, but as you say if I was higher up the ladder the banks wouldn't laugh at my mortgage requests.

As for kids etc. they seem to be a welcome distraction in my current role, and I prefer them to office based colleagues playing nerf wars over my head.

India makes a play to source rare earths – systematic scrapping of its old cars


Re: Attention all 1958 Morris Oxford Owners!

Also Rover Cityrover owners with all the Tata Indicas

From when the tables were turned, and it was India supplying the model for the British car industry.

Now of course India basically owns (except MINI and MG) the British car industry (Jaguar Land Rover including rights to Rover)

Quality control, Soviet style: Here's another fine message you've gotten me into


Re: Skodas and Ladas

Indeed one of their old taglines was "Surprising Skoda"! I think some rally drivers got the most out of the pendulum-like handling of the engine sitting out back over the rear driven wheels.

I have an Octavia as a family car, a visiting US colleague called it a hatchback Jetta, which is fairly accurate. Seem popular as fleet cars.


Re: Such value for money

Samara was at least their attempt at a modern Front Wheel Drive model, with Porsche helping with the engine.


Re: Such value for money

When Lada withdrew from the UK market (with the likes of Proton, Kia etc. filling the budget gap) a lot of the old Ladas were exported back to Russia, where the standard fit UK spec (demisters etc.) was appreciated.

Their modern products, the likes of the Vesta as sold in Germany, are a world away from the old Fiat based models.

Beloved pixel pusher Paint prepares to join Notepad for updates from Microsoft Store


Re: I'm pissed off...

Last time I tried to watch a DVD it was the child's nativity, it wouldn't work on the PS4 DVD player so I ripped it on the mac and fired it onto my phone and VNC chromecast to the TV.

I do sometimes feel that in some ways laptops from the early 2000s had more usable functionality.

Yep, you're totally unique: That one very special user and their very special problem


To be fair it happened to me on a car I bought on the other side of the country. It started to get dark, I turned the lights on, but the dash didn't light. Cue pulling over, checking fuses etc.

Turned out there was a brightness thumbwheel on the steering column that I hadn't seen (and probably got moved when the car was valeted)

Mac OS X at 20: A rocky start, but it got the fundamentals right for a macOS future


Re: Windows 95 wasn't better, but it was just good enough

For consumer purposes XP was the NT migration, but for professional workstations/servers the NT line was there from 3.1/3.51 (which running Office 97 can still be moderately useful, confuse everyone with the Win3.1 style windowing!), 4.0 (basically 3.5.1 with a 95 shell), 2000 (one of my favourite Windows versions, so stable)


Re: Windows 95 – which combined

I liked Windows 3.x (as my first PC ran it), with modern touch screen interfaces the likes of Program Manager would make sense again.

GEM was nice, but it was Apple who hobbled it for v2.0 as it had looked too much like a Mac/Lisa desktop. They were forced to have 2 permanent windows open. For some reason the Atari TOS version didn't need to have this. (And with the Mac ROMs in Spectre the Atari made a fine Mac)

Windows 95 gave a nice Mac style desktop (And with Microsoft backing Office/IE on Mac, Apple couldn't complain)

Can you imagine Slack letting people DM strangers in another org? Think of the abuse. Oh wait, it did do that


Re: Never trusted slack, Never will.

surely hipsters use hipchat?

Shedding the 'bleeding edge' label: If Fedora is only going to be for personal use, that doesn't work for Red Hat


I did once run Fedora on a workstation, it worked well until update time when it was a rabbit hole of dependency hell getting stuff working now.

My current workstation is a MacBook Pro. I won't even update it to Big Sur as it "just works".

Remember that day in 2020 when you were asked to get the business working from home – by tomorrow?


Re: Hats off

I remember a Computer Shopper coverdisc with an early Linux bootable distro. I got a scrolling 1/4 a screen of a greyscale desktop, but it was a change from Windows.

Got back into Linux in the early 2000s and remember fighting trying to get my wifi adaptor working. Then later trying to get display drivers to work. Updating and ending up in dependency hell.


Re: Hats off

> Imagine a family with two working parents trying to get work done using a single modem.

Memories of my 90s setup, my PC had the modem dialling up via a cable running outside the wall to the phone socket downstairs. Then a BNC cable running up through the loft into other rooms with PCs. My PC running a proxy server in the background.

We had basic webcam functionality by the late 90s, nowhere near the high resolution Zoom calls that are now regularly used on the news and live shows.


Re: Nice article

I used a wifi app on the phone to try and find an underused channel in between the noise of neighbour's wifi and various gadgets (printer, chromecast etc) that want to use their own wifi network.

In the end I went for a powerline adaptor. Ethernet works fairly well (good enough for Stadia), but the wifi extender keeps dropping.

The world's first Apple Silicon iMac is actually a Mac Mini


I've been looking at using my 2014 Mac Mini for a project, but that is the thing - accessing the ports and power buttons. Even if you have extender mounts for the USB sockets, you still have a fashion a mechanism for pressing power, and I haven't figured that out.

Maybe a commenter who has more of a hardware background could provide tips?

Groupware is not dead! HCL drops second beta of Notes/Domino version 12 and goes all low-code and cloudy



I remember the only time I had to use Notes was when the startup I was at was borged by big blue.

This was around 2010 and the UI looked like a Windows 3.1 application. Retro.

If I recall the keyboard shortcuts were completely different from exchange/thunderbird that I had used previously.

'It's where the industry is heading': LibreOffice team working on WebAssembly port


> ClarisWorks

Nostalgic fondness of this as it was used for IT lessons in secondary school. Back when DTP was the big thing, it was relatively easy to drag and drop items from drawing, embed spreadsheets and the likes.

Sometimes I'll fire it up on DosBox or my old Mac Mini G4.

Would love something like this as part of an OS base install. Perhaps we should start a project OpenClaris? :D

I felt Lotus Symphony, based on OpenOffice, was slightly similar in that it felt like one application as you could have tabs for different documents.

Death Becomes It: Who put the Blue in the Blue Screen of Death?


Re: Originally there was the Black Screen of Death.

Wow that column is a blast from the past, especially the section about Next - Canon were looking to scoop it up for nothing, and Steve Jobs last hope was to sell to Novell!

I love that whole era of computing, the early 90s. Things seemed to go downhill late 90s onwards when PCs started becoming home appliances.

Apple reportedly planning to revive the MagSafe charging standard with the next lot of MacBook Pros


Re: I like the Touch bar.

> Maybe if Microsoft came out with one, people would like it better.

Because Windows Sideshow was such a success?


A year ago I had to expense a 16" i9 32GB (the only non-standard option) MBP for work and treated it with reverence as it cost £3k, which is more than my car is worth...

I went mad on the configurator just now and could spec a 16" MBP with full options to a cost of £7,198.98 which is absolutely crazy, especially a machine that is going to be replaced with an M1 version very soon


> I guess people aren't removing their Macbooks from their home desks* as often

Indeed I'm currently happy enough with the USB-C dongles as they act as a bit of a docking station now my work MBP has semi-permanent residence on the desk.

I wouldn't use SD cards often, but have a USB adaptor or my Mac Mini for occasions when I do.

The touchbar is still as useless a gimmick as Windows Sideshow though (remember that?), I'm at least grateful for the return of the physical ESC key (vimming without tactile keyboard feedback wasn't nice)

Extreme Networks misses death-of-Flash deadline, suggests winding back PC clocks to keep its GUI alive


Could they try the likes of https://github.com/ruffle-rs/ruffle as a temporary alternative?

Cyberpunk 2077: There's a great game within screaming to get out, but sadly it was released 57 years too early


Flawed but Fun

I missed the hypetrain, but it was a video of "poor" PS4 gameplay that actually got me interested.

While I didn't bother with PS4, and my potato of a Mac wouldn't run it, St**ia (in case you think I'm a google shrill) had a deal where they sent the hardware plus the game. I thought you would need a gigabit connection, but it seems to work well with my FTTC (approx 70mbps down)

Yes it is buggy. I'll park my car up, turn around, and the car behind has gone. I'll be in the desert and see a traffic jam ahead, by the time I reach it the road is completely empty.

Last night I did a mission but accidentally did one of the sub-missions out of order. The mission kept tagging the sub-mission (which was already done, I couldn't 'complete' it) despite me carrying on the next submissions (which involved moving away from the building, following a vehicle a few km away). Sometimes I can't pick up an item despite looking directly at it. Occasionally it will crash, even just driving out of town one time.

I picked up a fast sports car (hidden in a tunnel) but it was almost undrivable in the city, I went back to Vs car which is at least drivable. One of the games where I prefer 3rd person driving, the satnav doesn't zoom to speed so turns are last minute.

Police don't seem to have any central database, I can kill them all in one location, get to another and the police don't care that I'm there.

Some of your tips are good - do some main missions early to get some good weaponry. I failed one of the (enjoyable!) taxi missions as I ran away from an ambush as I was getting killed with my starter weapons. Similarly one where I break into a warehouse, when I got a good sniper it was a piece of cake.

Despite it all, I've only maybe logged 12 hours or so a few hours over Christmas, I'm enjoying it. Like a mix of GTA, Mad Max, Fallout with huge 80s scifi feel (Blade Runner, Running Man, Total Recall etc)

Come to Five Guys, where the software is as fresh as the burgers... or maybe not


Re: upstart?

I'm guessing they're meaning relative to McDs/BK who have been about for decades

Certainly fiveguys in Belfast only opened within the past 5 years or so, and is inexplicably popular. Sure the burgers are nice, but for the price you could have a sit down waited meal and beer at a pub.

BOFH: Darn Windows 7. It's totally why we need a £1k graphics card for a business computer


Virus 10

A virus:

"a piece of code which is capable of copying itself and typically has a detrimental effect, such as corrupting the system or destroying data."

MS pushed Windows 10 onto my Windows 7 machine.

Had a detrimental effect in corrupting my system such that some of my drivers for legacy (yes go out and buy new shiny shiny toys, I know) peripherals no longer worked.

Destroyed data in that my XP Mode VM and all it's contents and applications was suddenly wiped, couldn't find it anywhere, and the built in executables sol.exe and winmine.exe were long gone, to be replaced by ad driven freemium 'adventure' games.

(If I wanted to play freemium games I'd load my mobile full of crap like candy crush, which seemed to be installed, unwantedly, by windows 10)

Also added unwanted Adware to my start menu, what was previously an operating system control for launching applications was now telling me to go buy an Xbox or to subscribe to the weather channel, alerts telling me to buy subscriptions to Office and Skype premium. Urging me to use their Cortina spyware, and "BING!!" search engine.

I was half expecting the Bonzi Buddy to pop up.

Very little helps: Tesco flashes ancient Windows desktop on Scan-As-You-Shop device


Re: Handheld shopping...

Indeed as much as I respect retail staff (been there!) if I, as a shopper, get told off for choosing an item off a shelf, the glowing supermarket logo colour wouldn't be the only thing turning the air blue.


Re: Handheld shopping...

"In any case, if you don’t like the dates or condition of anything, just hand it back to the driver for a refund. Or phone up later to do the same."

We had a couple of good drivers who "suggested" that short date items be refunded, and "disposed of" to our fridge.


I tried that online ordering / pickup from their car park lego garage

It's great if you want your bread, meat, yoghurt etc to go out of date tomorrow.

(Some delivery drivers are really good though and they'll identify these and "offer" to refuse/refund them while disposing of them in your house)

The joy of being tall with gangly arms while shopping at a supermarket is that you can reach into the box behind the front box on the shelf to get something with a better date (and yes I'm a stock rotation nightmare, I did once work retail)


Yep and then you get to the tills and the "random" security check means they demand you scan everything in again!

(Or is it just me? I did complain to Tesco who suggested it was totally "random")

Gin and gone-ic: Rometty out as IBM CEO, cloud supremo Arvind Krishna takes over, Red Hat boss is president

Black Helicopters

Re: No mention of choppers?

Being helicoptered in, then axing travel for most employees?


Re: Will anything change?

Their hardware is now Lenovo

Vendor-bender LibreOffice kicks out 6.4: Community project feel, though now with added auto-█████ tool


Re: Understatement

I secretly like Office 97 as it is a usable office suite but it can also run on NT 3.5.1, the last NT with the old Win3.1 UI, pre-start button (unless you installed NewsHell) which was why it drew it's own controls.

Handy for bringing an old 486 to the coffee shop amongst the Mac hipsters but getting stuff done.

Take DOS, stir in some Netware, add a bit of Windows and... it's ALIIIIVE!


To get some game to run that needed all the base memory


They bought Samsung printers, but haven't updated the software bundles to 64 bit, which means the scanner application won't run if I update to OSX Catalina. And they have no intention of updating it.

Windows takes a tumble in the land of the Big Mac and Bacon Double Cheeseburger


BSOD off

I've seen BSODs on those new digital billboards that are getting in the way of pavements everywhere.

And McDs, those screens, the printer never seems to work so you need to quickly remember your allocated number. Though it does save the trees, at the expense of not availing of a £1.99 burger and chips with a survey code.

Clunk, whirr, buzz, whine. Shared office space can be a riot and sounds like one too



The worst about the Open plan office are other people

I've had colleagues play nerf wars when I was trying to build a complex regex.

Colleagues who ran across the floor, their footprints doof doof doof doof.

The ones by the window who won't close the blinds when the sun is beating in.


Re: Nothing new

As a child in primary school, if I passed a classroom I could 'hear' the CUB monitor of their BBC micro if it was on.

In later years my hearing is banjaxed.


Re: Companies in France

Was going to post about that sports car

Apparently it was rebadged MR-S for the French market?

Other UK rebadges include the Citroen Evasion as Synergie (someone explained to them that it means getting away *with* it, as in taxes, rather than *from* it, as in a holiday), and the Great Wall Wingle became the Steed when it was briefly sold.


Re: Welcome to the world of the Tinnitus Sufferer

My car is a large hatchback with a long bootlid. I use hearing aids and the bootlid has this vibration sound that no-one else seems to hear, but I haven't been able to prevent by adjusting the stoppers. At worst on certain concrete roads it sounds like the engine is labouring (it isn't and it is an automatic anyway, it changes down when it needs to)

Beware the Friday afternoon 'Could you just..?' from the muppet who wants to come between you and your beer


Re: My reply is no i do servers

This! I explain it as asking a train designer to look at why a Polo is misfiring.

There was a good image somewhere, points at laptops "What you think I work with" and servers "What I actually work with"


Re: I must be lucky then or have better friends.....

Did you survive the netbook era, in between PCs/laptops and iPads/tablets

"Can you put windows on instead of the penguin?" let me just pull a windows licence out of thin air. I didn't even have a USB CD drive at the time.

"Can you change the wallpaper?" eh? Then turned out Win7 starter blocked you from changing the wallpaper!

"It's slow" I boot it up and it's bonzi buddy, 10 toolbars, half a dozen fake antiviruses...


Re: I must be lucky then or have better friends.....

To be fair to Apple, when my wife's out of warranty iPad started having graphics issues they exchanged it for a refurb item there and then.


Did he at least put a little bit extra into trying to fix your car, or dropping you off at a garage that suited you rather than the AA?

Chrome suddenly using Bing after installing Office 365 Pro Plus... Yeah, that might have been us, mumbles Microsoft


Re: Phew!

For a second I thought you meant that they were putting Bing into the old golf game they bought years ago.


Last few companies I've worked at have used Google GSuite, no real issues with Office compatibility for the most part.

And while google is another evilcorp, a browser cloud application shouldn't try to hijack a browser.

Plus it can be used on Mac, Linux, Windows, mobile/tablet etc.

Microsoft boffin inadvertently highlights .NET image woes by running C# on Windows 3.11


Re: BTW if you need a cross-platform GUI development solution

I shudder to think of the mess of Win10s control panels/settings

Remember that Sonos speaker you bought a few years back that works perfectly? It's about to be screwed for... reasons


I follow a lot of groups in the retrogaming scene, and certainly your PC and CRT would be of interest.

There is a whole generation of games from the late 90s that is awkward to run on modern PCs.

Too new for the likes of DosBox (usual go-to for old games), and needing 3D hardware.

But too old to run properly on a modern win10 machine (I tried to run Sega Rally 2 and it was full of missing transparency textures, the likes of Toca2 just didn't run)

And the CRT monitor makes old games look of their era. Even disguises some of the lower resolutions.

Your modem could be useful if the machine supported it - a few years ago an insurance company asked me to fax them a form!

From WordPad to WordAds: Microsoft caught sneaking nagging Office promos into venerable text editor beta


Where did it all go wrong?

They've totally trashed Windows.

First the basic Solitaire and Minesweeper games were replaced by ad-supported 'app' games.

Now wordpad is getting bombarded with ads to subscribe to MS Office.

What next? Notepad ads to buy Visual Studio? Paint ads to buy Photoshop apps from the store (where MS takes a cut)?

Time was, you *bought* a windows

licence (or at least the licence tax as part of your PC price), and you were free to use the OS and the built in apps (Write, Paintbrush etc.) and games without being bombarded by advertising.