1987. Over thirty years ago. What was going on? Well, in the United States we were in the waning years of the presidency of Ronald Reagan. As a matter of fact, in the summer of this year, Reagan made an impassioned speech about tearing down the Berlin Wall, right in front of the Berlin Wall. The same year, Mike Tyson was knocking out every opponent that had the guts to challenge him. ALF hacked into the television ratings to make “Polka Jamboree” the number one television program in the nation. And, if that wasn’t enough excitement to keep everyone entertained, Chi-Town was introduced to…
Archive for the ‘New Rant’ Category
Even to this day, people are still talking about the CP/M vs. MS-DOS controversy. Did MS-DOS steal from CP/M? Why did they settle a lawsuit if they didn’t? The problem is, almost no one realizes what the actual argument is. People want to make the issue about Microsoft stealing code from CP/M and using it. I don’t deny that there is a rumor that Gary Kildall performed some secret keystroke combination that produced an Easter egg in CP/M that he duplicated in MS-DOS. But, the best I can tell, that is complete folklore that only added to the mystique and mystery. The real argument is more apparent.
I just ended my first and last semester taking online classes at the prestigious Oklahoma University. Okay, that’s not entirely fair. I know that OU isn’t exactly ivy league, but it’s not a bad school. They just failed me. This could be seen as nothing more than a vendetta for getting a bad grade, but nothing could be further from the truth. I got an A in the class, but at the expense of almost killing me. Read the rest of this entry »
Too many people have speculated why OS/2 faded into the sunset while Windows reigned supreme. I want to explore some of the bigger theories and then offer up one of my own. The fact remains that OS/2 was the operating system that should and could but never would. I wanted OS/2 to work. I remember the Visual Basic class I took all the way back in the summer of 1994. I remember the instructor going around the class having us introduce ourselves. I remember saying how much I hate Windows (it was 3.1 at the time) because it was such a hacked and slashed together operating system, and that I really wished we would’ve gone the “OS/2 route”. In my mind, Windows 3.x was nothing more than a glorified version of DOS Shell, although I later learned that Windows was a real operating system; an operating system you add to pay twice for because you couldn’t run it by itself. All kidding aside, even in my late teenage years I stayed loyal to the OS/2 brand. I even ran it on my PC at home, albeit in dual boot mode because there was a lot of stuff that Windows 95 could run that OS/2 could not. I owned two versions of OS/2, “OS/2 for Windows” which was OS/2 version 2.1 without a standalone copy of Windows where you used your own copy. I also purchased OS/2 Warp 4 in 1996 when I was sick and tired of Windows 95 and the constant reboots.
The year was 1983 and I had my first experience ever with computers. I saw the epitome of modern-day technology in our school library . It was a TRS-80 with about 16k of RAM and a tape drive for storage. I was in elementary school at the time and was just blown away. I saw a girl several years older than me loading up a program (a rudimentary game) from the tape drive. Wow, I thought to myself, I can do that. I WILL do that!! I can make programs too. I rushed home that evening and tried to write my first computer program ever. I had no idea what a programming language was. I didn’t care. I decided to create a “Hangman” game. So, I pulled out my tape recorder and proceeded to say how my program was going to work. I assumed everything because I had no idea how computers really worked. I even assumed that I didn’t have to tell the computer what words to use, it should magically just pick a word at random and proceed to start the game. I did, however, at least tell the computer to put the number of blanks at the bottom of screen equal to the number of letters in the word. I was so excited that I could barely sleep. I was going to school and going to play the new game that I created!! In no time, I would write a game better than Pac-Man and become a millionaire before I even get into high school.
David Barnes is one of those rare people that, if you ever met, you would never forget. He has worked for IBM for a number of years, appeared in IBM commercials, and he was a self-described “OS/2 Evangelist”. He now has some kind of lead position with IBM and their Web 2.0 initiatives. Without this guy, there is no telling how far OS/2 would’ve gone. OS/2 went far, but not by IBM’s standards. If it was a smaller company, OS/2 would be considered a phenomenal success.
We’ve just passed the Gary’s birthday, which was May 19th, 1942. He would be 70 years old if he was still alive today. While everyone, or at least most everyone, knows the names Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and, to a lesser extent, Larry Ellison, Gary is known by a relatively smaller audience. Although he was a millionaire, he never had a fraction of the wealth of the aforementioned entrepreneurs. I know that I have poked fun at Gary in the past, but that criticism is unfounded. I was one of those who accused him of throwing away a fortune. I realize now, after reading many accounts from credible sources, that Gary wasn’t entirely to blame for the fact that Intergalactic Digital Research wasn’t the company that Microsoft became. Gary invented DOS. Without him, we may not have seen any of the other people rise to prominence. It seems like Gary’s lawyer may have had more to do with IBM’s failed negation than Gary himself. What about the fact that Gary flew for hours in his plane while IBM waited on the ground to meet him? It appears to be mostly folklore by people who love to make up stories. Peter Norton, a person for whom I have a deep respect, was one of those people. He even wrote it in one of his books. One of my college professors even said that Gary lost the IBM business because he decided to go fishing that day. I somehow missed that in all of the research that I’ve done on the subject.
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