Inspired By Atari: Microsoft Arcade

msarcade-introIn 1993 Microsoft released Arcade for Windows 3.1, as part of their Microsoft Home product line. Inspired by Atari, it was a small collection of games that had been played in the heyday of coin-operated arcade machines over a decade prior. The following year, it also was made available on the Macintosh. Dima Pavlovsky had been the sole developer.

Fitting onto a single floppy disk, Arcade was typically sold in its own retail package. However on occasion the disk was tossed in with some models of Microsoft Mouse, as had been the case with my copy.

Here’s a rundown of the included titles – Asteroids, Battlezone, Centipede, Missile Command, and Tempest which actually contains a little secret.

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The PC from The Wimmera

wimmera-pcintroOne weekend I went for a drive up Horsham way, a good two hour drive from home along the main highway between Adelaide and Melbourne. It’s a sizeable regional centre popular for stopovers. Usually when I’m there the only things I might pick up is fuel or a burger from McDonald’s on the way to somewhere else, so picking up a PC was a rare occurrence.

Stored in a dusty old tin shed, the person I bought from had several identical PCs stacked away, presumably scored from a local e-waste depot. Originally these had been used by what was known as the Wimmera Institute of TAFE in the mid 1990s, later merging to what became the University of Ballarat (now known as Federation University since 2014). For those overseas, TAFE meant Technical and Further Education, and operate in a similar nature to colleges in Canada and the United States.

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Install & Configure BeOS R5.1d Using Oracle VirtualBox

beboxBeOS despite generally long forgotten (if you were aware of it in the first place) had an interesting past. A Frenchman named Jean-Louis Gassée had for most of the 1980s held senior positions with Apple, where at one point had become head of product development for the Macintosh once Steve Jobs left. He was a staunch supporter of Apple, who believed the company should continue its focus at the premium end of the personal computer market, and that people were prepared to pay up for the Macintosh experience. That was fine to a point, though with more affordable IBM PC clones and Windows 3.0 approaching, this was increasingly becoming unsustainable. By the end of the decade, corporate politics and disagreements with the then CEO John Sculley led to Jean-Louis’ exit in 1990.

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Classified: Norton Your Eyes Only 4.02

nortonyoureyesonly-introIn the heyday of Windows 95, there had been a running joke of its security features (or lack thereof). Multi-user account management was nothing more than creating profiles for storing desktop settings and documents. The request to enter a username and password at the Enter Network Password dialog box on startup was often mistakenly seen by less savvy users as a form of security, not realising it’s just credentials for accessing network shares in a workgroup.

Originally retailing for $90 US, Norton released Your Eyes Only (YEO) to up the ante in this regard. Whilst it didn’t overcome Windows’ limitations entirely it added an additional layer as a deterrent. Its main purpose was to keep prying eyes away from files you want private. A Windows 95-based PC with 8 MB RAM were the requirements, with 16 MB recommended.

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Work Smarter Not Harder: SmartDraw 3.20

SmartDraw originally dates back to 1994 as a tool primarily for the use of process mapping, organisational charts, maps, and various forms of technical diagrams. The software still exists to this day, although the choice of diagrams has changed greatly and a web-based version is now available.

Today we rewind back to Halloween of 1997 when Version 3.2 was released, an incremental update from the original 3.0 release in 1996. The next major release was a couple of years away, so I’m led to believe this would be the last to support Windows 3.1. A native Windows 95/NT build was also available during the installation process. At the time it had been a much more affordable option compared to its competitors, Visio Corp.’s Visio Professional 4.5 and Micrografx FlowCharter 7.0. The point of difference apart from the retail price tag was to simplify the creation of diagrams to suit the occasional user.

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eBay Purchase #26 – Apple Macintosh LC

maclc-introeBay Purchase Price: FREE

Country of Origin: Australia

Condition: Good

“Announcing something you’ve never seen before in an inexpensive Macintosh. Colour.”

Those were the words from a TV commercial for the Macintosh LC. The original LC released in October 1990 sat in-between the low-end Classic and the relatively more expensive IIsi, making it the most affordable Macintosh with colour display capabilities.

Most of these saw their time in educational institutions. As I later discovered, this particular LC used to sit within the Zoology department at the University of Tasmania.

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eBay Purchase #25 – Microsoft Encarta 96 World Atlas

encarta96worldatlas-introeBay Purchase Price: $5 AUD

Country of Origin: Australia

Condition: Excellent

This was the first in the Encarta World Atlas series. As the name implies this was very much an expansion to the Encarta encyclopedia product line with an emphasis on geography. The maps were much more detailed than what was provided in Encarta, though still no substitute for planning your next interstate road trip. Understanding how the world lives, its statistics, and cultures were also focal points utilising Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia as the data source.

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eBay Purchase #24 – Maxis SimCity 2000 Special Edition

simcity2000-introeBay Purchase Price: $31 AUD

Country of Origin: Australia

Condition: Excellent

For the most part my software collection comprises of mostly operating systems and productivity applications. Games are a bit of an afterthought for me but I guess to some people more desirable. Let’s face it, most with an interest in retro computing would rather an original copy of DOOM, than Microsoft SNA Server.

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eBay Purchase #23 – Micrografx Designer 4.0

micrografx-designer4-introeBay Purchase Price: $19 AUD

Country of Origin: Australia

Condition: Excellent

When it comes to illustration and vector graphics, Adobe Illustrator and perhaps to a lesser extent CorelDRAW spring to mind as the main contenders in this segment. Much like other software from the 1980s and 90s, there were other commercial offerings out there though over time were succumbed to corporate acquisitions. Micrografx was one such vendor.

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