Designing Windows 95’s User Interface

win95uidesignThree years ago I came across an interesting paper written up by a Microsoft employee, Kent Sullivan, on the process and findings of designing the new user interface for Windows 95. The web page has since been taken down – one reason why I’m a bit of a digital hoarder.

It specified some of the common issues experienced from Windows 3.1’s Program Manager shell and looked at the potential of developing a separate shell for ‘beginners’. Admittedly my inclination was that this was possibly inspired by Apple’s At Ease program that was reasonably popular during the System 7 days. I remember At Ease well during my primary school years, so kids couldn’t mess with the hard disk in Finder.

So here’s what Kent had to say verbatim in his paper titled “The Windows 95 User Interface: A Case Study in Usability Engineering” so it’s not lost altogether.

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Setting Up a 386DX with Windows 95 using PCem 12

pcem-386win95Not along after posting about using PCem 11, version 12 was available for downloading literally a few days later. Due to this, I’ll briefly go over the changes before delving into setting up a virtual 386 PC with Windows 95.

Why a 386? Windows 95 required as a minimum a 386DX to run. Back in the day when a 386 was rather common, I’d only see them with 4 or 8 MB of RAM running Windows 3.1. However, in more recent times I did see someone who had a highly-spec’d multimedia 386 build with 64 MB of RAM on YouTube, and the performance of Windows 95 wasn’t that bad considering the hardware involved. This is an attempt to mimic that virtually.

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10 Games Growing Up in the 1990s

As someone born in 1985, much of my pre-teen years were spent playing various games designed for DOS or Windows 95. With little pocket money, most games acquired came in the form of someone else purchasing a used PC and using several floppy disks to copy them, or demonstration versions enclosed with a magazine. Normally it wouldn’t be until Christmas or my birthday that I could go out and purchase a new game, though in hindsight really should have spent the money upgrading the hardware.

Here’s my ten games that I enjoyed and spent a large amount of time playing during the decade in no particular order.

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Setting Up Microsoft BackOffice 2.0 (Part 1)

boffice2setup-1As shown in an earlier post, eBay Purchase #9 – Microsoft BackOffice Server 2.0, is a suite of server based products to run with Windows NT. This is a rather high-level overview of setting it up, with installing Windows NT 3.51 Server and using Exchange Server 4.0 to be looked at first.

Here I’m using Oracle VirtualBox 5.1.26 on Windows 10. Initially the process is rather straight forward with installing Windows NT, though the BackOffice applications need more tinkering.

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In The Eyes of 1998 (Part 1)

1998-1

Front cover of PC Magazine, June 1998

“We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.”

That was a quote from Bill Gates’ book, “The Road Ahead”, published in 1996.

I thought it was fitting for this post, after recently coming across a feature article from  a magazine (PC Magazine) dating back to June 1998. Describing their predictions for computing in the years 2001 and 2010, let’s see what was accurate, delayed, and just didn’t happen.

In Part 1 of the series, I’ll be covering processors, home network devices, the TV PC, and digital video.

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eBay Purchase #9 – Microsoft BackOffice Server 2.0

msboffice2-1eBay Purchase Price: $60 AUD

Country of Origin: United States

Condition: Very Good

Long since discontinued, BackOffice was a suite of server orientated products in combination with Windows NT aimed at business. Originally released with Windows NT 3.5 Server included, the final version had Windows 2000 Server.

This particular version is 2.0 released in April 1996, and was the last to include Windows NT 3.51, just four months prior to NT 4.0. I grabbed this copy among some other newer versions of BackOffice from the same seller. The postage was pricey given their size and weight, though finding complete copies of these isn’t that easy.

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Developing the Web Dial-Up Style

webeditMy first experience of the internet arose from a newly formed internet cafe, down in the beach-side suburb of Glenelg in Adelaide. It was 1994 and I recall attempting to view as many web pages as possible given it was charged by the hour for the privilege. The cafe was using 486 PCs running Windows for Workgroups, with Netscape Navigator 2.0 as the web browser of choice. Although a number of people had connected to BBS since the 1980s, the internet in the form of the World Wide Web was still rather primitive at the time and largely mysterious.

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