eBay Purchase #17 – Macintosh System 7.5

macsystem75-8eBay Purchase Price: $100 AUD

Country of Origin: Australia

Condition: Excellent

The mid 1990s was a challenging period for Apple. Steve Jobs had long been absent, a fragmented Macintosh product line existed (e.g. Performa, Quadra, Centris, and Power Macintosh), Windows 95 grabbing the attention of the media, and the difficulties pursuing the Copland project.

Obviously Steve was far from pleased.

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File Manager Returns

filemanager-largeiconThis isn’t something I’d expect from Microsoft, and it must have been a bit of a flashback for Ian Ellison-Taylor.

File Manager, once the default file management tool during the heyday of Windows 3.x and NT has come back to life for Windows 10. Now available in open source under a MIT license, two variations of the source code have been published on GitHub. The only dependency is for the Visual Studio 2015 C++ runtime to be installed on your PC.

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Running Obsolete Software on Windows 10

Opinion is divided on what constitutes a satisfactory time-frame concerning the life-cycle of software products. Those more technically inclined see the importance of keeping current, whether it be in the form of a patch, or a major upgrade when their software is soon to be out of support. Others view updates as a hindrance, and are content using eight year old software as long as it runs okay, and does what they need it for. External factors usually dictate when they feel forced to upgrade. Windows XP’s later years were a testament to this. My father for example only upgraded from XP for two reasons; utilise more than 4 GB of RAM, and play newer DirectX 10 and 11 games.

Microsoft and Apple have held different attitudes over the years supporting hardware and software that isn’t so cutting edge any more.

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eBay Purchase #14 – Microsoft Office 4.2.1 for Macintosh

office421mac-1eBay Purchase Price: $48 AUD

Country of Origin: Australia

Condition: Very Good

Microsoft Office for the Macintosh always felt kind of second-rate compared to its Windows counterpart. Microsoft Access never made it, hence no Professional edition available. The exception being with Office 2004 for the inclusion of Virtual PC. The e-mail client changed relatively frequently, whilst Windows users have been using Outlook since Office 97. Within the ‘Office family’ is Publisher, Visio and Project, where the former two didn’t come across to Mac, while the latter was short-lived in the early 1990s.

Interestingly Office’s roots stem from the Macintosh. During the late 1980s Microsoft did well selling individual copies of Word and Excel on the platform, comparative to their PC-based releases. Then in 1989 Microsoft Office 1.0 (originally known as The Microsoft Office) was first distributed, comprising of Word 4.0, Excel 2.2, PowerPoint 2.01, and Mail 1.37 that would run on Apple’s System 6. Five years later would see this version, 4.2, that would generate plenty of resentment amongst Mac users.

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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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