Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Tell us your ongoing tales and experiences with your French car here. Post pictures of your car here as well.

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Zelandeth
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by Zelandeth »

Yep, I've never quite managed a full year on my server without a reboot - but that's always been due to needing to physically move it (and one power outage) rather than needing to reboot it.

Never had any real time with any of the Amstrad CPC machines, or anything running CP/M for that matter. Atari was the other platform I seemed to miss, I do have an ST floating around somewhere, but being used to Workbench on the Amiga, GEM as a GUI doesn't half feel clunky...That and the keyboard is shocking compared to the one on the Amiga. I'll dig it out someday and do something with it though I'm sure...Precisely what I've no idea, but something!

Keeping my fingers crossed that the Amiga 1200 version of the "Vampire" accelerator card released last year for the A600 makes it to production. That brings useful things like an SD card reader, WiFi connectivity, and a several hundred MHz clock speed increase...Will cost me a couple of hundred quid. Keep thinking that machine will stop costing me money, but it keeps not happening!

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by CitroJim »

With CP/M Zel, you can see very clearly where Bill Gates nicked all his ideas for MS-DOS from and killed the 16-bit version of CP/M dead in the process :( He is not forgiven for that :evil:

For a while, I worked on a relation of CP/M called MP/M which was a multi-user version of CP/M. It carved up - what was then - a mass of memory into 64K lumps and in each 64K ran a virtual CP/M machine... Each user had a dumb-terminal to access their own virtual machine. Connectivity between the central processor box and peripherals, including the terminals, was entirely serial...

Essentially, MP/M could be viewed as a sort of Unix or a sort of early visualisation depending on your point of view... I don't believe it caught on as well as it should as by then Unix was far more mature and powerful and one thing MP/M badly lacked was intercommunication between the virtual instances of CP/M whereas in Unix email of sorts was already well established... One thing in favour of MP/M was it was a lot cheaper than a full-blown Unix system in a small office and saved the cost of each member of staff have a full computer system on their desks.

One thing I do remember about the system is its use of hard-sectored 51/4" floppies... Odd things, they had a multitude of index holes rather than just the one in a normal soft-sectored disk...

It worked well for a few years until we upgraded it to a Unix system. The nice thing was only the central processor box needed to be swapped as all the peripherals were reusable.

I then went off and was trained up as a Unix sysadmin to look after the system and there started my 35 years of involvement with 'nix of various flavours...

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by Hell Razor5543 »

As I understand it, Microsoft got lucky. When IBM were looking for an O/S for their (in development at the time) fledgling PC they first went to Microsoft, and (before talking to them) asked them to sign a Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA). Bill signed it straight away, and IBM started talking about their needs. However, at that time Microsoft only produced applications, and did not have anything resembling an O/S (and was unlikely to have a working one within the timescales required by IBM). However, they said they would do what they could do. IBM did not say no, but carried on looking.

Their next point of call was Digital Research (who had, amongst other software, CP/M). The president of DR was too busy to talk to IBM (yes, really!!!), so he got his wife (who was vice president) to handle things. IBM asked her to sign the NDA, and she got the company lawyer to read through it. IBM was not too impressed.

Meanwhile, Microsoft, knowing that they may have fumbled the biggest ball they had a hand on, started looking around. They got very lucky. On the other side of Seattle was a software company who had (amongst other things) a scruffy O/S called QDOS (Quick and Dirty O/S). It was a lot like CP/M, but one difference was that HDDs started at C:, while FDDs started at A: (CP/M had them the other way around). They had written it to see if they could, and it was not being used for anything. Bill Gates asked them how much they wanted for the full rights ($50,000) and wrote the cheque out so fast it should have caught fire. Once they had it (and understood how it worked) Microsoft got in touch with IBM, explaining that they now may be able to help. IBM went for it (but they forgot something in the contract which was normally a standard item with any IBM contract; an exclusivity clause), and when the IBM PC was launched it had MS-DOS running on it. Later, when COMPAQ came along (having reverse engineered the IBM PC) Microsoft was able to sell them MS-DOS as well (remember the missing exclusivity clause? IBM now do!).

https://www.thoughtco.com/putting-micro ... ap-1991417
Last edited by Hell Razor5543 on 21 Apr 2017, 18:36, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by CitroJim »

Now that's most interesting James :D Thanks for that, much light shed...

Later on Digital Research did make a version of MS-DOS called DR-DOS but much too late in the day...

A bit like OS/2. It ought have stamped Windows into oblivion but instead the great unwashed public ended up with the VHS of OSs rather than the Betamax...

Until good, functional versions of Linux came along of course and now Windows can happily go and do one. Windows 10 and Ubuntu 14.04 - no contest :)

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by Hell Razor5543 »

While a lot of people may not like Bill Gates (and Microsoft) most would have to admit that, when a huge opportunity came along, he grabbed it with both hands and then ran hard and fast with it. Yes, Microsoft got very lucky, but Bill was smart enough to see what a major chance this was.

Something else I heard was that, during the flight (from Seattle to Washington, IIRC) to demonstrate MS-DOS to IBM, somebody realised that they did not have a boot strap program (so there was no way at that moment for the IBM PC to load MS-DOS). They radioed ahead, got hotel rooms booked, and started working out the coding during the remainder of the flight (pen and paper, as there was no such thing as a portable computer). As soon as they touched down they headed to the hotel, and got on with the coding. The following day they demonstrated their software to IBM, without even having had time to test it. The IBM PC loaded MS-DOS, it worked, and the rest was (as we know) history. It shows that, when under extreme pressure, Microsoft could (then, at least) write software that worked.

mickeymoon

Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by mickeymoon »

I think a lot of those that bad-mouth Gates and Microsoft need to realise that without them, the computer industry and the jobs that it created wouldn't exist in anything like the way it does now. There wasn't any other user-friendly OS until the later version of Ubuntu came along that could run on a standard PC. You had either to be a nerd, or be rich and run a Mac.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by CitroJim »

Mike, 'tis true what you say...

I thank Bill Gates every day for giving me a secure and well-paid living. Doesn't mean I love his wares though... or his shonky business practices...

The sheer mediocrity of Microsoft products - SQL Server being a notable exception - has done wonders for world employment as it takes so much looking after... If the whole world was 'nix-based possibly 90% of the current IT staff would be redundant!

On that basis it is an excellent result and he should be praised and honoured - for services to employment!

One also has to admire and respect his business acumen too. He has succeeded where British Leyland failed - selling piles of second-rate tat to the masses over a very long period and making an absolute fortune from it...

As I said earlier - VHS all over again ;)

One also has to offer great kudos for his and Melinda's charity work. I believe on a personal level he is a good man.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by Hell Razor5543 »

IBM also have to be praised. They realised a couple of major things (including the drawbacks in their own systems), and set out to do something about it. First was that there were no small computer systems that set standards (so if you bought hardware from a particular company you were pretty much locked into buying everything from them), and the way IBM developed things meant that from concept to launch was typically 4 years (which, even then, IBM recognised was far too slow). They decided to (barring one thing) create an open architecture system, and to set up a separate team to develop this system. The team were not tied to the IBM procurement regime (so were allowed to purchase components from any legitimate source, not just IBM), and they only had one major hurdle to overcome. This hurdle was that they had to have a product that could go to market one year from when the team was set up. They produced the IBM PC within the deadline (with, amongst others, help from Microsoft). Intel supplied the 8086 microprocessor, others supplied drive management systems, and the only thing that IBM kept 'closed' was the BIOS systems. It was only this BIOS that COMPAQ had to reverse engineer (as everything else was 'off the shelf' electronics, and easy to purchase (including MS-DOS), with no need for alterations).

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by elma »

I myself, a Mac user, quite admire Mr Gates. However his products, with the exception of combat flight simulator, I have no time for. Yes they serve a purpose, no I don't want them.

I think my next computer will more than likely be a Chromebook.

mickeymoon

Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by mickeymoon »

I don't think I'll buy another laptop ever. Might buy a desktop if the lad's school work needs more processing power than my current 4 year old Toshiba has got.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by Hell Razor5543 »

I built my own PC, and it is no slouch. Mind you, I do use it for gaming, and 4 SSDs mean that it is (comparatively speaking) very quick to load up (20 seconds from power on to password). Saying that, M2 SSDs are much faster (but they are not cheap, 1TB goes for £280).

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by myglaren »

elma wrote:I myself, a Mac user, quite admire Mr Gates. However his products, with the exception of combat flight simulator, I have no time for. Yes they serve a purpose, no I don't want them.

I think my next computer will more than likely be a Chromebook.


Have to agree with you James that Bill Gates is a very interesting and quite remarkable character.
I don't like his Windows though.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by Zelandeth »

Have to admit that while having been decidedly anti-Windows at the start (C'mon, I was an Amiga user...), I did find a large place in my heart for Windows for Workgroups 3.11 which I in the mid to late 90s had hacked into doing all manner of things it wasn't meant to be able to - especially when I got hold of the Win32s extension. 95, 98 etc though I never had any time for. XP while I was initially unconvinced about (not least due to the at the time ridiculous sounding hardware requirements!), I freely admit that it matured into a bloody good, solid system - especially once the "normal" spec of machines caught up with it.

The one that I feel deserved more air time though was Windows 2000. That's my default system now for any machines of that sort of age as despite many of the bits at its core being shared with XP, it will quite happily run near lightning fast on a 300MHz AMD K6-2 with 128Mb of memory. It's just as stable as XP, and doesn't spend nearly as much time trying (and usually failing) to be helpful, which I think was always my biggest gripe with XP.

After XP though they totally lost me. I had a brief run in with Vista, which was what caused the initial jump to Ubuntu in 2007. 7 wasn't quite as dire, but there were still bits of the UI that drove me round the bend (the postage stamp sized start menu for one...) - disclaimer, I'm slightly autistic so stuff like that really gets under my skin - and it just never seemed to run as well as XP.

As for 8, well...I don't even need to go there do I? I had a play around with it when it came out in a VM, and had to eventually resort to Google to work out first how to close a program and then to figure out how to shut it down...Think that VM got deleted after about three hours.

10 I am developing a loathing for simply because I keep having to fix it on Abby's PC. I don't use it often, but 9 times out of 10 I seem to need to sort it before I can use it...And that almost invariably seems to wind up with me having to faff around in the command prompt. ATI drivers for 10 seem to be shocking as well, as that's what breaks most frequently. Next issue usually being the thing deciding that it's a tablet all of a sudden.

I keep Win2K around on a VM on my Linux machines for a couple of packages I use regularly that don't play nicely with Wine and I've not found Linux equivalents for, and I enjoy fiddling with 3.11 on my vintage machines...But those are the only ones I use regularly now.

Was having a laugh the other day by poking the internet with a 3.11 machine. I can confirm that my website actually renders more or less correctly in Netscape Navigator circa 1996. Albeit with a 11MHz 386 processor and only 8 meg of memory to work with, it renders rather slowly!

There is an XP install on my desktop as well primarily for a couple of games - but I have to admit that I think it's been a couple of years since I last booted it up as I just never have time for things like that these days.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by elma »

Despite what I said above, having read Zels post has reminded me. I'd happily have a 3.11 Windows PC with x wing vs tie fighter and Prince of Persia installed.

Other than that all the games I loved are on c64 or Amiga 500. Modern games don't really do it for me, I like simple puzzles with bgm soundtracks for the most part played on a proper joystick.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by mickeymoon »

I'm not into modern games at all. The last one on a PC I really got into was and F1 sim, Microprose's GP2, which would have been 1996 or so.

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