mr_a500 wrote: ↑
24 Aug 2019, 15:20
It's strange that we're now at a time where desktop computers and CRT monitors are considered "vintage".
Funny how quickly things move on. That office I've pictured was still quite unusual for the time in that nearly every desk had a terminal and/or PC on it: the only reason the "U" of desks next to me are largely vacant of computer equipment is that's where the COBOL guys were until recently sitting and they'd been moved downstairs or something. Oh yeah, in spite of the courtyard suggesting otherwise, this is actually the 2nd floor: the computer room was underneath it and the "planters" are actually the coolers for its air-con. Anecdotally it caused rather literal bugs to happen as the occasional unfortunate woodlouse would find its way through, drop through the ceiling of the computer room and the really unfortunate ones find their way into the removable hard drives, those really big washing-machine-size things with the 14" (17"? 18"? I forget) platters, the ring of squashed insect being a very visible trace of the ensuing head crash.
mr_a500 wrote: ↑
25 Aug 2019, 00:32
Muirium wrote: ↑
24 Aug 2019, 20:01
I had a reunion with Windows 3 in the late nineties, when I was face to face with Windows For Workgroups at a government agency.
Ah, Windows for Workgroups... I remember that. It was supposed to be so "modern". I thought it was a piece of shit compared to the Amiga Workbench I'd used years earlier. I tried
to like it. Really I did. Then I remember all the hype around the introduction of Windows 95. When got to use it, I just said... "meh". It was only years later when I really got to know - and violently hate it. (oh GOD how I hated the infinitely corruptible registry)
Oh, I absolutely loathed Windows 3.1/3.11. The former seemed to serve no useful purpose and did everything badly and slowly: we'd actually have people doing their spreadsheets on their Windows box just in terms of data entry, then upload them to the Unix cluster using the green-screen version to do the actual number crunching, then move them back to their PC for running queries and stuff. The latter was touted by some as a viable alternative to that Unix cluster in spite of them not even having a TCP/IP stack and it crashing all the time, compared to the Unix boxes which generally only did so if there was a hardware fault. I think these were the same guys obsessed with using Windows for everything, including (once they did start using IP) their suggestion that I stop using a Unix system as an internal firewall but just use a Windows PC instead. I just kinda looked at him. Apart from anything, it needed to be able to run 100% of the time, not just occasionally when it felt like it. Grr.
I never liked PC-based stuff though. I also came from the "home computer" background which were mainly BASIC-oriented at the time; and yeah, I've previously done my rant about being saddled with Microsoft BASIC, which looked curiously like DEC BASIC only not as good, but some of the other software was really innovative, stuff like OS/9 and Flex for my Dragon if I'd had the money. Which I didn't. And then off to college to play with VMS and Unix on their mainframes (okay, technically speaking, "superminicomputers", though really the difference between a Vax 8650 and a contemporary IBM System/370 was rather semantic, I feel).
It wasn't until after that I encountered my first PC, initially pre-Windows. DOS, what a lovely system that wasn't. I could see the charm or at least utility of CP/M on much more modest hardware in its heyday 10+ years previously, but to see a somewhat poorly-created clone of a system that was already of its time and itself a sort of mish-mash of concepts of the second part of CP/CMS and TOPS-10 was underwhelming to say the least. Windows did not enhance that already unimpressed viewpoint. X11 came a bit later for me, only when I was dragged off to a customer site on some programming job, but at least it actually seemed functional and to have a useful purpose. Still fugly, though.
And given that this is the keyboards forum I've neglected to mention any of the user input devices. There is actually a mouse in my photo, it's on the other side of the phone. I don't think it got much use. As for the keyboards, the terminal's was... well, just a keyboard. It did its job adequately and didn't stand out in terms of being notably good or bad, it was about as average as "just a keyboard" can be. I don't even know if it was mechanical or rubber dome, though the non-mechanical examples of the era tended to be not terrible. Still no idea who made them: as I said, our Philips terminals were rebadged Motorolas, which in turn were rebadged Ampex (I think) but I suspect still made by someone else.
The PC keyboard... no idea either. It would've been Philips, and I recall it was an improvement on its predecessor, their AT ("big-ass enter" style) keyboards really being the work of the devil: horrible sculpting and flat key profile but the worst thing is that they had the most horrible squeaky, juddering, binding keyswitches I've encountered anywhere. Horrible things altogether. Their then next-gen PCs (grey, slimline units as opposed to big boxy beige things made of razor-sharp steel sheeting) were a lot nicer in all respects.
Edit: actually there's an ugly beige AT (or possibly 386 by then but in the same style of case) on the right of the picture for comparison, though I see its owner has replaced its horrible keyboard with a better one.
Edit 2: also couldn't figure out from the previous page whether this was supposed to be a "reveal thyself!" topic or not, but since I'm not in my office picture (as I was taking it) photo evidence of my lard-arsed existence, as if my profile pic wasn't already too much. I've kinda given up trying to smile for the camera: I figured it's better if I don't. Everyone else's turn now. :p
(obviously(?) not contemporary with the '91 picture as this was a month or two back.)