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Keatah

My classic computer is better than today's modern machines because..

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I also have to play the devil here. Yes the classic computers can boot quick, didn't have spyware or malware, didn't need anti-virus and had games and an OS that didn't need updates (though some titles you could get patched disks). It does seem like a golden era until you step back and really look at things with a little more scrutiny.

 

 

We all have to remember it WAS a completely different time then and computers were seen as "magical" devices that required a sorcerer to use, despite what the commercials say. If you just bought a stock C64 or CoCo, you had to program it to get it to do what you want and even then it'd be very rudimentary until you got really good at BASIC. To most people that'd be like plopping a dead cat on the table.

 

Now you could have also purchased a tape or disk drive along with software that you could only run one at a time and not have to worry about hunting for icons and such but people were still mystified over things like The Print Shop just as they are with Publisher or the like today.

 

And if you did know how to use word processors and spreadsheets? You were limited to what fonts your dot matrix printer could type out or they had to be drawn which wasn't always great looking (and LOUD when printing in a high DPI and at the best quality). Spreadsheet programs, at least ones I used on both a CoCo and a Tandy 1000/other PC Compatible did not automatically calculate and even minor math could take a bit to crunch.

 

Even in the MSDOS days, which was my favorite after graduating from a CoCo 3 to an 8088 with 10 MHz and a 20 MB hard drive (and with an aftermarket VGA card with 256 colors- Wing Commander was playable-barely) I can say I don't miss configuring my Autoexec and Config.sys files to get the most base RAM, and I was good at it too as I did many a friend's system then and when I upgraded to a 486.

 

The old computers are neat nostalgia. A time when you could write a program right out of the box to entertain, educate or take care of a need. I sucked at multiplication in grade school so my dad wrote a math tutor program that got me interested and helped. He also wrote a kick-butt Yahtzee game the local Radio Shack used as a demo. I wrote a character generator for the RPG Marvel Super Heroes. Can't really do that out if the box now. But I can do a whole lot more than I dreamed possible with my out of date intel Core 2 Quad.

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Autorun.sys--no questions, no user input, just pop in a disk and go. Fast and easy. It's as close as magnetic media gets to being a video game cartridge.

 

CDFS had something similar, but forgot about the 'fast and easy' part and these days everything blocks it.

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A couple years ago I watched my late-80s father-in-law try to get stock quotes form finance.yahoo.com. He didn't have the coordination to use the mouse well, and the amount of "stuff" on the screen was distracting and confusing. Older-style stock quote services were actually a lot easier to use - alhpa-numeric menus (i.e. type '1' to get quotes, type name of symbol, press ENTER) were very straightforward and simple. It didn't take any hand-eye coordination. Screens and windows didn't scale, and popup banner ads didn't block your view of the data. So for someone like him, my classic computer would be a better experience

 

On my work PC, unless it's one of the 10 things I've got pinned, I don't bother looking for icons or browsing through the Start menu anymore. I just type the name of what I want to run in the search bar and run it from there. I had a thought that we've kind of come full circle - back to typing the name of the software you want to run. Don't get me wrong, I certainly appreciate modern GUIs, but I thought it was kind of funny that in 2014 I go to the search bar and type "word" or "paint" or "remote desktop" or whatever.

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I've thought of creating specialized "net-applets" for an IBM 5160 that would cater to specific functions. I suppose it would be similar to what you described with the stock info site.

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On my work PC, unless it's one of the 10 things I've got pinned, I don't bother looking for icons or browsing through the Start menu anymore. I just type the name of what I want to run in the search bar and run it from there. I had a thought that we've kind of come full circle - back to typing the name of the software you want to run. Don't get me wrong, I certainly appreciate modern GUIs, but I thought it was kind of funny that in 2014 I go to the search bar and type "word" or "paint" or "remote desktop" or whatever.

Yes, they've finally rediscovered the superiority of the command line. It's hard to keep track of dozens of items. But we all have vocabularies in the tens of thousands. Obviously it's going to be easier to remember a program's name than its location. Now if we could only pass command line options in the "search bar".

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Personally, the old computers versus new computers debate makes perfect sense to me and I think it's well worth discussing.

 

Yes, I do appreciate newer computers (I regularly push modern computers to their limits and use them for things that older computers just can't do). However, I think it's fair to critique modern computers and expect more from them.

 

I recall a service pack install on a Windows machine that displayed a message stating that it would take up to three hours to complete the update. I thought to myself, "Three hours? No way. I doubt it could possibly take that long." Guess what? It really did take three hours to update Windows. Now, what on earth could it have been doing for that long? How much of that was bloat? How much faster would the operating system run if it was re-written from scratch with optimization in mind?

 

Anyway, the point is that our ultra-fast computers aren't actually delivering the kind of speed that they have the potential to deliver to us. So there's nothing wrong with asking for better software and hardware design. And if using relatively efficient retro computers as a point of comparison is one way to do that, then I'm all for it.

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Someone should undertake the monumental task of disassembling Windows XP and re-writing it in 100% Assembly. A few switches in the Assembler for different HAL versions (single processor, multiprocessor, etc.) It would be 10 times the speed, and ten times smaller. It could also download and install a "service pack" at speeds that wouldn't bring back memories of a 300 BAUD MODEM :)

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Someone should undertake the monumental task of disassembling Windows XP and re-writing it in 100% Assembly. A few switches in the Assembler for different HAL versions (single processor, multiprocessor, etc.) It would be 10 times the speed, and ten times smaller. It could also download and install a "service pack" at speeds that wouldn't bring back memories of a 300 BAUD MODEM :)

 

Or allow you to put that 300 BAUD MODEM back to practical use. An always on Service Pack Streamer box..

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I'll add to this:

 

 

Classic computers were better than modern computers because everybody could play the same game with the same graphics and sound. For example, everyone I knew had either a C64 or C128. If my friend can play GI Joe or Beachhead II, so could I. The same graphics, sound, speed. Today it is not the same. Your friend might have a faster computer, better video and sound card and so on. He might have an incredible gaming experience whereas your machine is a little slower and you might have an entry level video card and cheap onboard sound. Or, you might have the best today and not be able to play said game at maximum performance a few months from now because your hardware is slightly obsolete.

 

With some of the vintage computers (ie: Amiga) you may have had to increase the memory to allow some content to load, but that was the extent of it. The base hardware you were running was the same as the guy next door, the programmer across town, or the programmer in the offices where the game were being made. And that went on for YEARS. Because it did not vary you received the same experience as the next guy....and I personally liked that.

Edited by eightbit
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The very first times I experienced changes in being able to run something was with the Apple II series. Keep in mind these were niche scenarios back then.

 

Some of us had a 16K RamCard add-on card, some did not.

Some of us had lower-case chips, some did not.

Some of us had 80-columns with better monitor, some did not.

Some of us had a 64K/80column add-on card, some did not.

Some of us had 1 disk drive, some of us had 2 disk drives.

Some of us had 300 baud modems, some of us had 1200 baud modems.

Some of us had a mockingboard and clock card, some of us did not.

 

But by and large, much of the software was targeted to the base 48K Apple II+ or lesser. Especially the action games we all played. The items I listed above were more for functionality and capability as opposed to performance. It's very easy to add new features and functions to a system. It isn't so easy to make the machines go faster. This held true back then and is still a valid observation today.

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well yea, when everyone has the same computer everyone will have the same experience, I certainly did not have the same graphics and sound on my apple II as you did on your C64 back in the day

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well yea, when everyone has the same computer everyone will have the same experience, I certainly did not have the same graphics and sound on my apple II as you did on your C64 back in the day

 

 

I was never really an Apple guy, and that has not changed even today :) I did however own an Apple IIC with a monochrome display and the game "Alien". My mom got it for me second hand for $100 I believe in the late 80's. I liked the style of the unit and the keyboard, not so much the sound and the monochrome graphics :) That one model still does hold a place in my heart however as my mom got it for me and she is gone now (for a long while now).

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Someone should undertake the monumental task of disassembling Windows XP and re-writing it in 100% Assembly. A few switches in the Assembler for different HAL versions (single processor, multiprocessor, etc.) It would be 10 times the speed, and ten times smaller. It could also download and install a "service pack" at speeds that wouldn't bring back memories of a 300 BAUD MODEM :)

That would be awesome. XP is actually a pretty good O/S, so to optimize it like that would be very cool. And if it included multi-core optimization as well, then it could beat Win7 at its own game.

 

I recall back in the day, some programmers in Germany re-did Windows 98 in assembly language and managed to squeeze it down to six 3.5" DS/HD floppy disks. They did it to prove a point. It didn't include all the driver support and stuff like that, but was impressive nonetheless.

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Most of the software is "Abandon Ware" or Free, written by talented people who really like their systems and the Classic Computing Community.

 

It's much more enjoyable to be a member of a small community than an anonymous source of income for Microsoft.

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I can still do just about all my daily computing from my old Amiga A1200, I love the OS and much prefer the keyboard to anything else I've typed on. Chatting on IRC, browsing my favourite websites, listening to streaming online radio, viewing my Twitter feed, using a package manager to keep my system updated, while logged into my favourite online game, Dynamite! I could also run my word processor and print from my Amiga too if I wanted.

 

9799581456_f0224abda4_b.jpg

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I can still do just about all my daily computing from my old Amiga A1200, I love the OS and much prefer the keyboard to anything else I've typed on. Chatting on IRC, browsing my favourite websites, listening to streaming online radio, viewing my Twitter feed, using a package manager to keep my system updated, while logged into my favourite online game, Dynamite! I could also run my word processor and print from my Amiga too if I wanted.

 

9799581456_f0224abda4_b.jpg

And spooky cat keeps an eye on it when you are AFK.

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I can still do just about all my daily computing from my old Amiga A1200, I love the OS ...

 

 

Wow, that is a beautiful setup.

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My old computer is better because it didn't come with that st#[email protected] windows 8 pre-installed.

 

I had to install a few programs and a printer onto my wifes parrents new computer. It came with windows 8.

I almost trew the computer out of the window because of the impossible os.

What the freak where they thinking when thy came up with the idea of that os. It's the worst os i ever had to work with.

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My old computer is better because it didn't come with that st#[email protected] windows 8 pre-installed.

 

I had to install a few programs and a printer onto my wifes parrents new computer. It came with windows 8.

I almost trew the computer out of the window because of the impossible os.

What the freak where they thinking when thy came up with the idea of that os. It's the worst os i ever had to work with.

I ran this on my Windows 8, and it helped a lot:

 

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2026719/review-classic-shell-brings-the-start-menu-to-windows-8-for-free.html

 

My classic computer is better than today's modern machines because it doesn't use the word 'Charms' to describe components of its operating system. :)

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