Blasts from the past. Remember any of these?

  qwbos 00:21 02 Jan 2019

FE asked an Excel question a few weeks back, and, when I saw it, I thought "That's a question for ??????", but try as I might, I couldn't remember his name. So tonight, fancying a break from the XS season, I did some digging and came up with VoG, who, sadly, no longer seems to be around. I can't remember him ever failing.

I was first on here around 2004 and can't remember my username, but in the course of my VOG search, I found numerous names I remember from the time I was first here that no longer seem to be around, among them

johnnyrocker, Chub Tor, Sethaniel, dagwood, morddwyd, Breitling, rawprawn, Legolas, Eargasm, Gandalf, mysticnas, bagpuss, powerless, flecc, Graham, Diemmess, Barmoor, Southernboy, Stuartli, spikeychris, Newuser1936, Sapins, anniesboy68 and Sir Radfordin.

When I was here then, I had dial up, and a new MESH PC with XP. I seem to remember I went from Windows 3.1 to XP at a time when XP was at it's most problematic, so this forum was a godsend to many lost souls. It was also a time when MESH were churning out pretty good value PCs, but their customer service for those having problems left a lot to be desired. (I think mine is around 15 now and it still works, so the components must have been pretty good!)

I remember many heated exchanges on the forum at that time regarding MESH, mainly due to one Sir Radfordin refusing to believe that anyone's problems were genuine. He's probably a diplomat now.

My apologies to them if I'm wrong, but I seem to remember flacc and Graham generating some heat, but I'm damned if I can remember how. Funny how impressions stick, but the detail has faded.

  Menzie 02:16 02 Jan 2019

Before my time on here; back then I had my first and last prebuilt PC (it broke just months after the warranty ran out). That brand wasn't a good buy, my friend who also bought one had his die not long after mine too. It was unbelievably cheap for a PC at the time which meant cheap parts. I won't mention the brand but it was quite unknown as a Google search now doesn't bring up anything.

I was on Windows 98SE and surfing the web via Blue Yonder from Telewest.

Being a teen around that time I was more interested in chat rooms, MSN Messenger and ICQ.

  wee eddie 02:32 02 Jan 2019

My most treasured memory of flecc was his persuading his Windows 98se PC to boot in under 30 seconds. 16 seconds was, I think, the figure he claimed. And he'd done so, by stripping out much of windows excess lines of code.

It was also the days of HyperDrive, which put hairs on the chest of ones sclerotic desktop. At least, that's what it claimed to do.

Happy days. One didn't fiddle for pleasure, one fiddled to keep the show on the road. You're right "qwbos" Mesh were the "Go to" Company for cutting edge kit.

  Quickbeam 06:56 02 Jan 2019

"persuading his Windows 98se PC to boot in under 30 seconds. 16 seconds"

One reason that this forum has slimmed down is that W8 to 10 is so reliable compared to early versions. I regularly reverted back to a ghost copy of my initial installation within 30 minutes rather than waste time trying to cure a problem that looked like it needed an afternoon to fix.

If cars ran with the same level of unreliability as computers did then, it would be like turning the key to start the engine to go to an important meeting 100 mikes away and not being sure if it would need a minor adjustment to the points, or might need to do a quick top end rebuild. Sometimes it might even start and work as it should, but you'd never know if halfway there you find that the road had suddenly turned blue with no indication whatsoever as the where to turn next!

  BT 09:05 02 Jan 2019

the same level of unreliability as computers did then

I have 3 Desktop PCs

One I bought from PC World that cost over £1000 at the time (about 16 years ago) and still works - sort of. Always had trouble with the tiny fan on the main processor which I replaced numerous times. It also had a motherboard replacement under guarantee.

The second is a homebuilt one which is even older and still works fine if a little slow and runs on Windows 2000.

The one I use daily is a small format HP Compaq which cost £279 from Tesco about 9 years ago and has been probably the most reliable PC. It runs on XP and still works fine.

Me and the boss both have laptops on Win 10.

  wee eddie 09:11 02 Jan 2019

Quickbeam: When cars first came on the road the Start-up procedure was something like this.

Turn the Fuel on > Using the Starting Handle, turn the engine over > Set the fuel to "rich" > Swing the Starting handle a couple of times, until the engine catches > when the engine first fires, hope that the Starting Handle's kick back has not broken your arm > Get behind the wheel and advance, or retard, the "timing" until the engine was running sweetly.

Of course, along the way you might have had to clean the plugs or reset their spark gap, because you had had the engine running too hot and the spark gap had oxidised. Oh, and petrol was not clean and the filter frequently got blocked.

That was a long time ago, Cars have come on a little since then. Computers have gone through a very similar process

  qwbos 12:32 02 Jan 2019

wee eddie

Now you mention it, I can remember flecc's high speed claims but I was never that desperate for speed to try them. As you rightly say, keeping XP running properly was a job in itself. You might remember the BBC2 Money program on a Sunday night. I think it was on around 19:00. Theme tune was Money by Pink Floyd. They did an interview with the Bill Gates' right hand man all about the ills of XP. I can remember him saying that if Microsoft were to test there OS with every permutation of hardware/software available, they'd never get round to releasing a working system. Given the apparent number of problems associated with the W10 Autumn, or was it Winter, upgrade, nothing seems to have changed, though the numbers now seem much smaller than with XP.

I had to chuckle at your staring procedure. I grew up on a street that had a motorbike shop at the top, with two more of their shops round the corner, and their main workshop just across the main road at the end of my street. Thus I was exposed, from an early age, to the expletives uttered by frustrated motorcyclists who hadn't mastered the art of the kick start.

My grandfather had an old Aerial, but that's not what he usually called it!


I suspect the fan problems that were so common were down to poor bearings. I went through two in quick succession. The third has lasted 12/13 years. Same make and model, so something must have been upgraded. They all looked identical, so I suspect a few pennies more on the bearing assembly solved the problem.

  Menzie 13:21 02 Jan 2019

Windows 3.1 was my first taste of Windows as that is what they had at school. I hated it very much, coming from Workbench on the Amiga which was fast, and for me just worked I had to be dragged kicking and screaming to Windows at home.

Only when I started my IT course in college where I had no Amiga alternative to Visual Basic did I seek out a PC.

Does anybody remember the Millennium Bug? I remember the panic that ensued with that and the thought that many PCs would cease to work.

It finally came around and things were pretty much normal.

  Forum Editor 13:50 02 Jan 2019

Some of those people still call in, but don't post any more. The early days were pretty lively because computer use was still fraught with problems - a BSOD was a pretty common occurrence back then, and self-built computers were all the rage.

Technology advances at an amazing pace, and today's machines and operating systems are far more sophisticated - I really cannot remember the last time any of my machines crashed, or refused to start. It's all very tame, compared with those far-off Windows 95/98/2000 days.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 15:44 02 Jan 2019

Some have changed their forum names and some have passed on to the "big forum in the sky".

There is a lot less postings in the forums nowadays probably due to less problems, some days we seem to get more spammers than genuine posters. :0(

  Belatucadrus 17:08 02 Jan 2019

I can still remember the sheer panic I felt at the first BSOD, those oh so comforting words "Fatal Error". I was convinced I'd killed it and as the damned thing had cost over £1000 this was no small thing. Still I learned much more about Windows in those days navigating the pitfalls of W95 than I have on any of the later iterations.

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