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.

  BT 17:50 02 Jan 2019

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

I certainly do. Our factory was controlled by a big Honeywell mainframe operated by touch screen workstations. There was a big operation which lasted several weeks beforehand to 'ensure' that the Millennium bug wouldn't crash it all out. What amazed me was that I discovered that the whole system was actually run from a standard 3½" hard drive despite all the cabinets full of a myriad of electronic boxes, and the 'Bug' backup consisted of a copy of this that could be swapped if necessary. Needless to say midnight came and went an nothing happened.

  HondaMan 20:45 02 Jan 2019

Windows? New fangled thing that will never last!

I started my computing career with GEM and FirstWord. Gave up on that and changed to Protect and ProData running in DoS via GEM. Then I moved to Windows3; 3,1; 3.11 for Workgroups, 95, 98 and finally Win7Pro. Tried Win10 and hated it - still do!

Yes I also remember some of those names, but as others have said, Windows - whichever version is much more stable and the hardware is far less prone to breakdowns.

I switched to Macs about 4 years back running Windows XP, 7,64bit Pro and Win10 in virtual machines for some of the old software and games that I like.

  canarieslover 21:50 02 Jan 2019

My first experience with Windows was Win 2 which came as the base for a CAD program that I used at work. At home I still preferred DOS with a menu front end that I had written at the time. When Win 3 came out I changed as it seemedan easier way of working as I utilised moreprograms at home. I have gone through most versions of Windows since then with very few problems other than those caused by Microsoft updates. Perhaps its becausee I haven't gone gone much beyond 'run of the mill' componentsas I am not a gamer. Probably had just as many problems with Win 10, caused by updates, as I have had with any other version of Windows. As much as Vista was villified I had very few problems with it at all and I much preferred the file handling abilities to those of all later versions. I miss Xtree Gold for things like batch renaming and the ability to see contents of files in a seperate window while browsing. Maybe Windows Explorer will get that good someday, pigs flying anyone?

  qwbos 00:45 03 Jan 2019


I started off with DOS 3.1, GEM and FirstFramework on an OPUS 386 with a 40MB hard drive and 2MB RAM. I reckon the discipline required to enter formulae into the FirstFramework spreadsheet proved itself when I moved on to Lotus and then Excel. Seems bizarre that you could do much the same calculation wise on a spreadsheet then as now, just not as easily nor with all the whistles and bells, but with tiny footprint software.

  Flat Earther 01:00 03 Jan 2019

flecc gave his time to explain to me over email how to setup ME/XP dual boot with PartitionMagic, I think that was before SPEEDOS/Strewth! went ballistic, great guy, hope he is doing well.

  qwbos 01:02 03 Jan 2019


I was in the same situation with the Millennium Bug. The site instrument engineer was on hand to swap drives if anything untoward happened. The assumption seemed to be that any problem would come from the software on the hard drive and that the roomful of Honeywell kit, interfaces and field computers/controllers would behave perfectly. The backup plan if anything had happened was to panic, swap the drive, then hope for the best.

On a positive note, the Millenium made a lot of people a lot of money, with compensation bonuses being handed around like sweeties. It was just another day as far as I was concerned, albeit a very profitable one :o)

  BT 09:19 03 Jan 2019

but with tiny footprint software.

It shows from many of the comments that many of us were in from the start in Computers. I suspect that many started out with Commodores, Spectrums etc and spent many hours typing in programs into memory measured in Kilobytes. I was a Spectrum type and went through the various models most of which are still in the loft and ended up with a SAM Coupe with 512k of paged memory and 3½" disc drive running an improved BASIC. I think the discipline of Programming in those days stood us in good stead. I'm not so sure about how youngsters are taught what they now call 'Coding' which seems to me to be using preprogrammed routines just assembled into 'Apps'

  wee eddie 10:16 03 Jan 2019

I'd forgotten "Strewth"

  BT 18:18 03 Jan 2019

Computers in the workplace

When I started at my last job in 1984 the only computers apart from the Process computers were in the laboratories. We had Commodore PETs with separate twin 5¼" floppy drives which ran our QA Laboratory results programs. The master disc was copied and changed every week for the weeks results to be recorded. All this was in BASIC. The PETS were replaced about 3 years later when the whole place was wired up onto a network with PC terminals in all the offices.

  wee eddie 18:48 03 Jan 2019

I had a funny mind when I was a kid. The Firm of Stock Brokers I was working for, put in a Computer. It took up a large Room, the floor had needed strengthening and it had its own air conditioning.

I got sacked for pointing out that there was a small error in a particular Derivative calculation. Turned out that there was a coding slip of some kind, but I was well on my way to pastures new, by then. I was not unhappy, the pay was good but the Boss was a miserable fat slug, rich and mean.

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

Elsewhere on IDG sites

Oppo A9 2020 Review

The year's best animated short Hair Love is finally online

Mac Pro 2019 release date, price, features & specs

Cdiscount : la PS4 Pro 1 To + 5 jeux à moins de 400 €