Every time I load a new version of Windows, it seems that nothing has drastically changed from the first versions…
The transfer from the CD was done, and I was supposed to reboot. Which I did. In a few seconds the system was up again, with the familiar Windows95 blue in my face, and then with the greenish background on which there were the three or four icons, my computer, recycle bin, and a couple more. The first think I did, O Mighty Microsoft forgive me, was to delete the excess icons, and to change the wallpaper. I just transferred the one from my server, in which I have a picture of my wife and my daughter. On the server I run OS/2 WARP 4, so I had to make Windows 95 more bearable, and to make it look similar to what I was familiar with… Which by a twisted coincidence was looking like Windows 95 anyway… I tried to change the resolution to 1200X768 like the one on the other computer, but my wallpaper was compressed and instead of covering the whole screen shrunk leaving a gray border around. I had to go back to 640×480 with 256 colors in order to fill up the screen. I did not understand why, because in that machine I also had a ATI-3D, the latest Window accelerator board from ATI, a leader in graphic cards. I was running an older version of the board on my WARP machine and I did not have any problem in using higher resolution. And something else that I noticed on the newly loaded Windows 95, there was a certain granularity on the screen that did not go away even at the higher resolution, although it was somehow diminished. Well, I put everything on my eyes that are not as sharp any longer….
I proceeded with reloading my old software. The first one that I did was my scanner and OCR software. I use the scanner as a copy machine too, so I had to have it operational before the boss needed a copy in the morning…. I have to admit that I did not have any problem in loading and reconnecting the scanner. Thank God for small favors. If the scanner did not work, I had to scrap the whole project and go back to Windows 3.11 and probably I had to send the camera back on Monday… The next thing I did , was to load the tablet software. I had been using on this computer one of those Wacom tablets, mainly because my wife is also an artist, and we had Fractal’s Design products running on the computer. Painter is terrific when used with a tablet. I was very happy now that I could load also Poser another product from Fractal Design that only runs in Windows 95 and Windows NT. Who ever is worried, don’t be, when I got it I called the company and gave them a piece of my mind…. The only reason for not sending it back was that I bought it as a demo, and it cost me only a few bucks, and I could have sold it for a good profit… After the tablet software was loaded, I had to reboot the system. And for some reasons the tablet software could not see the tablet hardware…. It was a very distressing fact, because I connected it to the same COM 1, as it was connected before… I shut down the computer, replaced the mouse, and turn it back on. 95 let me know that I replaced the pointing device, and that it activated it. Of course the Wacom driver let me know that I did not have the tablet connected… Everything was functional, so I shut down the computer again, and replaced the tablet…. And I kept doing that routine for the next two hours, after which I got disgusted, powered down the machine skipping the shut down procedure, and went away.
It is the best therapy and it always works for me. Now that I mentioned, I have to admit, that Windows 95 is rebooting much faster than WARP. With a little stretch of the imagination, I may even say that it is loading faster than Windows 3.11…
When I came back in a few hours, it was already Saturday noon or so, I turned the power on and let it go. I picked up the tablet and the stylus, and I could not believe my eyes when it started working. Maybe when I cut the power off, I must have reset some kind of a weird switch in the program… Well, I was happy that I could load the network now.
I notice that I did not mention anything about the hardware. The computer had a Pentium 90 motherboard with 32 Meg of RAM. I used the same board on the server until a few months ago, when I got a Pentium 133 for my server. And I had a brand new ATI 3D Windows Accelerator board, which was supposed to be very fast for video. So basically everything should have worked fine, as long as it worked on the WARP which has been considered trouble maker…. I had a generic network board in the system that I also got from the server, and that had been working fine ever since I put it in the computers. I am running Artisoft’s Lantastic to connect the server that runs WARP 4.0 with the rest of the network, three more computers, including the portable.
So I started to load Lantastic on the Win95 machine. I connected the driver for NE2000 board that I had always used. I was happy that I did not have to use the NDIS driver like in WARP’s case. I finished, and rebooted. For some reason Lantastic could not run because the network card was not present. I went to the Control Panel to find out what is going on, and sure enough, Windows 95 did not load a driver for the network card. It did not see it at all. And, I also found out that I had a conflict on the com ports. Probably that was the reason for my tablet not working in the first place. The question that already popped in my mind, was, why was it working now??? I went to add the new hardware, the network card to the system. I realized that there are newer versions of the card that had drivers for Windows 95. I took the machine apart, replaced the board and restarted the process. I added the hardware, and the system recognized the card, it was a good sign. It also asked me for the card software, things were getting better and better. I rebooted and, voila, Lantastic was up and running, and I could see my server’s drive. I configured this computer as a server also, for being able to back up the drive. And I had an idea. I wanted to load Corel from the local CD rom and Lotus from the server’s CD rom, after all I was dealing with multi tasking operating system…. And it worked. I had to abandon one of the installation though. Everything was so slow, I can’t even describe it. But because fair is fair, I stopped everything and I did the same test on the WARP side. And to add some flavor to the whole goody, I started formatting a diskette in drive A while backing up both the WARP and the Windows95 drives! And what do you say? It worked at the normal speed: loading Lotus Smart Suite from the server CD, Corel from the Windows95 CD, formatting a diskette on WARP server local A drive, and backing up on the WARP server’s tape drive both its drive and Windows95’s drive. Now, that’s what I call multi tasking… This is what I call also silly
I installed everything with no problem in the Windows 95 computer, including the Agfa software which after all, generated the whole commotion. I also installed Adobe’s PhotoDeluxe that came with the camera. Now I finally was ready to download my pictures and see how good they were!
I hooked up the cable, slide the cover on the camera get the green light and click the button on the screen for downloading the pictures from the camera. And…. “bad connection to the camera error” message came on the screen. I picked up the book to see what I missed. Nothing. I tried again, about fifty times during the whole weekend. I checked the port conflicts. I noticed that when I added the network card, Windows created some additional devices, com ports all the way to number nine. I looked at them and they were all using IRQ 3 and 4. I could not understand what was going on, but it was a very good performance for a piece of software that was supposed to make like easier for novice users… I deleted all com ports except one and two, the physical ports on the computer. I was lucky to understand what that means… Tried it again, nothing happened… I took the computer apart, checked the connections, cross connecting the cables, tried it again, nothing happened. After I crossed the wires, I got the same results. Camera did not connect. I rebooted the system with a DOS 6.22 diskette, and loaded some mouse software. I changed the mouse on the different ports, cross connecting the ports also. The mouse always worked, being connected direct to the nine pin port or with an adapter to the twenty five pin ports. I wish I could do the same tasting with the camera, but I had to run 95 to try. I changed the drive with a DOS drive and connected the modem that had been working under WARP before, and everything was fine. The hardware seemed to work fine. In a last desperate effort, I connected the camera to the tablet port, and using the keyboard I started the Agfa software. And what do you say? The blasted thing worked, I got connection to the camera and I also downloaded all my pictures…. Victory!!! I deserved it, it was 12 noon on Monday….
I decided to load the camera software on my notebook, where I have all my video editing software also. I ordered a Windows 95 update and next day in the evening while watching tv in my bed, I wasn’t feeling very good, I started flipping disks to load the “thing” ( read Windows 95). It went fine. I did not have to reformat the drive, because I ordered Windows95 update and everything that I had running on that machine was transferred over. Everything? But this is another long story and I am sure that the reader is already tired, but happy that I could get my Agfa software finally running. To make a long story short, I don’t have any more the use of my network card on the notebook. No matter what I did, and it took me two more days, the PCMCIA driver could not work with the D Link DE-650 ethernet card. It works fine with the AT&T modem, but refuses to work with the ethernet card. I spent about two hours with the D-Link people on the phone. I reached the embarrassing point where they agreed to buy back my card, just to give them a break, but I could not make it work. I gave up, and I decided to transfer the captured pictures on disks. To my amazement I found out that the diskettes formatted under WARP-DOS can’t be read by Windows 95. So I had to format them under Windows 95 and put the images on the server through the Windows 95 station…. Now that’s what I like, simplicity and compatibility. Microsoft overdone himself this time, they are very compatible as long as every one is using their products….
I still try to understand the hoopla around the “plug and play”. Starting with Micro Channel, all IBM hardware had something similar to plug and play. It was not named plug and play, it was more like sniff and play, because the CMOS sniffed all peripherals connected to the computer. There was no need for manual configuration of the drives, or video boards. Later on, the WARP did the same thing. Before installing, the operating system showed the installer what kind of hardware was present, and with few exceptions the choices were always right. I have noticed for a while that all motherboards these days are able to identify the peripheral connected and there is not need for manual configuration of the CMOS. I missed to also mention Compaq, and they may be the only examples that I am familiar with… So what is Microsoft’s big deal with plug and play that most of the time is plug and pray?
Also if at the beginning I was impressed by the speed at which Windows95 is loading, after I finished loading all software and drivers and the works, I may say with certitude that the speed is not impressive at all. I understand WARP to take longer to load because it has to load a lot of kernel and code, but what’s Windows95 excuse? By the way, NT is not a fast loader either…
So to sum it up: I had three or four computer that were connected to each other and everything was going on fine. Now I have only three computer connected, the notebook sometimes comes up with all kind of error messages, mostly because 8 megs of Ram are not enough for Windows95 to run a lot of programs at one time, and I also have a disabled notebook as a network station, that I can’t connect to the network, because the network card is not recognized by Windows95. I know, there could be all kind of excuses, but I did not have the same problem when I was running OS/2 WARP on the same hardware. And I did not included the fact that I am missing the usage of one of the com ports on the workstation…. Can I survive, of course I can. Do I really need the second com port, or to connect to the network? Of course not really. When I read in one of the OS/2 magazines a statement made by one of the journalist who said that “one of Microsoft’s contribution to the computer world was that it managed to lower user expectations” I did not really, fully understand its meaning. Now at least I got the meaning of that statement….
After running Windows 95 on my computers, I have to admit that it would have been a very good product if released about seven years ago. This is the way Windows should have been looking in its infancy. Now, it is too little too late. I can’t stop but admiring Microsoft though. Not only that they feed us with substandard products, but they managed to fool the whole world in believing that Windows 95 is a product at par with WARP OS/2. The truth of the matter is that they are not similar, and a fair comparison can’t be made. One can’t compare apples to kiwi fruits. They may be fruits, they may be tasty, but they have a different consistency a different taste and why not, I am sure that they have different vitamins in them…
And just before I leave, I have to mention that I am waiting to make a comparison among two similar products WARP and NT, because it is very unfair to compare Windows95 a hybrid 16-32 bit product to the real first 32 bit graphical operating system. Well it will be unfair even then, but at least WARP will compare against someone his size…..
And as a final thought, the Agfa product is superb and the pictures are terrific and it is worth every single penny. When using the “proper operating system” the software is out of this world and I am sure that whoever is investing in the hardware and the software will not only have fun but will save good money. I printed some of the pictures on a bubble Jet 610C on regular paper and the pictures were very good. If I printed on a glossy paper, I am sure that the results would have been superior to the prints obtained from those horrible one hour photo machines….
Now that I am working on Windows 7, a few elements seem like deja vue, however over all the performance is much better now.
The reason for moving to Windows 95 was actually my digital camera. The reasons for moving to Windows 7 were not really imposed by new hardware, but by obsolescence of the software.
The truth of the matter is that the hardware that I have, Acer T 160 is a sixty four bit architecture, which was under powered by thirty two bit software, which keeps being updated, however can’t really have the core changed.
Windows XP was killed a few years back, when Microsoft announced that it dropped it support. However the community was so outraged, and the messages were so strong, that Microsoft was forced into continuing the support, going back on their initial intention. I don’t remember to have seen any official continuation of the support for XP, although they have been doing it all along. I suspect that even Microsoft has limitations and they finally learned to discover them.
Basically right now, Windows XP is a dead operating system which is been kept on life support for a few years. The amusing side of the story is that the life support seems to have given XP a new life, which is better than when it was alive…
I still have XP running on a couple of notebooks and a thirty two bit computer, and I have to say that it runs OK. I don’t have the same problems I had been having with the Acer.
More on the next chapter.