Toybox

by Peter Wone - GUI Computing

Spring may not be here yet; the grass is still crunchy in the mornings and the birds are shivering not chirping. And maybe I am an issue late for the 'love is in the air' theme. But, dammit, love is in the air. Practically every programmer at GUI is smitten. With Microsoft's nearly latest, Windows 95 (aka Windows 2000, aka Windows Olympics, aka Winever aka Win96, whichever is the sooner) . Believe me, W95 does it for uncle Pete.

This is not just keeping the MS faith. This is full-on love. I've forsaken my beloved NT for the new kid on the block. She's cute. She's fast. OK, so she's easy, and boy is she smart. If you ask nicely, she'll dress up for you like a 16 bit Windows. My only complaint is she doesn't check for viruses.

The initial temptation was the fact that (unlike build 944 of NT Workstation) she'll run a certain TR version of a certain language. With grudging reluctance I nuked my hard disk and reformatted as FAT. No more compressed NTFS, sob! With startling speed and grace the most gorgeous of creatures began moving into my digital apartment. She immediately made all sorts of interesting suggestions. I tried several, before falling asleep at three am, exhausted. It was fantastic. The next day, she made some different suggestions and offered me some tips.

I didn't bother to install Word. Didn't need it. She offered to do word processing for me. No spolchucker but I don't need one. Would you believe she offered to install Access and VB for me? All I had to do was indicate that I wanted to install something and she went and looked for a disk in the floppy drive, found SETUP.EXE herself and got on with it. Zoom! except for a certain language, which spends nearly as much time writing into the registry as it does moving on to the hard disk.

Fired them up. Zing! Access starts in a third the time. And runs faster.

To be truthful, I think she only loves me for my huge RAM. She wasn't nearly so forthcoming for Ross, who only has eight meg. She seemed very turned on by 32M of RAM, and performed with endless cheery enthusiasm.

She loves to play video games. She brings some of her faves. I swear she is the Queen of Hearts (and I thought Anna was good) but she's up for anything you like, just name it. She'll even play games in a window, if it's possible. Sort of a digital Yoko. But the best was yet to come. MSN is gonna be a household word. This is the best thing since sliced Kleenex.

What's this? I wondered, and double-clicked on her little button. She asked me a bunch of fairly personal questions about me and my habits. Then she wanted my credit card number. Up front. Sound familiar? (I think we're gonna lose our PG-13...) I relented and gave it to her. Then it was on for young and old. All over the world! The fun you can have is endless.

I think I'll leave it at that, before I do get censored. It's pretty and it's quick if you have more RAM than most people. But really what's the good of it? Well, everything. It's stabler. It's much more pleasant to use. Networking is much better integrated into everything. It's the best of the Mac, Windows and OS/2. And it has MSN support in a big way, with a global carrier for your email.

You don't need to connect to your post office to send mail home! And it has international chat facilities. You can book a 'conference room' and automatically keep exhaustive full text minutes of an international conference of forty people in as many countries. With a properly trained convenor to keep order, there is no practical limit to the number of participants in one of these meetings.

International chat is the best bit. I think it alone justifies Win95. I mean, anything that in twenty minutes lets me find a Parisian chick in a flirty mood who's a network administrator like me has got to be a good idea. Guess where my next annual leave's gonna be.

Hint: I am not gonna visit my mum this year and I won't be taking my PC.


Written by: Peter Wone
August 1995

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