We un-decked the halls this weekend and I decided to pull out some long forgotten bins under the stairs to make a bit more room for holiday decorations. One of the boxes was "old computer books" that I filled and put away under there when I moved in and hadn't looked in since.

I took possession of my home and moved here in October...of 1999 😬

Shall we explore what this time capsule has to offer?

Very well then...

Oh hey look I found the manual to go with my Windows 3.0 install floppies!

(Yes three point zero)

The more thicc windows got the more thin the printed manual got.

It was even illustrated nicely and covered the applets like paint!

What *is* a File Manager, really? :blobthinkingcool:

Before Widows became whimsical with its explorers and wizards it was all about business with all these Managers.

File Manager
Program Manager
Printer Manager

Let's see what else there is here...

Oh excellent found the manuals AND the box for the Autocad Release 10 Student Edition (for MSDOS) to go with those disks that were still kicking around too!


This is Pandora's Box of Magnetic Media.

Wow look at these license terms...

"You may not...use this program outside of the US or Canada"

I wonder if BSA agents followed people who went on a trip to Mexico with their luggabe PCs to make sure they didn't open AutoCAD

Since this is a student edition I will probably have to go back to school to run this, or I'll get visited by a man in a dark suit and sunglasses

Well at least the license is concise and clear 🤷‍♂️

The cover art is exceptionally good by computer manual standards. I'm diggin' this Airport in the Sky.

The Complete AutoCAD reference really *is* complete at least as of 1993. Probably still mostly valid today too

The Student Manual reads a lot like a textbook (for CAD in general not just how to use AutoCAD specifically) and indeed it was listed as the textbook in the syllabus for the course I took

OK let's look at some more Old Computer Books...

Check out the Tower of Database Power

The installation guides are slim and unassuming in order to lull you into a false sense of security.

Don't let that fool you. This is a bit more than `apt install informix`

Note the Order of Installation. Thou shalt not deviate from The Order lest you wind up in Sysop Purgatory

One you have installed this infobeast you have to feed and care for it, which is detailed in this weighty 2 volume tome

Informix is...chunky

Behold..."Informix Error Messages"...aka the "DevOops Manual"

628 glorious pages of nothing but numeric error codes and their meanings

Everything you wanted to know about SQL but we're afraid to ask

Ok now for something else out of the Old Computer Books bin...

I am a control systems/automation engineer by training so Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) are the computers I am supposed to be an expert in.

PLCs are at least as terrible as any other computer TBH.

Quarter century later and these damn PLC-5s and SLC-500s still come back to haunt me

This PLC stuff is from a time not long after Rockwell International bought ICOM software because their Allen Bradley division was so Bad at Software that most of their PLC users bought the 3rd party programming software from ICOM.

So in Rockwell tradition of the time, if you can beat them buy them.

Thus ICOM branding was still lurking around

Looks like a few more interesting things in this bin but I need to sleep. Will dig around in here more tomorrow!

Well it is tomorrow here so let's pull something else out of the Old Computer Books Bin from Nineteen Ninety Nine...

Hey it's another boxed set! Things are gonna get meta. Frame.


This is a special copy of v1.8 provided as part of my Citrix Certified Administrator ™️ training.

It had sneak preview content providing Windows 2000 compatibility not yet available to the public!

Oooh! Aaah!

Besides the installation media still in the box (!) The reference docs are on CD so the stack of printed material is small.

Bonus content: a full CD archive of csnweb.com so you don't have to wait for all the Flash™️ content to crawl its way into your browser over your 56k modem!

Complete set of client reference cards, all still in the shrink wrap!

I wonder if that makes them more collectable :blobtonguewink:


As a student in this recourse I *did* get a nice THICC textbook-like spiral-bound ( :blobaww: ) admin guide!

This isn't just a better RDS terminal server. It supported stuff like "multi-VGA" for server side rendering so you could set up a bunch of thin clients that can deliver graphically intense apps better.

Yeah order of install matters. If you installed this before selecting and installing the "terminal services" component of WinNT it can only result in mass hysteria.

Hence the post it applied to the cover of this admin guide.

It was well into this century before it was commonplace to provide serious dependency checks it seems.

The top document indicates I completed the course, making me Certifiable I guess.

The bottom document declares I am Certified to administer Citrix Metaframe 1.8...if anyone needs my services (hey there's no expiry date!)

I was blessed with the good fortune of receiving my training in a Very Special certification session.

In addition to becoming Certifiable we each went home with a jar of Sockarooni pasta sauce, a bottle of balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing and a VHS copy of "The Towering Inferno"*

*DVD available by mail for a small postage and handling fee

From the dates here it does appear this bin was indeed opened at least once since it established its home under the stairs after moving in here, but not long after.

Nothing else thus far has a 21st century date on it.

I suspect it was my first spring cleaning. In late spring of 2000 my employer went bankrupt (pop!) and I was invited to avail myself of some items in lieu of accrued vacation payout that would not be forthcoming as I packed up.

This and the Rockwell kit was likely added then.

OK this stuff is kinda at the bottom of this old bin, and so it's certainly of the past century. Indeed we may be descending into the tail end of the 1980s here

I used WordPerfect 5.1 until people started looking at me funny for using it.

The Que book "Using WordPerfect" was very useful and well used. The Bantam book about the macros was too though it was WAY more extensive than I ever needed.

WP had very powerful and underappreciated macro capabilities.

Laser printers used to be so exotic and mysterious that they warranted a whole chapter on its own.

What is your Font Strategy? How do you use Cartridge Fonts? (If it doesn't work try blowing on it before plugging it into the printer!) How do you install soft fonts?

You don't even want to know how you'd distribute these fonts with a WP file!

WYSIWYG? What's that? The funny wigs they wear in British courts?

To get the secrets of the print you must reveal all the codez!

It is 1989 and according to "WordPerfect 5.1 Macros and Templates" gender is fluid.

It's a fact.

Ah the 4 genders... male, female, plural and...er...neuter 😬

AAAA! The bundled floppies are still there!

I still have drive to read them...now all I need is a working motherboard that supports it

Well...eventually I did go over to the dark side.


Version 6.0 was Peak Microsoft Word

It was mostly all down hill from here

@msh Reveal Codes was _the_ reason to use WP! Loved it in WordPerfect 7 for Windows, and I believe it is still there in all versions. I think I used it in 10 (?) as well.

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