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Retro-future charm

13 Jun

Retro-future charm

I decided to try something different, and I am not sure if anyone else has tried it. I wanted to take the best word processor that I could find (WordPerfect 6.0 for DOS) and make it compatible with ‘the cloud’. Well, I have found a way to make it work.

For the WordPerfect side of things, it is easy. Found a nice, working copy of 6.0 and installed it and use it via DosBOX. It is super stable, has an unobtrusive interface, and the best spell checker, even after 20 years.

Then, signed up for Dropbox and installed the client on all the computers that I use. Finally, I make sure DosBOX runs from the Dropbox folder. DOS is shockingly good on space, even with a bunch of games installed, and Windows 3.1, it only takes a small percentage of my Dropbox quota. So, now, when I fire up my WordPerfect for DOS, every thing I save to my “C:” drive is synchronized with my Dropbox storage. I can start a blog post on my netbook, and finish it on my home computer, right where I left off.

It is a little hokey, but it works really well and any changes I make, like install a new game, save my progress, etc. in a DOS application is automatically synchronized to all of my computers. Even using the small 2 gigs of space, that is more than enough for my needs. Anyone else doing something like this? Let me know in the comments below.

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Moving into the 21.1st century

12 Jun

Just a little note, I added some social media buttons to Cyberphreak.com.  You can share posts via Facebook, Twitter, etc.  You can also follow me on social media using the links in the sidebar.

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Gone Fishing

08 Jun

Gone Fishing

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Yesterday I did something I have not done in ages, went fishing. Through Glenn’s school, they had a Father and Son fishing outing at Marquette park, in Chicago. It was nice, you did not have to bring anything, they supplied the poles, bait, and, group fishing license, and instructions. I had to warn Glenn ahead of time, it is called fishing, not catching for a reason. The lake is an odd one, making a circle around an island, and kind of unexpected in the middle of city.

 

Luckily, the lake is less than four miles from our house, so you could not ask for a quicker lake to get to. We arrived on time and there were a fair amount of kids there, I would say about thirty or so, with dads, so there were over fifty people there fishing. You could tell most of them had never fished or cast a rod and reel before. The poles were simple spin casters, what I learned on as a kid as well.

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As was expected, there was not much to catch out there. With all the direct sun, all that was caught in two hours was just a couple of catfish called bullheads. As you can see, the are kind of an ugly looking bugger. The dad who caught him admitted it was kind of a cheat, he saw the fish in the shallows and lured him out. A lot of the kids, including Glenn were able to get a good look.

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In the end, the kids got a little antsy after almost two hours in the sun. There was a quick raffle at the end, we didn’t win anything, but it was such a nice day to spend outside. No one made money off of the trip, the small amount we paid went to getting the raffle prizes and nothing more. The area was very nice, and I never knew there was a lake and a golf course, right in the middle of an urban, residential neighborhood. I am almost tempted to get a reel for Glenn to practice with, but I can just see the line getting caught in every tree in a 100 foot radius.

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Returning to my roots.

03 Jun

I have been using computers a long time, and my biggest gripe is something as simple as a decent word processor. Frankly, trying to get something typed using a modern program like Word or Open or Libre office is an exercise is distraction. So, I have decided to return to my roots, and create in the program that I originally learned word processing on, Word Perfect for DOS. Using the DOSBox emulator, I was able to find an abondonware site that had copies of the original floppies. It runs like a dream. The great thing is that, in full screen mode, I am free from all the distractions. All I can see is this simple interface. It does have all the features (and in some cases more) than any word processor, including spell and grammar checker, WYSIWYG view, and a macros which still have not been matched. Heck, it even has reveal codes, which really allows you to modify every aspect of a document.

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So, here I am, typing away at the same word processor I used in college, and high school, and you know what, it feels good. The simple cyan screen is easier on the eyes than the blinding white with black text. It may be great that it looks like a piece of paper, but with modern monitors, it is really hard on my old eyes. Also, with the limited resolution, the characters are just plain huge on the screen. I like to type without my glasses on, so this really is a blessing. I can see why some writers still use DOS based word processing. It is fast, great for touch typists and bad spellers. I don’t miss the red squiggly at all. I know you can turn it off, but it is just more natural this way.

Luckily, modern word processors running under Linux can easily read WordPerfect format files WordPerfect can also write and read Rich Text Format, which has be a standard for over 20 years. I really have to give this old workhorse one thing, it is stable and very fast. I am very impressed with how complete a program WordPerfect is, with a built in file manager, graphical mode, and a very impressive database of printers. I prefer the postscript pass through, just print to that printer and you can easily print to a modern printer. I am sure if I had an old computer I could find some printer it would work with.

 

So, if you need a fast, simple, but feature rich word processor, take a look at good, old WordPerfect 6.0 for DOS on abandonware sites. It works like a charm under DOSBox. Even though it is 20 years old, it gets the job done. You will get some odd stares when people see what you are using, but I like tools that work and stay out of my way. I grew up on, so why reinvent the wheel? I do think younger users will be surprised how well it works. I wrote this blog post using it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Missed anniversary

09 Jul

Not my wedding anniversary, never forget that, but Cyberphreak.com has been online since June 1, 1998, making it 15 years old now!

My first post:

Welcome to CyberPhreak.com. The place to discover why so many of us love this place called ‘cyberspace.’ The term cyberspace was originally coined by William Gibson in his novel Neuromancer. It is a place of pure data, a collective of all the world’s computers and data systems. In his novels, this matrix was accessed though a cyberspace deck and was similar to a hallucination. The technology for that type of access is not here yet, but it is coming. In the meantime, enjoy CyberPhreak.com and all the mixed writings, music, and beliefs of its creator and viewers.

Now, 15 years later we all carry computers in our pockets more powerful than anything short of a supercomputer in 1998.   Over a billion people access social networking sites every day and interact with people, in real time, around the world.  We are still moving towards Gibson’s vision of everyone, everywhere connected.  I still marvel at how far we have some and how far we have yet to go.

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