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Is there a price to pay for Progress

Discussion in 'The Meadow' started by Hornet3d, Nov 16, 2018.

  1. Hornet3d

    Hornet3d Distinguished

    The reason I ask this question is that I have just done a major sort of my massive data CD collection trashing around 400 CDs in the process. Many were Windows XP programs which would be well past their best but there were loads of games that would probably be fun to play still while still others were educational ones such as DK multimedia. None of there programs will now install, I get a message telling me to contact the supplier for the correct 32 or 64 bit installer but I guess all the information and photos are still present on the CD, certainly I can see the photos but, of course the links to the information is missing.

    I am not complaining, I clearly had my use and they are a good few years old but it has left me wondering just how much more we will use if certain formats are not available to us in years to come. Will we reach a point somewhere down the road where .jpg of .tif are no longer supported and just what could we lose if this is the case?
     
    Dakorillon (IMArts) likes this.
  2. Miss B

    Miss B Drawing Life 1 Pixel at a Time CV-BEE

    I doubt you'll have to worry about image formats like JPG or TIF, as they've been around since the days of DOS computing.
     
  3. JOdel

    JOdel Extraordinary HW Honey Bear

    Ah, yes. Programs which would run, but the installers won't. Been there, done that. Been stumbling over that roadblock since 1990.
     
    Dakorillon (IMArts) likes this.
  4. Miss B

    Miss B Drawing Life 1 Pixel at a Time CV-BEE

    Very true JOdel. It also amazes me when I find an old piece of software I was able to install with Win7, and it still works just fine. I guess it's hit or miss in that respect.
     
  5. esha

    esha Member Contributing Artist

    There is indeed a price to pay for progress. Knowledge gets lost all the time. For example, today nobody knows how exactly some ancient structures were built, or what the royal purple of the Roman emperors really looked like, or how certain artifacts were made. There are all sorts of professions that have died out, and with them the products they created. Nowadays it's difficult to find carpenters/blacksmiths/etc. with the necessary skills for doing repairs in historic buildings, skills that used to be more or less wide-spread not so long ago, in my grandparents' time. That is something I find rather worrisome because it means that we lose touch not only with ancient history but also with our immediate past.

    But I wouldn't worry too much about file formats. In this area the transition is likely to be gradual. Does anyone remember the rsr thumbnails? When they were replaced by png files there were converters, and now I don't think anyone really misses the rsr format.
     
    Dakorillon (IMArts) likes this.
  6. Ken1171

    Ken1171 Distinguished Contributing Artist

    I know quite well how that is - I still have loads of diskettes and CDs that won't work with modern computers. However, you can download DOSBox and with a little patience, get them to work again. Or you can download VirtualBox and install Windows 95/98, and run them in a virtual machine.

    Another way is to pay a visit to GOG.com (Good Old Games), and purchase a version that works in modern computers, usually dirt cheap. For example, a while ago I wanted to play again those adventure gems from Lucas Arts (Day of the Tentacle, The Dig, Full Throttle, etc), but my originals won't work in Windows 10 (or even 7). I have found them all at GOG, where some got modern remakes with better graphics at higher resolutions. More recently I felt a nostalgic urge to replay Journeyman Project 1-3, but [once again] my original CDs won't play in modern Windows. Just today they were at GOG for less than $2 bucks. I know I have already paid full price for the original games when they were new, but if you just want to install and play them without hustling with emulations and virtual machines, I don't mind buying them again - especially with prices like that.

    I also have a fully working ZX Spectrum "computer", and a box full of original games and applications in cassette tapes. Yes, you've read it right - cassette tapes. Go find a working *digital* cassette tape reader nowadays! Even if you do, I doubt those magnetic tapes could have survived time. It used to take 20 minutes to half an hour to load those tapes, and pray the computer won't crash in the meanwhile, since reading from tape was quite unreliable. Nonetheless, there are entire web sites dedicated to running these games and applications in dedicated emulators that run in modern computers. Instead of tape storage, the contents come as ROM modules that can be installed into the emulators, bringing the past back with a blast.

    At least when it comes to computer media, I think people are still not ready to detach from the past. They always find a way to bring unreadable medias back to modern computers. And then one of you would ask me - then why are you keeping this box with a "working" ZX Spectrum "computer" and all these old, and probably unreadable tapes? Well, nostalgia? I came from a world without computers, Apple or Microsoft. When computers started to reach our homes, everything has changed very quickly. Sometimes I miss how slowly time passed before computers. Things like AHDD was basically unheard of in those days.
     
  7. Hornet3d

    Hornet3d Distinguished


    Thanks for all the information I can see I am going to have to do a little browsing when I get a moment. particularly at GOG, I might even try virtual box if I can find the free time. I still have an Atari machine and the large floppy drive unit and all still in the original box, if I get the opportunity I will donate to a computer museum or something.
     
    Dakorillon (IMArts) likes this.
  8. Ken1171

    Ken1171 Distinguished Contributing Artist

    When it comes to computer museums, chances are a large floppy drive is old enough to be useless [and yet exotic] nowadays, but not old enough to belong in a museum. Even my ancient ZX Spectrum is not old enough for that. :)
     
  9. Hornet3d

    Hornet3d Distinguished


    Accept that, I knew I would have to wait but maybe one day.
     
  10. Ken1171

    Ken1171 Distinguished Contributing Artist

    At least we can say those things were made last century! LOL
     
  11. mrsparky

    mrsparky Member

    Yes, very much so. The most celebrated example is the BBC's Domesday Book.
    Back then sticking it on laserdisc made a lot of sense, as the LP sized discs could hold a lot of info.
    But no one could imagine that within a few years the format would curl up it's digital toes.

    Later followed by betamax, vhs, with the latter new production ceased a few years back.
    Even DVD isn't immune, some TV shops here no longer sell DVD players as bluray is (mostly) backwards compatiable.

    That said not everyone is shifting to the "cloud", where a virtual demise takes but a second.
    21st century PC's are pretty good at virtualisation and emulation.
    So with a little effort it's easy to run something like win95 or XP on a machine.

    Also don't forget how analogue formats like vinyl and film have never been more popular.
    I think because we can emote to it, you knew when that jump or scratch happened and it was yours.

    Now compare that a yet another identikit selfie of a famous place uploaded to social media ;)
     
  12. Ken1171

    Ken1171 Distinguished Contributing Artist

    One thing I like about "cloud" services like Steam and GOG is that I no longer need space (physical or otherwise) to store tons of software and games anymore. I only download them at installation time. The same goes for music and eBooks. I still have plenty of music on CD cases, and paper books on my shelves, but that's because I am from that time.

    However, I only realized the downside when my Surface tablet's battery died, and I can no longer carry it around with me. All my books are in there, and now I wish they were on paper.
     
  13. Miss B

    Miss B Drawing Life 1 Pixel at a Time CV-BEE

    I have about 600 eBooks I got over the past 4 or so years from Amazon through BookBub, and I don't have any of them on my tablet. I just search through the Kindle app for the one I want to read , and it's available. Sorry to hear about your tablet's battery, but can't you get a new battery for it? I had to do that for my cellphone a few months ago.

    At one point, I had almost that many real "paper" books, but I've donated most of them to the local Public Library, and gave almost an equal amount of them to a friend of mine.
     
    Dakorillon (IMArts) likes this.
  14. Ken1171

    Ken1171 Distinguished Contributing Artist

    Unfortunately, the Surface Pro tablets were not built to have anything inside replaced. I guess it's the same with the Apple iPads. I can still use the tablet, but the moment I unplug it from the wall, it turns off. It claims to have 40% battery left, but I guess it's a fluke. One day the battery was charging, and in the next, it doesn't anymore. That's quite a shame for a $1,200 tablet - it didn't last 3 years.

    One curious thing about technology is that computers and electronics in general have evolved in giant steps in the last 40 years, but what about batteries? We are still using the SAME batteries from decades ago. They just changed the form factors to make them fit smaller spaces, but it's still the SAME decades old technology. Car batteries, for instance, are still the SAME as from decades ago. A wristwatch battery still lasts the same as from my parent's wristwatches. Remote controls are still using AA batteries, the same I remember from my infancy in the 70s. It's like energy sources are not allowed to evolve, and nobody finds that strange.
     
  15. Miss B

    Miss B Drawing Life 1 Pixel at a Time CV-BEE

    Well I had to replace my cellphone's battery because, 1 minute it was charging, and the next it was discharging. Turned my phone real hot to the touch, and then it shut down and I couldn't use it. I took it to my provider's store nearby, and the guy there figured out what the problem was, and got it charging at least enough until I could buy a new battery to replace it. Luckily Amazon sells them at a reasonable price.

    As far as the old battery styles that haven't changed over the decades, I guess the old adage, why change it if it works, is their frame of mind. Considering how much power you can get in a small laptop or tablet these days, compared to say 10-15 years ago, you would think they would be able to do the same for replaceable batteries like double and triple As, and still keep them the same physical size. Then again I don't have to replace double and triple A batteries that often, unless it's something I have "on" for a long period of time.

    I wish they would make Laptop batteries that lasted longer, though now-a-days they are longer lasting than when I bought this puppy 5 1/2 years ago. My last laptop had 2 batteries, so I would switch them once a month, so they would both get used, but not over used.
     
    Dakorillon (IMArts) likes this.
  16. Riccardo

    Riccardo Eager

    Another proud owner of a real, working Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48 Kb here :)
     
    Nod and Ken1171 like this.
  17. Riccardo

    Riccardo Eager

    Going back to the initial issue, I use open file formats as much as possible. I try to avoid proprietary formats like MS Word and stuff like that. This way, it does not matter if my machine is Windows, Mac, Linux or whatever: it can read them. And it is less likely that open formats will be completely forgotten. There will probably always be some programs able to read them.
     
    Dakorillon (IMArts) likes this.
  18. DanaTA

    DanaTA Busy Bee

    DOSBox is great! I recently installed it again and played volume one of Commander Keen! And I could even use my Logitech joystick with it!
    You can try to load the CD as just a data disc, then in File Explorer, right click the install executable and run in compatibility mode. That might work.

    As for old tech, we still have the Commodore 64 that I bought for Diane way back in the '80s. It's all boxed up, but we have the monitor, the computer, tape drive, floppy drive, mouse, software for it, GEOS system and GEOS Publisher and maybe a couple other GEOS items. I had bought the low profile keyboard case for it, but still have the original case as well. I loved Crossbow on that computer...looked and sounded just like the arcade game. A bunch of books and magazines, too. Only thing I wish it had was the actual crossbow controller, but I don't think the Commodore would have been capable of that technology. The monitor came in handy years ago when our TV died and we didn't have money for a new one for a while. Video out from home theater system into the monitor. Yes, it was a bit small, but very sharp and the color was great! I sat it on a chair in front of the dead TV.

    For hard to find batteries, try batteries.com.

    Dana
     
  19. Hornet3d

    Hornet3d Distinguished


    My wife recently had a similar problem with a Kindle Fire, stated it had 40% battery left but switched off the minute it was disconnected from the mains. Charged it to 100% but had the same issue. Before splashing out on a new Kindle Fire I took it back to factory defaults and literally rebuilt it software wise having to re-register it and download all the books and apps. That was three weeks ago and it is still working on a daily basis and a battery monitor app says the battery is fine.
     
    Dakorillon (IMArts) likes this.
  20. Ken1171

    Ken1171 Distinguished Contributing Artist

    I remember the excitement when one day I went to the store and there was a 3D game for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum called Sentinel. Not only 3D, but it was color shaded, and ran at booming 1 frame per second, in dithered 16 colors and with sound. Inside the box came a full sized color game poster, along with the cassette tape and manual. That was the very first time I ever saw 3D graphics (somewhere in the early 80s). Activision had released Battlezone before that, but it was monochrome green wireframe with no shading.

    The funny thing is that games came to a complete stop with the arrival of the all-mighty IBM PC, because it came with a completely new processor (Intel 8088), and nobody knew how to program that thing. The early IBM PCs were not a particularly good platform for gaming, and it took YEARS until Sierra Online started to make adventure games for it, and that started a whole new era of gaming that we have to this date. I started with King's Quest, followed by Leisure Suit Larry. That changed everything. When it comes to the price of progress, those were days when companies made games for the LOVE for gaming, while nowadays it's for the love for MONEY. And it shows.

    That's worth trying, since I bought my Surface Pro when I was in the US, and it is not sold where I live. No parts, no service. It still claims to have 40% battery, but it also says "not charging". I saw some people attempting to open these tablets on YouTube, but for the most part, the touch screen ends up cracked, and you can never close it back to how it was, because it uses glue instead of screws. It's not built to be serviced, just like Apple does with the iPads.

    Microsoft Office is no longer using closed formats. Under closer inspection, DOCX files are Zipped up files with lots of folders, where inside all files use standard formats, like XML and HTML. You still have the option to save using their old proprietary DOC format, but only if you want to. Other companies, like Adobe are doing the same.
     
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