On this day in 1993, Microsoft introduced its new operating system, Windows NT—the NT for "New Technology." This morning I’ve been using a few of those early systems. I have two Windows 95 and a Windows 98—and that doesn’t count the one downstairs with a couple of old games on it.
WHY in the WORLD? you ask? It’s complicated. But it’s something like this. I needed to write some music. So I turned on my oldest machine, which is hooked up to my midi player keyboard, so see? Makes sense. That kind of setup isn’t something you just chuck. I mean, those keyboards and music writing software are hard to come by. Plus I don’t like to learn new programs. I hate change. Okay, so I get the music written. But of course, being careful (and unable to update virus protection for something so ancient) this machine isn't on my network (besides, it doesn’t have the correct ports). So I need it to go to another machine which has the original music-writing software and a pdf writer. (No way to link machines. No Air Drop on this baby.) And this second one has the requisite floppy. So I move the file (not a 5 ¼, but a 3 ½ inch floppy; I’m not crazy!) to this other 95 machine, and convert it. Now, I don’t have a monitor for every single machine, so I have to crawl under my desk (my switch box failed about five years ago) and hook up the second machine and get the monitor cable connected. (No working USB ports. Just those pin and screw-in-place numbers.) Once the floppy is in the second machine, I convert it to pdf and put it in a folder shared with Machine #3. (I have a little trouble keeping all four mouses and keyboards straight. I type on this keyboard watching that monitor. Nothing happens. Oops. Look what I did to the file on that one….) I move the monitor cable to Machine #3, my 98 (cranking now!) which IS networked so I can move files around a little (staying off the Web, of course). And once I find the shared folder (which is sometimes hard because the machines can’t always find each other) I take the newly converted pdf on the third machine and mail it to myself. Once mailed, I can receive and open it in my very up-to-date (it still has tech support! Mostly.) laptop, which by the way has Windows 7 and Word 2003. (Did I mention I hate change?)
Once the file is retrieved, I have to shut all the old machines back down, which involves a lot of crawling under my desks again, switching cables, and quickly unplugging certain boxes that want to keep booting up until the electricity is shut off.
Now I have my extra monitors stowed, three of my machines shut back off, my mice untangled and keyboards sorted and tucked away, and a beautiful pdf of the music I wrote waiting in my inbox.
Since that nifty little operating system release twenty-three years ago, I’ve gotten a lot of good use from my Windows. Isn’t modern technology wonderful?
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