An early morning with This Old PC

You know, this system, running under Windows 2000 and Office 97, isn’t all that bad at all, even with a Pentium II MMX 333 MHz. I suppose having 262 MB of addressable RAM helps (given the context of this system, it’s a lot). Internet Explorer 6 comes up rather quickly, as does Word 97. I’ll have to run Photoshop and see how that does.

I wonder if Open Office 1 or 2 would be as fast as Word. There have been plenty of complaints about OO’s relative sluggishness on first launch. When closed and launched again during the same computing session, the lag in OO is not as pronounced, since some portion of the program must be running in the background. Perhaps OO does the same thing, but only after loaded the first time.

All I know is that Word 97 launches in about 5 seconds and relaunches in 2 seconds on this Windows 2000 box. That is a sweet, sweet situation. My ideal computing environment is one that boots quickly, with applications that launch quickly. I also ALT-TAB between applications frequently… and also want that to happen quickly. It’s one of the reasons I generally prefer IE to Firefox on PC and Safari to Firefox on Mac – if that first load is slow, it harshes my computing mellow, big time.

On the Pentium II box, the 8 GB hard drive (remember when that was big?) only has about 1.5 GB remaining, so the next step in This Old PC’s evolution is stuffing it with a bigger drive, making a bunch of partitions for Windows and a few Linuxes and going from there. The only software I’d lose if I pull the drive, as I don’t have the discs (the computer was passed down, as they say), is the aforementioned Office 97, which includes a full version of Outlook, and Photoshop 5. The rest is shareware or freeware (EditPad, Firefox) or stuff that I actually have discs for.

Quick interruption: It must’ve been around 1990 or ’91. We bought a Dell PC at the big-box membership store than called Price Club (now Costco). I can’t remember how much we paid, but I remember well that it was a 386 SX 25 (25 big Mhz) with something like 8 MB RAM (can’t quite remember), Windows 3.1 and DOS (can’t remember the version). I mention DOS, because in those days, with that kind of “power,” you couldn’t really run Win 3.1. You pretty much had to live in the world of DOS, where applications were lean and really, really mean. Not Word for DOS, but just about everything else. I can’t remember the name of that free dialup program that we used to get on BBSes, but it was pretty sweet. We used it to get on Prodigy, GEnie and even early AOL, also.

… back to our regularly scheduled post:

I wonder how much used copies of Office and Photoshop are going for on eBay these days? I bet you can get a few bucks for the full versions. The moral – if you own software legitimately, keep those discs, boxes and crappy manuals; they could be worth a little something even 10 years down the road.

This Old PC also has Nero 5 (didn’t know until right now) which I could use to make the bootable ISO discs for Linux that I’m churning out like crazy. I do have the Nero disc in my pile – it came with my TDK 32/10/40X CD burner, which I also still have installed. Do you think Nero 5 will run under Windows XP? Reports on the Web are mixed on this. But it would be sweet.

I haven’t really written on This Old PC in awhile, as I am this morning It’s an enjoyable experience. I forgot how much I like Word’s spellcheck on the fly (with the red underlines for potential misspellings). Open Office does it too, but the Daily News’ in-house spellcheck in the paper’s Unisys Hermes system does not.