Scott Hanselman

1990 called, they want to their software back

January 2, '07 Comments [36] Posted in Musings
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This was a silly thing to do, but I noticed this message on a private mailing list I subscribe to:

Is there a [good] deal for PC Anywhere? One of my clients needs me to have it

and I just had to respond:

Ya, and I need a copy of QEMM. Got a few TSRs I need to load into the UMB. Oh, and Stacker 2, my RLL 50meg Winchester Drive is filling up with Borland’s new TurboVision headers.

And since my own dorky response made me chuckle out loud, I thought I'd share.

What archaic (meaning: older than like 2 years ;) ) software does your workplace force you to use? Discuss.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Tuesday, 02 January 2007 23:48:31 UTC
.NET version 1.1 :>

John Batdorf
Wednesday, 03 January 2007 00:07:56 UTC
Send them to me, I actually have a copy of the install -- though haven't used it in a while.
Wednesday, 03 January 2007 00:34:55 UTC
I am sure I must be missing something, but this blog post shows this on my browser:
Tuesday, January 02, 2007 8:44:59 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) by Scott # Comments [1] | Trackback

as far as I can tell, it's 7:35pm 1/2/07 EST here right can it be later than 8:44:59 PM PST?

Wednesday, 03 January 2007 00:38:44 UTC
Surprisingly, Symantec keeps on kicking PC Anywhere down the road - it's now at version 12 (I think). One of my clients continues to use it (and it's IE-only ActiveX control for browser-based sessions) for some of their systems. However, they (and most of my other clients) now use Proxy and/or UltraVNC, when they aren't just using Terminal Server. Speaking of RLL drives, a desperate client from my distant past sent me an old server of theirs last year with a failing RLL adapter. I pulled the drive and stuck it in another old DOS 5.0 machine I happened to have in my closet, found an iHPFS.exe utility for DOS on the web (the drive was loaded with an old Citrix OS/2 server system), and burnt the important bits to a CD. And lastly, I've got 3 unopened QEMM boxes in my garage, in case anyone needs one. I keep telling my wife they'll be worth something someday. They will, right? ;)
Wednesday, 03 January 2007 00:44:44 UTC
Ah, this list will be LONG
PC Anywhere (version 10) (there are current versions)
.NET 1.1
VB6 (yes - current development - NOT Maint)
Various Custom Controls for VB3 and VB6
There are a few others - but...
Wednesday, 03 January 2007 00:52:33 UTC
Ruby on Rails 1.1 ... it's soooo 2005.
Wednesday, 03 January 2007 00:53:37 UTC
Windows XP, Windows 2003 ...

Ah come on :)

I'm spending the next month with a bank writing HTAs to drive their PE setup. Aggh. The worst has to be two years ago, .net 1.1 on NT4.0. Which wouldn't have been so bad, except they wanted to use Crystal for reporting and that was painful, what with needing to track down merge modules for dbghelp, update ATL and all sorts of other hoops.

Wednesday, 03 January 2007 00:58:08 UTC
QEMM? All I have is my SideKick manual, the last reel of 9-track I loaded, and the front panel from my Altair left from those days. Oh! And I think there's a copy of The Soul of C/PM somewhere in the tech library if that'd help ;)

Thanks for the fun Scott!

Rowland Gosling
Wednesday, 03 January 2007 02:01:13 UTC
Our corporate web standard calls for us to develop all web pages in DreamWeaver...




...version 4.

I'll leave it at that.
completely anonymous this time
Wednesday, 03 January 2007 02:17:04 UTC
We use Lotus Notes, which may be relatively new, but it sure makes me FEEL like it's 1998.
Wednesday, 03 January 2007 05:59:49 UTC
so you were the one who stole my DOS floppy..i hope you didnt remove the tab on the side..
Wednesday, 03 January 2007 07:02:27 UTC
Earlier this year the accounting department in our kibbutz was still using a utility
I wrote for them in 1995, in Turbo Pascal 5.5.

I'm not sure if they are still using it.

Wednesday, 03 January 2007 07:52:57 UTC
We do use some fairly ancient software/hardware at the workplace, but mostly for maintaining applications our clients have to use and/or refuse to update. Things such as DOS-based ISDN switches (quite possibly wrong terminology, this isn't my department), every version of Delphi you can dream of, and antiquated proprietary operating systems. Luckily most of our clients are modernized, so we use proper tools.

Other than that we have a huge collection of antiquated hardware both at work and at home, a huge CPU collection and a collection of old machines (everything from a genuine IBM PC to Apple III to Amiga to...). They're fun to play with -- I still fire up the A500 for an occasional Speedball 2 tournament!
Wednesday, 03 January 2007 08:17:22 UTC
How about Lotus 1-2-3, the 16-bit edition.
2 years ago, I was working at a division of the Deutsche Bank. At some point in the early 90s some business analyst wrote a ton of code in the Lotus 1-2-3 scripting language (i guess it was some type of Basic) and they ran their entire business on that spreadsheet. Of course, to say that the code was spaghetti would be an understatement, but it worked well. Then the guy quit and when Lotus came out with 32-bit version of 1-2-3, the spreadsheet's code just wouldn't run. So they kept in the 1-2-3 16-bit running on Windows NT 3.51. When the division was upgrading to Windows XP in 2004, the upgrade was actually held up for a couple of months because Lotus 1-2-3 16bit would not run on XP (something about network drives not being accessible).

Ah, fun times.
Frank Rizzo
Wednesday, 03 January 2007 12:30:52 UTC
NetMeeting. <cough. cough.>
Milton Street
Wednesday, 03 January 2007 12:54:33 UTC
iSeries Access for Windows. Terminal emulation for everybody!
Wednesday, 03 January 2007 13:40:10 UTC
ZIP drives. Development occurs on one private network and there are two different production websites on two different private networks. Since USB ports are disabled and USB devices banned all file transfers are done via ZIP disks.

We did finally get the go ahead to work in .NET 2.0 though... still waiting on being able to use an O/R mapper.
Wednesday, 03 January 2007 13:59:05 UTC
I already have the yellow Pc Anywhere parallel to parallel cables "just in case" hahaha.
Wednesday, 03 January 2007 14:49:56 UTC
When you say "Visual Source Safe", you've said it all.
Dave P.
Wednesday, 03 January 2007 15:29:14 UTC
I'm still forced to develop in 4GL (not the theoritical Fourth Generation Language, but the actual programming language) and Informix databases. While Informix isn't as horrible as I thought it was when I first started, I still think 4GL is a worthless language compared to other choices out there. Functional languages have their long as they're actually 'functional' (all pun intended).
Steve E.
Wednesday, 03 January 2007 15:41:03 UTC
We are required to connect to an NT 4 machine using Citrix and enter time into a 10 year old 16bit HR system once a week for timesheets.
Wednesday, 03 January 2007 16:10:35 UTC
Visual Basic 6.0
SQL Server 2000
What's this .NET thing everyone keeps talking about?
Well, it's actually not that bad; we are doing some new development with ASP.NET 2.0 and SQL 2005. But, I wish they would let me install Vista and Office 2007 on my workstation.
Wednesday, 03 January 2007 16:30:13 UTC
Currently using for a production system Apex True Grid 6.0, NT 4.0, VB 4, VB 6, the SOAP toolkit (not a nice implementation of SOAP the discontinued toolkit), and a bunch of other old software.
Brandon Krugman
Wednesday, 03 January 2007 16:32:17 UTC

Netmeeting isn't to bad even though Microsoft did hide it a little bit more in XP then they did in the previous versions of Windows at least it isn't some of the more frustrating tools.
Brandon Krugman
Wednesday, 03 January 2007 18:09:47 UTC
Only in our field would 2 year old anything automatically mean "archaic":)
Eric W
Wednesday, 03 January 2007 20:25:46 UTC
Believe it or not I know for a fact that if you want to connect from home at the hospital my mother-in-law works at you are forced into using PC Anywhere through a dial up modem. Not kidding. The IT deparment at the hospital is literally about 10 years behind in lots of areas.

I still have to use VI at work sometime. Now that's old.
Wednesday, 03 January 2007 20:35:06 UTC
John Batdorf beat me and others to .NET 1.1...

VS 2003. At least we just moved to SQL 2005.

And barryd beat me to Windows XP. ;-)

Oh, and Office 2003.

The last company I worked for was still using an AS400 from the late '80s and PickBASIC. You can still get PickBASIC programmers!
John Baughman
Wednesday, 03 January 2007 22:56:30 UTC
I still enjoy seeing the public information screens on my commute showing good old WinNT error messages.
Thursday, 04 January 2007 01:10:19 UTC
FoxPro DOS 2.5 (current production)
Visual FoxPro 3.0 (current production)
Office 2000
Thursday, 04 January 2007 02:50:21 UTC
We have a mainframe programmer at work that writes COBOL programs. In the last 3-4 years, he has started to write PC based utility EXEs that we use on a daily basis. Unfortunately, since he knows COBOL only, he uses NetExpress for this. NetExpress 4 supports .NET 1.1. Strange thing is... it is still COBOL and it requires you to purchase a runtime licensing server just to run EXEs compiled using NetExpress.

Needless to say, I'm stuck supporting stupid COBOL EXEs that require some directory on some server that can be accessed via UNC paths so the EXEs will run.

I'm not sure why he hasn't actually learned C# or VB by now. Just getting rid of the licensing server would be worth it to me.

I guess NetExpress knows how to make $$$.

Lame design to me.
Thursday, 04 January 2007 03:03:58 UTC
Maybe this doesn't sound bad, but ... we have to use Office 2003 and Windows XP. What's odd is that I work at Microsoft. In the Developer Division. And I cannot install the current versions of our own software on my primary machine. (In case you're curious, it's because we use tools that are not yet compatible with the new versions of Office and the OS.) BTW, I'm not a developer, whew.
Thursday, 04 January 2007 15:06:29 UTC
I work for a company that owns several nuclear power plants. At one of the plants they use a work order scheduling system written in FoxPro 2.6 (DOS), whose data files are stored on a Novell 4 server. I've seen the Novell server, the cover is literally held on with duck tape.
Thursday, 04 January 2007 23:01:40 UTC
Ahhh, I feel the love for Foxpro 2.6. That's how I put money in my pocket back in 1993! I still have a couple drives from our older machines that were running a customer accounting system on LANTASTIC 6! Running LANTASTIC on WFW 3.11 makes Novell look space-age.
Mark Deason
Friday, 05 January 2007 00:07:21 UTC
Paradox from Borland. I think we employ one of only 20 or so known Paradox programmers worldwide who grok ObjectPal.

With amazing features such as not printing to network printers (Network printers? what are they), not seeing buttons in the GUI unless you run AppCompat. Performance improvements when running NetBEUI in your protocol stack (Yeha, lets hope we don't have to cross any routers! I mean who would ever want to hook up more than 5 PC's together pfft thats just crazy talk!)
Jason Finch
Friday, 05 January 2007 05:19:00 UTC
I worked for a certain computer company in Round Rock, TX from 1998 thru mid 2006. To this day, the company continues to operate almost entirely on COBOL running on big iron Tandem systems. Order, tech support, and shipping name it. Pieces of it are slowly being picked apart, but it's mainly off-system calls within the big ass COBOL execution routines.
Sunday, 07 January 2007 15:35:45 UTC
Office 97
Visio 5
IE 6
And best of all, our company's IT asset database runs in MS Access.

Yeah, I know! Luckily I am not forced to run the corporate standard desktop on all my machines. My own build of XP boots quicker, logs on in a fraction of the time and the apps are way more current. Of course, if I want to share a Visio 2003 diagram with others, I have to export in a format they can use... and Visio 2003 doesn't export to Visio 5. I usually end up using CutePDF to create something they can actually view.
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.