Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Old school

Windows 98 SE updates.

For the most part, we have the latest and greatest technology down here. When we order it, it is usually new and by the time we get it, it is a year old. However, once we get it, we seem to hold on to it forever. This seems especially true of the scientific equipment. They don't want to change the way they collect their data because that might throw off their results. Sometimes, it is just too costly to replace things. We end up with some very old equipment.

Some of you might remember I was working on a key card system over the summer. The machine was from 1994, I think. The software was from 1996. Scrounging parts to make the machine work was more than a little trying. I think after a eight painful days of missteps and bad parts, we finally got it working properly. We simply had to change the way we work. An old PC Tech was telling me that they used to open and fix power supplies when they broke. Now, we usually have enough spare parts that we can just replace them.

Last week, I spent a few days building a computer to run Windows 98, my least favorite operating system. It was terrible and on my personal computer I held out on Windows 95 until 2000 came out. Anyway, after a few days I got the machine set up, but I can't believe how far things have come. Bootable CDs to do installs of instead of floppies. Generic drivers that usually work with devices even if they don't work 100%. General functionality. Everything. While having to go through the ordeal of setting the machine up, I also found an old copy of Windows 3.1 (pictured below).

Windows 3.1 on 5.25" floppies.

It's cold and misty

Hoarfrost on a chain.

For the past couple days, it has been cold and misty. A few people just traversed out to Black Island. It only took them three hours on the new Black Island road. Apparently, they couldn't see any real picturesque views because it was so clouded in. The wonderful thing though is that the mist causes hoarfrost, which is a solid deposition of water vapor from saturated air as a crystal.

Hoarfrost on a mountain bike (photo by K. Klassy)