Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Mourning of Windows 3.x

The year was 1993, the month August...

I went to my local computer store with my $3000 in hand ready to buy my first desktop computer. Previously, I had the opportunity to take my classroom computer home during breaks so I had no need for may own, but my husband was transferred and I had to move. My Apple IIGS had to stay behind at Christ the King in Richland. Since we hadn't owned our home in Richland very long, we didn't make very much on it so my husband told me I could take part of the earnings and buy a computer. We had the conversation that was much like our political conversations in our home- Mac vs. PC. In the end, the PC won.

It was an amazing day when I brought my custom built PC home. It was a 482DX with Windows 3.1 (code name Janus) on it. People came from all around to drool on it. Let me tell you, there was a lot of coveting going on all around me and a bit of gloating on my part. The amazing thing was that it ran Windows 3.1. It had a GUI interface that people could understand. No more C:\ DOS command line garbage. It introduced the mouse for the PC and made us ask the question right click or left and if you have more than one mouse, is it mouse or mice? It was the beginning of double click this and double click that. It was the OS that fed my first gaming addiction, Minesweeper. When I came to work with my current employer the Windows 3.11 machine was still on-campus. Windows 3.11 was my first interaction with in an Ethernet environment and had the first virus I had to clean.

So this week folks, we cover our Vista and XP computers in black as we mourn the loss of our old and may I say reliable friend, Windows 3.x. After 18 years, the licensing has been laid to rest. The world has moved forward as Microsoft quits shipping the longest supported GUI operating system in it's line, which I know purists may argue that it wasn't a "REAL" OS, but for many it was their first interaction with a computer and it allowed the non-geeky/techie part of the world a comparable and less expensive choice. Now lets take a moment of silence as we remember the days when we could just push the power button to power down and not get a startup message that tells us that we have improperly shut down or that we may have to start in Safe Mode or freeze at the startup screen. It truly is a sad week.

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