One of Isaac Asimov’s robots short stories features a curious problem: a robot is running in circles, unresponsive to commands. The troubleshooters who feature in the story quickly realize that there’s a logic conflict: the robot’s in-built orders, both to save humans and to preserve itself, cause it to advance in one direction, then retreat as the danger grows. I’ve been running in circles the past week or so myself, with an array of really promising books before me — all enticing, but none so compelling that I can fight the distraction to dabble in the others. On the table are The Believing Brain; Where Wizards Stay Up Late– The Origins of the Internet; Flygirls; Ravensbrück, Life and Death in Hitler’s Concentration Camp for Women; Our Only World; and The Moral Animal. And there are more inbound, because when you can’t get into what you’re reading the obvious solution is to..buy more things. It’s the American way.
Speaking of buying things, I finally succumbed to the temptation to acquire a Windows 98 retro-gaming rig. My original intent was to re-format an old machine, but while trying in vain to find appropriate software, I saw someone selling a refurbished Dell for a pretty good price. It boasts 100 GBs of hard drive space and 512 MB/RAM. (Laughable now, but ten times the resources of my first Windows machine.) It booted to an error screen because the shipper inserted a floppy disk, which gave me a laugh. Once the empty floppy was removed, I was in business. I bought the machine solely to play Star Trek Elite Force, Star Trek Armada, and Star Trek Away Team, all of which are now installed and running. Since I still have the hard drive from my defunct 2004 computer, I’ve imported old custom maps that can’t be found online anymore.. I suppose this is the 21st equivalent of someone digging around in their attic, finding boxes of records from high school, and then buying a record player to relive their salad days.
I’ve forgotten surprisingly little Windows 98 navigation, in part I think because I learned to use computers on a Windows 95 system, and my ‘formative years’ so to speak were using it at school and then Windows 98 at home. It wasn’t until 2004 that I began using an XP, and I didn’t stop thinking outside of 9x’s architecture until Windows 10 made it possible to access everything on the PC via the search bar. That was also possible on Windows 8, but I really did not like the tiles system. It’s fine on a phone, but when I’m in front of a desktop computer, I want my DESKTOP.
My only problem so far is finding utilities that will actually install and run: even finding files published in 97-99 which say they’re compatible hasn’t produced any which will run. The lack of Winzip I can live with, and even Winamp. Not being able to take screenshots, though, is grating. The two shots above were taken with my camera.