Using Very Old and Not so New
Software              By Tony Whitman
I entered into the PC world back when disk space was counted in single units of megabytes and memory
topped out at 640Kbytes with the operating system being some flavor or another of DOS. Life does move
on so my system now has a disk capacity of 40 gigabytes and a corresponding increase in the amount of
memory and Windows.
Letter writing when it is required these days does get done in Word® and spread-sheets get executed in
Excel® but I still rely a lot on older DOS based programs to do a lot of things my way so I can
understand what is happening as well as fix problems as they are encountered.
A lot of the time I spend on the computer starts off with clicking on an icon on my desktop that takes
me to a series of BAT files that due to the limitations of the DOS program that accepts a single
numerical key stroke are of necessity broken into a main BAT file that calls other BAT files depending
upon the number input. Not very elegant but it works. All you members receive the output of a couple of
the programs that I use, in that my data base program generates files of the dues notices both as a
letter and as an e-mail message. The letters make use of the fairly new with the envelope and letter
being printed with Word® while the e-mail messages go out using a fairly old DOS program.
One of the more interesting activities I had to do was work with a database of names, Fax numbers,
snail mail and e-mail addresses. Each entry had a desired means by which he or she wished to be
contacted resulting in having to generate a list of addresses for snail mail posting, e-mail messages
complete with the message and a list of Fax numbers I could pass on to my Fax generation program. Not
the most stylish way to do it perhaps but I know when I am done that all received the message via their
My biggest concern now is the decision on the part of Microsoft® to remove DOS from its Windows
environment. I'm sure the vast majority of Windows users could care less, but I for one will probably
stay with the last version of Windows that handles DOS programs putting my trust in programs I can make
do what I want to as opposed to trying to find a program or program(s) that might be advertised to do
it all but with no guarantee that it will.
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