No continuity..

Published on: Author: Mike Hall Leave a comment

I learned many years ago never to use any program, application or utility which saved in a proprietary format.

For instance, what happens if your favourite program is discontinued? A good example is Microsoft Picture-It. This was a far more popular program than I would ever have believed, so it must have had a lot of good and easy features to use. The trouble is that it saved to a proprietary format. I believe that XnView, an open source photo viewer/editor can but don’t hold me to it.

Is XnView in the same league as Picture-It? Apparently not (I have left out the expletives used when I suggested it as a possibility)

Another problem was that they might not work in the next Windows version, because they didn’t always. Sometimes, the author would include specific OS identifiers in the coding which would prevent the program being installed on anything else but one specific operating system. You could see this as being mean, but when somebody has put a lot of work into producing a program, why should they ‘give it away’ forever? Would you?

So, you would see changes made, but you may not have liked them. Such is life. The software author has to include something more than just OS compatibility, otherwise people will complain. Changes to how a program works plus having to re-invest is going to bring complaints anyway.

Some software today is written to take advantage of advances in hardware capability, and as hardware continues to evolve, it may not work tomorrow. This is not a new concept either. Way back when in the old days of Windows 95, there were games written specifically for just ONE graphics card. If you didn’t have the right video card, you didn’t get t play the game. My first gaming card was a Matrox Mystique, and I bought it because the game I wanted to play needed it’s capabilities. It was a great little card and was good for a few games but not all. Some games would only run on ATI Rage video cards.

Eventually, games authors started to port for a variety of video cards and even today, many of the video card updates are produced to accommodate new versions or features found in games.

If you had walked into a computer store back in the days of Windows 3x and 9x, you would have seen shelves full of software, Home and Garden designers, games, greeting card makers, desktop publishing, encyclopaedias, office suites, personal information managers, all kinds of stuff. What happened to all of it?

Well, at the time, computers were selling well, but we needed something to make them useful. The Internet and the technology to get there was in infancy, so boxed software was all the rage. Early Internet was very much text based which is great for communication. ‘Messengers’ started to appear, MSN, Yahoo, ICQ, AOL Buddy and mIRC. None of them were particularly compatible, and attempts to harness them all into one Messenger program failed for the most part. The chat room side of these became so full of abuse and bullying to the point where Microsoft pulled out completely. Yahoo was the last to have its plug pulled. However, if you are desperate, there is still Paltalk, Second Life, and Habbo Hotel if you are a teenager.

Social networking has changed. We tweet and ‘Facebook’ now in more controlled environments, but there is still capacity for abuse, just not as much.

Continuity is difficult to pin down in the wonderful world of computing. The ATX standard for motherboards appeared  in 1995, and the basic design has not changed much, except that:

  1. Power supplies, especially older ones may not have the connections needed to power a new computer. The 20 pin connector was dropped in favour of 24 pins as more power is required for more peripheral requiring ever more USB ports. Auxiliary power has expanded from one 4 pin cable for the CPU to multiple cables with 4, 6 and 8 pin ends for the CPU and multiple high power video cards..
  2. PS/2 keyboard and mouse ports have all but disappeared in favour of USB wireless devices.

It has to be said that everything is better than its predecessors, even Windows 8. Suck it all up because you really wouldn’t want to go back to the old days. We had the same problems back then and couldn’t do a half of what can be achieved today. It was also way more expensive..

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