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February 9, 2017

Ancient Screenshots

Filed under: Main — admin @ 12:01 am

I pride myself on keeping copies of things — records or archives. Only in the past few years have I destroyed hardcopies of my old stuff. I had boxes of records going back to 1984. They’re all shredded now because, well, I’d like to think that I’m not a hoarder. Still, I like keeping records for future reference. The same goes with my computer files.

Regrettably, I don’t have every file I ever created. Back in the late 1990s I tossed out my stack of 5¼ floppy disks. Eventually I tossed out the 3½ diskettes as well. And the old material I wrote on my TRS-80 and early PCs and Macs are all long gone.

What I do have are electronic records dating back to the 1990s. I have files from just about every book I’ve written. Some files were on the older computers and didn’t make it over to the new systems. And when the files are copied, they lose some details. For example, very old WordPerfect, DOS Word, and older Windows files didn’t keep their proper date-time stamps. I have the files, but can’t determine when they were created.

The other day, some of my nerd friends were sharing old computer screenshots on Facebook. Being a nerd, I too wanted to share my oldest screenshot. Surprisingly, I don’t have that many.

My old DOS screenshots are just text dumps. That’s unimpressive. Way back when, I didn’t take a photo of the screen because it was easier to just type a “screenshot” and stick it in the book.

When Windows came around, screenshots were possible: Press the Print Screen key and presto! In Figure 1, you see the earliest screenshot of Windows I have. This was from the book Staying With DOS, published by Ventana Press in 1990. (Yes, I still have that book’s text.)

Figure 1. A screenshot of Windows/386.

The screenshot in Figure 1 end up in the book, but it’s part of my archive. Curiously, I named the file WINDUM, as in Windows For Dummies, which Andy Rathbone would write in 1992.

Still, Figure 1 shows the oldest Windows screenshot I have on my PC. The file’s date is shown as January 1, 1970, which is the default Unix date, probably assigned to the file when it was copied to the OS X Macintosh I owned back the early 2000s.

I didn’t post my WINDUM screenshot to Facebook. That’s because the other nerd posted a screenshot of the original Windows, released in the 1980s. I played with that version of Windows on a Tandy 2000 computer, but I never took nor did I save a screenshot. Bummer.

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