Blast from the past…

I’m configuring an old laptop with all the tools I need for browsing, blogging, and checking email while at Comic-Con. This particular laptop runs optimally with Win98 on it.

Ah, good times. This OS is older than two of my children. It’s older than my comic. In internet years it is positively ANCIENT.

But it works. (Knocking on wood now…)

22 thoughts on “Blast from the past…”

  1. Make sure you get a heavy-duty virus scanner on there. It’s been so long since Windows98 patched any of its holes that it’s pretty leaky.

    1. Aw, c’mon. Win98 is like the Milennium Falcon – it looks yucky, but generally holds together pretty well, and can provide surprisingly good performance.

      Of course, once in a while the main hyperdrive dies…

      1. Heh – back in college (in the Win98 era actually) my computer was nicknamed “The Falcon” by my housemates since it was the fastest hunk of junk around.

        It would run for months at a time with the case removed and it’s guts hanging out.

        Looked awful, ran fast, and sometimes failed spectacularly and inexplicably -and usually at the worst times.

        The nickname was WELL deserved.

        1. My computer’s name on the network actually WAS Falcon — mainly because there was an untrustworthy card in there, and I could actually hit the computer to jiggle something back into place and make it work.

  2. Howard Tayler – Charter member of the SCA (Society for Computing Anachronisms).

    Hey, there’s a lot to be said for the least complex (and least expensive) tool for the job! May you and your laptop have many years of basic communications functionality.

    (Written from my main desktop machine, the one that’s eight years old and only got upgraded to XP a year ago.)

  3. I found out what doesn’t work… USB

    The USB port doesn’t work on this machine. It’s possible that all the USB devices I have are just too new, but the machine doesn’t respond when anything’s inserted.

    No big deal. It surfs. It logs in. It Dvoraks.

    1. Re: I found out what doesn’t work… USB

      Last I knew 98 needed drivers for everything and it’s brother. Look online for drivers for your gadgets, and see if that helps.

    2. Re: I found out what doesn’t work… USB

      Windows 98 does not ship with much in the way of useful USB drivers. Mouse, maybe. Mass storage device, no. You’ll need to dig drivers up from somewhere.

      Out of curiosity, are you running Firefox on there? ISTR you promoting it in the Blogunder, yet the system requirements for it are NT-era Windows. (I run Opera on my Win98 retro box, but prefer it anyway, if you’ve found yourself stuck with MSIE5.)

    3. Re: I found out what doesn’t work… USB

      If you really need USB, there are some drivers floating around. But really, you’ll spend hours on getting it working, and even then it’ll be flaky – and no way you can get a USB networking device to be even reasonably stable. So if you end up needing that, Puppy Linux or something is a better choice. But unless you’re stuck without a mouse, I don’t see why you’d need any USB for the kind of stuff you plan to use the machine for.

  4. They make versions of linux that will run well on machines like that. Puppy comes to mind as a very low footprint distro. I’m working on getting it up on my computer.

    1. I’m sure they do. I have exactly zero desire to try and make it work, though. That’s a few hours of testing and troubleshooting, while what I have right now is working, and doing all I need.

      I’m not saying I can’t do it. I’m saying the price is waaay too high for me. Time is money, after all.

        1. Indeed, and it was quite the discussion.

          In this case, I have a tool that does what it needs to. It’s ugly. It’s old. It doesn’t do a lot of things that similar tools do. But it does what I need right now.

          If I need a better tool (and I will) I’ll probably be buying a really GOOD tool, rather than filing, sanding, and spot-welding this one.

          1. Exactly. That’s why both my desktop and laptop are the beefiest Macs I could manage: when it comes time to get the work done, I need something that’ll just come up and run. I’ve got other systems that run Linux for playing with…and my main net-facing server is a Linux box. Again, the right tool for the job.

            There are circumstances where Windows – even Windows 98 – is the right tool for the job…few though they may be.

  5. You know, Ubuntu or Fedora will work on that like a champ, with the benefit of getting regular security patches (and in general just being much more secure). I wouldn’t have recommended it to a non-unix person a year ago, but the latest releases have just simply worked. OpenOffice, Firefox, and Thunderbird either installed by default or selectable from the add/remove programs control panel thingy.

    1. Right. Ubuntu is nearly as easy to use as windows these days, and the spots where it isn’t are generally in third party windows tools that people are used to but where the linux tool still lags a bit. I wouldn’t wish 98 on my worst enemy now that they’ve had 4-5 good years to find every security hole in the system with no patch support.

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