Thursday, April 06, 2006

Nothing beside remains: Software long gone

We moved last year, and before the move I dumped boxes of 5.25" floppy (really floppy) disks. I made a quick list of what I tossed, and in memory to old software long forgotten, here it is.

Each of these products represented immense efforts, and all of them were commercially successful. Few are in use now, and even fewer are remembered. As each died thousands of old documents and files became unreadable and worthless.
Volkswriter: My first PC wordprocessor; prior to it I used
Grammatik: standalone DOS grammar checker
PFS First Publisher: ancestor to Apple's Pages
Harvard Graphics: create charts
Q & A: wordprocessing and lightweight database
Smart Software (Integrated: DB, WP, Spreadsheet): powerful and obscure
Sidekick: TSRs were awful. Truly awful.
Enable: Another integrated app. Wordprocessing, database, etc. Only Office survived.
WordPerfect, WP Editor, WP Library, DataPerfect: Remember the WP suite? DataPerfect was pretty bad. The WP Editor was excellent.
Reflex: Innovative database/analytics tool
Copy II PC: Before DRM, there was copy protection. Hence Copy II to break it.
PC File: Original shareware appl.
Quattro Pro: Borland's spreadsheet. Later bundled with WordPerfect.
Laplink: Connect machines before LANs
Grateful Med: PubMed is the inferior replacement
MS DOS 2.11: There grew the dark seeds of Gates' power.
DesqView and QEMM 386: The Horror, the Horror.
MS DOS "Leading Edge": Leading Edge had its moment of glory.
Software Carousel: Switch applications, not multitasking. Actually worked.
GeoWorks Ensemble: Shining moment of hope. Microsoft squashed it like a bug.
PFS First Write: another early wordprocessor
Norton Utilities: many versions, this was once a great product. Hard to believe!
Reams of medical software:
Cyberlog, Discotest, Grateful Med, PDQ, EpiInfo, Medical Letter Drug Interaction
Sim City: This game is still around.
Falcon F-16
Turbo Pascal, C, C++: Those were Borland's salad days
Fastback: defrag
Spinrite: still in business I think ...
BBeard.arc: A BBS software package, from the modem days.
Procomm Plus: remember modems?
Ready 1.0: original outliner
GrandView: outliner/database
Folio Views: a wonderful product that fell when the web rose.
Norton NDOS (replaced
Norton Commander version 1, 2, and 3: never equalled. NCMail was my favorite email client for many years.
Magic Cap/General Magic (including letter reaffirming firm commitment from Apple)
Reference Manager: still around I think.
Yes, we do need standard document formats.

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