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Blog: DOS Reunited

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I am STILL unable to reveal the various SECRETS what I have been going on about lately, and it is starting to do my NUT in. One of them in particular is something I am DESPERATE to shout about online, but so far am only able to do so in PERSON for fear of tempting fate. MANY is the time I have sat on Twitter about to TWEET about it or - worse yet - say "I have AMAZING news I cannot tell you about" and only just managed to pull away (and write a blog instead...).

Yesterday THINGS were going on to do with it and I felt as if I would go LOONEY if I did not tell SOMEONE. "I know", I thought, having deleted a tweet for the millionth time that day, 'I shall go to the comic shop. I often bump into people on the way there, maybe I shall do this time and manage to BLURT it out to the THEM!"

I set off for Gosh and DIDN'T meet anybody. "Probably for the best", I thought, as I stood before the RACKS perusing the most recent releases, but then Mr N Metcalfe, who works there, said hello and then FOOLISHLY added "How's it going?"

"GRATE!" I said, loudly, with a MAD GLEAM in my eye. Nat did not take this as a clue to FLEE (he works in a comic shop, I guess if he RAN every time someone said something KRAZY to him he would be winning Marathons) and instead said "Really? What's happened?" and reader, I TOLD him. At SOME LENGTH. Sorry Nat!

I CALMED myself back at work by reuniting with an old colleague: DOS!

There's a DOS database what I have been GRAPPLING with lately to try and get some information out of, and it has been surprisingly emotional. Looking at a DOS interface is like looking back a quarter of a century to my first endeavours in the field of employment, when EVERYTHING on computers was done this way. The way you move around the screen, the type face, the way it represents ICONS, the incredibly limited ways you can DO stuff - EVERYTHING about it is a nostalgia trip which I found myself ENJOYING whilst also wishing for stuff we take for granted now, like OPTIONS and MOUSE CLICKS and proper HELP functions. This database is SO VERY OLD that there isn't anything on Google to tell you what to do (which leaves a Computer Guy like me FLUMMOXED, as I have to use my BRANE instead!). Wonderfully, the system is very proud of being able to use new-fangled .dbf files (which was a legacy format even when I first started) although it is unable to export more than 15 variables at a time. AND! AND! I spent ages trying to work out why it was refusing to do something before finally realising it was because my FILENAME contained more than 8 characters!!

It's all oddly lovely, and I can't shake the sense of WONDER that it still actually works, although there's no reason why it wouldn't. The PROGRAM is a series of zeroes and ones, it's not like a rusty old PLOUGH or something that would wear out - as long as the files don't get corrupted something like this could work FOREVER!

PHEW! It was a right rollercoaster of THRILLZ - I thought when I sat down to type this blog entry that my inability to reveal The Big Secret Thing would lead to a dull blog, HOW WRONG I WAS!

posted 9/3/2017 by MJ Hibbett

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