Retrochallenge 2016/1

Well, I’ve decided it’s finally time to throw my hat in the ring and participate in a Retrochallenge. Being that this will be during what is traditionally considered the Winter Warm-Up round, I figured it was as good a chance as any to get my feet wet.

I’ll be doing something rather tame for my first go, but it’ll do to get the retro juices flowing.

I have an Atari 800XL and 1050 floppy drive that need some love and care. I’ve also got a box of random Atari floppies that a friend sent to me and I have yet to go through them.

Assuming I can get the hardware functional and able to read the floppies, part two will be to go through the disks and catalog exactly what’s on them…if I can figure out how the hell Atari files and disk structures work.

Either way, it’ll be fun to mess around with the old hardware. Never know, might find a copy of AtariWriter or something else in there I can use for first-hand experience in my productivity software research.

Office Suites

I’ve long been fascinated by Office software. The very first computer that my family brought home had Microsoft Works 3.0 pre-installed. For many first-time computer buyers in the mid-90s, this was a very common thing to find on your hard drive. The one program that stated how easy it would make your life intrigued me and I played around with the different modules. At 12, I had no clue what spreadsheets or databased really were, but the word processing module was like a typewriter on a screen, so I grasped that part relatively quickly.

Over time, I figured out how to use the other modules, though I had little use for them as a kid. In school, most of the computers were Apple and thus had ClarisWorks on all of them. A few had the other common Mac software from years earlier, MacWrite, WriteNow, etc. It wasn’t until high school when I was doing my summer volunteer hours at a hospital that I had my first real exposure to full-fledged productivity software, Microsoft Office.

I knew that the programs that made up Office were essentially the bigger brothers to the integrated packages I’d been used to, but I didn’t really understand how they all worked together in a business setting. I’d just never had any experience with that level of use. As time went on, I looked into other software, collected what I could find, tried others out. I spent a few years bouncing between different computers just to try out older versions and obscure, long-dead packages.

I’ll be using this blog as a place to offer up the in-progress research I’m doing on the history and evolution of Office Suites. Hopefully, someone will find the information useful, or at least entertaining. Either way, I’ll be enjoying every bit of it.