March 25, 2021 at 2:30 AM
The third Q&A session has received all of its questions over the course of two weeks. Now, it is time to answer them... of course, having vowed to stop making many more videos, my responses come in the form of text in an article instead of a full video like the last two. Pretty much everything's much easier this way.
These five questions came in through email, and as such have the honor of being answered first:
What activities other than retro computing/programming do you enjoy or want to take up in the future?
I've wanted to take up music composition for a long time, but never made the time or acquired the resources necessary to do it. I'll get into more detail on that later, just gonna say that it's kind of tough to get off the ground with this and really lay out my ideas. I was also hoping to get started with sewing last year, but am still unable to visit the one person with the expertise on that...
Most might be able to know of this simply from the various icons I've used on my online handles over the years, but drawing just so happens to be one of those things I take up from time to time. I'm doubtful I'll ever get good at it, but designing characters is pretty fun. I try to draw things in my own way wherever I can, often using cheap tactics to make it easier to attain a decent level of quality. My main goal with drawing is simply to get my ideas out of my mind and into a clearly visible format.
Designing aquatic creatures gives me the highest level of flexibility since those haven't ever been consolidated into a de facto standard as some other types of characters have. More recently, I've been trying to create designs for a number of dragons. Most are for a completely different project, but Bugfix is the most prevalent by far; I've drawn him in at least 13 different stances so far and expect to use the drawings inline with his website. When so many other artists are drawing dragons, though, it's a lot harder to make something unique.
What tutorials do you recommend for a beginner creating a personal website, as well as managing it? What options did you in particular choose in terms of: hosting, domain names, HTML, security certificates, etc., and do you recommend wordpress.com or raw HTML, or does it depend on use case and preference?
I don't have a specific tutorial in mind, but I just so happen to be in the midst of working on my own guide on creating an old school website that can attain the versatility of Razorback. I've made very little progress on it so far, but hopefully it will be of great help whenever it does arrive, especially considering how nice it would be to have some more contributions for Cisco.
Do you plan on doing any more podcasts (freeform or centered around a topic) or livestreams in the future, or are those out of the question?
I may still do end-of-year streams as before. Considering that Discord may end up getting bought out by Microsoft (as if it wasn't already bad enough on its own), I wouldn't rule out the idea of a Discord Armageddon stream. Although I haven't been in a voice call in ages, a replacement is something I'll have to get worked out at some point since IRC doesn't offer such a thing. Still, it would be nice to get my IRC server back up and running, if only people who want to have legitimate discussions would actually use it... sigh.
Will you consider reuploading the Twitter Armageddon livestream, if not the highlights and/or final few minutes?
Due to concerns about privacy regarding a few individuals, I do not wish to republish Twitter Armageddon. I'd have to wait at least several years before I consider creating a highlights reel.
What are some obscure programs, websites or other technologies that you've stumbled upon that you would like to honor or have revived, whether they are still useful or greatly affected the period they existed in? (Besides the well known RSS/IRC et al.)
Tape storage is the first thing that comes to mind. It's actually very successful in the enterprise field where data retention for thousands of clients is critical, thanks to fissuring evolutions in the Ultrium format. Unfortunately it is still written off as a joke in the consumer space, being slandered as "unreliable" or "outdated".
The latest Ultrium drives are very expensive, but who's to say we shouldn't have a USB 3.x tape drive that takes cartridges that store around 2TB each? For those who create or archive tons of large, infrequently accessed files, tape drives would be perfect! The cost per terabyte is much lower, tapes aren't as fragile as hard drives, and newer drives can read and write data a lot more quickly. With NVMe SSDs soaring in capacity and speed over time, the two formats would make a dream pair.
What “Project Cisco” will be about?
See this page.
Would you like to export your Vlare Originals to Razorback (your website)?
I do not wish to post many videos directly on my website, largely because I don't want to waste the bandwidth or storage space. Even so, I have been slowly reposting some videos from my former Twitter handle onto my FTP server.
Will you make “PC movies” and other videos after releasing “Cisco” or this channel will be mostly abandon in videos?
I really don't think I will make anymore videos once Cisco is out of the way. Sometimes I tell myself I should given there's practically nothing worthwhile to watch anymore, especially without it being venomous to the eyes. (heaehheah CLICK THE THUMBNAIL!!!) Yet if I am to make a very basic computer video, I get the feeling that it would just be feeding the machine more, further interfering with other things I'd rather be doing. As I've said before, I want to turn my attention more to programming when the backlog is finally emptied.
From a scale of 0 to 10 how gay are you?
Who is your biggest inspiration?
It's tough to source it all from a single individual, as my output is influenced by a wide variety of things (and NO, big money channels like LGR are not any source of inspiration for my work, far from it). The whole idea of having lore across my videos in the first place stems from The Website is Down series as well as bad creepypastas from way back. The former is a must watch; the ficticious PlastrolTech corporate environment is constructed in such a convincing way through real operating systems, custom programs, and even offices branded with posters. It's a timeless classic that gives insight into the pressure system administrators go through.
But if we're trying to find a single YouTuber that compelled me to start making videos about old computers, there really isn't any. I just blindly posted stuff about my 486 computer expecting it all to flop much like the bulk of my earlier works prior to 2014, and delved into other ideas in the process. The closest individuals who I could say would have at least partially influenced my early works were John Cote, longtime friend who also made some videos of which I don't remember, BlackSquirrel7 for really getting me into the Am5x86, and Mr. Eight-Three-One, who made a pretty extensive video of his own 486 computer running Windows 95. Plenty of the videos I've watched prior to making my own came from small time channels just posting for fun. CyberMax 686 forever!
The variety of styles I try in some of my works come from several other channels that have nothing to do with old computers as well. I followed a small scale group of shitposters back in 2016, and coincidentally happened to make things that could amount to shitposts on another channel even three years before then. Arguably, one of my larger influences could be myself, as those videos didn't follow any specific shitpost format; I just did my own thing as I experimented with the powerful Adobe tools I purchased right before they switched to Creative Cloud completely. Some of the bizarre things I've thrown in my videos stem from such experimental projects.
What's your opinion of The Elder Scrolls series?
Never played any of them, nor do I care to try.
EDT is in effect now.
Have you ever considered the possibility that one day EDT will go out of effect?
What is your favorite GNU/Linux distribution?
I don't care much for the variety of distros out there, but I just stick to Debian and Linux Mint; they just work, they're well supported, and that's all I need.
Is there any "modern design" that you like?
I'm not sure there is, apart from a certain degree of skeumorphism that's now classified as outdated. Even that tends to be abused a lot. If there is a good design out there, I probably don't remember it and it came from a single individual. All you'd really have to do to make a good design is to not do things the same way so many others do them, to put it simply.
What are some programs you use or have used that do not work under Windows 10?
I can't name any, as I only ever used Windows 10 on my laptop for a year, and then I replaced that with Linux Mint.
During the time you used GNU/Linux, what are your thoughts on its desktop environments (GNOME, KDE, MATE, XFCE, LXQt,) and are they better or worse than the Windows shell? Do you think some of them (especially GNOME and KDE) implement minimalism/flat design nicely or terribly?
I've only ever bothered with MATE and Cinnamon on a regular basis. They offer minor improvements over Windows 7's interface, but I don't really ever consider trying another sort of different GUI because what's available now is as optimal as it's gonna get. Sorry, Ross Scott, but as long as the interface is easy on the eyes and well thought out, the Windows 95 GUI is perfect as it is! So what if several milliseconds are lost per action, I lose plenty of minutes struggling to write the next thing down anyway.
Have you ever used NT 5.0 (beta Windows 2000)?
Hardly. It's not as exciting as it should be simply because there aren't any available builds out there that don't use the IE shell, which was in a really broken state in early iterations. Over time, it lost its charm stemming from NT4 was well.
What is your opinion about Windows 98 Dream Edition?
Could use some work, but with the art of Windows 9x remastering being so obscure, I am still way overdue to remake my INF tutorial... not sure I'll have the time for it for a long, long while.
Why Windows 2000 is the best?
I still find Windows NT 4.0 more enjoyable and far less bloated, even if it lacks a bunch of necessities available to Windows 95 like proper Plug and Play device management, DirectX, and the ability to better handle high capacity disks.
How's your opinion about Poland so far?
Appears to be a mess based on a lot of the things you've described.
What do you think about my brother?
Did you had any favorite anime back in the day (assuming modern anime is kinda trash)?
There was no such anime I was really big into that was specifically designed to be an anime. What few I did watch were often tied in with something else, and I didn't watch them because they were anime.
What's your honest, "verbose" thoughts on the wqe "meme"?
It was a thing that ran wild throughout the Discord server due to a perfect storm of events, and it died like any other.
What do you think of Linux and other Unix-like operating systems? And why don't you use any of them? (maybe you do, sorry if I misunderstood)
They're useful for a variety of things, especially server applications and just not having to deal with licensing costs. The flexibility of the Bash shell makes it a big help in automating a bountiful of things that may not be possible in Windows NT's batch scripting engine. Plus, the fact that a GUI is not integral to the operating system gives it the versatility it needs to be administered from anywhere with minimal bandwidth. For the hell of it, one could connect some dumb terminals (or emulators of such) to serial ports on a computer to create a makeshift version of an old school Unix mainframe, where all the computing was centralized.
Over my years of irregular experience with Linux, though, I cannot be convinced it will ever truly succeed in the desktop field beyond those who are savvy enough to figure things out with a quick question in a search engine. It isn't resilient enough to handle stupid mistakes from end users, and most people are going to become too stumped when they have to figure out how to save a document in a format compatible with Microsoft Office. Trust me, I got my dad to use Linux for a while. He really liked it, but he couldn't run with it. A lot of quality software for Linux is emerging, including the incredible Olive video editor, but many of the programs are not up to par with Adobe tools from the last decade, either.
What do you use to host razorback? What OS is it hosted on, what's it's specs, and is it a home host?
I use a virtual private server. As much as I hate "cloud computing", this is the only realistic way to go. It's cheap, and it gives you the maximum level of control over what you can do, as if you were running the server from home. That's why I'm also able to run other non-web services on my domain at my own leisure.
And do you have anything to say to people that are too scared to home host because they don't wanna reveal their IP address to the public world?
Just use a virtual private server and your IP won't get leaked... as long as you're not careless with whatever applications you plan to install.
What do you think of TempleOS and Terry A. Davis?
I will say it's an impressive accomplishment to create an operating system from scratch, I just don't find myself wanting to invest myself in it. One thing I can't get out of my mind is how disgusting it is that some of Terry's devoted fans use his episodes and ramblings to validate their own twisted worldviews...
What is your favorite fish
Your guess is as good as mine. They all have a lot of their own unique attributes to make them stand out from one another.
do you ever regret creating YouTube videos?
For what videos I have made, most of them were well worth the time even if they yielded minimal results. There were a few I had to retract, though.
what is your opinion about gentoo? and why is it the best distro?
Gentoo is pointless, too masochistic to be approachable. I wouldn't even bother installing it.
Do you own a Sony VAIO, or are looking into getting one?
Vaio machines look too out of place for anything I'd want, not that I'm big into OEMs anyway. I happen to have a Sony Vaio PS/2 mouse... that was included in a $5 thrifting of a glorious Toshiba Satellite Pro.
what time range would you consider a computer to be "vintage" and worth collecting
The line blurs a bit from the tail end of 2000 to the very start of 2002. Anything which happens to involve a Pentium 4 is definitely not vintage, and never will be, forever confined into the category of "old and undesirable". The latest things that could arguably be considered vintage are the very last Tualatin and classic Thunderbird CPUs and everything around them... and not being enclosed in an ugly, unprofessional, modern case design.
Unfortunately, the many who seem to agree on this jack up the prices of these parts on eBay dramatically. I still remember being able to get a 1.4 GHz Pentium III for something like $20-$25... those days seem to be gone, 'cuz EVERYONE wants to put together some fake ass dream build that nobody even considered in 2000. Mind you, the advice some knowledgeable folk gave at the time was "unless you're only gonna play Unreal Tournament, get a GeForce".
"What does a whale mean ?" or to be specific, what do whales, basses, sharks and related aquatic species represent or have any sorts of meanings? Why are they in your contents in the first place?
Why not? Aquatic creatures don't get enough love. All too often I see retro tech channels with either very juvenile personalities or none at all, yet putting a whale front and center to the channel is a pretty easy way to bring a lot of life into it. It just so happens I've had a way with drawing on a small stylus since 2015, so leveraging that to reinvent my channel really gives it a lot more that you won't find anywhere else.
I've said this before, but what's really gotta be done is to look at these fish and whales from new perspectives to really give them a lot more depth beyond the usual tropes of "i like worms lol" and everything that refuses to go past Moby Dick and Willy. There's a lot more of these new ideas to take from whales that not enough works of art have really bothered with. Science fiction doesn't have to be all high tech stuff!
who is bugfix?
He is what he says he is, a fishdragon... you'll know more about him when you do.
Haven't you tried BeOS?
No, but I did see a pretty impressive multithreading demo of it in an official video. It seems as if it had plenty of room for growth, but at the same time I'm not too concerned about it or its successor Haiku.
Any future plans for Razorback (the website)? Also, have you considered moving the Razorback Discord server to something like Matrix?
The biggest thing I'd like to make for this site is a forum, but I do not expect to get started on that for a very long time. Incremental additions I have in mind for the main website may include streamlining the articles into a database for the sake of quality of life, an internal search tool, and the ability to comment on stuff... but I'm not ready to bring a number of these ideas into reality. Gotta make more programs in a separate space before I can prepare myself for the burden of moderation on a custom platform that may having gaping vulnerabilities I didn't consider.
How did you first discovered and played Unreal (1998)?
It was sort of an accident. As I was trying to figure out how bass lan party would play out, I considered Unreal Tournament 99 as an option, but the jankiness of demo recording in early versions of the Unreal Engine kind of make it undesirable given what I was going for. Nonetheless, when that game went on sale on Steam, so did the other Unreal games. I gave Unreal Gold a spin and was blown away by its immersiveness and killer soundtrack, and shortly got the original CD to use with my then recent Pentium II build. Many like to talk about how revolutionary Half-Life was, but didn't even consider that Unreal brought many of the same ideas to the table months prior without an excruciatingly lengthy opening transit.
What is your favorite shoot em up? Can be any platform.
That would have to be none other than G-Darius. This game is brilliant in pretty much every aspect - it has that powerful soundtrack one can expect from the legendary Hisayoshi Ogura, it provides many methodical paths to conquer the brutal challenge it offers in its own way, and it manages to look great even with the archaically low number of polygons the models and terrain have. While I haven't gotten back to playing it in years, I finally have my own arcade stick now, so that's something I oughta try doing again. Even without it, I've still listened to the entire soundtrack often as I've worked on a bunch of things. Try crunching it down to 8kHz in Windows 95's sound recorder; it's one hell of a euphoric experience to supplement an effort to model something in an old version of 3ds MAX.
Recently, G-Darius was ported over to the Switch and PS4 as part of the Darius Cozmic Revelation compilation. I have mixed feelings about it; it's great to finally have an arcade-perfect port available on a modern system, but I wouldn't call it "HD" given it's just the same kind of upscaling one could find in an emulator. Plus, I don't want a console, so I have to just forget about it. Yeah, I like the portability of the Switch, but I despise Nintendo's practices, so I wouldn't dare give them anymore ground than they already have... which is far too much.
ever dealt with a computer virus on your main systems, like a really bad one?
The only ones I've personally encountered were rogue anti-virus and fake Flash update programs, as late as 2012. Ever since I installed ad blocking and anti-tracking extensions, I haven't run into any kind of malware... except Windows 10.
Still hating fishing, after those like 3 or 4 years? (Yes I am the person who asked the question why do you like fishing back in the first Q&A vid :D)
Still? I never cared about fishing at all, even that one time I got to ride a small boat when I was really young. I never had any interest in eating fish, either. I don't really even know what exactly it was that got me into the idea of having fish become integral characters to this whole thing going on here, but it's probably for the same reason I developed a strong enthusiasm for whales. Was it those couple of SeaWorld trips in 1997 and 1999? Nope! Was it those hot and spicy cartoons from the early 2000's? Barely, and most certainly not when they were at their prime.
At this rate I'm just expanding upon my answer to flatrute, but that aquatic style I've branded this entire space with is at least partially rooted in Lugia, and a desire to reflect that captivating character presentation in some way. Though I'm really not all that fond of Pokémon as a whole (let alone nearly all RPGs), there's something to take from the second movie behind its corny plot. For those who have seen it, what was going on in your mind? If I am to put it in the most raw terms for anyone to understand, I thought of the effects of some polarizing mythical events happening all at once - crucifixion, anastasis, and armageddon, neatly packed in a sequence of drawings to strike at the heart. Having recently learned of the tragic backstory behind Lugia's development and read a bit into Ryujin, it's really started to make more sense.
This may not have been reflected well given the comical nature of the lore I've written for my videos, but I've mainly been using them as a training ground for when I'm ready to create something more full-fledged. Writing is a hobby I've developed an interest for in parallel to everything else I've worked on. I think I'm better positioned to write something more compelling after exiting the video creation field, but... shit, I'm getting ahead of myself. Anyway, onto the next question!
What do you think of Windows 1.01? (Not windows 10, Windows 1.01.)
I don't have any thoughts about that specific version, but as for the entirety of Windows 1.x... there are a number of things I can say about it. I don't find it useful at all, but that's largely because it's never been given any room to be useful. It could have been great, actually; it already manages to run entirely in real mode, which is quite an accomplishment in itself given real mode is just a bunch of ultra-tight constraints set in 1981. Many who see Windows 1 may believe it can only do as much as Reversi on an EGA display, but there exists one driver or more that's capable of displaying at least 256 colors and/or high resolutions. If you're not convinced, watch this raw footage of a CD-ROM encyclopedia Microsoft was working on... you will be stunned!
Noah The Windows Guy
What do you think about Windows 7?
From a kernel standpoint, Windows 7 is excellent. I've had very few crashes, most coming from faulty devices or CMOS configurations. I really like how it'll open up system resources for me to watch a video smoothly in the event I'm encoding a video file and it ends up taking all of the physical memory and jumping to a swap file on a hard disk. Whenever a video driver crashes, Windows 7 will try to recover from the crash, often with success. Of course, Windows Vista probably deserves more credit for all these things... you know, the operating system everyone still screams is the worst thing ever and ignores its second service pack while giving Windows XP a pass because of its own second service pack.
That being said, Windows 7 does have a number of annoyances. The ones I run into most frequently are "libraries" for document organization, and the image viewer "COM Surrogate" crashing if I close it and reopen it too quickly. I've never used libraries the way they're supposed to be used... what's the point? I can just make extra subdirectories in "My Documents" and the like, and if I want to store videos in another disk, I just do that as is, only leaving links to a few key locations in the Favorites tree. I don't need all my files to be displayed all at the same time in a single window. Libraries seem to have added confusion for older programs on the distinction between "Documents" and "My Documents" from my experience over the years.
Still, I will hang on to Windows 7 for as long as I do. It simply cannot be obsolete because it's the only 64-bit version of Windows that's managed to be well supported its whole lifespan and beyond AND is not a clusterfuck of an interface and/or a hive of normalized spyware. Anyone who tries to treat Windows 7 that way is nothing short of a shameless shill for Microsoft.
What are your thoughts on retro computers only containing period correct hardware? Would you say that a retro build not being entirely period correct takes away from the experience?
"Period correct" hardware is a bit of a blanket term, now that I think about it. I've seen a few stubborn purists that will scream at you if you have 128MB of RAM or a 20GB hard drive in a Pentium MMX computer, but the reality is that computers are very modular and should be respected for that. After all, who's to deny that someone would've replaced a computer's motherboard in 1997 while still keeping 486 relics like an ISA video card in place? Does it become an "inauthentic 486"?
It's not uncommon to buy or build an entire new system upfront, but given how expensive computers were back then, I don't think a lot of users would've had the luxury of selecting all the latest components for a year. I know you said "period" and not "year", but based on a lot of the computers I've acquired, there's tended to be a few disparities in hardware. I had a 200MHz Pentium computer that used a secondary sub-300MB hard drive specifically to store the paging file, which is actually a really clever tactic to prevent Windows 98 from slowing down the system too much when only 32MB of RAM is available.
Time disparities in hardware don't make a difference in the experience they give apart from varied acoustics in fans and mechanical drives. As long as you have a goal in mind regarding what you want to run and how you want to experience it, it'll get the job done. For example, I installed Windows for Workgroups 3.11 on a 133MHz Pentium computer that would've clearly enjoyed greater benefit from Windows 95. It had 64MB of RAM and an S3 Trio64 installed, as well as a network card which usually wasn't installed in home computers in 1995 (this was my Gateway 2000 "family PC", mind you). The CRT monitor I used was manufactured in 2000 and is fairly high spec for 17". Regardless, I just messed with some ideas for a bit, and with the right lighting, music, and desktop wallpaper, I knew I found something special.
Hehe... 1995 computing, what's that like? Windows 95? Nope, we're sticking with the Program Manager! I expected to make just one video involving this, ended up outputting five. Such disparities in hardware and software are what really give the x86 computer its identity. You could run WfW 3.11 on a Pentium II and it would be just as fun, though you might have to be mindful of speed-sensitive games.
Would you rather use macOS 11 or Windows 10?
Anything is preferable to Windows 10, although I'm not sure what Mac OS 11 has underneath itself that may be questionable.
Would you rather never use a CRT again, or only use CRT's?
CRTs would be great to use all the time, but at 60Hz they can be kind of sucky... but more importantly, they have a significant amount of lead, which could be hazardous. Whether I'd want to use CRTs exclusively would depend on how capable the best monitors are. I'm certain the late ones are really amazing, and I just so happen to have a 21" Trinitron that provides insight into where I could get with something like that.
Even with that in mind, I still see the larger CRTs as being dangerously heavy for the tables I have, and the large depth they take up leaves me with some questions, anyway. I would give all my CRTs to other people who want them if I was pitted with such a question, but of course, that would be something that happens if I was in an undesirable situation.
What are your thoughts on IT education/work culture?
I can't give much insight into that as my only formal education was a couple high school programming courses, though I can say those were very much lacking in the materials I'd want to get myself off the ground.
My parents were routinely betrayed by their employers. It's a complicated story that I shouldn't really dive too much into, but the gist of it is that for the work they've done, they've never really been provided sufficient compensation. Carrying a lot of the burden of other employees? Bleh, just give the same old wage. Collaboratively designing something major that a high profile fast food chain buys for a fuckton of cash? The employer hoards all the profits... so are you pissed off yet? Want to quit and work somewhere else, or create a new, crafty internet-centric venture at the dawn of social media? Fuck you, you're under a non-competition agreement!
I'd rather not be faced with the same fates; just make a program I'd want to make for old computers on my own time, and find out how to make a living off of my efforts. We'll see how things go, but I do see an offchance that I will have to be in servitude to someone that doesn't care about me. Oh shit, what happens if they read this? You don't question your boss and their fragile ego!
In general, do you see any "lessons from the past" that the industry seems to be ignoring moving forward?
Abusive spyware is one of the main things the industry doesn't care is harmful to the consumer. It used to be rightfully scrutinized, and a number of tools have existed that specialize in removing it, but now it's so stubbornly upheld as the way of the future that a lot of users have just accepted it. It's not like the information harvested from users is only used for "customer experience improvement" or some flowery bullshit... if you really want to hammer the industry hard on this malpractice, you could point out specific cases of the collected information being abused by those with access to it, perhaps in Google. I hardly recall any of those incidents, but I'm sure there's a number that would raise an alarm... unless everyone's just gonna write the perpetrators off as "bad apples".
What is your favorite plus! theme and why?
None other than Windows 95 and its sister theme More Windows. They each have the right color scheme and a powerful shared sound scheme. They give that feeling of "hell yeah, I'm using old school Windows". They've stuck with me throughout the ages ever since I started going through the available desktop themes on a couple of Windows 98 computers.
What's your most favourite TV cartoon?
I know I had a favorite back then, but I've hardly cared for such things at all for a very long time. Even in 2005, I grew tired of Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network, but it wasn't because of their decline in quality like "oh no what happened to Spongebob first three seasons forever!!!" Rather, I felt I was being held back by the blatant dumbness of these shows, and wanted to venture elsewhere. For a while I was into old and new game shows, but that would surely wane as I discovered I could stream homemade videos the following year.
what's your favourite ms dos demo (if you have any)?
I don't look at demos all that much, but Triton's Crystal Dream II is really impressive. The extensive use of 3D polygons kinda makes me wonder if more could've been done in the way of 3D gaming without the need for a strong floating point unit.
Have you ever produced music?
Only a very few small chunks of 'em. None of them are passable so far. I'd certainly like to have something on hand that's flexible and convenient enough to create samples, but then comes the part of translating my crazy ideas into anything coherent. I haven't gotten keys down yet, but whenever I find the time to do that, maybe I might be able to create something worthwhile. Damn, so many ideas, so little room...
What is your favourite Classic Mac OS version?
That would have to be either System 7.5.5 or 7.6.1... but given the only Macintosh I had which could run it had a fragile as all hell case and I had a tough time figuring out how to install either of those things, well, I just stick to Mac OS 9.2.2 on the G3 machines I have. Actually, I still have most of the Power Macintosh 7200 still on hand except for the case... would a cardboard case be in order?
I know you're not into modern games, but which ones seem to catch your attention as of late (if applicable)?
Doom Eternal just barely caught my interest for a brief moment before I wrote it off for having that fucking Bethesda DRM. Half-Life: Alyx might have been something that would grapple my attention if I cared about VR, but instead I opted to watch someone else play it. The closest thing I can think of is Black Mesa with its comparably recent Xen chapters, but the game has been available as a mod since 2012, and is a remake of a game from 1998, so... that may not qualify, either. Unless an individual can pitch an amazing indie game directly to me that could really be worth my time, I have to say there are no new games that I'd begin to care about, except Dusk if that's recent enough. Don't jump the gun with recommendations, either... what you may think I want is what I probably don't want.
What is your opinion on Windows 2000 Professional? It has a lot of praise like it's successor, do you think it's on par and it's like it as many people claim it to be?
It's certainly better, what with how it finally brings a lot of the quality of life features of Windows 95 over to the NT kernel, but it's still kind of slow even if the IE shell isn't taken into account. Maybe if I could figure out how to implement the 95/NT4 Explorer into Windows 2000, then I might start using it a lot more often. I've seen that Windows 2000 is more than capable of doing a lot of the everyday things one could ask for, being able to use a number of actively maintained programs that aren't just for "entertainment"; Pale Moon comes to mind. This is without kernel extensions, of course! Nonetheless, I tend to favor Windows NT 4.0 more even if it comes with its own headaches.
What's your favourite generation of consoles?
I don't have a favorite generation, and haven't cared much about consoles for a long time, either. The sixth generation may be worth remarking for being the first to render competent realtime 3D graphics, and plenty of titles were clearly not afraid to make good use of that. For instance, Super Monkey Ball happens to be one of those games that truly needs powerful 3D hardware to fully handle the extreme precision it demands from the player in an otherwise simple game. A bit of a strawpick, but other 3D games could theoretically work in 2D or a lesser kind of 3D as long as CPU power is sufficient for the job.
I know that there was one question that was similar on the previous Q&A, but none of the less here it is; with the current state of the education system in tech, do you feel that it will be downhill from here on out considering the dumbing down of society and forgetting the most basic of things and neglecting to teach them said things and the lack of experience, or is there a small glimmer of hope to this?
I don't want to be that kind of guy that has to say everything's just gonna go downhill. If organized efforts can be made to revolutionize education in such a way that empowers the individual and teaches them actual skills they can use, I am sure that the society will slowly but surely fix itself in a number of generations, hoping that something doesn't compromise everything along the way. Considering this is the political stance I really hold most dearly above all else, I may actually get involved in actively pushing for it myself at some point, should an effort exist in my local community or even if one doesn't.
If Windows XP and other future verisons were to be as modular as Windows 95 by default, would that ameliorate your hatred of them? What about the use of nLite and NTLite to gut them into something worthy of using, without the need to resort to using Windows 2000?
Even Windows 98 is not as modular as it should be given what it forces on the user. The simplified componentization of programs would definitely help make such operating systems more tolerable, but of course they had to turn into an afterthought... maybe one of these days I'll have to give one of the aforementioned solutions a spin.
Even on Linux Mint, not many options are provided upfront to customize an installation at a precise level. You can uninstall packages you don't need after the setup routine completes, of course, but I'd like to have a simple menu where I can choose which supplemental X11 programs I want; I'm not gonna need an office suite on every installation. Maybe such a distro exists for that... probably one that's going to die in two years. But if I were to really ask, everyone would just say "just use Arch/Gentoo"... puke.
Can you live without anisotropic filtering on your games? What about antialiasing?
Probably; if it's turned off, I may stop thinking about it after a while. I could even settle for the kind of software rendering found in Quake II or Unreal as long as a CPU can handle it at a decent resolution.
These days you can use a glide wrapper to play glide games using something as old as a Geforce FX. How much do you think this devalues 3DFX cards outside of the nostalgia factor?
That may depend on how much overhead a Glide wrapper takes on the CPU, as I'm sure there's gonna be an instance where someone really wants to use a Pentium MMX but doesn't have a Voodoo2 on hand. Certainly, there's no sign of the monetary value of 3dfx cards deflating given the ongoing retro craze. I'm not sure how effective PCem is at quelling hardware costs, either, noting it's had the ability to emulate a Voodoo2 and now a Voodoo3 for some time.
There's been a lot of work done by people on the MyDigitalLife forums to turn Windows XP and Windows 7 into something capable of being run on even the absolute newest systems through patched drivers and ACPI mods. This development means for people wanting to enjoy a retro gaming/OS using experience, the only roadblocks are compatible graphics and sound cards. What does this mean for retro gaming? Can it ease the pressure to buy antiquated hardware, or is the nostalgia too strong?
It depends on how much people really want old hardware or not. I'm not really so much of a gamer, so I can't provide my take on how this could shift the direction of retro gaming. Even outside of that field, as long as the newest video and sound cards aren't supported, the pressure to buy old hardware will remain, though perhaps not as much in non-gaming tasks since there must be mountains of used PCI Express video cards you can pick up for dirt cheap. The only cards I'd say would be hotly contested are the last and most powerful ones to be officially supported by an operating system, or to use an antiquated bus like PCI or AGP.
As someone who uses Windows 7 on an X570 system at this very moment, I see great potential for this operating system as well as Windows XP to last practically forever. As you said, as long as new video and sound cards can continue to be supported on these platforms, either from the vendors themselves or leet hackers in the community, they'll retain their strength unless something truly groundbreaking in the Windows NT kernel takes shape in a new version (which doesn't seem it will ever happen).
Today's conservation and modding efforts mean you can run even the jankiest, most stubborn old windows game on a bleeding edge Windows 10 system, and for DOS games without source ports, DOSBOX is a fine contraption that handles the rest. However, Windows 9x and DOS operating systems don't receive the same love like Windows XP does, and said compatible hardware is getting rarer and more pricey by the day, which is a shame for those who want that hardware to experience the limitations of the era (as emulators don't do it justice). Would setting up an amateur SOC development project that's wholly compatible with antiquated OSes be capable of tackling the trinity of experiencing the os and old hardware, and also ease the burden of retro hardware scalping?
I personally don't find SoC solutions to be sufficient replacements for ever-aging Windows 95 computers, so I have my doubts that many others could see merit in it. They're probably not going to have the modularity of an actual Socket 7 motherboard, which is part of what makes these old computers so special and the thing that lets a builder make it their own. Scalping will probably continue at the same pace until the bubble bursts violently and interest in old hardware ends up being lost in favor of emulation. Regardless of how it turns out, that won't deter my passion for old hardware nor my desire to program stuff for that field. It's something that's been long ingrained in me.
When do you think it will be safe to return to everyday life as far as COVID-19 goes?
Me and some of my relatives suggest waiting a month after a complete vaccination to get back out there, assuming anyone is in a position where they can stay at home. Following this, masks will definitely have to be worn for at least a year to protect others who have not yet been vaccinated.
I've isolated myself at home for a year, so that surely has to have done something to slow the spread of the virus, but I do question if it will really leave me well off once I get back out there, given my immune system probably hasn't had to work as hard... plus, it's really started to screw with my mind. I was all fine for most of the time save for the early weeks into quarantine and some troubles here and there, but here it is now, eating away at my sanity.
What's your opinion on cable news networks, such as Fox, CNN, or MSNBC?
I see them as more of a joke than anything else, especially when you consider that only a few million regularly tune in to such stations regularly. I doubt a lot of people would be turning to their online counterparts for the news, either. How many people even care or have cared about what's on the news? As is the case for video games and the internet now, television was useful as a form of escapism, as were many other activities. Plus, conventional news has almost never been challenging, with few notable exceptions like Edward Murrow confronting the savage, flailing aggression of escaped convict Joseph McCarthy.
Being big players in a big playing field of a certain kind, these cable news outlets cannot lie as regularly as they're attributed for like any unaudited news website can these days, but I sure as hell wouldn't rely on them for information about politics or otherwise given how out of touch they are with people. I find it easier to listen to a select few independent political commentators on YouTube, but you have to be wary of what you pay attention to. Some are great, others may be mediocre, and a number of them are just flat out evil and trying to make you be the same.
If you were required to have a cell phone for work, what kind of phone would you buy?
I'm not sure, actually. It may depend on what exactly I end up needing to do when I'm out in the field. I could just use my unlocked Galaxy S5, but I would be more willing to get a simpler phone like an old Nokia with a monochrome display if at all possible. The ultimate solution, of course, is to carry a Cisco SPA508G VoIP telephone and a battery-powered hotspot it will connect to.
If you needed a modern laptop for yourself, what kind of laptop would you buy?
I do happen to have such a thing, but I might want another simply because I hate the capacitive touch screen my laptop has. It's not even useful anymore now that Windows 8 has lost much of its relevance and I just stick to Linux Mint with Cinnamon or MATE.
Are there any childhood shows that you remember fondly?
Next to none. Any TV shows or video tapes I enjoyed watching back then are not even a second thought now. I know what you're thinking, though... there is one exception, something that's stuck with me enough to have a part in this website as of writing this article. It's a little stopmotion cartoon I watched in 1998 called P.B. Bear and Friends, very much geared towards very young folk.
The reason why I continue to find a degree of amusement in it as opposed to something like The Adventures of Spot is that it's really different, strange, and absurdly hilarious at some points. You can kind of see why that is through some videos I've put on my FTP server, some butchered, some not. For those reading, don't forget to read macinfo.txt for "descriptions" of each of the clips. (reminder: do not share these clips with children, as some of them have been tainted in a way that makes them not suitable for such)
What was your first computer?
It's surprisingly tough to answer this question because of how it could vary depending on how you look at it. Technically, my first computer was some other 486 that was given to us in 1996, but I have no memories of it and only a couple video tapes barely proving it existed in 1998. The same year, it was replaced with a Compaq Presario desktop with an AMD K6 or something, and I don't recall using until much later elsewhere when that got replaced with the first computer I remember using in 2000 - the machine housing the almighty Asus K7M.
But that wasn't really my computer; it was something the whole family used. The first computer I truly owned was an iBook G4 in 2003. It was a good computer, but when I asked for one for the holidays, I was hoping to get the clamshell kind... considering those were hardly that old back then, it doesn't seem like it should have been difficult at all to get one second hand or refurbished.
Well, that sure took a lot longer than I expected... it managed to top out the Bigeye production log, making it the largest web page on the basis of raw text alone! I hope this was of use in providing more insight into my works and what not. See you in a couple years or so.
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