Wasted Neurons Wednesday - 4DOS

Whilst writing about Utilities last week, the fondest memory wasn't one of the best known.
Well, kind of.
4DOS was a replacement for COMMAND.COM. Distributed as shareware, an older version was also licensed to Symantec as NDOS, which might be more familiar for some people.

The reason I'm so fond of it is that it made MS-DOS usable on a daily basis.
Remember, this was before Windows. No GUI here. So COMMAND.COM was your interface with DOS, making 4DOS the equivalent of replacing Program Manager or Explorer in Windows.

Wasted Neurons Wednesday - COM and EXE files

These days, all Windows programs are .EXE files. But back in the days of DOS, there were also .COM files.

Why no .COM files anymore?

The answer lies with the precursor of MS-DOS - CP/M.

MS-DOS was not actually written by Microsoft - IBM had tried to get CP/M for their new PC, but couldn't agree on the royalty rates. As a hedge bet, they asked Microsoft for an operating system - so Microsoft first licensed, then bought outright someone else's CP/M clone and resold it to IBM!

Wasted Neurons Wednesday - RAM and the IBM Compatible PC

The IBM PC was powered by an Intel 8088 processor.

That processor could address 1Mb of memory. Yes, a whole luxurious megabyte! Trust me, that was a big figure in 1981.

However, you didn't get the whole megabyte. Oh no. Things like video cards and the built-in BASIC need some RAM to use, so IBM reserved the upper 384Kb of RAM for that purpose. That gave the machine 640Kb of RAM to play with.


It's that time of year - resolutions time.


I'm quite serious. And this isn't an attempt to shirk anything.

(I'm making no resolutions this year because I'm more of a fan of kaizen. So when I needed to start running, I didn't wait - I just started. I'm simply wondering about why we make resolutions at New Year.)

Despite preferring continual improvement, I can see that having a time to take stock of things and set new goals is positive. I just don't see why it should be January 1st.



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