Ah, nostalgia. What a fun sensation.

When I was growing up, we had a family computer. Mom used it for keeping track of the farm expenses, as I recall. I also spent many an hour in front of it, typing up school projects, printing out stuff for science fairs and speeches...

We had an IBM PS/1 computer, which I've found out is now a notable exhibit in the IBM Archives. It had Windows 3.1, a game pack from disney, a Disney Sound Source ( Which was really neat because it's a sound card that used the printer port!) Microsoft Works for Windows, and some other things I've been trying to remember.

Recently, a friend of mine decided to set up a Windows 3.1 virtual machine, and I asked for a copy of it. After getting my hands on a copy of it, I've been "rebuilding" this old system of mine in a virtual machine, marvelling at the tricks and flaws I still recall due to many many hours I've poured into the system as a child growing up.

One of the first things I did was to get the PROGMAN.EXE replaced with something a bit better -- the Calmira Program Manager Replacement. This happens to be my first venture into open source projects, as a user, as far as I can recall. The fact that something so useful was available for free, blew my mind. And I was able to modify any part I want? Everything I had ever used always had "DO NOT REDISTRIBUTE DO NOT MODIFY" and other similar all-caps warnings.

As a kid, I loved to tinker. I'd make backups of the files I wanted to fiddle with, I'd make weird new extensions in the Registry, fiddle with the QBASIC examples... Remember GORILLA.BAS? Great fun. I recall making a "cheat" that would let me have an advantage over my brother... Or make the sun a different color... All kinds of fun things. But I digress!

After getting this up and running, I decided to get Microsoft Works for Windows installed. As a child, I recall using this program in particular for so many science fair projects, speeches, and other documents. It took a bit, as I ended up corrupting the filesystem when somehow QEMU ended up dumping its core all over my hard drive, creating an undeletable folder which prevented me from installing Works. Thank goodness for backups!

Once I was up and running, I found one of the sample files shipped with Works, with a date showing it to be at least 23 years of age, and opened it up. Then I got curious about that file -- could something modern like LibreOffice open it?

As it turns out, it can! As shown above, not only is it able to open the file, it's able to accurately reproduce the document, albeit with different fonts, and includes all the heading formatting, the automated page numbering... I'm impressed, to be honest! Good job, Libreoffice team! A 23+ year old file being able to be opened as easily as one created today is no easy task.

I'm going to keep fiddling around with this OS for a bit, at least until I get bored. I'll probably try to dig up copies of the games I used to play as a young geek. If anyone knows where to find those, shoot me off a message in the contact form, or use the comment section below! I'll greatly appreciate it.

And, this gives me an idea for a project I want to do. I want to figure out how to embed a DOS game into this CMS. I think in the upcoming weeks, I'll give that a shot. I think it'd be pretty kickass to create a gallery of games using a mishmash of the existing systems. I have found some interesting looking projects to accomplish this, so I'm going to have a fun challenge ahead of me!

To close out, enjoy this absolutely ancient screenshot from a much younger me I found on the Calmira site. I can almost remember what the project I had on the desktop was for, haha.

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