August 24th, 2017

cass, can you not

I don't miss the DOS command line, though, that's for sure.

I think it was the combination of the slant of light (harsh, noon-ish), the neighborhood (commercial, very busy, not really prosperous), and the business I walked into (the office/warehouse of a small online merchant of miscellaneous stuff), but I felt sudden and very strong nostalgia for a particular type of software, those very ad hoc, never quite successful, weirdly specialized utilities and programs from the dBase III/ASCII dialog interfaces on monochrome screens era.

Remember those? They usually were but one step above something somebody wrote for an acquaintance's particular needs, both in terms of design and sometimes even literally. Before the internet, when they might have physical addresses for you to mail checks, would come in a floppy disk but no manuals, perhaps as part of the monthly bundle of who-knows-what with your thick, ads-filled computer magazine. Every one with a wholly different interface and convention, each function key, and even PgUp/PgDn, etc, doing something highly specific. You'd get to know every nook and cranny of them, because you spent a lot of time with each, doing only the task they were meant to do, and they didn't have that many nooks and crannies, comparatively, so it was possible in a way it no longer is.

I know I remember those as stimulating and creative because that's what they were at the time, and that my past self would be thrilled to know the kind of software I use every day, but the feeling is still there.