Origin of the Windows XP ‘Bliss’ wallpaper

Charles O’Rear’s Bliss

You’ve probably seen this iconic image everywhere at one point.  This is Charles O’Rear’s picture simply titled ‘bliss’ that was bought by Microsoft in 2000 and used as the default wallpaper for Windows XP.

Interview with Charles

I found this interview of him recently and thought it was interesting enough for a quick post.

So yeah, my crappy blog host doesn’t like Let’s Encrypt

So I thought it’d be easier to just front it with cloudflare.  So yeah things are screwed up. again.


If everything goes right, what you’ll see

I know, you get what you pay for… And honestly considering all the bandwidth this thing eats (300GB+ a month) I guess I can’t complain too much.

IRC turns 30!

irssi on the Apple //c (Blake Patterson) cropped. (CC by 2.0)

And what better way to celebrate by breaking out some ancient source and get it running!

I thought I’d take a stab at irc 2.1 first.  You can find the source archived on darenet.org, among other places.  And no doubt what made IRC popular was that not only was the protocol open (like Gopher) and the software was free without restriction except for commercial use (like Gopher).

 **
 ** IRC - Internet Relay Chat
 **
 ** Author:          Jarkko Oikarinen
 **        Internet: [email protected]
 **            UUCP: ...!mcvax!tut!oulu!jto
 **          BITNET: toljto at finou
 **
 ** Copyright 1988, 1989 by Jarkko Oikarinen and
 **                         University of Oulu, Computing Center
 **
 ** All rights reserved
 **
 ** Permission is hereby granted to use and distribute this program freely.
 ** Permission to use this program for commercial purposes and in
 ** commercial Bulletin Board or similar systems is not given.
 ** Permission to modify this program and distribute modified version is
 ** not given. This copyright notice may not be modified or removed.
 **
 ** IRC is provided 'as is', without warranty of any kind, either
 ** expressed or implied, including, but not limited to, the implied
 ** merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. The entire
 ** risk as to the quality and performance of the program is with you.
 ** Should the IRC program prove defective, you assume the cost of all
 ** necessary servicing, repair or correction.
 

Using the Linux Subsystem for Windows and the Debian userland I was able to quickly get it to compile.

IRC 2.1 connected to freenode.
And it’s useless.

However the protocol has drifted too much, and you can’t join anything as the CHANNEL command has long since depreciated.

So not one to give up too easily I tried IRC 2.7h from 1991.  This version is under the GPL v1 license, which removed the restrictions that were in place back in 1989.

Again getting this to compile wasn’t too much of a challenge, which just shows how good the code is, as building for a 64bit machine works no problem.

Connecting with IRC 2.7h

And unlike 2.1 this version is new enough you can connect to channels without modifying the client all that much.  The server built as well, although I haven’t tested it at all, as setting up IRCD is way out of my reach.  As much as I’d love to setup an isolated IRC system, I know it’ll end up being abused in strange ways so I haven’t bothered that much.

Naturally you would be INSANE to use this stuff on anything serious as I’m sure these clients are full of bugs, and have numerous issues.  I’d HIGHLY recommend using stunnel to at least encrypt your connection.

If you have read this far, then I put the diffs up on sourceforge of all things.  You can find it here: sourceforge.net/projects/ancientirconlinux/.  I haven’t provided binaries as I mentioned this is no doubt highly insecure, and exploitable, and I’m going to at least raise the bar so you have to patch & compile it yourself.  Although if you are capable of doing that much, you could have ported it yourself, after you look at my diffs.

WineVDM 0.5.0 released!

This version has MANY issues fixed, and is capable of running more and more Win16 software on Win64 based OS’s.

Printing on paper!

One of the more exciting things is that as long as I do a print setup first, I can actually print on a new printer from MS Word 2.0c!

You can download it from the releases page here:

https://github.com/otya128/winevdm/releases/tag/v0.5.0

Go back to classic Gmail

going .. back!

So yeah I”m not a fan of the new layout, it somehow manages to only render properly at a high resolution, and display farless.  “Suprpsingly” the top option on the far right is to “Go back to classic Gmail”.

Out in Hong Kong people are a buzz that Google has a secret deal with Beijing where they are not only going to build a search engine with CCP’s blessing, but they will also be moving people’s data out here into Chinese datacentres.

Then I got this email:

Due to a new agreement between WhatsApp and Google, WhatsApp backups will no longer count against Google Drive storage quota. However, any WhatsApp backups that have not been updated in more than a year will automatically be removed from storage.

This policy will come into effect for all users on 12 November 2018, although some users may see the quota benefits earlier. To avoid the loss of any backups, we recommend that people manually back up WhatsApp before 12 November 2018.

So WhatsApp is the #1 chat app out in Hong Kong.  So now presumably all our chats are going directly to the CCP. Yay.

I can’t say I’m all that surprised, when I logon from Europe or the USA all my data of course goes through the CIA via Canada, or FBI/Interpol.. So there is no escaping any of this, but the reql question is what changed to get these kinds of deals in place.

I donno what to make of any of it.

And yes, it turns out that even if you opt out of the Google tracking, they still track.  Does this mean it’s time to actually go back to an abandonded / pay platform like Windows Phone/Office 365?

Speculate wildly!

MSDN from October 1994

I picked this 20 disc set recently and ugh the cringe is just… insane.  And yes, that is Bill Nye

 

STUDS from Microsoft .
(Video in MPEG-1/Audio MPEG-2 care of JSMpeg).

I had this ages ago, although I couldn't remember if the NT 3.5 SDK/DDK had shown up at this point, but it's only the Japanese version in this set.  Since I'm having such a PITA in tracking down a 3.5 set, and I'm not sitting on this, I may as well archive it.

Yes, I had to rip 20 of these!

So you too can find the early Video for Windows, and all kinds of other things from the mid '90's on archive.org.

Or Wallpapers like this 'puppy' from the Japanese version of Windows 3.1

https://archive.org/details/MSDNOctober1994

Unloading some BSD/OS CD’s

I was kindly sent these a while ago from an avid reader, and I tried to get them to boot up into anything useful and didn’t get anywhere.  I’m sure emulators of today are probably up to task, be it Bochs/PCem/86Box or even Qemu.

So they are now up on archive where I also found version 4 up there so I may as well flesh out the collection.

Enjoy!

20 years of iMacs

Wow the time sure flies!

 

(Video in MPEG-1/Audio MPEG-2 care of JSMpeg).

I know it's terrible quality but finding video from these old Apple events seems to have been recorded on VHS, and then re-recorded using the 'best' video capture technology for under $100 of the era leading to some really poor quality.  Such is the internet I guess.

I didn't buy a first generation but I did have a 2nd generation 333Mhz green iMac to run OS X Server 1.0 ... Who wasn't excited for the prospects of the next millenium?

Excel Working Model

While messing around with Windows/386 and talking to others going through their old stuff, I’d forgotten that in the box was a working model of Excel. Since I only have the physical diskettes for 2.03, I did dump the disks for 2.11 when I had that.

Envelope with the demo

At this time in history the big spreadsheet that defined the PC was 1-2-3 which took the spreadsheet mantle away from the CP/M spreadsheet who in turn took it away from the progenitor VisiCalc on the Apple II.  And this was the chance to define the new spreadsheet for a whole new platform.  

Excel started out on the Macintosh, but with version 2 it was time to come to the PC for the new and exciting Windows 2 platoform.  And to get people to try it out the key was free working demos.

Automated demo

I thought it was interesting that it comes with a demo showing off the ability to take data from several spreadsheets and make a 3rd with data.  Oh what an exciting world 1989 was!

Oddly enough I couldn’t directly import text (csv) data into XL, but I could use Excel 3 to create a version 2 xls with my current top blog stats and then create some graphs.

So first, here is from the blog stats package wp-statistics:

wp-stats
Chart in Excel 2

And there we go in Excel 2.  Since I have Excel 3, here is it running under WineVDM on Windows 10:

Excel 3

Obviously the higer resolution helps for moving stuff around.  And the legend doesn’t resize in either, but in Excel 3’s larger display it and move stuff around.

Needless to say this stuff is down right primative in 2018, but it’s always fun to check out ‘professional’ tools from 30 years ago.

MASM386 & why you shouldn’t do this

I found myself unable to sleep and went looking at the masm386.c in the old GCC 1.2 line of code to discover what everyone had figured out at the time, that it was interesting to include it, but it didn’t do anything at all as it was never called in GCC.

So for some other reason I thought it’d be fun to mess with MASM386 the assembler that was in the original NT pre-releases up to the 3.1 DDK (maybe later, I dont’ have the 3.5 SDK/DDK on hand).

D:\temp\i>type hi.c
#include <stdio.h>
void main(){printf("hi!\\n");}

D:\temp\i>cl /c /G3 /Gd /Fahi.asm hi.c
Microsoft (R) 32-bit C/C++ Optimizing Compiler Version 8.00
Copyright (c) Microsoft Corp 1984-1993. All rights reserved.

hi.c

D:\temp\i>masm386 /Ml hi.asm hi.obj nul.lst nul.crf
Microsoft (R) Macro Assembler Version 5.NT.02
Copyright (C) Microsoft Corp 1981, 1989.  All rights reserved.

      0 Warning Errors
      0 Severe  Errors

D:\temp\i>link hi.obj -debug:none -out:hi.exe /SUBSYSTEM:CONSOLE -defaultlib:LIBC -defaultlib:OLDNAMES
Microsoft (R) 32-Bit Executable Linker Version 1.00
Copyright (C) Microsoft Corp 1992-93. All rights reserved.

D:\temp\i>hi
hi!

Yes this was a total waste of time.  Some things work, while other files explode for seemingly no apparent reason.

Windows NT 3.1 Pre-Release from October 1991

What is interesting is that it’s the same reported version from the 1991 pre-release.

With of course it making an appearance on the Microsoft OS/2 2.00 betas & SDK.

OS/2 2.0 build 123

The only thing more insane to waste time on is converting a.out to OMF…