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Re: laptop ideas (kinda long post, sorry)



Michael Edwards wrote:

>      I understand that with *some* DOS programs, it is best to run them on old
> computers.  The new ones are so fast, faster than the DOS program designers
> anticipated, that they are literally too fast to run the old software properly,
> and things either don't work properly, or else they happen so fast you can't
> keep track of them.

Michael,

I have plenty of legacy DOS software, some of which I run inside a real DOS
partition, and I have seldom run into this as a problem.  That's up through a P-III
/ 850 desktop system.  If I notice anything like that on a new P4 2.8 portable . . .
well, ask me in a few weeks.

>      I believe this is so with some old DOS games -

Games, yes.  More timing sensitive than most other software.

> and I have heard of people
> wanting to run them going to great pains to obtain old XT computers, precisely
> because they run these games better than anything more recent.

Probably not necessary.  There are utilities that can slow your processor way down,
if it comes to that.

> And I know that,
> with my Turbo Pascal compiler (the most recent version, from maybe 10 years or
> so ago), when I write programs on a Windows-based computer, I sometimes get
> run-time errors

One of the most famous of these is an immediate Divide Overflow error on processors
faster than about 200 mhz.  This was caused by a flaw in one of the TP compilers --
Borland's, I think.  Someone in Germany released two alternate patches for such
already-compiled programs.  A similar flaw made my OCR program stop working, but the
compiler they used was not Borland's, so these patches did not work.  I ran a test
slowing the processor down, and was able to get the OCR program to work again, but
the parameters are tricky, and I never invested the time to get this right or
systematize it.  Maybe I'll revisit that, but it may just be easier to get a new OCR
program.

>      My suggestion is that, before you buy a laptop, you try XyWrite on it first
> if you can, and with the operating system you intend to use, and make sure it
> works to your satisfaction.  You probably won't be able to change the installed
> operating system before purchasing it - but you could boot up DOS from a floppy
> for the purpose of trying it out.

There are some OS issues (fixable), as Harry pointed out, but the hardware side of
it comes down more to peculiarities or limitations of the LCD display or keyboard
scan codes, vis-a-vis what was the case when you ran Xy on prior desktop systems.
There are often workarounds for these too.

Jordan