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Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
Posted by Michael on 8 May 2005, 07:59 GMT

[Windows 3.1 computer!]

Several days ago, members of the ticalc.org staff were perusing through the web server statistics as is frequently done. That's when we noticed the line in the Operating System Report: "Windows 3.1". At first glance, this seemed incredulous; no one uses Windows 3.1 anymore. Further research into the actual server logs revealed that indeed, in the past seven days a combination of Internet Explorer 5.0 and Windows 3.1 has requested 90 files from ticalc.org. Magnus Hagander immediately set out on the long and perilous quest to locate this machine.

Saturday morning, Magnus interviewed no less than one hundred and thirty-seven system administrators of various companies, based upon the IP address found in our logs. As of right now, eighty-five of them have been admitted to the hospital for coronary-related ailments. Through the global-spanning resources of the Swedish Mafia, the computer was traced to an "A. Nakranistik", a German hermit.

Mr. Nakranistik refused to answer any of the mafia's questions or to explain why he had visited ticalc.org. By means of a time-tested social ritual involving patellas and kinetic energy, he then changed his mind and consented to the photograph which you can find at the top of this article. From the timestamp on ticalc.org in the photo and the reddish tint of artificial lighting, it is apparent that Adolf Nakranistik is a distressed individual who checks ticalc.org at ungodly hours of the night. Also note the Paint Shop Pro icon in the corner of the screen. Mr. Nakranistik is believed to have used Paint Shop Pro to create his illicit photo collection - graphing calculators posing without wearing slide cases. He has since been taken to an undisclosed location for corrective therapy involving the forced consumption of surströmming and lutfisk.

As for the rest of the world, it can breathe easy as the Swedish Mafia has since turned the laptop over to Magnus. When asked what he planned to do with it, Magnus replied that he had already formatted the hard drive and installed the latest version of Slackware. Jonathan Katz also had comments about the situation: "Why didn't he just upgrade to Windows XP? It would have been far more sane and he would have spared all of this trouble." Joey Gannon, always the voice of diametrical viewpoints, said, "This wouldn't have happened if he was an MSDN Universal subscriber! I just bought my fifth copy of Windows Server 2003 the other day. He should have been continuously upgrading with every Microsoft release." Meanwhile, the usually effervescent Nick D merely screamed, "He should have used OS/2! OS/2 Warp I tell you!" In any case, this historic rediscovery of a 16-bit operating system is now behind us and ticalc.org looks forward to many years of 32-bit and 64-bit serving to come.

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The comments below are written by ticalc.org visitors. Their views are not necessarily those of ticalc.org, and ticalc.org takes no responsibility for their content.


Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
benryves  Account Info
(Web Page)

Windows 3.1? I still drop down to use DOS from time to time :-)

Reply to this comment    8 May 2005, 08:15 GMT

Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
Mattthew Ellsworth Account Info

I run dos/windows 3.1 (I'll logon sometime)/win. 95/win. 98/win xp and I'm in the process of getting a good version of Linex. =-)

Reply to this comment    8 May 2005, 13:25 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
jeff m  Account Info

the data-collection computer in a physics lab here has a monochrome monitor, runs DOS, has a 5-1/4" floppy (remember that disk check sound?), a manual-feed dot matrix printer... how's that for nostalgia?

Reply to this comment    8 May 2005, 15:42 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
Rob van Wijk  Account Info

Playing Pong or Space Invaders is nostalgic, that setup is just plain obsolete. ;)

Reply to this comment    8 May 2005, 18:45 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
Michael Schulke Account Info

Not necessarily obsolete.

Precision data acquisition hardware often costs more than the host machine it's running in. Also, older (read: 1980s) devices are sometimes tied to particular host machines and/or operating systems. So it makes sense to continue using that old system.

Michael

Reply to this comment    10 May 2005, 09:21 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
Timmc Account Info
(Web Page)

But PONG RULEZ!

ANY STATS ON MOBILES (or "cell phones" for retarded peoples) ACCESSING TICALC.ORG? PUT ME DOWN FOR 10 PAGE LOADS. =P

Reply to this comment    13 May 2005, 06:38 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
PGK Account Info

We had Apple IIe computers at with the green monochrome screens and 5.25" floppies all the way until 1999 at my school. They were purged when the Internet came district-wide and a bunch of Windows 95/98 refurb machines replaced the Apple IIes, LCIIs, and the few PPC 601/603e PowerMacs that teachers didn't hide.

The Windows machines were awful. I have had to come in and fix them many, many times. The horrible thing is that most only have 32-64 MB RAM so that I cannot load a Linux live CD (requires 128M minimum, 256+ recommended) to edit a boot.ini or system file that got killed by a virus.

Reply to this comment    30 May 2005, 19:52 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
Shawn Zhang  Account Info

...I would download linux if it wasn't for three things:
1. I have DIAL-UP
2. I don't have a CD-burner
3. My hard drive only has 4.7GB left

Reply to this comment    8 May 2005, 20:12 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
Andy Janata  Account Info
(Web Page)

You don't need a CD burner, and that's plenty of room for a minimal system. If you go for zipslack, you should be able to download it overnight.

Reply to this comment    9 May 2005, 00:42 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
Shawn Zhang  Account Info

>>that's plenty of room for a minimal system
Not if I want to dual boot, which I probably can't do on this old computer anyway. I don't think my BIOS supports dual boot anyway.

>>If you go for zipslack, you should be able to download it overnight
My dial-up won't stay connected overnight, and where do I get that anyway?

Reply to this comment    9 May 2005, 19:44 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
Brian Gordon  Account Info

You can always manually dual boot (two hard drives and a big switch box on the desk)
:)

Reply to this comment    9 May 2005, 20:36 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
Chris Williams  Account Info
(Web Page)

The BIOS isn't directly responsible for dual booting. It loads a small program from the hard drive that boots the OS, so you just have to change that program. It's not as complicated as that sounds... all you need to do is install and configure LILO or GRUB, and that takes care of it for you.

Get a downloader program that allows continued downloads, such as wget (see link). Then you can download almost any file a little bit at a time. OR you could ask a friend to download it for you and burn it to CD (if you have a friend with a faster connection).

By the way, I'm running a non-minimal Slackware system on a 3.2 GB hard drive, and I've got about 1 GB for my files. I could probably even get rid of a bunch of program and library files that I don't need and get almost another GB for my own files. Depending on your experience with *nix systems, you can customise them a lot to fit your needs and capacity.

Reply to this comment    9 May 2005, 21:02 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
Shawn Zhang  Account Info

? What's lilo/grub?

Reply to this comment    9 May 2005, 21:20 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
benryves  Account Info
(Web Page)

They are two different boot loaders that sit on the MBR (master boot record) of your hard drive. When your PC starts up, they run and allow you to select which OS to start.

You can reclaim the Windows one with an old DOS disk and the FDISK /MBR command.

Reply to this comment    9 May 2005, 21:23 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
Drantin  Account Info

You remember seeing the message "Starting MS-DOS" or "Starting Microsoft Windows 95" or something to that effect?

What both grub and lilo do is replace that with a menu system that lets you choose the OS to load.

If you just want to try linux you could always try it with bochs (an x86 emulator) before resizing your partition (although i believe there is a way to load linux from within dos, it's been a long time since i tried that...)

Reply to this comment    11 May 2005, 03:44 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
Shawn Zhang  Account Info

but back to the point, how am I supposed to install linux without a CD burner? I tried downloading zipslack, which was the smallest version i could find, but I couldn't get a download rate higher than 1.8K (that would take about 10hrs)

Reply to this comment    11 May 2005, 21:12 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
blauggh Account Info

Many Linux distributions allow you to create am installation boot-floppy with all the necessary software to download the installation files via FTP or HTTP from a public mirror, as you install them. No need for any CD ROM at all.

Reply to this comment    14 May 2005, 02:33 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
aml1358  Account Info
(Web Page)

10 hours??? lucky!!! i have a friggin T1 connection which is "who knows" fast and I downloaded SUSE Linux, which in the end, turned out to be quite good, and it took me a total of 51.1 HOURS... and there were bugs in the installer program so that it would occasionally say the file wasn't on the server, halting the process until i clicked "Retry". and usually it would occur when i was asleep...

Reply to this comment    27 May 2005, 03:05 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
PGK Account Info

A T1 connection is 1.5Mbit/sec both down and up. Your 5.11-hour SuSE install was probably because of a slow mirror. I use suse.mirrors.tds.net for my HTTP server source and I get sustained transfer rates of 600+KB/sec on a 3-Mbit/sec cable connection that really is about 5-6Mbit/sec due to low usage on my branch of the network. If you use the main ftp.suse.com server, it is very slow.

Reply to this comment    30 May 2005, 20:03 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
PGK Account Info

Your BIOS has no bearing in dual-booting. The booting is accomplished by a boot loader, usually GRUB. It will give you the option upon startup to either start Linux or Windows. The boot loader is generally stored in the master boot record (MBR) of the hard drive- that tells the computer about booting, not BIOS.

Reply to this comment    30 May 2005, 19:59 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
punkrockdude Account Info

NO!!!! Dont "upgrade" to Linux/Unix! Even the NEWEST versions are total crap!!!!!

Reply to this comment    13 May 2005, 20:40 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
Chris Williams  Account Info

... says someone who runs Windows XP.

Reply to this comment    15 May 2005, 17:00 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
Michael Marley Account Info

I agree. Do not upgrade to Linux. I have used both, and Windows is much easier to use.

And about this Win 3.11 thing? It could be a trick! As someone else has said, the windows version can be spoofed. Also, a program at www.stardock.com will allow you to make your Win ME,2K,XP PC look like anything you want, even a Mac.

Reply to this comment    19 May 2005, 17:55 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
Chris Williams  Account Info

Haha! You don't need a program to change your User Agent. That program is probably a trojan. In a good browser like Mozilla you just have to go to about:config and add a string called "general. useragent. override" (without spaces, grrrr ticalc!).

Of course, if you're using a not-so-good browser like IE, you can't go to about:config, but you still don't need to download any extra program to change the User Agent string. Just use regedit (since you are in WinDOS).

Reply to this comment    19 May 2005, 19:12 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
Richard Hosch Account Info

Linux is Awesome! Ever Since I have used it, I won't use Windows unless I have to. DOS is nice too. We run our mill and lathe on DOS.

Reply to this comment    22 May 2005, 18:37 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
PGK Account Info

Order a burned Linux CD from cheapbytes.org (sp?) or one of the places listed in DistroWatch. It usually costs about a buck. Your modem should work with Linux even if it is a winmodem. Mine does. You won't need a CD burner either. You can install Linux on 4.7G of hard drive space easily as even an everything-and-a-kitchen-sink install takes maybe 2.5-3G of space. Default installs are usually 1G or so. You can usually remove extra stuff that you do not need to install in the package manager to free up more space.

Reply to this comment    30 May 2005, 19:57 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
Lewk Of Serthic  Account Info
(Web Page)

I have never seen it spelled Linex... Is it a British thing or something?

Reply to this comment    10 May 2005, 01:12 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
Chris Williams  Account Info
(Web Page)

Yeah, that's worse than pronouncing it incorrectly!

"Hello, this is Linus Torvalds, and I pronounce Linux as 'Linux'" (see link)

Reply to this comment    10 May 2005, 03:09 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
Michael Lakkis  Account Info

Aussies pronounce it like that!!!!!!!!!!!

Reply to this comment    25 February 2006, 09:21 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
PGK Account Info

I used to have an old 12 MHz 80286 computer under DOS 4.00. It was too old to even run Windows 3.1.

I did have an old OS/2-Win 3.0/3.1 computer though. I believe that the Windows part was emulated somehow because OS/2 was the installed OS. It was a 486/50 unit my dad brought home from work after the company changed to Windows 95 units. I was miffed that there were no good games that would run on it. My gaming fix was an old 68040 Mac LCII that was horridly unstable. It would freeze up solidly several times a day, but it had good games.

Now, I run SuSE Linux 9.3 on my P4M/2.2 laptop. If you were looking for a good Linux distro, SuSE is among the best. You *can* download it free either through FTP, BitTorrent, or if you can burn a dual-layer DVD, a whopping 7.5 GB ISO image. If you can't burn that DVD-DL, pay the $60 for the student boxed version. It's worth every cent in my opinion. Or, you could browse the distributions at http://distrowatch.com.

Reply to this comment    30 May 2005, 19:47 GMT

Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
Reno  Account Info

If you're in 2k or XP (and maybe even in NT) and feeling a bit sentimental, windowkey+R and type in progman to get good ol' Program Manager running. Sadly, fileman is nowhere to be found on my 2k box. :(

Reply to this comment    9 May 2005, 02:50 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
benryves  Account Info
(Web Page)

EDLIN is still shipped with Windows. Try it from the command prompt!

Reply to this comment    9 May 2005, 02:55 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
Totoro  Account Info

I believe the program is called 'winfile' and is present even on modern Windows OSs, but I cannot be sure. I have been using only GNU/Linux for quite a while now.

Reply to this comment    11 May 2005, 00:06 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
Krach42 Account Info
(Web Page)

Actually, winfile isn't included with Windows XP. As I remember, it disappeared somewhere between 98 and XP. (I never had ME, or 2000 to actually check)

Reply to this comment    18 May 2005, 15:17 GMT

Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
fboy100 Account Info

Yeah, what's wrong with windows 3.11 anyway?

Reply to this comment    9 May 2005, 08:13 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
Travis Evans  Account Info

1. No protected mode
2. Very little software support
3. Ancient graphics support
4. Not so compatible with modern hardware

I guess there may be a couple of other things wrong, too. :-)

Reply to this comment    9 May 2005, 21:25 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
Asdf Asdf Account Info
(Web Page)

it is only sixteen bit, but is that really all that bad?

Reply to this comment    10 May 2005, 03:29 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
Krach42 Account Info
(Web Page)

Win 3.x is actually a hybrid. It's both 16-bit *and* 32-bit.

It basically runs a number of things in "protected-mode", and thunks out to 16-bit mode when necessary (like in some instances to access the hard-drive, files, etc)

When I say "protected mode", I mean that the CPU is in protected mode, but it uses a flat memory model, where all memory is accessible all the time.

This hybrid was kept all throughout 95, 98, and ME, although each successive version was less and less 16-bit.

In fact, in Win 3.1, you can install something like Win32, which is a library that allows it to run some 32-bit applications.

Reply to this comment    18 May 2005, 15:24 GMT

Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
no_one_2000_  Account Info
(Web Page)

Question: If you accessed ticalc.org with Telnet (among other things), couldn't you just spoof the information about your computer to make it appear as if you were viewing the site with Win3.1? It's been a long time since I've messed with any of this, but if I recall, that information comes from the "HTTP_USER_AGENT" string and can be edited. I could be wrong though.

Reply to this comment    9 May 2005, 20:29 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
Brian Gordon  Account Info
(Web Page)

See http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc2616 and search for "14.43 User-Agent"

See also this message's url (above)

Reply to this comment    9 May 2005, 20:46 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
Chris Williams  Account Info

Yes, it's in the HTTP request. I've sent something like the following to some websites, just for fun:

User-Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (TI-86)

Maybe I should do that to ticalc.org. :D

Reply to this comment    9 May 2005, 21:17 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
burntfuse  Account Info
(Web Page)

Where's that string, in the registry somewhere?

Reply to this comment    12 May 2005, 20:53 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
Chris Williams  Account Info

It depends on the browser. For IE I think it is in the registry. Don't ask me where, as I don't even have a registry to look in (I could use Wine, but no), and I don't care to Google it right now. :)

In Mozilla, it's in a special page called "about:config" (go to that address). This is where almost every setting in Mozilla is stored. Add/modify the string named "general.useragent.override" and set it to whatever you want the user agent to be (everything after "User-Agent: ").

Reply to this comment    12 May 2005, 22:27 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
no_one_2000_  Account Info
(Web Page)

Well, I remember back when I was playing Try2Hack (link), there was a level where you had to spoof your User-Agent string. I tried editing everything in my registry to do this and it didn't seem to work. So I just used Telnet to spoof it. (I also don't recommend screwing with the registry without a backup. I've had to learn that lesson the hard way before...)

Reply to this comment    15 May 2005, 00:03 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
burntfuse  Account Info
(Web Page)

Yeah, I've screwed up the registry before a few times too... ;-) How would you spoof it with Telnet? I just found the option in the config page of Firefox.

Reply to this comment    15 May 2005, 20:06 GMT

Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
Nick skeen  Account Info

I had win 3.11 that was untill I took out the 2GB HD, formatted it and put linux on it and put it in my windows 95 computer.

Reply to this comment    11 May 2005, 11:45 GMT


Re: Re: Last Windows 3.1 Computer Located
nathannitz  Account Info

Hi,
There is a windows 3.11 for workgroups computer at my job that I use sometimes just for fun. It is interesting at how all the programs are in windows instead of a desktop and a start menu.

Reply to this comment    19 March 2008, 21:32 GMT

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