Archived viruses, was Re: Reasonable price for a complete SOL-20 system?

Liam Proven lproven at
Mon Oct 24 15:30:59 CDT 2016

On 23 October 2016 at 19:12, Fred Cisin <cisin at> wrote:
> But, I was explicitly referring to the time BEFORE OS-X!  (<1999?)

Ahh, well, that's entirely fair then.

> Assholes who proclaimed themselves to be "experts" kept pushing our college
> administration to SWITCH ALL of our our student computer labs from PC to
> Mac, mostly using the LIE that "Macs are immune to viruses".

That's... well, yeah, asshattish. Anyone who knew the Mac knew of
viruses. They were a real problem.

> But, we stuck to 80-90% PCs.
> 1) We had a dozen Macs (mostly SE?) and 5 dozen PCs.  We were getting higher
> incidence of viurses on the Macs than the PCs, due to student disks.

Can easily believe that.

> 2) At the time, certain key pieces of software that we needed (such as COBOL
> and FORTRAN compilers) were not as readily available on Mac.

[Nod] Or they were seriously expensive.

> 3) We had only needed a tiny handful of machines with performance.
> PC-DOS, Win3.1, and Win95 on 386SX were PERFECTLY suited for homework of
> programming classes.  (small homework assignments, NOT all day production!)

Win 3.1 on a 386SX, no problem.

Win 95 on a 386SX: sheesh. You'd need the patience of a saint.

Early in my time at PC Pro magazine, I actually benchmarked 95 versus
Wfwg on a 386 with 4MB. We had to hunt for a PC that old, and borrowed
it from a friend of the editor.

Amazingly, app loading was a hair quicker -- 95 had smarter cache
management. But it wasn't fast.

> Think about anybody who would claim to NEED performance to write "Hello,
> world".  And low performance created BETTER sort programs, by NOT giving the
> opportunity to "throw hardware at it".


> Even the "remedial job training for the digital sweatshop" classes


> (WordPervert, Lotus, dBase, Weird, Office)


> were well suited for a large
> number of 386SX machines.

Yep, guess so!

> 4) At the time, one dozen Macs cost us as much as five dozen PCs! List
> prices for Macs might have been close to list prices of OEM PCs from IBM,
> but we were willing to run cheap generic clones, and assemble them
> ourselves.  THAT was significant, when you have a lab FULL of students (and
> rarely a waiting queue).

Oh my yes.

And they were, $ for $, significantly more expensive in the UK than Stateside.

> But, by about the time that OS-X came out, enough students had their own
> machines that we no longer needed as many.
> Our administration ceased having the Computer Information Systems department
> run the labs for Business, Math, etc., and hired IT (mostly grossly
> incompetents from "trade schools").  They were no longer "our labs".
> Machines started being down for a week or two for a bad floppy or need for
> Windoze reinstallation, waiting for IT to get around to them.


C21 IT. Everyone raves about it. I'm considered a weirdo for saying
some things were better before.

> They hired an extremely expensive outside firm ("because they are experts",
> and because the college "IT" had no idea how to do it!) to run a public
> domain test program for Y2K compatibility, and dumpstered the few machines
> that would have had to have their date manually set [ONCE!] after Y2K.

Well, TBH, I did some of that consultancy myself. I didn't dump any
kit though. Some clients took the chance to refresh their whole
office, and I made sure the old boxes were re-homed or given to

Liam Proven • Profile:
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