Assignment Nostalgia

Shortly after sending out the previous issue of this newsletter, I decided to order one of the Panasonic 3CCD camcorders featured in the Gadget Envy section. I planned on ordering the PV-GS120, which is the model mentioned in the newsletter, but no one had any in stock. I found the PV-GS70 at J&R for less than the list price of the PV-GS120.
In addition to all the features found in the PV-GS120, the PV-GS70 includes recording direct to MPEG-4, a WebCam mode, and an external microphone. While I don’t see these features being worth the $300 manufacturer’s price difference, it doesn’t hurt to have a few extras to sweeten the $700 street price. I’m still waiting for delivery, so expect a side-by-side comparison of my Canon ZR70 and the PV-GS70 in an upcoming issue. My gut tells me Panasonic just cut the legs out from under Sony and Canon’s consumer DV camera business.
I’ve written several articles for PC Today magazine over the past months. Last week I got my most challenging assignment to date – I’m writing the monthly section on Windows 3.x tips. I have many fond memories of Windows 3.1, as well as some serious frustrations, which should make for some entertaining nostalgia in the PC Yesterday pages of PC Today. What I want to know is, are any of you still using Windows 3.x for anything, and if so, what computing tasks are you using it for?


  1. Hi Jake:
    We are still using win 3.11 in an old 486.
    We use it for Lotus 123 and Word perfect, botn of that same vintage. However, it is our #3
    computer. I have a P3-500 and the Missus has one
    of the early Aptivas.

  2. We are still using Win 3.11 on a 486-33 network sniffer. It is a Dolch with custom cards for Token Ring, NetWare and MS networks. Antique, but it still works. As does my Snap 1+1 laptop. Two floppy drives – no waiting.
    Micheal Black
    Information Systems Engineer

  3. You were asking about Windows 3.1, we still use it on a customer serving production machine.
    We have a ISA hardware board, used in a service with a SLA of 99.999% uptime for a national customer. The hardware was ONLY ever available for ISA slots, we have the one in production and one spare, last tested in service a month ago, the hardware manufacturer went out of business at least 5 years ago.
    The software was written as a joint venture with a partner company, who now is a direct competitor. The software does not work at all under Windows 95, 95 se, 98, 98se, me, NT3.1, NT4, 2000 or (I am assuming here, being unable to boot a machine with ISA slots under XP) XP. It does work, sort of under WFW 3.1.
    The board is so specialized, the application so specific, that no other vender has ever made an alternative or replacement board.
    The SLA contract runs out in the next nine months, and we have no intention of offering renewal of this solution again at any price, yes we are looking at an alternative solution, but it will not be a single vendor, single hardware source, analog solution this time, it will use a digital stream from end to end.

  4. I have an old 386 that still works wiht Windows 3.11. I have some old legacy programs that are still, believe it or not, useful. Besides, I want to see if I can network it with the rest of my computers, the smallest running Win2K

  5. I have pair oldies 286 & 386 that have it installed
    Plus I got interested in article about
    Win311 on one floppy,But its been done,
    Also same guy managed Win95 in under 10mb
    As we now have many Linux CD’s that are self booting from CD-ROM,
    ie: Lindows Live is now free, Knoppix 3.3 etc.
    no hard drive installs necessary,
    Why oh why is it necessary for so many drivers
    using Windows 95B/98/98SE/ME/2000/XP
    when lindows & Knoppix its automatically done,
    its beacuse of oldies that are in use,
    Windows98 support is carying on,
    bye retired techie Keith

  6. Jake,
    My dad still uses an old 486/Win3.11 combo to run an old FoxPro database. It works fine for him and he has no desire to upgrade this database. He always says “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

  7. Okay so I am not using WIn 3, however because we do business iwth the Fed, I just had to purchase a new computer from Dell with DOS 6 as the OS.

  8. Yikes I just couldn’t find a better use for an old 386 IBM Laptop with 6 meg of ram running WFW 3.11, than running the clock in full screen mode and nailing the sucker to the wall of my shop.
    Now I hear of people doing real work and feel kind of guilty.
    Jim Firby

  9. Hi Jake,
    I’m a ham radio operator and use a networked 386 and 486 for digital satellite communications. Have made contacts via the International Space Station and had several contacts with the Mir Space Station. I use 3.11 on both machines and link through 3Com cards. The 486DX is fast enough to run satellite tracking software (Sattrack) in real time. Also run a Packet radio link for wireless email with the 386!
    Ric, callsign N1YLE

  10. Jake,
    I have a fully-functional Tosh laptop I bought for my wife in 1992 loaded with the then-current versions of MS Office. Battery is dead, but the power cube works it just fine. You couldn’t ask for a more stable machine. Never has crashed. Unlike my wife’s current XP home machine…
    /Don Lewis
    PS Jake, I’d hate to begin getting spam because your email address field won’t let me munge my address…

  11. I took a 386 running windows 3.11 all these years and recently installed windows 98 on it just to prove to a computer science professor it could be done. She swore up and windows98 wouldn’t work on a 386. After I installed windows 98 on it I sold it for 300.00…lol.

Comments are closed.