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A trip down memory lane?
January 24, 2010 10:12 PM   Subscribe

Welcome (back) to Windows 3.1. "Michaelv.org is coded in JavaScript and strict XHTML 1.0, with AJAX functionality provided through PHP. It has been tested for compatibility in Firefox and IE. Firefox 2 or 3 is highly recommended, but the site is almost entirely functional in IE 6, 7, or 8. Media Player does not work in IE as IE lacks the ability to dynamically instantiate ."
posted by Phire (49 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow, that's really impressive. I think there's a bug in minesweeper though. some of the squares that were labelled '1' had 2 mines next to them.
posted by askmehow at 10:17 PM on January 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


The attention to detail is amazing. You know what really brought the nostalgia back? rivets.bmp, that's what.

(Although I don't know if Win3.1 would have supported some of those high-resolution, true-color background wallpapers...)
posted by The Lurkers Support Me in Email at 10:23 PM on January 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


A few easter eggs within: He's left some files for each program to read, (file -> open) and in the case of media player each "file" will open a Youtube video, such as this one: StarTrek.avi.
posted by zarq at 10:23 PM on January 24, 2010


Some of the text files are just... strange. Very impressive for not using Flash or other plugin media though (except for the media player).
posted by notnamed at 10:27 PM on January 24, 2010


In ten years, you'll be playing Crysis in Javascript on your phone.
posted by empath at 10:32 PM on January 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


OMG! Angel dance! 3-2-1 Contact, anyone?

Media Player -> Open: "angel.avi"
posted by i less than three nsima at 10:37 PM on January 24, 2010


The rest of the vids:

angle.avi: Angle Dance

downpray.avi: Down in the River to Pray (This is the version used in O' Brother Where Art Thou.

martha.avi: A photomontage set to Aqua's Barbie Girl featuring Martha Stewart and Richard Nixon.

obriens.avi: O'Classic Sesame O'Street - O'Grover the Fast Food O'Waiter

schools.avi: John Stossel's Stupid in America (20/20)

takedown.avi: An America's Most Wanted clip, I think.

voice.avi: Celtic Woman - The Voice - sung by Lisa Kelly


There's a subfolder with clips from 20/20 on Ron Paul from 2007 as well.
posted by zarq at 10:38 PM on January 24, 2010


3-2-1 Contact, anyone?

Square One, dude! :)

mathman mathman mathman
posted by JohnFredra at 10:49 PM on January 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


I'm surprised with that level of detail that it doesn't serve content from archive.org if available.
posted by bpm140 at 10:57 PM on January 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


(Although I don't know if Win3.1 would have supported some of those high-resolution, true-color background wallpapers...)

It would have been fine if you had the right video card and drivers.

If you want to run windows 3.1 for real you should be able to on the open source virtual machine system Virtualbox. Here are some Instructions
posted by delmoi at 10:59 PM on January 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Heh, heh, you can open Internet Explorer and visit the site again recursively.
posted by hattifattener at 11:08 PM on January 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


It would have been fine if you had the right video card and drivers.

Heh, that reminds me of the days when a TI34020 was the shit.
posted by b1tr0t at 11:29 PM on January 24, 2010


runs faster than XP native
posted by Fupped Duck at 11:40 PM on January 24, 2010


You know what really brought the nostalgia back? rivets.bmp, that's what.

Damn, so true.
posted by joedan at 11:40 PM on January 24, 2010


Thanks for this. I just fullscreened it on my friend's computer while he was out at the store.
posted by webmutant at 11:45 PM on January 24, 2010 [15 favorites]


His Minesweeper implementation is buggy, since you can lose on the first try. I am such a nerd, both for knowing and for checking.
posted by neckro23 at 11:55 PM on January 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


His minesweeper implementation also doesn't let you click right and left buttons simultaneously on a number space that already has all it's mines flagged to reveal all the adjacent unflagged spaces. So it's totally worthless.
posted by aubilenon at 12:03 AM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


the palmtree.txt is a joke, but I don't get it. I think it has something to do with "dashing" and "strode" but i have no idea.
posted by Jon_Evil at 12:08 AM on January 25, 2010


It's referring to the legend of George Washington cutting down a cherry tree and then not lying about.
posted by zixyer at 12:14 AM on January 25, 2010


Thanks for this. I just fullscreened it on my friend's computer while he was out at the store.

That's hilarious. :D
posted by zarq at 12:16 AM on January 25, 2010


Hey, the Internet Browser won't let me download Netscape 1.1.
posted by twoleftfeet at 12:29 AM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Heh. You know, the idea that people used to function with DOS doesn't really surprise me. You can get a lot done with a command line interface, if you know how. However, I still fail to understand how anyone ever functioned with Windows 3.1.

Come to think of it, it's nothing short of astonishing that internet service providers of that day and age were able to sell a service that most people used through an analog modem, a kludged-together IP stack, and one of those old primitive browsers. The idea that people were able to figure out how to make all of that work, interoperate, and keep it working for minutes at a time is amazing. The idea that anyone, anywhere, managed to use something like that for actual work is nothing short of miraculous.
posted by Mitrovarr at 12:38 AM on January 25, 2010 [7 favorites]


His minesweeper implementation also doesn't let you click right and left buttons simultaneously on a number space that already has all it's mines flagged to reveal all the adjacent unflagged spaces. So it's totally worthless.

Aha! I knew it was missing something? How else could you get sub 60 second times on intermediate... I just couldn't remember the feature :)
posted by Chuckles at 12:51 AM on January 25, 2010


Chuckles: "How else could you get sub 60 second times on intermediate... I just couldn't remember the feature :)"

I've stumbled on that feature a few times before, but I don't really understand how it works or what it does.

I do, however, know how to get sub 60 second times on intermediate - don't flag the mines. If you click around where the mines should be and keep a mental map of which spaces you've already examined and decided to avoid, you avoid the 40 clicks required to actually flag the mines, which shaves off a good 10-15 seconds off your time.

Why yes, I spend too much time on my computer.
posted by Phire at 1:00 AM on January 25, 2010


Btw, did anyone else start out by opening a DOS prompt and trying DOS commands? 'DIR' was the only one that worked for me :)
posted by delmoi at 1:33 AM on January 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


How else could you get sub 60 second times on intermediate...

You could also always edit the winmine.ini file, or use the "xyzzy" reveal tricks, or esc + left+right mouse buttons to freeze time.

No, they don't work here. Yes, I did try ;-)

(No Trumpet Winsock or similar? FAIL! The Win3.x line didn't get it's own TCP/IP stack until after Win3.11 was released…)
posted by Pinback at 2:00 AM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


why do we need to revive this nightmare again?
posted by FumarMata at 2:26 AM on January 25, 2010


I see I wasn't the only one who immediately dropped down to a DOS prompt.
posted by bystander at 2:26 AM on January 25, 2010


bystander: It drove me insane how backspace navigated back from the DOS prompt.
posted by aubilenon at 2:32 AM on January 25, 2010


Open Internet Browser --> Internet Browser ---> http://www.michaelv.org/ ---> Open Internet Browser --> Internet Browser ---> http://www.michaelv.org/ ---> Open Internet Browser --> Internet Browser ---> http://www.michaelv.org/ ---> Open Internet Browser --> Internet Browser ---> http://www.michaelv.org/ ---> Open Internet Browser --> Internet Browser ---> http://www.michaelv.org/ ---> Open Internet Browser --> Internet Browser ---> http://www.michaelv.org/ help
posted by litleozy at 3:19 AM on January 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


There's a subfolder with clips from 20/20 on Ron Paul from 2007 as well.

Very cool implementation but libertarian types just can't help themselves with the Ron Paul stuff can they?
posted by octothorpe at 3:35 AM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


run on the 8088
posted by caddis at 3:47 AM on January 25, 2010


The idea that people were able to figure out how to make all of that work, interoperate, and keep it working for minutes at a time is amazing. The idea that anyone, anywhere, managed to use something like that for actual work is nothing short of miraculous.

Hopefully people will be saying this in 20 years' time about Windows 7 / Snow Leopard / your current OS of choice.
posted by tapeguy at 4:38 AM on January 25, 2010


Very cool implementation but libertarian types just can't help themselves with the Ron Paul stuff can they?

FTFY
posted by DU at 4:45 AM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Unfortunately you can't change the colour scheme, because the first thing I wanted to see was Hot Dog Stand.
posted by hangashore at 5:14 AM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


I listed a bunch of other Javascript emulations here.
posted by gwint at 6:15 AM on January 25, 2010


don't flag the mines

You can flag the mines? Now you tell me.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 6:27 AM on January 25, 2010


The idea that people were able to figure out how to make all of that work, interoperate, and keep it working for minutes at a time is amazing. The idea that anyone, anywhere, managed to use something like that for actual work is nothing short of miraculous.

And then a recreation of it years later can still suck time out of my Monday morning...
posted by Hoenikker at 7:17 AM on January 25, 2010


don't flag the mines
Unfortunately, this implementation doesn't let you win without flagging the mines, unlike real Windows 3.1.
posted by Bezbozhnik at 7:39 AM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


The conclusion from the 'Girls Described Through Mathematics' link:
You can have no girls (be single) or one girl (married). The beauty of the equation is that it prevents illegal polygamy (GIRLS>1 will not work).
I love how math geeks try to cover all their bases, however hypothetical those bases may be.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 7:46 AM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


What an exceptional and pointless project this is. It's my new destination for playing Minesweeper.

I would like to add that I still run Windows 3.1 on a Packard Bell 486SX laptop for X-10 home automation. I have intended to replace it for years, but the thing won't die.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot at 8:23 AM on January 25, 2010


Ohmigod Win 3.x sucked so much. I had forgotten just how pointless and bizarre the whole "manager" paradigm was.

And now, thinking back, mostly what I remember is how incredibly buggy, crash-prone and unreliable all the commercial desktop stuff was at the time. Mac OS 6 and Win 3.x were both labor-destroying, die-o-matic abominations. Good riddance.
posted by Western Infidels at 8:41 AM on January 25, 2010


And now, thinking back, mostly what I remember is how incredibly buggy, crash-prone and unreliable all the commercial desktop stuff was at the time. Mac OS 6 and Win 3.x were both labor-destroying, die-o-matic abominations. Good riddance.

Win 3.1 was contemporary with System 7, and the difference between them really was night and day. On a System 7 mac, you could produce a newspaper with very little difference from how you'd do it today: Quark XPress, Photoshop, Illustrator, Postscript, Adobe Type Manager, all these were already mature apps on the Mac at this point. On Windows ... well, you could play Solitaire or marvel at the mess Word for Windows was making of your Mac Word (already on version 5) documents.

The only thing that sucked about the Mac then (and right up until OS X) was that one crashed app and the whole system was buggered. But the apps were pretty solid. I used Quark XPress 3 right up until 2008, on Mac OS 9. It wasn't by choice, but it wasn't anything like trying the same on Windows tech of the same vintage would have been. Aside from the lack of browser and speed of the hardware, it definitely got the job done.
posted by bonaldi at 9:41 AM on January 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


There's a second bug in the minesweeper game - windows minesweeper will never let you hit a mine on the first click. This one does.

Also, implement Windows 1 - I wager it would actually be harder.
posted by GuyZero at 9:46 AM on January 25, 2010


The only thing that sucked about the Mac then (and right up until OS X) was that one crashed app and the whole system was buggered.

[nerdery]This happened for the same reason as in Windows 3.1--they both used what's called cooperative multitasking. It's sort of a "talking stick" kind of system--a given program takes control of the computer and runs for a little while, then voluntarily yields to the next program, which runs for another while, then it yields...and so on. Done fast enough, it gives the illusion that all your programs are running at once.

The problem comes when one of those programs crashes. It keels over and dies without ever handing control of the computer over to the next program waiting in line, leaving everything else in the computer standing around in limbo. (The effect is something like a hacky sack group in which the person with the ball suddenly falls off a cliff.)

More robust operating systems (Unix, Windows 95 and up, OS X, etc.) use pre-emptive multitasking, in which the computer itself doles out small amounts of running time to programs, and--depending on the program and system--will ignore, suspend, or outright kill any misbehaving programs without letting them affect the rest of the system. [/nerdery]

And now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go pound myself in the head with a hammer until I stop channeling the IT guy I used to be...
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 10:22 AM on January 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


(The effect is something like a hacky sack group in which the person with the ball suddenly falls off a cliff.)
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 10:22 AM on January 25 [+] [!]


You are deliberatly aiming at the eponysterical, aren't you?
posted by mjg123 at 10:42 AM on January 25, 2010


But the apps were pretty solid. I used Quark XPress 3 right up until 2008, on Mac OS 9.

I still do this. When I switched my production machines to OS X, I decided I was no longer going to support Quark files. However, I have one client, a small book publisher, whose entire catalog is .qxd. Although I offered to convert & tweak all of her files at no charge, she begged me to continue doing her jobs in Quark because her printer, some random tiny shop in China or Bolivia or whereever, only accepts .qxd files and yadda yadda whatever cakes.

Buying Quark for OSX would have cost me something like $1K for a new seat and I wasn't about to do that considering how little Quark had done to actually improve their product from ~1997 so the far cheaper alternative was to keep one mac, a G3, frozen in time with OS9, Quark 3.1 and a beige Wacom tablet. It's under my desk right now. I fire it up every few months, crank out a few books and turn it back off. Works surprisingly well.
posted by jamaro at 10:57 AM on January 25, 2010


Wow. Childhood returns. Now if I can just find those old 5 1/4 inch floppies, I can play all those old games again!
posted by Night_owl at 11:59 AM on January 25, 2010


format c: doesn't work
posted by leotrotsky at 8:21 PM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


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