Thursday, August 25, 2016

DOS isn't DOA

Plugging in... 

The Tutor was genuinely surprised to be asked to assist a DOS and Wordstar (word processing, for those who aren't familiar) user this week. The computer did not have a case, the floppy drives (both 5.25 and 3.5) and the CD player no longer worked and the computer is so old that it has never heard of a USB port.

There are thousands of word processing documents on this computer that the owner wants to transfer. There are several issues at hand here, the most important being that the current round of word processing programs are incapable of opening the Wordstar formatted documents in any legible form (We tried). It might be possible to dig around on ebay or Craig's list for old hardware parts for a CD drive that would allow the documents to be burned to it and then transferred to a newer computer. But that does not solve the problem of opening them and saving them in an updated format.

One solution, though time consuming, is to print each document (no email, too old...) and scan them using an OCR (Optical Character Recognition) program. The documents are all typed in a courier font which makes scanning much more reliable since each character is the same height and width (called a mono-spaced font). The client has been regularly prodded by family, colleagues and tech people to update over the years, but steadfastly remained with what he knew inside and out.

The tutor left the client pondering his options. Hey, the Tutor can do many things, but teaching an old and reluctant dog new tricks? We'll see...

ALWAYS REMEMBER: before calling for help - is it plugged in, and is it turned on?