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The Icon Bar: The Playpen: 101 Fun Things to Do with Your Computer
  101 Fun Things to Do with Your Computer
  swirlythingy (14:16 27/6/2011)
  filecore (14:46 27/6/2011)
  trevj (15:14 27/6/2011)
  Loris (16:35 8/7/2011)
Martin Bazley Message #118121, posted by swirlythingy at 14:16, 27/6/2011

Posts: 460
I discovered a book of that name (or something similar) in my local second-hand bookshop, with a publishing date of 1998 - "Triple platform edition". Wondering what the third platform could possibly be, I examined the back page, and, beside the inevitable flapping window and hallucinogenic fruit, I was astonished to discover a familiar nut.

Bearing in mind that this could not have been published more than six months or so before Black Thursday, the inclusion of Acorn in the list of the "three most popular operating systems" came as a bit of a surprise. What was even more fascinating was the presence of a CD containing supporting software for all three platforms, with installation instructions given for each. (It has to be said, this was plainly written in the era of the infamous "Microsoft TV Dinners" joke. The Windows instructions were longer then the other two put together, and involved, among other things, the command line. The Mac instructions were one line long, and the Acorn instructions were two, one line of which was only detailing the directory in which the data was located.)

The minimum system requirement was listed as "A7000, RiscPC or above" running "RISC OS 3.1 or above" (yeah, good luck with that, then). What was even more entertaining was the text itself, where it split into three forks for the three operating systems. For example, the section on the Internet listed three examples of programs which could be used to "surf the web". (I didn't read it very closely, but I bet it used the phrase "information superhighway" somewhere. Ah, halcyon days!) These were, in order, "Microsoft Explorer", "Netscape Navigator" and "Fresco". No, not "ANT Fresco", since you ask. One section informing readers how to take a screenshot gave detailed instructions for Windows and Mac OS, and then, for RISC OS, said, "Use Paint's snapshot feature. See the user guide which came with your computer."

Unfortunately, I couldn't afford it on top of the other stuff I was buying. The computer-illiterate shopkeeper wanted five quid, in spite of the fact that a thirteen-year-old book about computers is less than worthless, apart from novelty value. I tried to point out to her that she would never manage to sell it to anyone who wasn't me, to which she had the cheek to respond, "Well, it may not be worth five pounds to you, but that's because it says '7+' on the cover, so if you were 7+ years old, maybe it would." Precisely how many 7+-year-olds she thinks have access to a computer with "Windows 3.1 or above" or "System 7.1 or above" (let alone "RISC OS 3.1 or above"!), I don't know...
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Jason Togneri Message #118122, posted by filecore at 14:46, 27/6/2011, in reply to message #118121

Posts: 3867
What a cracking story. Go back again in six months and hassle the shopkeeper about it some more. I'm curious to know what was on that CD! big smile
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Trevor Johnson Message #118123, posted by trevj at 15:14, 27/6/2011, in reply to message #118121
Posts: 660
"Fun" Was it this one (earlier cover)? (No mention of a CD-ROM, so probably not.)

[Edit: Hang on, this one has a CD-ROM and is for age 4+.]

[Edited by trevj at 15:16, 27/6/2011]
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Tony Haines Message #118197, posted by Loris at 16:35, 8/7/2011, in reply to message #118121
madbanHa ha, me mine, mwahahahaha
Posts: 1025
Do you look very young for your age, Martin?

Presumably you can't buy alcohol, tobacco, knives or glue.
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The Icon Bar: The Playpen: 101 Fun Things to Do with Your Computer