OK… Noticed an Ability Plus 1.0 feature I’d never previously clocked yesterday (hey, I was two when we got Ability… It’s the “communicate” function which “is the Ability function that lets your PC communicate directly with other computers… [because] when you use COMMUNICATE Ability acts like (or emulates) a terminal”

Well, that looked interesting, I thought… Except it’s probably never going to cope with the AberNet Lan and firewall, and I’ve not got the foggiest idea how to even begin to set it up, and we’ve long ago got rid of the manuals.

So I e-mailed info@ability.com and asked if they knew where I could find a manual from 18 years ago. Not surprisingly, they had no idea. What I did get, however, was the manual for Ability Plus 3.0 (last patched 1997, ten years after the original Plus came out) and an e-mail explaining that they doubt it’ll work, but the actual communicate function barely changed between Ability Plus 1 and 3…

Feeling pretty damn impressed by that, all things considered, and I’ve worked out what I could do with my summer… Although it’s changed a bit since

The Original Plan…
Get a job, earn lots of money, buy lots of components and old games, play them next year and worry about the degree result next July.

because now I’ve got

The Revised Plan
Spend the summer pissing off HSBC by running miles and miles over my OD limit, whilst reading WikiPedia entries for old TSR games, playing with a thrown-together DOS box, courtesy of Bryn (the box, the CD drive) and Paul (the random memory-free soundcard, the games) and generally attempting to learn every DOS command anyone could ever have needed before Win98, thus cornering all the kudos of a tech whizz, without any of the troubles (ie, needing to sort out machines) because almost nobody has DOS anymore, and anyone who really needs to get a DOS machine fixed will probably be more than willing to fill me with ale once they’ve found out I’m the only person they’ve met for the last 10 years who’s ever heard of a .xtx, let alone has the software to read it.


Occasionally, when I’ve got bored of wishing I was around for cool decades like the ’20s, I wish I’d been born 10 years earlier, because I’d’ve been able to grow up with the technological surges we’ve seen since then (I’d’ve liked to have been there for Windows 2.0, really…)

Then I stop wishing that, because if I’d been born 10 years earlier I’dve been 30 since spring, and the older you get, the less dinky it is to be stupidly well-versed in an obsolete OS (because if you grew up with it, you’re supposed to be competent…)

Ah well… I have tea, all is good.

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  1. On July 19, 2005 Scatman Dan says:

    Windows 2.0 sucked. Really. Windows 3.0 sucked quite a lot. Now OS/2 2.0 Warp 2, that was an operating system…

  2. On July 24, 2005 Ben says:


    bunch of old dos games