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posted by Woods on Thursday May 15 2014, @02:02PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the they-never-make-them-like-they-used-to dept.

Ryan Reed reports that when most Game of Thrones fans imagine George R.R. Martin writing his epic fantasy novels, they probably picture the author working on a futuristic desktop (or possibly carving his words onto massive stones like the Ten Commandments). But the truth is that Martin works on an outdated DOS machine using '80s word processor WordStar 4.0, as he revealed during an interview on Conan. 'I actually like it,' says Martin. 'It does everything I want a word processing program to do, and it doesn't do anything else. I don't want any help. I hate some of these modern systems where you type a lower case letter and it becomes a capital letter. I don't want a capital. If I wanted a capital, I would have typed a capital. I know how to work the shift key.' 'I actually have two computers,' Martin continued. 'I have a computer I browse the Internet with and I get my email on, and I do my taxes on. And then I have my writing computer, which is a DOS machine, not connected to the Internet.'

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by iwoloschin on Thursday May 15 2014, @02:07PM

    by iwoloschin (3863) on Thursday May 15 2014, @02:07PM (#43717)

    So much for trying to hack our way in to learn what happens next.

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Sir Garlon on Thursday May 15 2014, @02:29PM

      by Sir Garlon (1264) on Thursday May 15 2014, @02:29PM (#43740)

      That was my first thought: crazy like a fox.

      My second thought was, OMG, I hope he knows how to back up the data on that decrepit old beast because the next power surge could let all the magic smoke [wikipedia.org] out of it. Though really, data backups are perhaps only part of the concern here: good luck finding a replacement machine and installing Word Star 4.0 on it. (No doubt you or I could do it: I'll leave that as an exercise for the reader. The question is whether George R.R. Martin could do it, or find someone who could help him and not bug the new machine.)

      And my third thought is, this is a great example of sensible user behavior that most techies can't relate to. He found something that works, long ago, and has bent over backward to stay with it. He has specialist needs that are not well served by mass-market features like Auto"Correct". Rather than work hard to turn off all the "conveniences" of modern software, he just sticks with the old stuff, from back when a developer could say with a straight face that he expects the user to know when and when not to use capital letters. (Sir Garlon waxes nostalgic for the time before the Internet when "regular people" were afraid of computers.)

      --
      [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by metamonkey on Thursday May 15 2014, @02:41PM

        by metamonkey (3174) on Thursday May 15 2014, @02:41PM (#43746)

        Particularly in Martin's case, autocorrect would be terrible. He'd be constantly having to either add words to the dictionary or undo "helpful" corrections, as I don't think there's a Dothraki dictionary for Word.

        I, too, miss the days of yore, getting on the IBM clones at my high school and remapping the keyboard via the ANSI files. My favorite was changing the backspace key to now print "DELETION DENIED!" whenever it was pressed.

        --
        Okay 3, 2, 1, let's jam.
        • (Score: 4, Funny) by buswolley on Thursday May 15 2014, @04:46PM

          by buswolley (848) on Thursday May 15 2014, @04:46PM (#43812)

          How about this. Without Internet, one can get a lot of work done.

          --
          subicular junctures
        • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Thursday May 15 2014, @06:55PM

          by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Thursday May 15 2014, @06:55PM (#43876) Homepage Journal

          True, but any word processor that doesn't let you fine tune or even shut autocorrect off is a poor word processor indeed.

          I had some trouble with autocorrect myself a few weeks ago; Oo got weird and started putting strange, wrong quotation marks instead of the expected smart quotes. I finally had to start a new document, write a paragraph, and copy the original document to its beginning. That stretch of the book still does that if I make any changes there. I never saw any of the old DOS word processors do that (and we had quite a few different ones at work).

          --
          Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
      • (Score: 3, Informative) by Grishnakh on Thursday May 15 2014, @03:20PM

        by Grishnakh (2831) on Thursday May 15 2014, @03:20PM (#43777)

        good luck finding a replacement machine and installing Word Star 4.0 on it.

        You don't need to do any of that. Just get a copy of WS4.0 (you can probably download it somewhere, if you don't already have a copy from your old machine), and load it up on a DOS emulator like DOSbox. It'd be pretty trivial to do, especially in Linux. Then you could use a modern machine with the old word processor, and do proper backups too.

        • (Score: 2) by egcagrac0 on Thursday May 15 2014, @06:18PM

          by egcagrac0 (2705) on Thursday May 15 2014, @06:18PM (#43847)

          At least up until UEFI came around, it was pretty easy to just install DOS on the bare metal on a "new" machine.

          I haven't looked at it much since then (haven't had a need).

          • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Thursday May 15 2014, @07:15PM

            by Grishnakh (2831) on Thursday May 15 2014, @07:15PM (#43892)

            Yes, but why on earth would you want to install DOS natively? You have to set up a separate partition, then you can't do anything else while you're in DOS, since it's a single-tasking environment. What a PITA. Plus running DOS on a modern 24" widescreen monitor would be painful with the fonts all stretched-out.

            If you use DOSBOX, you don't have this problem. DOS runs in a little window, and you can still do all your other stuff in the background, like checking email, looking up things on the internet, etc.

            • (Score: 2) by FakeBeldin on Thursday May 15 2014, @07:58PM

              by FakeBeldin (3360) on Thursday May 15 2014, @07:58PM (#43927) Journal

              What's this partition thing you're talking about?
              You just run DOS off the floppy in A:, and run Wordstar from B:.
              If WordStar 4.0 is fancy enough to require two disk drives, no problem, you can just pop out the DOS disk once you get the command prompt.

              (Yep, that was my parents' first PC - 720k & no harddisk. Never found out if those 80ks extra were usable.)

            • (Score: 2) by egcagrac0 on Friday May 16 2014, @03:42AM

              by egcagrac0 (2705) on Friday May 16 2014, @03:42AM (#44093)

              Yes, but why on earth would you want to install DOS natively?

              From TFS, it sounds like that's what he's doing already, running DOS natively.

              Personally, I wouldn't consider it unless I was keeping the Model M and the 8514 monitor, but...

              If the air gap is an important design consideration, then a native DOS install is a reasonable thing to do. If I had to guess, money for hardware isn't really a problem, and he can buy whatever he feels will help him do his work, without trying to shoehorn two or three applications onto the same system.

            • (Score: 2) by Foobar Bazbot on Friday May 16 2014, @03:46AM

              by Foobar Bazbot (37) on Friday May 16 2014, @03:46AM (#44096) Journal

              then you can't do anything else while you're in DOS, since it's a single-tasking environment.

              Eh, not really. DR DOS (or one of the various brandings it went through, Novell, Caldera, and back to DR) 6.0 and newer had task switching (to the user, it works something like virtual consoles on *n*x, but with an implicit SIGSTOP/SIGCONT when switching from/to a console), and 7.0 and newer (which includes every version of DOS anyone in their right mind would consider installing these days) have full time-slice multitasking used in the same manner (you switch consoles, stuff on the other consoles keeps running).

              Plus running DOS on a modern 24" widescreen monitor would be painful with the fonts all stretched-out.

              Eh, 132x50 or 132x60 into 16:9 gives a character aspect ratio of 1:1.48 or 1:1.24 -- IMO 1:1.24 is about right, but I hate the ~1:2 aspect ratio of 80x25 on a 4:3 screen, so ymmv... Now 24" might leave you with silly big letters (or not, depending how old one's eyes are), but there's plenty of smaller monitors out there.

              I'm not sure how flexible wordstar is in handling non-standard character counts (i.e. anything other than {80,132}x{25,30,43,50,60,86}, but I think you can set it for any mode, possibly with the help of a hex editor, in which case you can come within a few pixels of exactly matching your monitor's native res.

              If it is restricted to the standard modes, I'd look for a monitor with 1280x800 native resolution, and set up a text mode of 1188x800 (132x50, 9x16 character cells) or 1188x780 (132x60, 9x13), or a 1280x720 screen with 1188x700 (132x50, 9x14) or 1188x720 (132x60, 9x12). Either way, add additional padding to match 1280x800 or 1280x720 timings, and you get pixel-for-pixel output (no LCD interpolation rubbish), a standard screen size, and only a reasonable wasted border. A 1280x1024 monitor is also a reasonable choice, with 1188x1020 (132x60, 9x17 -- a little tall character cell, IMO) or 1188x946 (132x86, 9x11 -- I'd accept it, but most people would find the character cell too short) being suitable. But like I said, I think wordstar supports arbitrary resolutions, so you can pick your preferred character cell, divide it into your LCD's native resolution, and make it work.

              If you use DOSBOX, you don't have this problem. DOS runs in a little window, and you can still do all your other stuff in the background, like checking email, looking up things on the internet, etc.

              And yet, some people would consider that a disadvantage, and given that GRRM is, in 2014, using a dedicated DOS machine for writing, I suspect he's among them. Sure, it's best to choose to not get distracted just because the internet is there, but for those who fall short on internally-imposed discipline (most of us), externally-imposed discipline is better than no discipline at all.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15 2014, @07:24PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15 2014, @07:24PM (#43900)

          "It'd be pretty trivial to do, especially in Linux."

          Exactly what makes it any more or less trivial in Linux than in Windows or OSX?

      • (Score: 5, Funny) by JeanCroix on Thursday May 15 2014, @03:34PM

        by JeanCroix (573) on Thursday May 15 2014, @03:34PM (#43785)

        And my third thought is, this is a great example of sensible user behavior that most techies can't relate to. He found something that works, long ago, and has bent over backward to stay with it.

        Reminds me of my own seemingly schizophrenic behavior regarding some types of tech, which sometimes earns me a bit of razzing from other (and usually younger) so-called techies. Yes, I still wear my 1983 Casio digital watch ("alarm chronograph"), and yes, I still use my 1991 HP-48S as my primary calculator. Instead of a snowblower, I use an old steel snow shovel, which also makes a great implement for chasing people off my damn lawn.

        • (Score: 2) by EvilJim on Thursday May 15 2014, @09:45PM

          by EvilJim (2501) on Thursday May 15 2014, @09:45PM (#43968) Journal

          I still wear my 1983 Casio digital watch

          ohhhh, lucky it's not a '91 or you'd be a terrorist
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casio_F-91W#Claimed_u se_in_terrorism [wikipedia.org]

          • (Score: 2) by JeanCroix on Thursday May 15 2014, @11:19PM

            by JeanCroix (573) on Thursday May 15 2014, @11:19PM (#44017)
            Yeah, mine has a different element, I can tell by looking. I'm sure the TSA folks are highly trained enough to recognize this difference, and that explains why I've never been singled out at the airport.
        • (Score: 2) by efitton on Friday May 16 2014, @02:04AM

          by efitton (1077) on Friday May 16 2014, @02:04AM (#44062) Homepage

          RPN for the win.

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Hairyfeet on Friday May 16 2014, @03:48AM

          by Hairyfeet (75) <reversethis-{moc ... {8691tsaebssab}> on Friday May 16 2014, @03:48AM (#44097) Journal

          As a musician I can relate because we REALLY don't believe in letting go of what works. I have a Washburn 4 from 83, a Fender 4 from 91, and a Korean Squire 5 from 96 (those that know Squires know why the Koreans from that period are sweet) along with my 92 Trace Elliot and while I may ADD basses to the mix and have no problem adding pedals I will never be replacing those for love nor money. Once you get a setup where you can count on the tone, day in and day out, no matter the weather or humidity? you do NOT ever let it go if you have a functioning brain!

          So I can understand 100% why he has kept that setup, it works, he knows it like the back of his hand, and day in and day out he knows what he is gonna get from it...I can totally relate and respect his choice. Could I afford to get "nicer" gear? Sure but will the tone be consistent? Will its hardware be reliable? What about the wood, not only is the old woods practically impossible to get but they age well, how will the new instrument age? Its just too risky to get rid of something that works well for something that may or may not be "better" than what you have now.

          Its funny though how many just don't appreciate that, hell even my own mom was shocked when she said "I bet you still don't have that bass i bought you for your 21st birthday" and the wife turned and said "which one is that?". the second i said "Blackie" she said "Oh yeah, he plays that one at least once a week, it sounds really nice" and mom's jaw dropped. You see to mom it was just a nice BDay prezzie, to me its a 1991 Fender JP90 with the poplar body that gives it great punch and a nice meaty tone for when I need to let my inner Getty come out and play...you just don't get rid of that for a new toy, no way.

          --
          ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
      • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Thursday May 15 2014, @06:20PM

        by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Thursday May 15 2014, @06:20PM (#43848) Homepage Journal

        That was my first thought: crazy like a fox.

        Well, his DOS machine is safe from hackers but I doubt that entered into it at all. It's partly using what you're comfortable with; I hate updating software because the so-called "designers" move stuff around, seldom offer any new features I'll actually use, and sometimes even remove features. Part of what's taking the next chapter of Mars, Ho! so long to post is upgrading Open Office. Time I have to spend learning software I already knew but no longer do is time I can't spend writing.

        He may be a bit superstitious as well. If I'd written several popular and financially successful books on the old IBM-XT I used to have I'd hesitate to switch, too.

        --
        Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
  • (Score: 2) by opinionated_science on Thursday May 15 2014, @02:11PM

    by opinionated_science (4031) on Thursday May 15 2014, @02:11PM (#43720)

    it is interesting that FOSS emulates so many older technologies. I love the fact that Javascript CPU emulations exists (no flame wars about JS security!!).

    I have seen WordStar on a really old creak IBM box at school, and I must confess, that if you only need to use the keyboard I can see why it was popular.

    A painful WYSIWYG though....;-)

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by WizardFusion on Thursday May 15 2014, @02:17PM

      by WizardFusion (498) Subscriber Badge on Thursday May 15 2014, @02:17PM (#43730) Journal

      If you look at TV/Film script layouts, there isn't much to them really. No need for WYSIWYG.

      As for using DOS and Wordstar, that's OLD. Like really old. I can remember back to Windows 3.0 and MS-DOS 3 (i think) days. So long ago.

      Now, get off my lawn.

      • (Score: 2) by bucc5062 on Thursday May 15 2014, @05:42PM

        by bucc5062 (699) on Thursday May 15 2014, @05:42PM (#43825)

        Oh you kids...CP/M and 8" floppies was the way to write code back in the day. 4K memory...Tight coding or it wouldn't run. I just loved that we did so much with so little. Keep your lawn, i'll stay on my pasture thank you very much :-)

        --
        The more things change, the more they look the same
        • (Score: 1) by CoolHand on Friday May 16 2014, @04:14AM

          by CoolHand (438) on Friday May 16 2014, @04:14AM (#44103) Journal

          My first PC when I was a kid ran CP/M.. I had a D&D game on there(rogue-like) that I loved, and inspired me to hack into it to give myself ultimate power.. Yeah, I was pretty cool. So, here I am 25 years later still working with computers. CP/M (and Wordstar which I also ran on there) was powerful stuf.... :)

          --
          Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job-Douglas Adams
  • (Score: 5, Funny) by gman003 on Thursday May 15 2014, @02:13PM

    by gman003 (4155) on Thursday May 15 2014, @02:13PM (#43723)

    With a beard like that, I would have pegged him for a Unix man.

    • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Thursday May 15 2014, @02:30PM

      by Thexalon (636) on Thursday May 15 2014, @02:30PM (#43741)

      Wait, does that mean Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill are secretly Unix gurus?

      --
      The inverse of "I told you so" is "Nobody could have predicted"
      • (Score: 1) by shadowknot on Thursday May 15 2014, @03:05PM

        by shadowknot (1551) on Thursday May 15 2014, @03:05PM (#43767)

        I have it on good authority that the entire cast of Duck Dynasty are Unix guys, the old, weird, skinny one is an HP-UX guy.

        • (Score: 1) by gishzida on Thursday May 15 2014, @08:02PM

          by gishzida (2870) on Thursday May 15 2014, @08:02PM (#43931) Journal

          Some how I think you must be confusing *nix with Dixie... You know... not Red Hat Linux -- Red Neck Dixie... There's a lot of that down here...

  • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Thursday May 15 2014, @02:17PM

    by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday May 15 2014, @02:17PM (#43729) Journal

    'It does everything I want a word processing program to do, and it doesn't do anything else. I don't want any help. I hate some of these modern systems where you type a lower case letter and it becomes a capital letter.

    True, but... still disappointing... writing by carving in stone tablets is pretty much the same in regards with capitalization, yet the image the author would project is far more grandiose, titanic, even God-like (and as a bonus, the opera much shorter, concise, denser).

    --
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
    • (Score: 2) by Covalent on Thursday May 15 2014, @02:49PM

      by Covalent (43) on Thursday May 15 2014, @02:49PM (#43753) Journal

      Agreed. It is trivial to turn off the automatic correction on a modern word professor, so the whole rant about knowing how to use the shift key is garbage. This sounds more like "OOooh, look at me, I'm so avant garde I use a DOS machine to type my books..."

      --
      You can't rationally argue somebody out of a position they didn't rationally get into.
      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by shadowknot on Thursday May 15 2014, @03:16PM

        by shadowknot (1551) on Thursday May 15 2014, @03:16PM (#43776)

        You could be right but it could also be a matter of comfort. There is a good number of developers where I work who, despite having modern PC's with a paid-for IDE installed still prefer to use, and get good work done with, XEDIT on CMS through a TN3270 emulator. It's what they know and how they feel comfortable working. I think a reasonable analogy is that of artists. There are many modern ways of producing beautiful images using technology but artists still choose to work in water colors, oil paint, charcoal and other types of media that have been around for centuries.

        • (Score: 1) by Ethanol-fueled on Thursday May 15 2014, @04:08PM

          by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Thursday May 15 2014, @04:08PM (#43800) Homepage

          My dad, a now-retired high school History and Government teacher, used typewriters for making tests and writing his novel all the way up to 2005, when he caved and finally bought a laptop. He had painstakingly re-typed hundreds of pages of typewritten manuscript into the MS Works pre-installed on his laptop while there were much faster and better options available.

          Of course, he didn't tell me all this until it was too late to save him the time and effort, and one of my first tasks for helping him out was to help convert all his .rtf files to .doc files using OpenOffice. He still uses OpenOffice, by the way.

          • (Score: 2) by etherscythe on Thursday May 15 2014, @04:30PM

            by etherscythe (937) on Thursday May 15 2014, @04:30PM (#43808) Journal

            .doc? That poor bastard. Why not something at least specifically open, like .odf? Unless there's absolutely no special formatting whatsoever, in which case, what's the point of converting?

            Personally, I've been writing my book in .rtf because it's simple and I know all my alpha readers can open it with no drama. I discovered the importance of not assuming everybody has Winrar, too.

            I've been toying with the idea of switching to TeX, but I'm not yet familiar with it enough to feel productive, and first priority has to be productivity. But then, I have funny ideas about advanced e-book formats, integrated audiobook versions, and indexed footnotes/wiki-style references, too.

            --
            "Fake News: anything reported outside of my own personally chosen echo chamber"
            • (Score: 1) by Ethanol-fueled on Friday May 16 2014, @01:08AM

              by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Friday May 16 2014, @01:08AM (#44052) Homepage

              In case you're curious, he wanted to be able to use them with all of Word's fancy features he heard about from other teachers, he had Word installed on his work computer, and I wasn't about to give him my righteous .odf schpiel* because that would have led to a million other questions I didn't feel like answering.

              That sounds like kind of a dick move, but you all know the weary feeling when you're removing malware or pressing the router reset button for the millionth time because dad or grandma won't put in the minimal effort to learn how to "fix their internet" themselves.

              * Which also makes sense to me because the only reasons I write formal documents is because they are resumes and class assignments which must be in .doc or .docx format. I compose my trolls and other personal musings in plaintext with Gedit or Notepad++

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15 2014, @03:35PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15 2014, @03:35PM (#43786)

        Sorry but what a stupid thing to say, like "all people are fat" or "all cars are red". Certainly some are but I promise you some aren't. And there's a million word processors out there and most of them have a large number of really stupid and unhelpful help functions...

      • (Score: 2) by Rune of Doom on Thursday May 15 2014, @04:28PM

        by Rune of Doom (1392) on Thursday May 15 2014, @04:28PM (#43806)

        It's trivial if you're an experienced power user. If you're not, it can easily turn into an experience with a frustration level on par with using Windows 8 for the first time.

      • (Score: 1) by Oligonicella on Thursday May 15 2014, @07:19PM

        by Oligonicella (4169) on Thursday May 15 2014, @07:19PM (#43896)

        Exactly. I write. Novels and fables mostly. I attended a writing group for a bit while in FL. Only a bit. I literally heard "I like to use a fountain pen so I can feel the words flow as I write." Same with him. He's just archaic.

  • (Score: 3, Funny) by Blackmoore on Thursday May 15 2014, @02:26PM

    by Blackmoore (57) on Thursday May 15 2014, @02:26PM (#43736) Journal

    Do I crack out the 386 laptop; rebuild the batterypack..
    or
    Do I replace the HD controller in that old AT. I will have to find a drive compatible with DOS.

    or..
    do I go for really old and dig out the old 8-bit...

    or..
    can you even publish something in semaphore?

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15 2014, @02:36PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15 2014, @02:36PM (#43742)

    I still use Emacs for everything. The only difference is that it's not abandonware. Same keystrokes and usage as when I started in 1991, and I have seen everything else come and go. I have not had to relearn editing and typesetting every few years as fads change.

    • (Score: 1) by middlemen on Thursday May 15 2014, @03:32PM

      by middlemen (504) on Thursday May 15 2014, @03:32PM (#43782) Homepage

      I use vi and not emacs since vi can run on the smallest of Linuxes on the oldest of machines but not Emacs.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15 2014, @05:22PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15 2014, @05:22PM (#43819)

        in his face

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15 2014, @07:03PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15 2014, @07:03PM (#43882)

        What the fuck. I was drinking lemon juice while reading this thread and your comment nearly made me spill it onto the keyboard.

        • (Score: 2) by EvilJim on Thursday May 15 2014, @09:59PM

          by EvilJim (2501) on Thursday May 15 2014, @09:59PM (#43977) Journal

          my company purchased spill resistant keyboards specifically for this reason :) not sure if I trust the review saying they go through the dishwasher fine though.

    • (Score: 1) by zizban on Thursday May 15 2014, @05:03PM

      by zizban (3765) on Thursday May 15 2014, @05:03PM (#43815)

      Here, have a WordStar mode: http://rig.cs.luc.edu/~rig/home/emacs/emacs-20.4/l isp/emulation/ws-mode.el [luc.edu]

      I use it everyday and I love it!

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by CoolHand on Thursday May 15 2014, @02:46PM

    by CoolHand (438) on Thursday May 15 2014, @02:46PM (#43750) Journal
    I can understand wanting to stick with WordStar, because, frankly, it was a boss.. However, it might be a good idea to go with a modern clone, like WordTsar http://wordtsar.ca/ [wordtsar.ca] - he could still maintain his airgap, that's probably a good idea, but at least he'd have a supportable system.
    --
    Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job-Douglas Adams
    • (Score: 1) by CoolHand on Thursday May 15 2014, @02:54PM

      by CoolHand (438) on Thursday May 15 2014, @02:54PM (#43758) Journal

      bah... I spoke too soon... WordTsar is still in alpha stage. Still, it looks very promising.

      The Joe editor has nice WordStar key commands, but it is only an editor, and doesn't have near the features of the full WordStar word processer. WordTsar looks promising for that. Hopefully it comes through.

      --
      Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job-Douglas Adams
      • (Score: 1) by E_NOENT on Thursday May 15 2014, @03:08PM

        by E_NOENT (630) on Thursday May 15 2014, @03:08PM (#43769) Journal

        Just the clever name "WordTsar" makes this worth a look.

        --
        I'm not in the business... I *am* the business.
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by zafiro17 on Thursday May 15 2014, @03:39PM

      by zafiro17 (234) on Thursday May 15 2014, @03:39PM (#43790) Homepage

      Holy crap - that's an awesome find! Thanks for posting the link. This is why I still read sites like this one: for the awesome tips from other users. I unfortunately don't see a download link anywhere - they must still be developing it. Wonder what kind of keyboard that is in the image? Looks almost like an old IBM Selectric typewriter keyboard, which is interesting. Can anybody ID it?

      --
      Dad always thought laughter was the best medicine, which I guess is why several of us died of tuberculosis - Jack Handey
      • (Score: 1) by Zinho on Thursday May 15 2014, @04:46PM

        by Zinho (759) on Thursday May 15 2014, @04:46PM (#43811)

        To download the program you need to register with the developer as an alpha tester [wordtsar.ca]. According to the page i just linked he's pretty much accepting anyone, but he'd prefer people who intend to use it actively rather than people who are just curious and want to toy with it a bit.

        From your enthusiastic response I'd guess you're the right type, so go give it a try =)

        --
        "Space Exploration is not endless circles in low earth orbit." -Buzz Aldrin
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15 2014, @06:42PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15 2014, @06:42PM (#43863)

          And now the big question: which license?

  • (Score: 1) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15 2014, @03:21PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15 2014, @03:21PM (#43779)

    Your redundancy is redundant. Hand in your geek card now.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15 2014, @05:01PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15 2014, @05:01PM (#43814)

      Let him off with a warning on this one.

      The computer system as a whole is more than just its operating system, so "Linux system" and "Windows system" and "HP/UX system" are all valid phrases. The fact that the operating system for G.R.R.M.'s computer happens to be called "Disk Operating System" doesn't automatically put it in the same category as "ATM machine" or "PIN number" despite similarities of structure. The two words "system" are referring to different systems, so the author gets to keep his geek card.

      This is certainly a case where a phrase should be avoided due to the negative response it may garner, despite being technically correct. Beyond this, it shows poor journalistic skills; his readers may have been interested in knowing if the box were an IBM XT or AT clone, whether the processor was an 8086 or 8088 architecture, and what clock frequency it ran. If you're going for nerd cred as a journalist, at least give a shout out to your techie readers by finding out the relevant details.

      PS: if you're going on a grammar nazi crusade, be careful to make sure you're aiming for valid targets. I didn't have mod points or I'd have marked you down as a troll. So, of course, I fed you instead :P

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15 2014, @05:16PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15 2014, @05:16PM (#43818)

        The two words "system" are referring to different systems, so the author gets to keep his geek card.

        Indeed, the second "system" refers to his personal PC.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15 2014, @07:05PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15 2014, @07:05PM (#43883)

        "Linux system" and "Windows system" and "HP/UX system" are all valid phrases

        Agreed, but you're not comparing apples to apples. The DOS acronym includes the words "operating system" in it. So let's consider "Linux operating system system" and "Windows operating system system". Hearing something like this would make even a non-techie cringe.

        • (Score: 1) by Twike on Friday May 16 2014, @02:29AM

          by Twike (483) <lure@comiclisting.info> on Friday May 16 2014, @02:29AM (#44067)

          Also agreed, all phrases are valid, however I believe your suggested expansions are less-than-ideal. I'd propose "Computer system running the Linux operating system", "computer system running the HP/UX system", "Computer system running the Windows operating system" to keep in line with the intended feel, though the Windows and Linux machines could probably have "100% IBM Compatible" inserted somewhere.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15 2014, @05:43PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15 2014, @05:43PM (#43827)

      Not really. Disk Operating System is the OS, the entire machine, hardware and DOS is a system. Linux is an OS, yet it is acceptable to call a Linux box a 'Linux System' which, when decomposed, becomes Linux operating system System.

      The only real problem is having the same name for a set of things at different scales, not unlike that the United States is both a State and contains states. It is all a strange state system to state.

    • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Thursday May 15 2014, @07:08PM

      by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Thursday May 15 2014, @07:08PM (#43884) Homepage Journal

      Logic fails you, hand in your geek card. Buying new shiny shit doesn't make you a nerd any more than liking Star Wars does. Nerds figure out how to make shit for you nerd wannabes to spend your money on it, or buy it to hack or tinker with.

      And how do you know the guy considers himself a geek?

      Oh, wait, you're AC, you have no geek cred at all.

      --
      Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 16 2014, @12:14AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 16 2014, @12:14AM (#44036)

        Wow, you're really taking this to heart.

  • (Score: 4, Funny) by dublet on Thursday May 15 2014, @04:05PM

    by dublet (2994) on Thursday May 15 2014, @04:05PM (#43798)

    he kills off every character.

  • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15 2014, @04:20PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15 2014, @04:20PM (#43803)

    If a bunch of characters with accents in their names start showing up, he's moved on. Wordstar doesn't do those.

  • (Score: 1) by goodie on Thursday May 15 2014, @07:34PM

    by goodie (1877) on Thursday May 15 2014, @07:34PM (#43909) Journal

    Especially older ones. I've known a few who would swear by the software they were used to and would never upgrade to newer hardware/OS/software because they were so used to their tool. They had spent years learning and sometimes customizing it to their own use and losing that would mean a huge productivity loss for them. I used to type my school reports in edit, just because it was plain text and I loved its "look" :).

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15 2014, @09:26PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15 2014, @09:26PM (#43963)

    would wordstar 4.0 run in freedos on linux?

  • (Score: 2) by Snotnose on Thursday May 15 2014, @11:02PM

    by Snotnose (1623) on Thursday May 15 2014, @11:02PM (#44006)

    They're not that much more difficult than WS and run on any modern *nix box. I get his attitude 100%, when using Word I seem to spend as much time swearing "no, don't do that! why did you do that? how do I get it back to what it was" then I do actually writing.

    --
    Theiyr're - Take that grammar police.
  • (Score: 1) by halcyon1234 on Friday May 16 2014, @02:54AM

    by halcyon1234 (1082) Subscriber Badge on Friday May 16 2014, @02:54AM (#44076)
    I know a number of authors who use WordStar, because it's what they learned, what they know, and the tool that lets them produce the fastest. One could learn another program, or write a novel. Since their dayjob is novel writing, guess which they pick?

    Robert J. Sawyer has been singing WordStar's praises [sfwriter.com] online since at least 1996.
    --
    Original Submission [thedailywtf.com]