May 23, 2011

Upgrading MS-DOS to Windows 7

I recently ran across a video that shows the upgrade process from MS-DOS all the way to Windows 7, stopping along the way to run a couple of classic games: Doom2 and Monkey Island using the original install files. It’s nothing short of amazing that it can be done. Watching the video was a bit like watching my computer life flash before my eyes.

It got me thinking about backwards compatibility which may be one of Microsoft’s greatest achievements. The fact that you can play a 17 year old game on Windows 7 is neat and fun but also speaks volumes about Microsoft's commitment to running legacy software. This commitment has made life infinitely easier for developers but often more difficult for system administrators who get tasked with deploying ancient software.

My coworker is currently fighting with an app that was written in 1996 and is not enterprise-ready. I’m confident he’ll find a way to deploy it and get users the information they need but it may take some time. Looking through thirty years of rear-view mirror, an environment that makes life easy for developers and users while guaranteeing system administrators employment may be the perfect balance after all.

Watch the video

May 14, 2011

Citrix eDocs and Amazon Kindle

I’ve only had a Kindle (3rd gen Wi-Fi) since Christmas but I already love it.   It holds a ton of books, the battery lasts for weeks, and I can use it even when sitting in coach.  Last week I discovered a new use, when you link up the Kindle with your Amazon account it will assign you a couple of email addresses.  The addresses can be used to email content wirelessly to the device.

This feature opens up a lot of possibilities.  One of the most useful has been exporting PDFs from Citrix’s eDocs site ( and then sending them to the Kindle for future reading.  Citrix eDocs is basically a hierarchical listing of product guides.  At any point in the tree you can click on the PDF button and it will generate a document that you can print or save.  Email that PDF to your Kindle’s special email address to take it anywhere.

What are you putting on your Kindle?