What an exhausting and long year since last August – my last full vacation!

And exhausting … for ALL OF  US! I am so fortunate to have been able to  work with such amazing and incredible colleagues at The Computer Help Desk over the past … 500+ DAYS! Yes, it has been that long since we started working remotely, late in March of 2020!

Without ALL of their support, humour, leadership, imagination, guidance  and every single possible ‘intangible‘ that each and every single one of them, ALL BRING to our Teams meetings, emails, texts, GIFs, Emojis, Jeopardy, Quote Contests, it would have been impossible to accomplish a fraction of what WE ALL DID AS A TEAM!


A few key UVic and BC websites for returning to campus in September for everyone!

  1. Return-to-Campus Guidelines now available
  2. Return to campus info for students
  3. Communicable Disease Plan now available
  4. UVic News
  5. Update on getting your COVID-19 vaccine
  6. Remote work arrangements announced for the fall
  7. Working remotely
  8. Post-secondary studies during COVID-19

Not to worry . . .

August 30th to prep for
. . . Septem . . . PURR !!!!



I will bring Empire Donuts when I return to UVic!



TIME TRAVEL at UVic … Sort of …

at UVIC !!!!
[ … sort of … ]

TODAY is Day 407 since Help Desk staff – ALL of us, have been working from home!

Sounds like an entry in a Doomsday Diary!

And … kinda right about that! So, of course, I immediately think of Time Travel! But, to keep it centred on TECH .. I will offer proof that the Commodore 64, and in fact, my own Commodore SX-64 is .. THE FASTEST COMPUTER OF ALL TIME! So .. Time Travel between different Techs and how fast they actually .. Travel through Time …. stay with me!

Absolute video proof that it is faster than any computer … AT STARTING UP! Hey, Time Travel is possible … but for now .. only forward!

You can see that my SX-64 is fully booted .. even before the Apple chime HAS FINISHED on my Apple 27″ iMac! BOOM! Hands down WINNER .. for starting up!

And as you can probably guess, my SX-64 is fastest at … shutting down too! Just turn the switch off! My 27″ Mac has to go through the proper shutdown sequence, and that can take anywhere from 30-60 seconds.

So, literally, my SX-64 is faster than my 27″ iMac – coming and going! I also have an old Mac SE, amongst other computers, too! But that needs a FLOPPY to boot up – and installs a RAM disk and … well if you know what a RAM disk is … good times … good times! And the SX-64 would still beat it! I even have an old external SCSI 100MB drive. That is NOT a typo – 100MB drive! Sure was an upgrade from 800K floppies!

OH, and that is my pet Flerken, Lilly! She is always on, so she wins by default! Don’t mess with Lilly!

Original iMovie
               Original iMovie

So, sometimes old tech, even ancient tech, might still have a purpose! I want to do a post about the original, ORIGINAL version of iMovie! Yes, WAY back when! I created some training videos WAY before I joined The Computer Help Desk!

      Back to the Future

And I still have an old 24″ iMac in CALL, dedicated (i.e. NO internet at all!) for analog to digital video conversion using a Pinnacle Movie box. Works incredibly seamlessly, and literally, I can digitize a 90 minute VHS movie in about 90 minutes of real time conversion! Then burn it to a playable DVD (Single or Double-Density!) in about the same amount of time. BOOM DONE! And uses either USB or Firewire .. how  quaint!

But that is another OAC Post .. in the future of course! BACK to the Future of course!

PS: This is my 200th published post here at OAC! First person to email me with this ‘200’ number wins a … chocolate bar!

Pinnacle Movie Box
      Pinnacle Movie Box
Pinnacle Movie Box Ports
     Pinnacle Movie Box Ports

TIME TRAVELTechnologiesmostly  🙂

  1. Commodore SX-64 (Wikipedia)
  2. Commodore SX-64 Computer Review (YouTube)
  3. Systems ‘Meet the Team’ Open House (OAC)
  4. The IT Crowd (YouTube .. ALL EPISODES!)
  5. The 25 Best Time Travel Movies Ever
  6. 21 Time Travel TV Shows You Need To Binge-Watch
  7. 20+ Best Time Travel Books for Science Fiction Fans! (Up the Line by Robert Silverberg not there!)
  8. 10 Ancient computers that are still in use today
  9. 18 Things To Do With Old Computers That Still Work Today
  10. Check out how much a computer cost the year you were born

The Best of the 11th Doctor
(Matt Smith is MY Doctor!)
( Time Travel, of course! )

Apple II vs. Commodore 64

The 75 Best Commodore 64 Games Ever!

The 30 Best Time-Travel Movies That Will Blow Your Mind




Comparing Apples and Oranges II . . . Technology!

Comparing Apples and Oranges
but this time …..

My last post was about Recycling, but .. prefaced with a mea culpa of ‘Comparing Apples and Oranges‘. I liked that concept so much, I am going  to do it again … and whenever the mood strikes me!

How about camparing Apples to … Commodores! Yes, compare a few ingredients between my first ever computer – a Commodore SX-64 and a new iMac! An earlier post was entitled “Open the Pod Bay Door HAL. . . or Computers I Have Owned or Worked With” and talks a bit about my beloved Commodore SX-64!

I will still go out on a limb and say that the SX-64, that I still own, and still WORKS, is the fastest computer ever built! EVER! Well, EVER .. for startup!

I will prove it too! BUT in a future post about how fast computers are! You will have to stay tuned for that!

Okay,  so Google is your friend and I will display a few offerings when I searched for “compare commodore 64 with new mac“.

SX-64 vs iMac (Apples vs Oranges!)

RAM64KUp to
32GB 2666MHz DDR4
WIRELESSHAHA x 2!Oh, yeah!
INTERNETHAHA x ♾Can't live without it...
PROCESSOR & SPEEDMOS Technology 6510 @ 1.02 MHz (NTSC version) @ 0.985 MHz (PAL version)3.0GHz 6-core 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processor
Operating System Commodore KERNAL Commodore BASIC 2.0macOS 11 Big Sur

And that is about it! Definitely .. Apples and Oranges Commodores!

Yes, a bit cheeky, but just think about how much technology has not only changed, but IMPROVED! Look below for a comparison between a mobile phone and the computers used to … LAND A MAN ON THE MOON! And don’t be so hasty to dismiss …. older technology!

Oh, and … learned about inserting a TABLE here too! BONUS! Tables are very curious beasties here at OAC. A bit of fiddling but .. they do work. Just fussy! And I did learn about them! And that will be a future post too!

Curious Links for 
Comparing Technologies!

  1. Did Commodore, more than Apple, contribute to the birth of the personal computer?
  2. C64 cs iPhone
                            C64 vs iPhone

    The Commodore 64 vs. the iPhone 3G S: The Ultimate Showdown

  3. Your Mobile Phone vs. Apollo 11’s Guidance Computer
  4. Your Smart Toaster Can’t Hold a Candle to the Apollo Computer
  5. Mac, iPod, iPhone & iPad Specs – EveryMac.com’s Ultimate Mac Comparison
  6. 1984 Apple Macintosh vs today’s Apple iMac: Spec comparison (A Little Dated but fun to read!)
  7. Showdown: Original 1984 Macintosh vs. Today’s Apple iMac (A more up to date comparison – still fun to read!)
  8. Comparison of Macintosh models (Need at least ONE Wikipedia Article per post!)
  9. Systems ‘Meet the Team’ Open House (December 2017 & I set up my old SX-64!)
  10. Cray-1 v. MacBook Pro (A threaded conversation .. but interesting!)
  11. The 80’s supercomputer that’s sitting in your lap (Dated, but so much fun!)

Is a new Mac slower than a Commodore 64? Old 🆚 New


Can an 80s computer beat a new one at Chess? Old 🆚 New


Apple 1984 Super Bowl Commercial Introducing Macintosh Computer (HD)

The Real Story Behind Apple’s Famous ‘1984’ Super Bowl Ad




OS Emulators on WIN and macOS

 Did You Know
You might be able to experience . . .
macOS on a WIN computer?
. . . OR other neat EMULATORS too?

You can actually try legacy operating systems … on a browser! And it does not matter if you have WIN or macOS either! There are websites that … almost … let you Time Travel to see what earlier version of (then) current Operating Systems were like! They are not intended to be functional, only descriptive and ..  kinda fun, most of them! And no implied guarantee of success here! Just some emulator sites I found out there! 

And a HUGE distinction between an emulator of an OS, running on a browser and … actually remote access TO a real computer on campus. That is through  a real service at: remotelab.uvic.ca and is EVEN COOLER! The screen grab below is of my old  MacBook Pro, accessing a WIN computer in Clearihue! A rather existential question arises … is this Windows IN a Mac, or Windows ON a Mac! 🙂 This will be a future post, just to whet your whistle!


Emulators! According to Wikipedia an emulator is:

In computing, an emulator is hardware or software that enables one computer system (called the host) to behave like another computer system (called the guest). 

There are many, many, MANY browser based emulators out there! So I will show a few of them, and then put a list below to try out.

Let’s try Mac emulators first!

Quite a few of these sites have both operating systems listed, so … a Treasure Trove of Emulators!

7 classic versions of Windows and Mac OS you can run in a browser lets you try Mac System 7! This is even before the Cats took over the Mac! Fun Fact – I still own a functioning Mac SE, bought way back in … 1989!!! Such a cool computer!

And what is regarded as the single greatest Macintosh game of all time is … DARK CASTLE! And you can try it out at the same Mac System 7 site! A bit more on games later ….

MAC 8.6
                MAC 8.6

Inevitable updates to all operating  systems are … inevitable! And one of the next ones was Mac OS 8.6: The classic Mac OS nears the end of its life and this was a HUGE upgrade from System 7 – the number alone is … 1+! You can go directly there from here or click the Mac desktop to the left.

OSX 10.2 Jaguar
           OSX 10.2 Jaguar

And one final Macintosh emulator OS X 10.2: The classic Mac OS is retired …ah, good times, good times …. A HUGE selection of MANY emulators is at VirtualDesktop.org, including OS X 10.2.



The one that started them all .. well, at least in 1995 .. WINDOWS 95! And again, these are all from VirtualDesktop.org, amongst many others! Considering The CALL Facility started out with DOS based machines, running McMaster French, more closely resembling a text adventure game … WINDOWS 95 WAS CONSIDERED SLICED BREAD at the time!

           WINDOWS NT

And a final pairing of WINDOWS ME and WINDOWS NT! Microsoft sure like using lots of letters of the alphabet! But, to be fair … Apple liked using cats before Roman Numerals and then portable devices started to show up and now all kinds of … flavours …  just like an ice cream shop!

For more Virtual Experiences, I will list a few sites below, but the best to see the most, is at VirtualDesktop.org. Not all there, but .. enough to do a decent days work of Time Travel and see how Operating Systems have changed considerably over the years!

C64 Emulator
              C64 Emulator

And one last emulator, from my first ever computer that I bought … COMMODORE – C64 Online Emulator! The drawback here is that you need to upload some kind of file FROM an original C64, then it works. So, not much to try here. But I am going to find out HOW to do it though! And even more Online Emulators from the same place too!

I mentioned games earlier, but will have another post in the future about games. Spoile – I am NOT a Gamer!

Emulator Sites to Surf Towards …..

Virtual Desktops
                              Virtual Desktops
  1. List of Emulators (Wikipedia)
  2. List of Computer System Emulators (Wikipedia)
  3. Commodore 64 emulators (Wikipedia Category)
  4. 7 classic versions of Windows and Mac OS you can run in a browser
  5. Mac OS 8 emulator lets you relive the past for the first time
  6. 5 best PC emulation software for Mac [2021 Guide]
  7. Emulators can turn your PC into a Mac, let you play games from any era, and more — here’s what you should know about the potential benefits and risks of using one
    VICE – the Versatile Commodore Emulator
  8. Commodore 64 emulators (Wikipedia)
  9. Commodore 64 emulators for Windows 10
  10. C64 Forever 8 “R3”: Create & Play
  11. C64 online emulator
  12. CCS64 – A Commodore 64 Emulator – By Per Håkan Sundell
  13. On-line Emulators
  14. Virtual (Complete) Desktops – SAVED THE BEST FOR LAST!


How to Play Commodore 64 Games on PC!
Commodore 64 emulator! Vice Emulator Setup!

Kim Justice’s Top 50 Commodore 64 Games
of All-Time (YouTube)

Pawn Stars:
A Working Commodore 64
(Season 14) | History



Where Are My Keys . . . or . . . Forgotten Computers and Software

Where Are My Keys
. . . or . . .
Forgotten Computers and Software

Where are my car keys? I can just ping them, right? Ah, if Life were that easy. Wait a minute, some car keys DO have bluetooth and only need to be close to the car to open and start it! Remember when car keys were actually … KEYS! LOL!

Full  Disclosure – I still have car keys that look, act and FEEL like car keys! Most now have bluetooth and all you have to do is be NEAR the door, NEAR the car and the keys open and start the car! Ah, the good old days of fiddling with multiple keys … good times, good times.

So how many computers have YOU worked on and have … forgotten about! I had a post awhile ago about just that topic, ‘Open the Pod Bay Doors, HAL“.

Whether you bought them or used them at school or work, there are probably a dozen or more … Forgotten Computers and Software over the years. Me? Maybe a couple of dozen computers and many, many more software programs or applications!


Remember when the ENTIRE COMPUTER was one huge modular unit! And the very first computers I worked on at U of Calgary, were either hidden from site and you presented your punched cards (FORTRAN!) and waited for  the output!

Then when I started taking ‘Computers in Education’ courses, I was handed the keys to The Vault! I had access to the ‘teletype’ room where I could code in BASIC and run the output on rolls of newsprint! Good times, good times!


The first program I worked on was for Probablity with a simulation of pulling coloured balls out of a ‘Greecian Urn’. And it even printed out an ASCII Greecian Urn! Yeah, I have a printout, somewhere in  ‘The Garage’ and will look for it one day! LOL!

I was fortunate enough to be invited to a lecture given by Grace Hopper. And you might rightly say … WHO? Well, she was a TITAN OF COMPUTER SCIENCE! And she gave us all a … NANOSECOND at the  end of her lecture! Wait, what?

She concluded her lecture (best lecture of all time!) with how  she explained to her Non-Techie Supervisor, how fast light travels and how that impacts any lag or delay with satellite communications! She brought out lengths of ROPE to demonstrate how far light travels in a second and working her way down to a NANOSECOND or a BILLIONTH OF A SECOND! Turns out, it is about a foot!

Grace Hopper Nanosecond
    Grace Hopper Nanosecond

And she pulled out about 100 small lengths of multi-coloured wire and spread them on the desk for us to take as we walked out. Well, I have never seen such a rush of people to get their ‘Grace Hopper Nanosecond‘! Fortunately I was able to get one for myself! Unfortunately, it has disappeared in my many moves over the years! But what a memory for me!

And I bet I can name a MASSIVE computer related piece of ‘software’ that almost everyone will have forgotten about … Y2K! And if you have NEVER  heard of that term … then you are probably not much older than 20 years old!

Y2K refers to a software ‘glitch’ that did not take into account the calendar year 2000 in most computer code developed between 1980-1999. Basically, EVERYTHING!

Typically, amongst other problems, only 2 digits were used to indicate the calendar year, thus ’89’ and ’99’ were used for ‘1989’ and ‘1999’ in databases, calculations, spreadsheets, banks .. YOU NAME IT! So when the decade ended and we entered the year 2000 … uh-oh! Right back to the year 1900!!!!

I remember staying up, hoisting a glass of champagne and welcoming … ‘The End of the World’!!! But, or more punny, ‘Byte‘ nothing happened! LOL!

So that brings up … Y3K! LOL! I sure hope I am still around to toast 3000!

Grace Hopper Bug
Grace Hooper Bug

And this post quickly turned to Grace Hopper, didn’t it! I love telling people this story AND most people have never heard of Grace Hopper! AND an even BETTER Grace Hopper story! She is credited with the first EVER case of ‘debugging’ a computer …. LITERALLY!

She  crawled into a computer …  it  was that big! And she found a relay switch, an actual MOVING PART INSIDE A COMPUTER and a moth had become ‘trapped’ beneath the lever! She then proceeded to ….’debug’ the computer and documented it! That document, moth and all, are in the Smithsonian now!

I found SO many articles, images, cartoons and resources while doing my usual bit of research for my post, I have more links below than ever before!

Articles on ENIAC, UNIVAC, Personal Computers, COBOL and most especially, Grace Hopper. Take a trip through time, wax nostalgic, and think back to when a computer took up an entire room, if not an entire building!

Oh, and if you see an old, really old, Apple Computer at a garage sale … maybe think about buying it! It could turn out to be this one! worth almost HALF A MILLION DOLLARS!

What you hold in your hands now is not just a phone – it is the FUTURE that visionaries like Grace Hopper could only DREAM of would eventually be possible!

And as Arthur C. Clarke described in ‘Clarke’s Three Laws” at Wikipedia:

    1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
    2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
    3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Clarke's 3rd Law
                                                     Clarke’s 3rd Law

We truly live in a Magical Time now!

Enjoy the Magic!

Grace Hopper
         Grace Hopper


  1. Personal Computer – Wikipedia
  2. Grace Hopper – Wikipedia
  3. Five Fast Facts About Technologist Grace Hopper
  4. Grace Murray Hopper (1906-1992): A legacy of innovation and service
  5. Grace Hopper To Programmers: Mind Your Nanoseconds!
  6. Nanoseconds Associated with Grace Hopper
  7. Untold History of AI: Invisible Women Programmed America’s First Electronic Computer
  8. 10 Oldest Computers in The World
  9. 10 Colossal Old Computers That Changed History
  10. Timeline of Computer History
  11. Computer History Museum – YouTube
  12. 11 Mind-Blowing Collectible Computers That Will Make You Nostalgic!
  13. Acorn, Sinclair, Amstrad and Epson: 10 computers that time forgot
  14. Rare Apple Macintosh prototype up for auction
  15. Ultra-rare Apple-1 sells for the price of 8 Mac Pro computers
  16. The Vintage Mac Museum – Rare Items
  17. Computer Collectibles
  18. Andrew Booth and the Forgotten Computers
  19. Forgotten PC history: The true origins of the personal computer
  20. The forgotten software that inspired our modern world
  21. PC Pioneers: The Forgotten World of S-100 Bus Computers
  22. The Lost Civilization of Dial-Up Bulletin Board Systems
  23. Alan Turing’s Forgotten Ideas in Computer Science
  24. 10 Ancient computers that are still in use today
  25. How Forgotten Legacy Systems Could Be Your Downfall
  26. If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It: Ancient Computers in Use Today
  27. Avoid the Trash Heap: 15 Great Uses for an Old PC
  28. I Wrote This on a 30-Year-Old Computer – And it was awesome!
  29. What Is the Oldest Computer Program Still in Use?
  30. COBOLed together: the oldest legacy systems still in use today
  31. Meet the world’s oldest computer program that’s still in use today
  32. Brush up your COBOL: Why is a 60 year old language suddenly in demand?
  33. 5 ancient software programs we refuse to give up
  34. The 10 oldest, significant open-source programs
  35. Legacy systems: Too old to die?
  36. How Government Agencies Walk the Line with Legacy Software
  37. We care about old computers
  38. Candorville – Comics

As long as I have ‘The Garage’ there will be forgotten and old computers stored there . . . and magical OAC posts!





Computer Pioneers – Part 1

ENIAC – The First Computer

Apollo’s Forgotten Computer

Forgotten Fun
Texas Instruments TI-99/4A

Tano Dragon 64

Panasonic JR-200U

1983 Radio Shack TRS80
Color Computer 2

Tandy 1000

Sinclair ZX81 – British Computer

Why Apple Products
Use 30 Year Old Software

Evolution of Laptops
1975 – 2020

Top 10 Horribly Outdated
Technologies Still in Use Today

Quantum Computers


“Then the hard drive says to the floppy, 110010001110011…”
‘This is what people had to use before they got antennae.’




Wonderful Wednesday . . . C64 Marketing

Wonderful Wednesday
. . . . .
Commodore 64 Marketing!

SX 64 Receipt 1985
SX 64 Receipt 1985

My first computer I EVER purchased! I think I might even have my original receipt! I will have to dig around my own computer archives aka ‘The Garage’ and see if I can come up with that papyrus document! And … drum roll …. I FOUND IT! Click on the image to see it in a bigger tab!

And why did I buy a C-64, specifically, the SX-64, the World’s First Luggable Computer? It cost me $901.95 (note there was no tax!) and that was a huge amount, in today’s dollars! Actually, it works out to be …. $1,962.18 in ‘today’s’ money! I used the Bank of Canada Inflation Calculator, which I did not know existed until this morning!


There were a few reasons – I had just started to work in a classroom that was FILLED with Commodore-64 computers, I was taking a graduate course at the U of C about Technology/Computers in Education and … a buddy of mine could buy it through his company AT A DISCOUNT! But none of those beat out … THIS IS SUCH A  COOL COMPUTER! So had to buy the Commodore SX-64, which was also known as the Executive 64 or VIP-64 in Europe!

So  it got me to wondering about how the Commodore became, at the time, the single best home computer EVER SOLD! And I came to the conclusion that … I don’t know why! LOL! Oh, well, maybe marketing has alot to do  with it! Just look at Apple! I have posted about how Apple have made such fantastic ads before! (Yup, product placement!)

My ultimate, non-academic conclusion is that …. EVERYONE COULD OWN A HOME COMPUTER!!! And if Commodore could make it cheap, easy, small, available and FUN – then they found the magic recipe to sell MILLIONS OF THEIR COMPUTERS! And, literally: 

The Commodore 64, also known as the C64 or the CBM 64, is an 8-bit home computer introduced in January 1982 by Commodore International (first shown at the Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas, January 7–10, 1982). It has been listed in the Guinness World Records as the highest-selling single computer model of all time, with independent estimates placing the number sold between 10 and 17 million units. (From Wikipedia)

And it is a bit unknown as to how many SX-64 computers were sold. There was a rumoured DX-64 with dual floppy drives, but that never appeared.

The exact number of SX-64 sold from 1984 to 1986, when it was discontinued, is unknown. The serial numbers of over 130 SX-64s from series GA1, GA2, GA4, GA5 and GA6, with serial numbers ranging over 49,000 for series GA1, 1,000 for GA2, 17,000 for GA4, 11,000 for GA5, and 7,000 for GA6 have been reported. (From Wikipedia)

I will have an SX-64 dedicated post in the future, showing how fast it booted, cartridges that I have and how I can connect it to my Toshiba large screen tv too!

It really was an amazing computer! And speed – it boots up in about 5 seconds! And it only had the one floppy drive! Remember sorting through floppy disk banks! Good times, good times!

Commodore 128
         Commodore 128

Fun Fact – did you know that  Commodore actually made other computers, including a Commodore PC compatible and another one called the Commodore 128? Fun Fact!

Commodore PC Compatible
Commodore PC Compatible

Be sure to look closely at some of the vintage print ads I included  after all of this! William Shatner HIMSELFCAPTAIN KIRK – was a spokesman for the Commodore VIC-20 – the computer that came out BEFORE the C-64!! I can legitimately say – I own an Official Star Fleet Computer!

And that is about it for today! Lots of meetings and workshops! I might throw new stuff in later! You just never know!   




  1. Commodore History Part 1- The PET
  2. Commodore History Part 3 – The Commodore 64 (complete)
  3. Commodore History Parts 1-8 Compilation
  4. The best ever Commodore 64 music
  5. The Commodore 64 is rebooting the 1980s with a full-size re-release
  6. Commodore 64 : Memories of the Best Selling Computer Ever
  7. Commodore 64 Story & Review
  8. In Pictures: A look back at future tech – Vintage Commodore computer ads
  9. Commodore – Secret Conspiracy at Uncyclopedia – Content Free Encyclopedia (this is funny!)
Commodore PET
               Commodore PET

As long as there are a bunch of old computers in my basement, there will be Wonderful Wednesdays!





Commodore SX-64
TV Ad 1984

Commodore 64 US Adverts

Commodore History Part 1

Commodore History Compilation
Parts 1-8

C64 Accolade Comics

Games That Push the Limits
of the Commodore 64

World’s First All New
Commodore 64

So You Bought a C64
Modern Guide for Retro Buyers






Remember Aldus PageMaker . . . or Desktop Publishing

Remember Aldus PageMaker
Desktop Publishing

Excel might have put the Mac on everyone’s radar, but PageMaker put the Mac on everyone’s DESK!! SPOILER ALERTI once went to a demo by Microsoft unveiling a new product …. EXCEL 1.0 ON THE MAC!

FULL Disclosure: My first thought on using Excel was for keeping track of … HOCKEY POOLS!

DOUBLE Full Disclosure: And the first PageMaker project I worked on … was for Musical Scores! And I can’t carry a tune in a bag .. but I could print out the concert songs!

Desktop Publishing was THE hot concept in the 1980s! But I was doing the “yet to be named”, Desktop Publishing, even BEFORE it became a buzzword application! Yes, I formally declare that I now claim to have invented Desktop Publishing! But I chose to release it into the free range, organic wild and thus everyone benefits to Infinity … AND BEYOND!

Commodore 64

My first teaching job after graduating was quite unique – I helped to run a small computer classroom of VIC-20 and Commodore 64 computers, teaching a module of Computer Literacy for adult students. There were minimal course requirements, other than .. computer literacy! I was literally designing courses, teaching them and re-designing them ON THE FLY!  I was doing this during the day at my regular job and then doing it AGAIN AT NIGHT for what was very similar to what Continuing Studies is now at UVIC! It was absolutely thrilling and terrifying … AT THE SAME TIME! Good times … good times!

So, faced with NO curriculum, NO textbook, NO workbook and … NO INTERNET – I had to improvise on a daily basis … actually more of an HOURLY BASIS! Once I found out I could DESIGN AND ‘PUBLISH’ my own resources in-house – Desktop Publishing was born!

Over the course of the next 2 years or so, I wrote numerous manuals, guides, workbooks, handbooks and even a manual for SpeedScript, a free word processor for the C-64! Hint: That might even be a future Bog Blog post!

They were all tailored for the academic units I worked for! I literally used cut and paste OLD SCHOOL with scissors and tape, cutting out cartoons, printing text on dot matrix printers and handing a final mock-up version to the Printing Department in the basement! Then and only then I could exercise final creative editorial decisions such as .. colour of the front cover and colour of the magic coils to bind them all! The magic of double-sided tape is severely under-rated!

A few titles are below and you can click on each one to get a larger image in a new tab. But come back here!

CCIS Computer Class Workbook
YTO Computer Literacy Handbook
Business Education Computer Literacy Instructor’s Course Handbook
ESL Teacher’s Operation Manual
Hotel and Restaurant Projects Handbook
Hotel and Restaurant Computer Literacy Student Handbook
SpeedScript Manual
















Fast Forward a few years to working at UVic in  the relatively new CALL Facility and Desktop Publishing has a brand new KILLER APP – ALDUS PAGEMAKER! And then it became ADOBE PAGEMAKER! Nothing like re-branding a product after it is bought out!

And how did I get involved in even MORE ‘Adventures in Desktop Publishing’? I was the only one who knew how to use a Macintosh at the time – a screaming fast Mac II!

And how did I actually LEARN how to use PageMaker at the time? I had a Secret Plan which I will now share with you! I was given about 42 academic papers to be published. And they literally came in on paper, floppies (Mac/WIN), 5.25″ floppy and in every possible format at the time – text, Word, WordPerfect, email, etc. My only recourse, which proved successful, was to pre-select which paper to work on FIRST!

I ranked all the papers from what I thought was EASIEST to HARDEST and jumped into the deep end of the Apple Laserwrite Toner Pool! AND IT WORKED!

I taught myself one new technique, one new feature, one new .. SOMETHING with each and every new submission that required special editing! Image placement, borders, indents, importing, saving, data recovery and the single most important feature I already knew – BACKUP! BACKUP! BACKUP!

It may seem trivial now in the age of 128G  USB thumbdrives, but I only had a single CD-ROM burner to make backups on CD! And so it would take about an hour to prepare a weekly, or sometimes daily, backup to make sure nothing was ever lost!

I produced a series of Conference Programmes, booklets and proceedings over the next 3 years as The CALL Facility became a focus of literally, world wide attention – thanks to the efforts of Mary Sanseverino and Dr. Peter Liddell. Yup, using their names here, as they deserve all the credit for pulling this off!!! And that includes INVENTING THE CALL FACILITY TOO!

TRIPLE Full Disclosure: Mary hired me way back in the Fall of 1989 and Peter had hired Mary only a few months earlier too! And the rest is history!

If you were to go up to a current generation of digitally saavy and internet trained students from birth, I bet they would not have even HEARD of the concept of ‘Desktop Publishing’! But OH, do they know everything about social media, Insta-everything, searching and RELYING on the internet for education, training and careers! And that is a VERY GOOD THING!

Students can whip up an absolutely jaw-dropping webpage with so many applications (computer, phone, tablet) that I won’t even bother listing them. There are websites that help you make websites! And companies that specialize in publishing with free software! You can design and print your own book in a fraction of the time it took me!

Absolutely astonishing! It took me 6 months the first time I put together the CCALL2 proceedings. And about half that time, the SECOND proceedings! I am definitely ‘Old School’ – digitally!

And the usual assortment of recently searched interesting links, videos and other cool stuff – but beware, you will probably never ever use PageMaker …. but you never know!



  1. Desktop Publishing – Wikipedia
  2. Adobe PageMaker – Wikipedia
  3. Aldus – Wikipedia
  4. Aldus Pagemaker 1985
  5. 30 Years Ago, Aldus PageMaker Changed Life on Planet Earth
  6. Aldus PageMaker 5.x
  7. Aldus PageMaker 1
  8. Aldus PageMaker: The First Widely-Used Desktop Publishing Program
  9. Aldus Pagemaker: The Mac’s Savior?
  10. Aldus PageMaker Introduced
  11. Aldus Pagemaker
  12. Four reasons the LaserWriter mattered
  13. Apple Laserwriter – Wikipedia
  14. List of Apple printers – Wikipedia

As long as there are words out there, there will be interesting topics! 



“If you do not know where you come from, then you don’t know where you are, and if you don’t know where you are, then you don’t know where you’re going. And if you don’t know where you’re going, you’re probably going wrong.”



72 Short Cut Key
Adobe PageMaker

History of Desktop Publishing

History of Desktop Publishing (DTP)

The Computer Chronicles
Desktop Publishing Part I (1986)

The Computer Chronicles
Desktop Publishing Part II (1986)

The Dawn of Desktop Publishing

The Apple IIC and Imagewriter II
Desktop Publishing in the 1980s

The Font Wars
Postscript, TrueType, the Mac
and the Success of Desktop Publishing


“Your son carved his initials in his wooden classroom desk and argued he was doing desktop publishing.”