Is Your DOSsier Up To Date – Best Do a CHKDSK

Is Your DOS – sier
Up to Date?
Best Do a CHKDSK!

DOS is not exactly a buzzword, nor will it ever trend ever, ever again. SPOILER ALERT – this is REALLY OLD TECHNOLOGY!

Full Disclosure: I have even worked on OLDER technology (punched cards) that made DOS seem like sliced bread when it came out!

DOUBLE Full Disclosure: The single greatest computer program ever used in The CALL Facility for languages … needed DOS! And …. IT IS STILL RUNNING!

Yes, the first ever computer program that was used in The CALL Facility was a package of 4 languages – French, German, Italian and Russian! And the operating system used was called MS-DOS – short for DISK OPERATING SYSTEM!

How can an operating system from the mid-1980’s, still be operating on MACINTOSH COMPUTERS, which did not even EXIT until 1984, and still be useful? It is technological MAGIC!

I really don’t know HOW they work, but they do! And this would have been the LAST summer for McBookmaster French with LMF! Our resident CHD Magician is Patrick F. and he knows all the special commands and magical chants to make it work on dual-boot iMac computers running Windows 10, running DOS Box! THANKS PATRICK! 

And this computer record will never be broken – McMaster French has been running for over 30 YEARS and has never once crashed! NEVER! And it has served its’ purpose well – Beginner French, simple text correction, grammar rules and instant feedback! ALL STATE OF THE ART back in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s!

Below are some sample screens of what was presented to a student. And this was WELL before any kind of security involving ANY kind of UVic credentials. You simply turned the computer on and selected from a menu of language programs. Good times, good times!


I always enjoyed introducing this software to French students as they would be ‘Time Travelling’ to a distant past where Bill Gates was only a MILLIONAIRE, when the only mouse in the room was a biologic, and that they really needed to know where the arrow keys, CTRL, ATL, DEL and ESC keys were on an ACTUAL CLICKY KEYBOARD!

And to actually exit the program, you had to hit a sequence of keys, then get to the command line and actually type: exit … or logoff … or quit …. I CAN’T REMEMBER! LOL!

And there were no keyboard shortucuts either! Raw computing power harnessed for the good of education! Good times, good times!

To type the answer, the EXACT ANSWER FROM START TO FINISH, required using combinations of keys that often resulted in a sprained wrist, especially for RUSSIAN!

I remember Mary S., the CALL ‘expert’ at the time, fussing and fuming about fonts, .exe, .bat and .cnf files and making sure our ‘network’ of computers were all working! AND THEY DID! Mary did back then, what Patrick does no! LOL!

The Continuing Studies French Summer Immersion La Maison Française, relied on this software for MANY years after it was no longer “de rigueur” by any other Instructors. But alas, technology has surpassed even the oldest of computer programs. The last time I spoke with the Instructors using McBookMaster, they were ‘okay’ with not using it anymore, if it could not be installed on pending new hardware/software and operating systems!

The software worked REALLY WELL! And it served its’ purpose and can now go enter as the first member of ‘The CALL Facility Software Hall of Fame‘!



And at the time, we did have other MS-DOS based programs for other languages. We even had an Apple IIe with dual floppy disks to run LATIN PROGRAMS! Sadly, we removed this hardware years ago. Too bad, it would have fit really well with our Systems Open House a few years ago!

What happened after MS-DOS? Not many people remember but the first ever version of WINDOWS in CALL was actually written FOR MS-DOS and was really just a cosmetic version of MS-DOS itself!

Once you booted to DOS, you than would ‘run’ WINDOWS as an executable file! WOW! And then, the rest is history!

And the usual assortment of recently searched interesting links, videos and other walks down memory lane …. literally if the memory involves RAM chips!




  1. DOS – Wikipedia
  2. Timeline of DOS operating systems – Wikipedia
  3. MS-DOS – Encyclopedia Britannica
  4. MS-DOS: The Operating System You Loved To Hate
  5. 50 Underrated DOS Games
  6. MS-DOS Commands
  8. MS-DOS Characteristics
  9. What is DOS?
  10. DOS (Disk Operating System)
  11. Operating Systems (DOS/WINDOWS)
  12. U.S. Nuclear Weapons No Longer Need Floppy Disks

A master was explaining the nature of the Tao to one of his novices,
“The Tao is embodied in all software — regardless of how insignificant,”
said the master.
“Is the Tao in a hand-held calculator?” asked the novice.
“It is,” came the reply.
“Is the Tao in a video game?” continued the novice.
“It is even in a video game,” said the master.
And is the Tao in the DOS for a personal computer?
The master coughed and shifted his position slightly. “The lesson is
over for today,” he said.
         — Geoffrey James, “The Tao of Programming”

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





All Versions of MS-DOS
1.0 – 8.0

How to Run DOS Games 
on a Mac

MS-DOS 6.22
Best OS . . . Ever?

Basic DOS Commands

How to Pick the Best
Gaming Laptop for MS-DOS Games

The Computer Chronicles
MS-DOS 6.2 (1993)



When is a Door Not a Door? PUNS!

When is a Door
not a Door?
When it’s a

And you knew it was coming eventually! My propensity (proPUNsity!) for puns and wordplay! SPOILER ALERT – you might groan at some of them!

Full Disclosure: I am always trying to think of puns, much to the consternation of my family, friends and colleagues! 

DOUBLE Full Disclosure: So many puns to cook up, so little thyme for them all! Deal with it!

By definition a pun is:

Noun: the humorous use of a word or phrase so as to emphasize or suggest its different meanings or applications, or the use of words that are alike or nearly alike in sound but different in meaning; a play on words.
the word or phrase used in this way.
Verb: (used without object), punned, pun·ning.
to make puns.

Pun (Merriam-Webster)
Noun: Definition of pun (Entry 1 of 2)
: the usually humorous use of a word in such a way as to suggest two or more of its meanings or the meaning of another word similar in sound
Verb: punned; punning
Definition of pun (Entry 2 of 2)
intransitive verb: to make puns

Even Wikipedia has a Pun entry! And no, I did not contribute to it!

And as William Shakespeare said, ‘Aye, there’s the rub“, which comes from perhaps his most famous soliliqoy in Hamlet, you know … the one about a pair of bees!

And the ‘rub’ part Ole Bill is referencing is in the Merriam-Webster definition which includes the two words “usually humorous“! And thus the punishment begins!

Why Do Puns Make People Groan? “Puns are threatening because puns reveal the arbitrariness of meaning, and the layers of nuance that can be packed onto a single word,” 

Word Nerd: Ode to the pun — ‘the lowest form of humour …’ Puns have been much maligned by a host of commentators. Freud described puns as “cheap,” and Oliver Wendell Holmes assailed them as “verbicide.” …. Punning has been a language fixture through the ages. 

And that is very true! The greatest Punster of ALL TIME is … William Shakespeare!

And there are even some particularly punny NUMBERS as well! The punnist number of all time is ‘288‘. Why should this number NEVER be mentioned in conversation? Because it is two gross.

But even puns can be ruined by the nature of their origin or their historical context. And that includes Ole Bill too with a very saucy pun … at the time!

Romeo and Juliet, Prologue:
“From forth the fatal loins of these two foes,
A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life.”

The word ‘loins’ would originally have been pronounced the same as ‘lines’.
This pun refers to the fatal blood lines of Romeo and Juliet – the families that they descended from are the reason for their death, as well as their ‘loins’ (their physical relationship).

Kinda ‘runes’ the moment when any joke is dissected …. or explained! Sheesh! Get with the program, Bill!

In my o-pun-ion, puns are the highest level of .. funny! I admit, they don’t always work, but when they dew, the subsequent tsunami of rolling eyes, repressed rage and ‘Get thee to a winery!” looks are worth it! 

A specialized sub-set of puns are Dad Jokes! Yup, I qualify there too! Nothing better than getting an eye roll from my daughter! It is in every Dad Job Description and we have to meet all our Dad obligations!

Star Trek, Star Wars and just about any pop culture media is rife with puns, memes and running jokes! Although how a Horta runs is Star Trek:Beyond me!

And who can argue with Obi-Pun-Kenobi!


And I even own a book on puns, entitled ‘Upon the Pun” …. a crisp analysis of verbal and visual ambiguities … extremely entertaining anthology of frightful jokes ….”

I can lend it to anyone …. anyone? anyone? Bueller? Bueller?




And of course, computers are not immune to puns and jokes, in fact, some of the best jokes are technology based!

How am I with PowerPoint?
You could say I Excel at it.

That one even made ME cringe … but Full Disclosure: I still intend to use it one day! BEWARE!


OH, and I could go on, but I better knot!


  1. Why Do Puns Make People Groan?
  2. Word Nerd: Ode to the pun — ‘the lowest form of humour …’
  3. Shakespearean Puns
  5. 15 of History’s Greatest Puns
  6. 99 Funniest Dad Jokes
  7. Fourteen Computer Puns That Only Tech Heads Will Understand
  8. 25 Computer Puns That Will LAN You In A Pool Of Laughter
  9. The 10 Best Dad Jokes In Shakespeare
  10. Computer Puns

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







A Song Made Entirely
of Puns

73 Bad Puns
in 5 Minutes

Dad Jokes You Laugh You Lose
Will Ferrell vs Mark Wahlberg

Short, Clean Jokes & Puns
Get a Laugh Every Time

10 Best Puns
of All Time


1, 2, 3, . . . . or My Favourite Language Lesson of All Time!

1, 2, 3, …..
My Favourite Language Lesson
of All Time!

Count for me. Yes, count for me. Simple question. Or … is it? Okay, I will ask you to count for me again. Did you repeat your answer or did you ….. count differently? 

Full Disclosure: I have used this lesson in classes that I have taught from Elementary to Junior High/Middle School to Senior High – and even on university students!

DOUBLE Full Disclosure: I never tire of this lesson! And maybe, just maybe, you can win a bar bet with it! I haven’t myself, but you might!

TRIPLE Full Disclosure: Is anyone counting my … Full Disclosures?

What was your response? Nearly 100% of the time, the response will be “1, 2, 3, 4, 5 …..” and then a bit of a hesitation! I neither prompt, direct, encourage or judge the response!

At the point of hesitation, I repeat the request, ‘Count for me”.  Now, about 50% of the time, I get the same response, but the fascinating part of this is that now, I can get a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT RESPONSE!

“10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 ….” and then it usually ends with ‘ZERO’ or ‘BLASTOFF!

“2, 4, 6, 8, 10, …..”  or “5, 10, 15, 20, 25, …”

Or it could be counting that totally surprise me! And that happened this morning, as you will see below, but first, a bit of techy, geeky, codey stuff!

You now need to see the ‘new language’ (code) that I was introducing to my computer science class at the time.

I used this BASIC lesson to describe perhaps the simplest and yet MOST COMPLEX cognitive task possible! COUNTING! Yes, I am oversimplifying this! But my ultimate purpose of this lesson was to teach problem solving, coding and a new language!

Consider the following BASIC programming code, from my old RAM chips:

FOR I=1 to 10
     PRINT I

So not only is it basic, it is BASIC which is short for:


Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code


Okay, so maybe my dredged up BASIC programming skills are not perfect! But that is what I ‘remember’ showing students how to program a computer to …”COUNT”! YOU just did the exact same thing when I asked YOU to … COUNT!

There were FOUR CRITICAL PREMISES you INSTANTLY, and it is an INSTANT response, that your required to complete my request, and I did not tell you ANY of them!

    1. Where to START counting
    2. How much to INCREMENT your counting by
    3. Where to END counting
    4. Method of output

So, the basic 1,2,3, 4, 5 …..
Start at 1
Say outloud

Increment by +1
Stop … where ?

So simple, yet so complex!

So I enacted a small social/digital/Teams experiment this morning. I asked 3 of my colleagues, via Teams, to ….’Count for me’. That is all. I prepped them by asking them to respond quickly, automatically and instantly. And the results were:

  1. 1 (delay)          2 (delay)          3 (delay)         24 (delay)       249
  2. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5…
  3. in Japanese

ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC RESPONSES! Thanks to ALL of you for your responses! Totally surprised me too with the never before seen responses! And we used TEAMS TOO! AWESOME!

I then asked them to count for me … AGAIN! And got this:

  1. lightning storm gif (brainstorming!)
  2. C, XC, LXXX, LXX, LX, L
  3. hehe …. good topic …..


I only have quasi-super powers, but I successfully managed to change the premises of counting for 3 of my colleagues in less than 5 minutes! LOL! Fortunately I have chosen to use my super powers for good, not evil!

The hardest premise to learn, is always the method of output!

I usually turn the tables on students by asking THEM to ask ME … to count! And I change one thing .. DRAMATICALLY!

I usually go to the chalkboard (yeah, old school, literally!) and ‘OUTPUT’ my response with chalk … and in some sequence they were not expecting, such as starting at ZERO and going NEGATIVE “ZERO, -10, -20, -30, …..” Output could be verbal, printed, sign language, tapping toes, sound … ANYTHING that could convey the output!

Who counts in negative numbers? COMPUTERS CAN! Or even counting the slices of pizza that are rapidly disappearing in the CHD kitchen after extra pizza boxes brought down by Marcus after a big meeting! LOL!


Apologies to BASIC ! I am so embarassed, I might just have to … TURTLE this one out!!

So, hopefully I have made you think a little differently the next time someone asks you to count how many people are in the lineup at Mystic to get a slice of pizza or how many computers just arrived in shipping! 


  1. Counting
  2. History of ancient numeral systems
  3. The History of Counting
  4. The Mathematics of Counting
  5. A brief history of numbers and counting
  6. When did humans first learn to count?
  7. Counting – History, fingers counting, the tally system
  8. Early Counting Systems
  9. 40 Facts About Numbers That Will Make You Feel Like a Mathematical Genius
  10. Number Facts
  11. Who’s Counting?
  13. Numberphile (YouTube videos)
  14. Googol , no not … Google

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







A Brief History of
Numerical Systems
Allesandra King – TED Talks

History of

Base 12

58 and Other
Confusing Numbers – Numberphile

The Opposite of
∞ Infinity ∞ – Numberphile

6 Things You Didn’t Know
About Numbers – TED Talks