Open Book Exams … or My Favourite Textbooks

Open Book Exams
. . . . or . . . .
My Favourite Textbooks

This may be the FIRST and ONLY blog post on the internet about … Favourite Textbooks! Textbooks are usually the bane of most students! LOL!

But I really enjoyed getting new textbooks, especially in Grade 12! For the first time, we had to venture to DOWNTOWN CALGARY to actually BUY AND OWN our textbooks! Previously, we were issued them, had to guard them throughout the semester and RETURN THEM at the end! But now, we could OWN THEM!

And what a great textbook for Grade 12 Math – ‘Modern Intermediate Algebra‘! And the trick was, to buy the book that had the ANSWERS IN THE BACK! Only a few of them DID have the answers, and I was lucky enough to get one of those! Quite an adventure for me at the time! 

And if you haven’t figured it out by now, I still have these textbooks! Yup, weird, but … I collect books of all kinds! A future post will be on REALLY OLD TEXTBOOKS that I have! 

The next 4 textbooks are all from when I attended the University of Calgary from 1975-1982. Yup, some gap years in there to travel, live and work in Banff and explore the world! Might sneak an old photo of me in there somewhere too! LOL!

And how boring – a book on .. evaluating student progress? And even more boring, THAT IS THE TITLE TOO – ‘Evaluating Student Progress’!

And here I thought I would finally find out all the tricks and secrets of passing exams … and for the most part, I did pick up some ideas, especially when my first job out of university was evaluating exams, something called Item Analysis! And it was fun! Basically, how does an exam actually MEASURE student knowledge! Yeah, boring, but at the time, I actually USED this textbook in a real life setting!

And then one of my All Time Favourite themes – STATISTICS titled ‘Elements of Statistics‘! All kinds of neat formulas, algorithms and magical numbers with REAL WORLD RESULTS! And for the first time – a new studying technique! We were allowed to bring in a small 4×6 recipe card with ANYTHING WE WANT WRITTEN ON IT! This was such a great learning tool, that I used it in all my future classes! This forces you to actually STUDY and WRITE DOWN anything you were not as confident with, thus FORCING YOU TO RECOGNIZE AND STUDY YOUR WEAK POINTS! And it worked flawlessly! (At least, for me!)

This has been a bit of a ‘Top 10 Favourite Textbooks‘ countdown, except only a ‘Top 5‘ of them! My bad! And the next 2 textbooks bring back fond memories … and some not so fond …. of courses I took … sometimes twice and three times! How about them apples!

The BEST stat course EVER was on games of chance! And the Instructor LIVED HIS TEXTBOOK – ‘Basic Probability and Applications‘! When introducing himself, he said he might be late for some Monday morning classes as he would be enroute BACK FROM LAS VEGAS as he spent most weekends there …. GAMBLING! That is one amazing course intro! And he had his own TEXTBOOK TOO!

And my FAVOURITE TEXTBOOK OF ALL TIME is entitled ‘Excursions Into Mathematics‘ for the exceedingly misnamed course ‘Elementary Mathematics From and Advanced Viewpoint‘!!!

I took this course
before I passed it!


First time was with a friend and BOTH of us dropped it at Christmas as it was just too freaking hard! Second time was with my entire Education Year colleagues (9 of us!) and the 10th student in the class dropped it too – and he was in Honours Math at the time! Why did HE drop it? It was lowering his GPA!

Finally, passed the course in the summer, and all I did was Math for a solid month, literally every day, and got a B+ on it! YAY! The Instructor apologized to me .. I was literally ONE POINT AWAY FROM AN A- …. but I did not care. I HAD PASSED THE COURSE and could now graduate! WHEW!

Still, the textbook is awesome and even though I may have ONCE understood many classical concepts – it is like Quantum Physics, another favourite topic! I may not understand ANY of it … but it is as close to MAGIC as we will ever get in this crazy world/universe/multi-verse we live in! LOL!

Oh, and whenever there was a so-called ‘Open Book Exam‘ – they were the toughest exams in the history of education. You better KNOW YOUR STUFF, because if you spent the time looking for the answer in your ‘textbook’, you wasted so much time, you never finished the exam!

And as Steve Jobs liked to say … ‘… one more thing….’!

My favourite math book was my ‘Mathematical Handbook‘ that had all kinds of formulas and simplified explanations of my favourite theorems and numbers! Served me well all through High School and University!

And one more …. one more thing! If I didn’t include a dictionary … ANY DICTIONARY in this list, then I would be remiss! I had ve saved many of my old dictionaries, including my pocket French/English dictionary, but I now tend to use and on an almost daily basis! Big thumbs up to both of those sites!




  1. 20+ Funny Textbook Doodles That Are So Clever, Teachers Won’t Be Mad

And not that many funny extra sites out there. I found most of them quite rude and in bad taste and many offensive. The only funny one is above. And just doodles on existing images in each book. Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. Sometimes … it rains! (Ask me about THAT quote, which literally comes out of … right field!)

And same with videos. Lots of bad taste ones out there, sand offensive ones, so today, only a compilation of Steve Jobs One More Thing‘ below, to wax nostalgic today!

As long as there are words out there, there will be a site that Google finds!! 


Steve Jobs …..
History of One More Thing



Throwback Thursday … A Stroll Down RAM-ory Lane

Throwback Thursday
A Stroll Down
RAM-ory Lane

How about some computer cartoons and other media today! Maybe some old ones that make us chuckle from where we have come from! And a busy day today too! LOL!

To start, my favourite scene from Captain Marvel! Many of us from The Computer Help Desk went together to see this movie together (Thanks again Marcela!) and this scene was THE funniest for me!

Remember, it takes place in the 1980’s and Captain Marvel is from an incredibly technologically advanced planet! And even today … I often get to use the classic phrase … ‘It’s loading“! LOL!

The single greatest comic in the history of HISTORY is Calvin & Hobbes. And that is an understatement! So many years ago and still relevant and still … Calvin & Hobbes! The official Calvin & Hobbes site is here.

And what would a Bog Blog Post be without some Homer Simpson memes!



And some Classic Bloom County from WAY BACK WHEN that many of you probably will never have heard of! My first car was a Black Subaru that I named … OPUS!

And Foxtrot always had a befuddled Dad playing around with their newest iFruit computer! The usual assortment of familh members, all with varying degrees of computer expertise from genius to … less than genius!


  1. XKCD
  2. 38 of the best xkcd comics about the internet, computers and programming
  3. The Definitive Collection of XKCD Comics for Programmers
  4. Computer Comics – Pinterest
  5. IT Comics – Pinterest
  6. 7 tech comics that will put a big smile on your face
  7. Dilbert – yes, mentioned here but WORTHY OF A BOG BLOG POST DEDICATED JUST TO DILBERT!!!!

As long as there are words out there, there will be a site that Google finds!! 


And then some random-ish comics that are currently located on … The World Wide Web! LOL!

“Then the hard drive says to the floppy, 110010001110011…”
“It’s a fantastic computer! It’s so old that none of today’s hackers know how to hack it!”

Computer Sale.


Throwback Thursday and Even MORE Favourite Posters and Cartoons

Throwback Thursday
and Even MORE Favourite
Posters and Cartoons!

So many websites! So much information! So many ideas! If you aren’t a bit overwhelmed each time you GOOGLE, then you aren’t searching enough!

Some new cartoons, posters and stuff to quickly peruse today! Nothing earth shattering and sometimes you just go where Google takes you!

And just some random favourite sites that I use or like! A totally random post, and since there is no such thing as truly random …. I have NO idea why! 

Some future posts will be about ‘The Greatest Computer Ever Built‘, ‘Old Computer Textbooks‘, ‘CALL Hall of Fame Software‘, ‘A Brief History of Time and Space … and The CALL Facility‘, ‘Legacy Photos of The CALL Facility‘, ‘More Puns‘, ‘More English Words‘, ‘CALL Haiku of The Day‘, Cartoon of the Day‘, ‘Poster of the Day‘, ‘TED Talks about Languages‘, ‘Training Links‘, ‘Best Language Quotes‘, ‘Language Podcasts‘, ‘Throwback Thursdays Encore‘, ‘Terrific Tuesdays Encore‘, ‘Weird Word Facts‘ and …. that is just what I thought of this morning!

Sometimes I make up a topic the morning of my post and just go with the flow! I have always like Einstein’s quote:


is more important than knowledge.
is the language of the soul.



And on a far more philosophical note, my favourite quote of ALL TIME is atributed to Robert Brault:

Enjoy the little things,
for one day you may look back
and realise
they were the big things.







  1. Einstein Quotes from Good Reads
  2. Itchy Feet – The Travel and Language Comic
  3. Doctor Who – BBC
  4. Comics Kingdom
  5. History of Computers
  6. The 100 Most Beautiful Words in English
  7. Dilbert
  8. XKCD
  9. Dictionary and Thesaurus (I use almost every single day!)
  10. Top 10 Monty Python’s Flying Circus Moments

As long as there are words out there
, there will be a site that Google finds!! 



Terrific Tuesday and and More Favourite Posters and Cartoons

Terrific Tuesday
and More Favourite
Posters and Cartoons!

Another very busy day this morning! I started with a different OAC Bog Blog Post about Desktop Publishing!

But soon, we were TEAMing more test scripts for Adam! I am testing scripts in Mail using macOS Catalina  So the Desktop Publishing Bog Blog will be tomorrow … unless more stuff comes up! And a full CHD Training Session after lunch too! AWESOME!

And just a peek at a Desktop Publishing cartoon too! And, so true … so very, very true!

So some fun posters and cartoons over the past few years to round out the day and keep my daily OAC Bog Blog post going!

Sometimes the image has to be reduced in visible size, to meet the installed theme here. Just click on the images and a bigger, original sized graphic will appear in a new tab.



Throwback Thursday and Some Favourite Posters and Cartoons

Throwback Thursday
Some Favourite
Posters and Cartoons!

A really long day, intensive TEAMS work testing out Mail scripts and TOTES THANKS to all my TEAMS-mates for helping out!

So some fun posters and cartoons over the past few years to round out the day and keep my daily OAC Bog Blog post going!




Shall We Play a Game . . . or Fictional Computers

Shall We Play a Game
Fictional Computers

None of these computers actually exist except in the imaginations of the authors! SPOILER ALERT – hard to distinguish between fictional computers and Artificial Intelligence – so …. no critics and besides …. my blog!

Full Disclosure: I have collected and read science fiction for most of my life and consider The Matrix to be a documentary, not a movie! LOL!

DOUBLE Full Disclosure: As far as these OAC Bog Blog posts go …. ‘I’ll be back’!

So I WILL mix media here, including movies, television and literature! 

One of my favourite movie computers is WOPR (pronounced ‘WHOPPER’ in WarGames from 1983! Think about it – a movie BEFORE Apple invented … THE MACINTOSH!

A teenage hacker finds the backdoor password to a Top Secret computer designed to run scenarios of ‘games’ including ‘Global Thermonuclear Warfare’, except … they aren’t GAMES! His hardware – a modem and smarts to figure out what the backdoor password is! There are SO many memes about this movie and it is a hoot to watch. And the ending is actually very good! I highly recommend it!

Even ‘The Avengers’ has made a sly reference to it from Black Widow and Captain America!

Shall we play a game?

In the scene where the Black Widow boots up SHIELD’s supercomputer from a bygone era, she asks Captain America, “Shall we play a game?”, with Captain America replying, “Love to. How about Global Thermonuclear War?” This is a reference to a line from WarGames, a 1983 Cold War sci-fi film

So as to destroy ANY sense of mystery or surprises, my favourite science fiction computer is named ‘Obie’ from Jack L. Chalker’sWell World‘ series.

Obie is one of the rare fictional computers that actually are at times, more human than humans. Obie is kind, smart, confused and self-aware. SPOILER – he was ‘killed’, then came back and then …. one of the best parts of this series! Check it out! 

Yeah, not many of you have probably heard of these books, but they are absolutely amazing! Simply put, Obie is designed by an ancient race called Markovians … to manipulate the basic fabric of the universe. Imagine the monthly updates with Obie!

Chalker was a PROLIFIC author, but the first book in the series, ‘Midnight at the Well of Souls‘ then you will be hooked for life on ALL of his books! AND THERE ARE MANY!

Another helpful computer is HOLMES IV  (Mike), in Robert A. Heinlein’s ‘The Moon is a Harsh Mistress‘.

Okay sure, he helped a lunar revolution but he has a wicked sense of humour and becomes friends with Mannie! And for why HOLMES IV is referred to as ‘Mike’, well let’s just say it was part of Heinlein’s wicked sense of humour!

The most well known computers in film include HAL-9000 (2001), ‘The Matrix’, the Holodeck and Data (Star Trek), Cerebro (X-Men), Skynet (Terminator), Arnim Zola (Captain America), Jarvis/Ultron/Vision (Iron Man(s)+), Mother (Alien) and Deep Thought (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) and there are so many more in the popular genre, both recently and for many years. Here is a List of Fictional Computers , that is also at the bottom of this post.

But I want to point out a few obscure computers, such as:

KITT (Knight Rider) in Knight Rider – Elon Musk has NOTHING on this vehicle! Snarky, sarcastic AND can catch criminals too! Basically the Love Child of a Cylon and a TESLA!  I will buy the first vehicle from TESLA that can do this! (Batmobile aside…..)

Colossus in Colossus! This computer was Skynet before Skynet! It ws the first of a trilogy and was one of the first science fiction books I read AND collected as a kid! It was even turned into a movie, Colossus: The Forbin Project! One of those ‘so bad it is good!’ kind of movies – if only for the technology!

And perhaps one of the most obscure computers comes from the first ever release by, of all people, George Lucas!

Yes, THAT George Lucas famous for that Star thing series! OMM in THX1138 by George Lucas! It was basically his thesis from USC and I remember GOING to this movie in 1971 and coming out thinking this was the weirdest movie I had ever seen! But, he ended up making a few more lesser know movies too! LOL!  

THX 1138 OMMOn the other hand, maybe too much benevolence is a bad thing, too. Before “Star Wars,” even before “American Graffiti,” George Lucas created this highly experimental and hallucinatory filmed dystopia, all the more striking for being done on a small budget (exactly $777,777.77) with mostly found locations. His sterile and drug-controlled future world has one spiritual dimension, a sort of cybernetic father-confessor figure named OMM, with whom one communes in a chapel that resembles a phone booth. The feedback one received from OMM was reminiscent of the old AI program ELIZA, where soothing generalities and “but what about you?”-style questions sufficed to convince some people an actual human being was at the other end.

And one last one that you might never have heard of from the SEQUEL to 2001! Arthur C. Clarke wrote 2010: Odyssey Two and it was turned into a movie as well, with SAL-9000 the ‘upgrade’ to HAL-9000 who had terrible social skills. But was always willing to go on a ‘bicycle built for two‘ – perhaps the first ever Smart Car technology?

And the usual assortment of recently searched interesting links, videos and other cool stuff – but beware, most of the computers are .. bad, very bad!


  1. List of fictional computers – Wikipedia
  2. Holodeck – Wikipedia
  3. WarGames – Wikipedia
  4. 7 (Fictional) Computers That Changed Our World
  5. In Pictures: 30 Famous Fictional Computers
  6. The top 50 robots and AI computers in the movies
  7. The 19 Best Artificial Intelligence Characters in Movies
  8. 12 Fictional Supercomputers I Hope Never Materialize
  9. The top 10 coolest supercomputers in movies (with video)
  10. 12 of the Most Evil Movie Computers
  11. Ghosts in the Machine: Female Computers in Science Fiction and History
  12. HAL’s Pals: Top 10 Evil Computers
  13. Computers In Science Fiction – Novels and Short Stories
  14. Badass Fantasy Machines: 6 Most Influential Computers in Sci-Fi
  15. Scenes from WarGames (1983)
  16. 7 Things You Might Have Missed During Captain America: The Winter Soldier

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





Shall We Play a Game?

That Scene from WarGames


HAL Sings Daisy
(Bicycle Built for Two)

Chris Noessel: Lessons of Science Fiction
Computer Interfaces

I’m Sorry Dave
I’m Afraid I Can’t Do That

Data on the Holodeck
Star Trek: TNG

The Well of Souls
by Jack L. Chalker

Top 13 Quotes
of Jack L. Chalker




Open the Pod Bay Door HAL. . . or Computers I Have Owned or Worked With

Open the Pod Bay Door HAL
Computers I Have
Owned or Worked With!

Not exactly comforting assistance from a computer/AI blend there, Stanley! SPOILER ALERT – I might give away some movie endings! (Psssssst… did you know there was a sequel to 2001?)

Full Disclosure:Every single computer listed below, with the exception of HAL, really existed!!

DOUBLE Full Disclosure: I have owned and still own, most of these computers, oh, except for HAL! Yeah, I am a real packrat as far as computers go! And most still work too!

HAL: Affirmative, Dave. I read you.
Dave: Open the pod bay doors, HAL.
HAL: I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that.
Dave: What’s the problem?
HAL: I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do.
Dave: What are you talking about, HAL?
HAL: This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.
Dave: I don’t know what you’re talking about, HAL.
HAL: I know that you and Frank were planning to disconnect me, and I’m afraid that’s something I cannot allow to happen.

Perhaps the  most famous computer in all of film history – the HAL 9000 from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey! But this post is not about how computers or AI go awry! That will be a future post! This post is about all the computers that I have worked and/or owned since the first day I actually SAW A COMPUTER! Yup, life changing moment and it involved … GOLF!

The first computer I ever ‘saw’ was on a trip to a Life Insurance company through the youth program at my church. We were in this huge room and a giant golden tube was behind glass. The ‘terminal’ was a teletype style typewriter and … we played GOLF on it by simply typing a number!

‘1’ was a 1-Wood and you hit ‘Return’ and it typed out something like ‘200 yards. Straight down fairway’. And that absolutely fascinated me!

The first computer I ever OWNED was a kit from Science Fair named ‘SF-5000 Electronic Digital Computer‘! I spent HOURS cutting wire, measuring it to fit the distance between connections and then I was rewarded with a ‘2 + 2 = 4’ on the ‘monitor’ across the top of the kit! And then I would do it all over again on a different project! I don’t have the computer anymore, but somewhere in my basement, is the Owner’s Manual! I will have to dig it out and look at it soon! MADE IN CANADA TOO!

Then in High School, Grade 10, I became the proud owner of a Texas Instrument SR-51A with a ‘Pod Bay Door’ to put in dedicated chips! I was on top of the computing world! I still have it! It doesn’t work. But I still have it!

Then on to the University of Calgary and using the Mainframes there! I don’t remember what KIND of mainframe, only that I had to present my stack of punched cards to the ‘Elders of Data’, they would present my offering to the Oracle (card reader!) and I would then lovingly be handed back my offering. Then wait 15 minutes for the printout and find I had a spelling mistake in my FORTRAN code! Then fix the ONE punched card and … repeat!

But then, I entered the Faculty of Education and was hired as a TA for a grad course ‘Computers in Education’ and had access to a PDP 1170 and my own teletype! It was Nerd Heaven for me! My very own (almost a..) mainframe computer!

And then in the early 1980’s I did some volunteer work and had access to an Apple computer that a high school had bought with the proceeds of a ‘Cake Sale’ Fundraiser and they did not know what to do with it!

Turns out, I used it in my student teaching practicum year and absolutely transfixed all the staff and students in the school I was a Student Teacher in! BEST.TEACHING.RESOURCE.EVER!

And then the dreaded INEVITABLE HAPPENED! I had taken TOO MANY COURSES, HAD PASSED THEM ALL and … they made me graduate from the University of Calgary! D’Oh!

And my first ‘real’ job was working with the finest (and cheapest!) home computing power that has ever been used in the history of computing – COMMODORE COMPUTERS! My first classroom had Commodore VIC-20 computers, then were upgraded to Commodore-64s and I was tech support for all the PET computers as well! Basically – I was The Computer Help Desk for an entire building! LOL! And we even had 3 Commodore PC computers running WordPerfect at the time!

Then I bought my first REAL computer – the Commodore SX-64! 25 POUNDS of ‘luggable’ computing power! And I still have it and it still works! I can play C-64 games on it and can hook it up to my 45″ tv! Still works! Grinds and clunks away and I brought it to our Systems Open House a few years ago!

Fast forward to moving to Victoria and buying my first Macintosh – the venerable Mac SE with TWO FLOPPY DRIVES AND 1 MB OF RAM! Awesome! What worlds would I conquer with this screaming hot computer! Turns out …. not too many! And again, and this sounds like an echo … echo … echo …. I STILL HAVE IT AND IT STILL RUNS!

And then a sequence of buying only Macintosh computers: Mac LC520, Graphite iMac G3 and 27″ iMac that is now TEN YEARS OLD! Yes, I am still using a TEN YEAR OLD COMPUTER – but as my media centre for Apple TV and other videos and stuff! And … insert echo here … IT STILL WORKS!

Fast Forward to working at home now! Thanks to Allison, Patrick, Adam and everyone AT CHD and I have a nice Dell Latitude laptop, my daughter’s old ‘Zelda ‘ quality monitor and enough computing power to … work from home!


If anything, working with computers through the years describes one undeniable fact about technology – there will ALWAYS be a faster and more powerful computer coming … soon. But make use of what you have, use your imagination and you can do amazing things!

You might not be able to teach an old dog new tricks, but you can use old computers to do new tricks like YouTube, digital videos, webpages, audio, page layout and watch … The Avengers!


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

PS: And I own an iPhone SE now … but it is 4 years old and ….


  1. 2001: A Space Odyssey – Wikipedia
  2. Altair 8800
  3. SF-5000 Electronic Digital Computer Kit
  4. Welcome to Steve’s Old Computer Museum!
  5. List of home computers – Wikipedia
  6. 10 Classic Computers You Had as a Kid
  7. 28 Best Old Computer Images – Pinterest
  8. PDP 1170 Mainframe Computer – 1970’s
  9. Timeline of Mac Models
  10. 10 Most Popular Computers in History
  11. 10 Worthwhile Ways to Breathe New Life Into Old Computers
  12. Avoid the Trash Heap: 15 Great Uses for an Old PC
  13. 5 Creative Ways to Reuse an Old Mac at No Cost
  14. Twelve things to do with an old Apple computer

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





Open the Pod Bay Doors Hal

The Computer That Changed Everything
Altair 8800 – Computerphile

1977 Tandy Digital Computer

Commodore SX-64 Computer Review

1984 Apple’s Macintosh Commercial


“It’s a fantastic computer! It’s so old that none of today’s hackers know how to hack it!”


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