subcritical


Tough to be a (textin') pimp

 Eric Williams | 19 July, 2021
 Comments
retro 

It's hard to find a replacement for a beloved tool. No matter what you're shopping around for, there are a lot of things that look good on paper. There are specs and features, pics and reviews, but in the end what you're trying to find is the satisfaction you felt when using the old thing. That is something altogether different.

You're not going to have the same sense of fulfilment from new video games if you're an old boomer gamer. Same goes for that kick-ass Snap-On screwdriver with the slot-in magnetic bit that you lost years and years ago. Sure, there are things that meet and exceed the tech specs of whatever it is that you're missing, but they won't feel the same, they'll just sort of, kind of work the same way.

I'll never have the satisfaction of using WordPerfect 5.1 to type out documents again; wearing out the '/' key while making spreadsheets nothing more than a fond memory; admiring the ascii-art page ruler of PFS: Write while immersed in the 80x25 document view is as tears in rain. I guess the combination of the perfect tool for the perfect time in your life is easy early on, but gets harder as the years march by.

I tried out an old Amstrad PCW word processing package today, Locoscript. It was fine, and had a bit of PFS flair to it. In college, I probably would have fallen instantly in love. But I knew it wasn't the same, and I managed to resist putting too much time into it. It was nice, for an 80s word processor.

But I've seen better.