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Editor's Note:
Easy Fixes For Big Problems
"One of the most frustrating aspects of Trouble Shooting is that you rarely know  how long it will take you to fine the solution. After eating a few reheated dinners, I've learned not to delay other activities in hopes the this next potential fix ( or maybe the next one ) will get the computer up and running. When you're really stumped, you don't know whether the fix is five minutes away or three hours.
Many computer enthusiasts ( myself included ) try the quick fixes first, even if they're long shots. After all, if you try three quick fixes and none of them works, you might have wasted only 15 minutes. Try a fix that involes reinstalling software  or other time-consuming chores, and you'll be pretty disappointed when the "fix" turns out not to to be a "fix" at all. Still, the quick fix is always the best first choice.

Sad but true, you don't know what you have on your PC till its gone, and then hopefully you can get it back. There's other problems we all encounter from time to time. My laptop had a broken backlight and I went to a repair place here in Vegas. First they told me that my whole screen would have to be replaced, which would cost me over $400. I knew that this was not right so I contacted another service. They took my computer in the same day, and had it done the following. They told me that the only part that needed to be fixed was the backlight. There are so many places in the city that are just out to take your money, I am very happy that I took my laptop to an honest and reliable company.  It's scary out there. Sorry, but I have to go now and re-heat my dinner. I'll get back with everyone later with other topics, product reviews that I think would be of interest.

Larry Bussey

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The legend goes like this: One fateful day in the summer of 1980, three buttoned-down IBMers called on a band of hippie programmers at Digital Research Inc. located in Pacific Grove, Calif. They hoped to discuss licensing DRI's industry-leading operating system, CP/M. Instead, DRI founder Gary Kildall blew off IBM to gallivant around in his airplane, and the frustrated IBMers turned to Gates for their operating system. This anecdote has been told so often that techies need only be reminded of "the day Gary Kildall went flying" to recall the rest. Gates offered to provide IBM an operating system too, even though he didn't have one at the time. This required a hasty purchase.

While he's revered for his technical innovations, many believe Kildall made one of the biggest mistakes in the history of commerce.The saga of the computing industry is rich with outsize characters and surprising plot turns, but there's one story that has risen over time to mythic proportions. It's the tale of how software pioneer Gary Kildall missed out on the opportunity to supply IBM (IBM ) with the operating system for its first PC -- essentially handing the chance of a lifetime, and control of tech's future, to rival Bill Gates and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT ). In the process, he may have missed out on becoming the world's richest man.

The Book:They Made America by Harold Evans, is certain to elicit cries of protest. That's because it attacks the reputations of some of the key players of the early PC era -- Gates, IBM, and Tim Paterson (born 1956) an American computer programmer, the Seattle programmer who wrote an operating system, QDOS, based partly on CP/M that became Microsoft's DOS. Evans asserts that Paterson copied parts of CP/M and that IBM tricked Kildall. Because Gates rather than the more innovative Kildall prevailed, according to the book, the world's PC users endured "more than a decade of crashes with incalculable economic cost in lost data and lost opportunities." David G. Lefer, one of Evans' two collaborators, says: "We're trying to set the record straight. Gates didn't invent the PC operating system, and any history that says he did is wrong."

There's no doubt that Kildall was one of the pioneers of the industry. He invented the first operating system for microcomputers in the early 1970s, making it possible for hobbyists and companies to build the first personal computers. Legalities aside, Microsoft's original DOS was based in part on Kildall's CP/M. His insight was that by creating an operating system separate from the hardware, applications could run on computers that were made by different manufacturers. On July 8, 1994, Kildall (52) fell at a Monterey, CA. biker bar during a biker brawl and hit his head. The exact circumstances of his death and injury remain unclear; however, he had suffered problems with alcoholism in his later years. Gates bought Tim Paterson's program, called QDOS, for $50,000, renamed it DOS, improved it, and licensed it to IBM for a low per-copy royalty fee. The rest is hisroty. Paterson later went to work for Microsoft off and on over a period of approx.10 years. He's about 52 now and retired... more on the story.

The Real Story
Gary Kildall


PC Smart