I have an idea of how the world should work and object strenuously when things change, especially when for no good reason. Hence my complaints regarding updates and deliberately breaking things between versions.
When I first started doing web pages at Western, I used Netscape Communicator's semi-WYSIWIG composer. But then I was probably at the long defunct Computer City in Grand Rapids and decided to pick up a copy of HoTMetaL Pro 4.0. It came with Ulead PhotoImpact SE 3.02, a great photo editing suite -- since bought up and extended by Corel as PaintShop Pro ***. Worked great on Windows 95/98SE/Me/NT4. When Computer City went out of business, I bought a copy of HoTMetal Pro 5.0, which I think came with PhotoImpact 4.01. Later I bought some copies of PhotoImpact 5.0 when they were offered for cheap at CompUSA in just a jewel case distribution.
The 5.0/5.0 double team of HoTMetaL Pro and Ulead PhotoImpact has served me well for years. And they installed cleanly on Windows XP Pro.
Alas, entropy reared its ugly head and over a year ago WINTER, my office Fujitsu Windows XP Pro compact tablet, stopped booting. I had brought in LARA, my HP netbook with Windows XP Home SP3 -- but in a variety of upheavals of things, and including my limitations in movements -- I couldn't find the 5.0/5.0 install CDs. KATSUMI, my Sony S270P Windows XP Pro machine at home also died, which left me with just SUMMER, the tiny Fujitsu Windows XP Pro UMPC, which had the software, and ZEPPELIN, Wendy's Windows 7 Home Premium Toshiba, which did not. I had tried a few other web packages, but they didn't work right for me.
And I wasn't alone. Many people lamented the loss of HoTMetaL Pro, which had gotten up to Version 6.0, been bought up by Corel, cast off, and then died. A lot of HoTMetaL Pro users haven't found a replacement. But... there were webpages that talked about how 6.0 could be made to work in both Windows 7 and 8.
To eBay! Ugh. No one has copies of 6.0 for sale. Well, there's one auction that's been sitting for over a year. A complete set of all the Borland development tools, which includes a copy of 6.0, for $495. Uh, no.
I did find a copy of HoTMetaL Pro 3.0 for a few bucks, which said it was for Windows NT. Remarkably, it did work on LARA under Win XP. But the webpages sometimes got glitched, since we were two versions back. Not ideal. And it wouldn't install under Windows 7.
Back to research. What I needed was a virtual machine and install an older version of Windows. I settled on Oracle VM VirtualBox 5.0.0, which is free, and Windows NT 4.0, which I have a bunch of installation CDs. And eBay coughed up a complete copy of HoTMetaL Pro 4.0 with Ulead PhotoImpact SE 3.02.
It took some real effort to get it work. Despite all the compatibility notes in VirtualBox touting how it works with Windows NT 4.0 (be sure to get Service Pack 6a!), there were troubles. There is supposed to be a way to use file sharing to transfer files to and from the virtual NT machine. But I'd never had to set up a file sharing network in the NT era, so it was a lot of trial and error. And it still didn't work. Finally, a Google search revealed that actually, Windows NT 4 doesn't work right with VirtualBox's sharing -- and since it is such an old OS, they were closing the bug ticket as Not Going To Be Done.
Uh, guys. One of the whole reasons to USE a virtual machine is so you CAN RUN LEGACY SOFTWARE ON LEGACY OPERATING SYSTEMS.
Plus there was the whole trouble of how to get the Service Pack 6a file loaded. Enter the packrat -- I have a whole bunch of circa 1999 Maxell CD-R and CD-RW -- part of my Y2K stockpiles. After all the complaints about how the dyes weren't stable, I have to say that both the CD-R and CD-RW disks write and read just fine, thank you very. Sixteen years later.
And eventually I got the virtual NT4 machine to read them. Turns out the final straw was a pull down checkbox in the VirtualBox Manager to tell it what optical drive to let NT think it's connected to. Make that connection, and boom. Active CD-ROM input. That gets files in. How do they get them out?
This is where the King of Kluges title comes in. Because one of the pulldown options in the VB Manager is setting up the Clipboard to be Bidirectional. That's right. I can:
Open an HTML file in Window 7 Notepad, Ctrl-A/Ctrl-C, put the mouse cursor in the NT box, Ctrl-V paste into an open HoTMetaL Pro 4.0 document. Edit it. And go into HTML mode, Ctrl-A/Ctrl-C and reverse the process with Notepad. WordPad documents similar. And images? Windows 7 Paint is pretty good, actually. Open an image, Ctrl-A/Ctrl-C, then Ctrl-V paste into PhotoImpact. And vice versa.
It is, of course, a ridiculous process. But dammit, it's MY ridiculous process. And it works.
So I'm setup so far on ZEPPELIN at home and OUEST, the university's Windows 7 Enterprise laptop at work. Total cost, besides a couple of days of kluging, was about $11 for the copy of HoTMetaL Pro 4.0, with shipping. Go eBay.
Still don't know where all those install disks are. But hey, I am back in business.
Oh, and in case you care, and you don't, but the Windows NT 4.0 SP6a virtual machines are called WEST on OUEST, and NORTH on ZEPPELIN. I'll do a third install on KATNISS, the Asus Windows 7 Basic netbook, Real Soon Now.
Historical note for NT geeks -- Service Pack 6a for NT4 was so good, Microsoft actually canceled Service Pack 7 a year or two before they stopped NT4 support because there wasn't anything sufficient to fix. Meanwhile, Windows 7 is still doing 25,000 updates every couple of weeks...
Ah, the good old days.
(Of course this afternoon, the files I Saved in Win 7 Notepad weren't actually showing up -- breaking the whole process. Come on, guys, Notepad is a pretty low level program. A Restart of Windows 7 solved the problem. Grr...)
*** -- Yeah, and I use Corel PaintShop Pro X5 on ZEPPELIN. And haven't upgraded it either. New versions. Who needs 'em?
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