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The Real Deal 135: Retro software

Tom and Rafe take a trip down memory lane, describing older, defunct software they used to love... and hate.

Tom and Rafe take a trip down memory lane, describing older, defunct software they used to love...and hate.
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    Operating systems
  • Apple DOS
  • DosShell
  • DesqView
  • SpinRite
  • Xtree

    Programming languages
  • Productivity
  • WordStar
  • Sidekick
  • Echo
  • GrandView
  • WordPerfect
  • ASAP
  • Vizio
  • Dbase 2 and 3
  • Visicalc
  • SoundBlaster

    Voice recognition
  • (speed)

  • SimEarth
  • Rogue
  • NetHack
  • Zork
  • Deadline
  • FlightSim
  • Railroad Tycoon
  • Civ
  • SimCity
  • DosShell
  • MicroLeague
  • Baseball
  • Trumpet/WinSock
  • Vizio
  • VisiCalc

  • WinAmp

    Software you don't miss
  • RealPlayer
  • Windows 3.1
  • CompuServ
  • Autoexec.bat


My favorite old application no longer available was Musicmatch jukebox. I originally got it with my Dell DJ to manage my music, but I found I used it for much more. It had a very usable interface, a top-notch codec converter, internet radio and music store and much more. Sadly, I believe it was bought out by Yahoo, but their jukebox player is not nearly as good.

Jeff in Ohio

Rafe & Tom,

Here's my list of my Top 5 retrosoftware selections:

1. Word Perfect 5.1 for DOS This was a great word processor. I was a master of the Function Keys. I knew what every hotkey combination it had to offer. Then I found Microsoft Office and loved the idea using the mouse instead of hotkeys. frown

2. Lotus 1-2-3 This spreadsheet was more powerful than anything that Microsoft has every offered. The formula function was a lot easier to work with than what Excel offers.

3. dBase 4 I loved this database. I miss the days of using this program. Access made me scared of databases. I miss this old friend.

4. MS-DOS 6.22 The last true version of DOS. This is when users were POWER USERS! This version had it all: FDISK, DEFRAG, and anything you could imagine. Here's where you had control of your computer and the files on it. With every version of Windows releases, it makes us forget how good we had it then.

5. Logo Who could forget this programming language with the "turtle". First time I used this was back in the early 80's on my Commodore 64. Really could do anything worthwhile with it, but it was fun to mess around with it to see what shapes and designs I could make.

Thanks for reading my list, Mr. Corey Charette, Mine Hill, NJ

This might be somewhat relevant for the next episode on old software! Commodore BASIC is open source and can run on modern computers. and

Regards, Waleed

Tom and Rafe,

This week you are talking about RetroSoftware?. What are your stances on abadonware? Is there a way to determine if software has truly been abandoned?

Thanks, Mr. Corey Charette, Mine Hill, NJ


Jason in Nashville Memories of software - Raptor - Gotto - Wizardry - Word 2.0 (DOS) Wordprefect 5.1 - Lotus 1-2-3, DBase, Wing Commander

Tony Disposed my electronics using Google Maps


In E133, you talked about disposal of used tech. One of the ways you mentioned was to sell it. Due to a house fire of my ex wife's house, I'm in a position that I need to replace all my 6 kids tech. Due to cost I'm mostly going the used route. However I'm concerned with scams and other intentional or unintentional problems this raises. Do you have suggestions for websites that would help me locate quality used tech. Thanks. Trucker Tim Sent from my BlackBerry? Smartphone provided by Alltel

Next episode -

Good afternoon gentlemen. I hope that this message finds you both doing well. Thanks to the efforts of the good people at CNET, Leo Laporte, NPR, Revision 3, Pixel Corps, Hulu, and I few others, I have have been television/cable free for well over a year now. Would you please be so kind as to do a segment on the Netcasts that the two of you listen to or provide me with additional resources for finding new shows?

Thanks in advance, Adrian Arlington, TX