Call me old-fashioned or a Luddite but I still prefer writing with WordPerfect 5.1 in MS DOS. I know almost all its commands by heart and that program can do things that few Windows-based word processors can.
I first learned WordPerfect 5.1 in May of 1992 at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT). Though both it and MS DOS seemed difficult, I managed to memorize the commands. They soon became second nature to me as I worked on documents and saved them to floppy disks.
I bought myself a used 386SX PC in the spring of 1993. Having a screen reader attachment to my computer allowed me to write letters and other documents on my PC that looked professional. I bought a dot-matrix printer and used scrap paper from work to print letters on. Then in the spring of 1995, I bought a modem and was able to research topics using the public library’s Bulletin Board System (BBS). In the autumn, I signed up for e-mail and web services with FreeNet.
As the nineties drew to a close, I clung tenaciously to my beloved DOS programs. The hype about Windows 95 and 98 served to turn me off that operating system. After all, I couldn’t afford a new computer with enough memory to run Windows and my old PC worked fine.
Finally, in November of 2000, I gave in. Thanks to a nice tax refund, I was able to buy a computer, 17-inch monitor, and an ink jet printer. Though I enjoyed being able to see pictures and videos, as well as hear sound through the speakers, I still did all of my creative work on my old computer. This state of affairs lasted until September of 2005 when my old PC’s motherboard died. A friend sold me a 486DX computer and I used it until its video board died in 2008.
Not wishing to quit using my faithful old programs, I put an ad in local papers for old computers. Nobody had pre-Pentium machines for sale or to give away, causing me a technical problem. My ancient MasterTouch screen reader software refused to work on each Pentium I used it on. A friend came to the rescue by sending me the disk for Vocal Eyes 3.0. That got around the problem. In fact, I still use that program today.
Now Windows 8 is being tested. From what I’ve heard from beta users, it has plenty of problems. I’m still using XP Professional on my two computers, one donated to me by the local library, and I plan to stay with that version as long as I can. After all, why change when you don’t need to?
I wrote all three of my paperbacks using WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS. The first two memoirs are featured on the Bruce Atchison’s books page. How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity is available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers.