A Walk Down Memory Lane With My Old Friend, MS-DOS

Prairie Gleanings

Just as MS-DOS evolved into Windows, tractor guidance interface systems will continue to evolve.

Published on: December 8, 2010

Earlier in the week, I took a walk down memory lane as a farmer and I discussed our first experiences with computers.

He purchased his first pc in the late 1970s. Even then, he realized it would make a great tool in keeping track of farm data. He began with basic spreadsheet programs and hasn’t looked back.

As we were talking, he mentioned the operating system in the early days was MS-DOS (MicroSoft Disk Operating System). I surprised him when I mentioned that MS-DOS was also my first operating system. (Earlier in the conversation, he’d cracked a joke about me not being alive in the 1970s.)

Anyone else remember that beast? Upon start up, you were greeted with a command prompt, typically in the hard drive directory. It looked like this   C:\>_.

If you inserted a disk, you had to manually change the directory. Our IBM Compatible (I believe a Packard Bell) always used the A drive. From there, you typed in the command to run the disk’s contents.

When Windows first came out, I remember thinking it was clunky. This was when computer’s had a tough time running such a large icon. Since I was quite proficient with MS-DOS, it didn’t make sense to boot up a huge program when I could get there faster by typing in the command.

I was obviously focused on the here and now, and did not see the potential for future applications. It makes me wonder what sort of technologies are about to make the next big step right in front of my face.

If I had to guess, I think we’ll see a big step forward in farm guidance technology. Maybe not in the manner that course corrections are handled. Instead, I think the progression will be made in the way the farmer interfaces with the guidance technology. I see it becoming integrated in the tractor cab in a more natural manner. Perhaps one day, it will be as easy as buying a tractor, then simply calling your preferred provider and setting up an account.

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