Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The SACS Report, Episode 6

The SACS Report was a public-access cable television show produced by the Southern Alleghenies Computer Society of Johnstown, PA, in the early 1990s. For more background, please see the entry for Episode 2.

In Episode 6, the last episode in my collection, I step up the wardrobe, and wear a dress shirt and necktie, along with the requisite patterned socks. The reason for the fancy duds? My guest, George Bradley, Area Manager for WordPerfect Corporation, who wore a suit.

Mr. Bradley, who must have been astonished to find a 16-year-old moderator waiting to interview him, was a complete professional and interesting subject. Plus, he had a car phone!

WordPerfect had, at the time, an 80% market share, and was the word processing software I used throughout high school and into college. I had the function-key template on my keyboard, and lived and died by Reveal Codes. We discuss educational packages and the importance of word processing—and information processing in general—in business.

Mr. Bradley described an upcoming cross-platform processing kernel for WordPerfect 6.0, with the example of a macro created on a VAX, running unaltered on a Macintosh. We demonstrated WordPerfect 5.2 for Windows (“Notice we’re also using the mouse”). Mr. Bradley criticized the new CUA keystrokes in Windows, noting that employees in “word processing pools” objected to having to learn new keystrokes. In response, WordPerfect for Windows offered the traditional DOS keystrokes in addition to CUA. Unfortunately for WordPerfect, this half-hearted approach to the Windows environment led to a decline in market share, outside of niche legal markets.

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