Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"Lotus 1-2-3 Release 4: Learn the EASY Way INSTRUCTIONAL COURSE", 1994.

So, after the recent "realia" post, you must be wondering -- just what was the latest acquisition in his collection? Well, here it is. It's not a game, and it's not an advertisement for a game, but it is so embodying of the early '90s that it would probably burn you to touch it. Now you know what my secret weakness is. A Lotus 1-2-3 orientation course on VHS tape? Hang on while I grab a bottle of Orbitz and open up my Trapper Keeper...
Learn everything you need to know to get started with Lotus 1-2-3
In less than an hour!
FEATURING

Bob DesLauriers

AMERICA'S TOP COMPUTER TRAINER
56 Minutes of High-Quality Instruction
ETN - Educational Television Network

Bob may have been hot stuff in the '80s, but lemme tell you, after '95, his output really trailed off... did the switch in technologies render his expertise irrelevant (Hello, where are all the registrations for my CP/M WordStar workshop?) or did he just make his mint and move to a Thai beach?

As ridiculous as this product seems on the surface, overall Bob must have been a kind of genius -- this is basically the invention of ehow in 1994. But being ahead of one's time is not always profitable...

If you find Software User Manuals too intimidating, then this course is exactly what you need. Try it, and master Lotus 1-2-3 today!
INDEX
01 SOFTWARE DEMONSTRATION
02 HARDWARE COMPONENTS: THE KEYBOARD, MOUSE AND FLOPPY DISKS
03 LESSON 1: CREATE, REVISE, & PRINT A WORKSHEET
04 LESSON 2: DEVELOP SKILLS, GRAPHICS

Consider the BENEFITS of ETN VIDEO COURSES
Motivated Instructors
Course Objectives
Practice Basic Commands
Use Help To Expand Skills
Learn Terminology
WordPerfect SIX Instructional Video
Colorful Graphics
Drive A:
Drive B:

Hardware Overviews
Step-By-Step Approach

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Clear Computer Screens
Can someone who needs to be briefed on the use of a keyboard really be trusted to operate a VCR? I like how Lesson 1 seems to cover all the basics, with Lesson 2 reserved for "develop skills". It's kind of like the underwear gnomes' plan for financial success:
    STEP 1: CREATE A WORKSHEET
    STEP 2: DEVELOP SKILLS
    STEP 3: ??
    STEP 4: PROFIT!!!
I see they boast "motivated instructors" but yet the only face and name I see on the package is that of Mr. Bob DeLauriers. Are there other anonymous trainers or does he just wear sock puppets and use funny voices?

The Colorful Graphics curiously demonstrate a screen from what must be a different member of the product line, a similarly retro WordPerfect tutorial. (Why promote this product when you can promote the entire line?) What I want to know is, next slide, in the Hardware Overviews section -- who is responsible for that bass-ackwards floppy disk drive arrangement? I've seen various configurations of 5 1/4 and 3 1/2 drives, but never in this particular exotic arrangement, with the 3.5 drive A and the 5.25 one B? For the first half of the '90s, we used the A: practically exclusively for booting from 5.25 floppies. Ah well. In retrospect, it all seems quite arbitrary -- that said, the arbitrary convention still results in this setup looking positively backwards.

I love the textmode character art menu in the final, "Clear Computer Screens" slide: it really was all you needed to get the job done even for a GUI. I gather that in some applications circles this menu style is the final major motivation for interest in boxological textmode support.

Obviously I need to get this thing converted and up on YouTube and let me tell you, it'll set the retro applications scene on fire! I recall that Gaming After 40 actually contacted the author of an old computing video for the rights to re-print authorized copies of it for collectors to enjoy. Let's not get crazy, here. YouTube will clearly suffice. Admittedly the conversion is somewhat low-priority, but we'll see if I manage to make it happen.

(The real question is: who is more foolish, the fool who expects to get money stocking this on their store shelf in 2014 or the fool who actually spent money on it to impress hypothetical blog visitors?)