Mixsonian Larry



The PowerWindows team
From the company newsletter

Up to this time you could only more expensive cars had power windows but now you could get PowerWindows on a computer… hahaha … that’s a joke …

I spent the first couple of weeks at CCI mostly getting to know the OfficePower system, studying the host side code which was written in C and ran on a version of Unix on the CCI Power 6 computer.  The OfficePower smart terminals were basically custom PCs running CCI software which connected to the Power 6 computer via an ethernet based network.  The PC revolution was in full swing by 1988 and CCI realized this particularly when some of its larger clients were starting to use PCs and WordPerfect and were asking CCI for them to be connected to the OfficePower system.  CCI’s solution was PowerWindows which PC’s would connect to OfficePower applications running on the Power 6 computer.  Yeah, that is a lot of Power.  The overall PowerWindows group was divided into two teams, one for the server side software and the second team, which I would be the team leader, to develop the PC side of system. 

The server team consisted of five guys, Bruce who was a real mellow guy who was a primary developer,  the really smart Rich who was the operating system and network guy. Then there were the OfficePower developers Alan who was like a big teddy bear, Steve who was always quiet and shy, and Bob who maintained and developed the OfficePower word processing program.

On my team were the window programmers, Scott, Jan (pronounced “Yahn”) and Tony. Scott was the  one of the smartest persons that I ever worked with and was an amazing Windows programmer. Jan shared an office with Scott and also was a good Windows programmer, but Scott was the brains of the group. 

PowerWindows ran on Microsoft Windows 2.0 which had been out for about a year. Memory limitations were always a problem with early Windows that could only access 640K, a far cry from the 16 Gigabytes of my current system.  Windows 2.1 helped as it supported both the High Memory area (HMA) and Extended Memory allowing Windows to use memory greater than 1 Megabyte but memory was expensive and PC’s seldom had more than two or three Megabytes, a far cry from the 16 Gigabytes on my current system.   One of the bigger issues was Windows 2.0 had limited networking and file sharing capabilities. OfficePower ran under the Unix operating system which support Network File System (NFS) so we found a company that made provided NFS software for Microsoft Windows allowing the PowerWindows software we were developing to access files on the server. 

PowerWindows was a windows version of the OfficePower smart terminal software adapted for Windows which allowed a user to access the OfficePower programs including its spreadsheet, database, calendar, and word processing programs.  It worked quite well but was basically just a windows version of the OfficePower terminal.   What the users were asking for was to use the WordPerfect word processing program instead of the OfficePower program as WordPerfect was considerably more advanced.   WordPerfect at the time was not a Windows program but rather ran on DOS but you could open a “DOS window” in Windows 2.1 which then could run.  So PowerWindows was adapted to allow a user to use the server based OfficePower but instead of the OfficePower word processing program you could use the PC DOS based WordPerfect and save your files on the server using NFS.  It was kind of a kluge, Unix server based applications connecting to a Windows based program which would then run a DOS program.

AwardClock Award

Things were going well at CCI and at the end of the year I received the General Manager’s award for outstanding performance. I missed Julie and Anne, but I focused on my work and didn’t let it bother me, or so I told myself.

Updated: 10-14-2023