You Asked US PC

by Alan Zisman (c) 1997. First published in Computer Player, September 1997

I have PGA Tour golf 486 which is a DOS game.  My equipment is a 486/66 16m Ram, 2x CD Rom, Soundblaster 16. This game ran OK when I was configured with windows 3.11. with 8m Ram  I just got out of windows and things went reasonably well.  I installed Windows 95 and increased  the Ram, and thought my troubles would be over. The game does run but verrry sloooowly.  After 10 or 11 holes of play the computer often will hang up.

I have two choices I guess try to figure it out,  or buy the latest game for windows 95.  Any help you can give will keep the peace around wife is the avid golf game player and she gets upset when she
is in the lead at a tournament ad the computer freezes up!

-- Kenneth M. Ralph (

I completely understand your wife's frustration!

While I'm not familiar with that game directly, the probable solution is to set up the game to run in MSDOS Mode...

Does the game require that its CD-ROM be in your CD-ROM drive? If so, it will take a bit of work, most likely, to get an MSDOS Mode session set up to work properly for you.

If not, test the hypothesis, by clicking on the Start menu's Shutdown/Restart in MSDOS Mode option... then, see if you can use DOS commands to get the game started... and if it runs without crashing.

Don't be surprised if it lacks sound... we'll work on fixing that after we know that it runs properly in MSDOS Mode, and whether you need the CD or not.

I have become very curious lately regarding postscript and PDF file
formats available for download from websites. It is my understanding
that postscript is the "print file" format for postscript printers as
HPGL is to Laserjet printers. This seems fine for people with access to
postscript printers but for others, the only option is to download a
rather cumbersome viewer such as Adobe Acrobat or GSView (is ghostscript
the same as postscript or the Portable Document Format?).

I realize that not everyone has Word or Wordperfect installed on their
systems but surely it should not be necessary to acquire "another"
program just to view complex, formatted documents when most PC and Mac
users already have a capable wordprocessor. Even Wordpad included with
every copy of Windows'95 can read Word 6 documents!

My question is: Is there any practical reason for this format to used to
distribute heavily formatted documents that I may be unaware of. Is
there some copyright advantage to not distributing an easily editable
document? Does the PDF format have formatting capabilities that exceed
the common wordprocessors or HTML?

* Mike Pryor (

There are number of file formats proposed as 'universal document readers'... including Adobe Acrobat (PDF), Common Ground, Word Perfect Envoy, and others.

All aim to meet a generally perceived need-- to be able to distribute documents that are 'richer' than plain ASCII text provides, in a relatively compact format, that can be viewed and printers by users on a wide range of platforms, whether they own the original program or not.

To a certain extent, Web browser HTML is beginning to meet that need-- but in many cases, it is too limited and clumsy a file format. Of all the various commercial alternatives, Adobe Acrobat seems to be the most widely accepted-- partly due to Adobe's clout, partly because they've widely distributed their free Acrobat Reader software-- in versions for Windows (16 and 32 bit), Mac, and Unix.

Acrobat files can be created out of scanned text, and do a good job of recreating the original, in a file size MUCH smaller than would be the case in most word processor formats or as a series of graphics.

For example, here in BC, the Ministry of Education distributes copies of its Grade 12 Provincial Exams and marking keys, over the Internet, in PDF format... a 35 page math document, full of graphs, and complex equations becomes a 40 kb file, that is relatively easily viewed or printed out by students and teachers... because of the graphs and equations, an ASCII text version would be next-to-useless.

All in all, I find the free Acrobat Reader, taking up 5 megs of disk space, a reasonable use of my computer's hard disk, and the PDF format quite a valuable standard.

By the way-- PDF is related but not the same as Postscript... I don't think the Acrobat Reader can view a pure Postscript file, not can the GhostScript Viewer read a PDF file... GhostScript is a shareware Postscript interpreter, enabling a user without a 'real' Postscript printer to view and print Postscript documents.

While some documents are posted on the Internet in Postscript format (I once had to download some US Internal Revenue tax forms that way), it is increasingly rare.

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Alan Zisman is a Vancouver educator, writer, and computer specialist. He can be reached at E-mail Alan