Jump to content
Strawberry Orange Banana Lime Leaf Slate Sky Blueberry Grape Watermelon Chocolate Marble
Strawberry Orange Banana Lime Leaf Slate Sky Blueberry Grape Watermelon Chocolate Marble

MSFN is made available via donations, subscriptions and advertising revenue. The use of ad-blocking software hurts the site. Please disable ad-blocking software or set an exception for MSFN. Alternatively, register and become a site sponsor/subscriber and ads will be disabled automatically. 

unexpectedbill

Looking for "Books That Work: Wiring Circuit Planner and Simulator" Software

Recommended Posts

Hello all.

For many years, I've been hoping to rediscover a computer program published by Books That Work (seemingly later swallowed up by Sierra Interactive) and known as "Wiring: Circuit Planner and Simulator". I've gone on quite a few fruitless searches for it. (If you search the web, many of the relevant results are my looking for it. I've even tried contacting some of the people who once worked for the company.) I got as close as I've ever been the other day, when my neighbor was stacking up old computer hardware for recycling, and a diskette containing this program turned up. Only the installation diskette has succumbed to the pressures of time and is corrupted. I did everything I could to try and save it, but it was just too far gone.

As you might imagine, it's incredibly frustrating to be so close and yet so far.

So, I'm hoping that maybe someone here has a copy of this program. I'm quite able to show proof of ownership for the software (the manuals are long gone, but I still have the box it came in). Worst case, I'd even be open to another program with a straightforward and simple user interface like what this program had, if someone knows of one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jaclaz    927

Only to provide some more references, it should be this one:

http://www.worldcat.org/title/wiring-circuit-planner-simulator/oclc/33029152

Maybe (just maybe) the actual simulator is the same included in this later CD :unsure:

http://www.worldcat.org/title/get-wired-wire-your-home-for-power-and-the-data-highway/oclc/33962894

jaclaz

Edited by jaclaz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
98SE    7
19 hours ago, unexpectedbill said:

Hello all.

For many years, I've been hoping to rediscover a computer program published by Books That Work (seemingly later swallowed up by Sierra Interactive) and known as "Wiring: Circuit Planner and Simulator". I've gone on quite a few fruitless searches for it. (If you search the web, many of the relevant results are my looking for it. I've even tried contacting some of the people who once worked for the company.) I got as close as I've ever been the other day, when my neighbor was stacking up old computer hardware for recycling, and a diskette containing this program turned up. Only the installation diskette has succumbed to the pressures of time and is corrupted. I did everything I could to try and save it, but it was just too far gone.

As you might imagine, it's incredibly frustrating to be so close and yet so far.

So, I'm hoping that maybe someone here has a copy of this program. I'm quite able to show proof of ownership for the software (the manuals are long gone, but I still have the box it came in). Worst case, I'd even be open to another program with a straightforward and simple user interface like what this program had, if someone knows of one.

Very obscure stuff.  Can you upload photos of what you got?  Interested in seeing what the box, paperwork, and 3 disks looked like.

PAC-claz's good research finds System requirements: 386 or higher IBM PC or compatible; Windows 3.1; 2 MB RAM minimum; VGA monitor.

Did you use this in some Electronics course in a classroom? Windows 3.1...

 

PAC-MAN

OR

PAC-CLAZ

PAC-claz.gif

Edited by 98SE

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jaclaz    927
2 hours ago, 98SE said:

Very obscure stuff.  Can you upload photos of what you got?  Interested in seeing what the box, paperwork, and 3 disks looked like.

PAC-laz's good research finds System requirements: 386 or higher IBM PC or compatible; Windows 3.1; 2 MB RAM minimum; VGA monitor.

Did you use this in some Electronics course in a classroom? Windows 3.1...

 

PAC-laz's? :w00t: :dubbio:

Is it a spelling problem or an intentional mis-spelling (for *whatever* reasons)? :unsure:

jaclaz 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll get some pictures of the box and installation diskette. There's just the one diskette.

I bought a copy of the program sometime in the mid-1990s on closeout. I think I found it at a bookstore. It wasn't a part of an electronics curriculum or anything like that. The software itself was pretty limited in what it could do and what kind of devices you could wire up, but it was great fun just to play around with. (And, admittedly, do stupid things, like wiring a direct short to the "power plant".)

Unfortunately, the WorldCat web site is something I've seen many a time in my searches for this software. I've tried asking around at many a library over the years, and none of them had or could find it (through an inter-library loan program). I did some research on that CD-ROM (it's advertised in the help file for the Wiring program) and it doesn't seem to have the Wiring simulator on it.

I did see that someone on the Malwarebytes user forum has or had a copy of it installed on their computer. I have my doubts that I could actually get in touch with that person. I've also tracked down a few people who worked for the company. They've either never replied or were unable to help.

Edit: here's a picture of the installation diskette! I'll have to find the box.

btw-wiring-simulator.jpg

Edited by unexpectedbill
added diskette picture

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
98SE    7
3 hours ago, unexpectedbill said:

I'll get some pictures of the box and installation diskette. There's just the one diskette.

I bought a copy of the program sometime in the mid-1990s on closeout. I think I found it at a bookstore. It wasn't a part of an electronics curriculum or anything like that. The software itself was pretty limited in what it could do and what kind of devices you could wire up, but it was great fun just to play around with. (And, admittedly, do stupid things, like wiring a direct short to the "power plant".)

Unfortunately, the WorldCat web site is something I've seen many a time in my searches for this software. I've tried asking around at many a library over the years, and none of them had or could find it (through an inter-library loan program). I did some research on that CD-ROM (it's advertised in the help file for the Wiring program) and it doesn't seem to have the Wiring simulator on it.

I did see that someone on the Malwarebytes user forum has or had a copy of it installed on their computer. I have my doubts that I could actually get in touch with that person. I've also tracked down a few people who worked for the company. They've either never replied or were unable to help.

Edit: here's a picture of the installation diskette! I'll have to find the box.

btw-wiring-simulator.jpg

Since I haven't actually tried or seen what this program does take a look and let me know if this is similar to what you were looking for?

https://www.circuitlab.com/editor/#?id=7pq5wm

http://www.circuitstoday.com/circuit-design-and-simulation-softwares

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
98SE    7
5 hours ago, jaclaz said:

PAC-laz's? :w00t: :dubbio:

Is it a spelling problem or an intentional mis-spelling (for *whatever* reasons)? :unsure:

jaclaz 

 

:wub: PAC-MAN ate all the dots just like PAC-CLAZ absorbs all information everywhere...

Edited by 98SE

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, 98SE said:

Since I haven't actually tried or seen what this program does take a look and let me know if this is similar to what you were looking for?

https://www.circuitlab.com/editor/#?id=7pq5wm

http://www.circuitstoday.com/circuit-design-and-simulation-softwares

 

Those have come up in my previous searches. :-)  All of them are much more advanced than what I'm looking for. (The Books That Work program confined itself to household wiring situations and a few wiring devices like single way, three way, (possibly) four way light switches and outlets.)

I'm not looking for an electronic circuit simulator, just something that simulates very basic household electricity stuff like the BTW program did. Or, ideally, the BTW program itself. (Surely someone's got a copy moldering on their hard drive, in an old diskette box or up in the attic somewhere!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
98SE    7
On 8/13/2017 at 8:03 PM, unexpectedbill said:

Hello all.

For many years, I've been hoping to rediscover a computer program published by Books That Work (seemingly later swallowed up by Sierra Interactive) and known as "Wiring: Circuit Planner and Simulator". I've gone on quite a few fruitless searches for it. (If you search the web, many of the relevant results are my looking for it. I've even tried contacting some of the people who once worked for the company.) I got as close as I've ever been the other day, when my neighbor was stacking up old computer hardware for recycling, and a diskette containing this program turned up. Only the installation diskette has succumbed to the pressures of time and is corrupted. I did everything I could to try and save it, but it was just too far gone.

As you might imagine, it's incredibly frustrating to be so close and yet so far.

So, I'm hoping that maybe someone here has a copy of this program. I'm quite able to show proof of ownership for the software (the manuals are long gone, but I still have the box it came in). Worst case, I'd even be open to another program with a straightforward and simple user interface like what this program had, if someone knows of one.

It appears this program is more nostalgic in intent for you?

What happened to your original disks?  Did you misplace them after your got them?  If you hadn't moved since you bought them then there's a chance it's hidden somewhere in your house waiting to be rediscovered.  A grand massive clean up is in order and it will show up when you least expect it as everything always does.  It's also possible the original computer you installed them on may still contain them on the hard drive or if you made backup disks?

I did spot one torrent link but it was fake or something so when all else fails do an eBay saved search for all possible iterations of that program name and have it constantly email you every day for updates.  This usually works when one day someone happens upon an old garage sale or junk thrown away picked up and lists it online and all the stars align with a total solar eclipse. One morning while sitting in front of the computer checking your eBay email updates it shows up in one of your saved searches.  Jackpot... but not so fast... Then comes the crushing blow of buying it before someone else does as it could be a simple BIN sale and you get it for an easy Jackson shipped to you with the seller thinking who could want this crap or it could be an auction and you and some other nostalgic junkie(s) happen to have the same idea and go to a bidding war just to re-experience this esoteric piece of vintage software one more time in all its Windows 3.1 glory on your fully upgraded IBM XT 5160 with pure 5 pin DIN mechanical M clicky keyboard with authentic serial ball mouse.  Who shall be the victor?

:w00t:

 

A picture of the actual box front back and all sides top and bottom will be helpful.  One day someone may spot this somewhere and recognize it and possibly email you a digital copy?

Edited by 98SE

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jaclaz    927
17 hours ago, unexpectedbill said:

I'll get some pictures of the box and installation diskette. There's just the one diskette.

And you tried making a copy or recovery of the diskette and you couldn't read it?

Sometimes this may depend on a "too new" floppy disk drive or of a non-suitable program.

A pure DOS machine may work better than any newer OS, of course with a good, internal, "vintage" floppy disk drive, not one of those el-cheapo USB external ones.

jaclaz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
98SE    7
5 hours ago, jaclaz said:

And you tried making a copy or recovery of the diskette and you couldn't read it?

Sometimes this may depend on a "too new" floppy disk drive or of a non-suitable program.

A pure DOS machine may work better than any newer OS, of course with a good, internal, "vintage" floppy disk drive, not one of those el-cheapo USB external ones.

jaclaz

This is a good point.  What computer system and OS are you using to read the disk on?  Is the Floppy drive internal or external USB and if so what brand?

However, if the disk itself is really nuked which I've never seen 3.5" diskettes go completely bad even some that I created dating back to 1987 but sometimes disks will fail or start getting the dreaded CRC errors.  There is one other possibility but given it's a 3.5" diskette and not a 5.25" diskette it is still within the realm of possibility that it could be copy-protected.  Funny thing because I own a rare collection of computer equipment dating back to that time period it is possible I can try and duplicate the disk with the copy protection intact or copy the data around the bad areas and who knows maybe there's enough code that's still intact after reassembling the good files to a good diskette maybe it will function?

However if the actual program is copy protected sometimes the program installs a special key to say the hard drive it was installed to and the key must be released from the hard drive to restore the disk back to its functional state.  I've seen a few of these before but because this is for Windows 3.1 I just find it highly unlikely they still used copy protection but if this was for DOS and for Windows 3.1 that could change things as there were dual OS software back then.  Seeing how obscure this company is sometimes these companies go out of their way to protect their investment.  I have no clue how much the original retail  price of this program is.  But if you can recall the MSRP of this it could be possibly they added this special copy protection to the diskette due to its high cost but even some cheap software has had copy protection included.

If you want to send me a PM with your email address and you want to mail me your diskette safely I can try and inspect it with my older machines to see if it is readable and if somehow I can extract the files for you I can email it as a zip file.  If you wanted the original disk back then you'd have to add some return postage on top for First Class Mail Package or include a slip of cash in there for the return postage cost.

I also had another thought.  Even if you found another copy on eBay there is still a chance the reason why you can't read the disk due to age and disk rot of the magnetic media.  But it seems to mean a lot to you to get this program working so I'm just offering a possibility of investigating the disk physically and see what's up with it.  And just for my own protection.  I'm not guaranteeing anything.  The disk could be impossible to recover but I doubt anyone here has the same amount of gear as me from that time period to even do these tests.

:huh::dubbio:

Edited by 98SE

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jaclaz    927

If the OP actually has a DOS machine and a "real" floppy, an attempt to make a raw image of it (with the read only tab set) costs nothing or next to nothing.

There is a particular program (not very famous) that over the years has proved to be very good, called Venus, some info (and more related tools) here:

and in links therein.

@98SE

You would be surprised by the amount of "old" gear some MSFN members have.

jaclaz

Edited by jaclaz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To try and answer the latest round of questions in order:

1. Yes, I'm interested in rediscovering the program mainly for my own entertainment. It would certainly have useful purposes.

2. The original floppy diskette went bad (unrecoverable read error/bad sectors). Same as this one. I'm guessing they used "grade B"/duplicator grade media. I'm 100% sure it got tossed a LONG time ago.

3. Without wanting to sound grumpy or anything: anything the online world has to offer by way of a web search is something I've seen. The fake torrent link, WorldCat, etc...if Google or another reputable search engine comes up with it, I've seen it. :-) I'm here because I've exhausted pretty much every other option.

4. You can be sure I've scoured eBay and other places for this software. This is not a new search. I've been constantly looking for basically all of the last 20 years. I've seen the program come up for sale once on a rather suspicious looking web site. They couldn't deliver the goods.

5. The disk doesn't use copy protection or special formatting. It's a bog standard FAT12 formatted high density 3.5" diskette. I read it on an actual floppy drive attached to an actual floppy drive controller...none of this USB drive nonsense. (If you really care, the drive is whatever Dell installed from the factory in a Dimension 8300 I bought new. The computer runs Windows XP. I took an image of the disk before I did anything else using WinImage. The drive works perfectly.)

As to the whole matter of such diskettes failing...if you've truly never lost one due to media failures, you are a far luckier person than I, or anyone I know.  :-)

I'm not new to the game of trying to bring stubborn diskettes back to life, and I've tried every trick that I know (of course, taking an image of the disk as it existed, with the write protect switch set, before ever doing anything). I believe it's beyond saving, don't really wish to send it out, and really am hoping that someone, somewhere, either still has this program installed on their computer's hard drive or the complete software package hiding away somewhere. (All of that said, I don't have any special disk controller boards or other specialized hardware to try. Not that it would matter now, because something rather unfortunate has happened to the diskette since.) Nor do I have any shortage of good working older computer equipment (PC/XT, 286, 386, 486, only early Pentiums aren't well represented in my collection).

I don't particularly enjoy computer programming, but maybe it's time I just buckled down and wrote a program that does the same thing this one used to do. It can't have been all that difficult -- I believe the original to have been written in Visual Basic 3.0.

The question I'm ultimately really asking is "Who has a copy of this program?" Or thinks they do. Or remembers someone who did. Or has it still moldering away on their hard drive. Not "how can I revive a long ago defective diskette".

Edited by unexpectedbill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jaclaz    927
9 hours ago, unexpectedbill said:

 

The question I'm ultimately really asking is "Who has a copy of this program?" Or thinks they do. Or remembers someone who did. Or has it still moldering away on their hard drive. Not "how can I revive a long ago defective diskette".

Sure, we got that, but we tried being nice anyway :rolleyes:.

You see, when a new member comes on board :) we have no way to know how much knowledge and previous experience he/she has, I normally use my crystal ball (which has unfortunately given me a lot of tuning problems lately) and Tarots (I Ching for whatever reasons is less accurate), but I couldn't see that you had already tried each and every trick of the trade (+1) to attempt the recovery of that diskette.

BTW, don't even think :w00t::ph34r: to make a grumpiness competition, not with me, I am the resident old grumpy bastard since 2004 or so, you simply have no chance to win.

jaclaz

Edited by jaclaz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well...OK? :(

I wasn't trying to be grumpy with anyone, nor have I even the slightest interest in starting any sort of a sparring match. So, with that said, I'll just be moving on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×