LGR – Jingle Disk for DOS Review

LGR – Jingle Disk for DOS Review


[grunt] [music: synth “Silent Night”] [fizz] [sipping] Ahhh… [typing] [music fades out] Greetings. As in greeting cards. They’re a pretty inseparable part of the
Christmas tradition by this point, and have been for a really long time, but one thing that I really
don’t get a chance to talk about normally is digital greeting cards. And you know, you might not think of
them as being a really big deal, and maybe they aren’t so much anymore,
at least dedicated software for them, but at one point they really were. And today we’re gonna take a look
at a company called Thoughtware that has a really interesting story where really, there shouldn’t be one. And yet there is. Because Christmas. Thoughtware, Inc., was a software company
based in Coconut Grove, Florida, and in their early days, they were the last company
you would expect to sell Christmas programs. Thoughtware produced a management
decision support and training software series with such exciting titles as
“Assessing Personal Management Skills,” “Defining Goals and Objectives” and “Managing Time Effectively.” And this stuff was expensive, costing anywhere from $350 to $500 each. Then in 1984, as a token of appreciation
for the company’s employees and clients, they put together a floppy disk titled
“Seasons Greetings from Thoughtware.” This was a simple little program that not only functioned as an
advertisement for their training software, but it featured a selection of animated sequences,
accompanied by holiday music and a nice little Christmas greeting at the end. It was only meant to be a token of thanks and was even considered somewhat
frivolous by management, but the reaction from employees
and clients was hugely positive. It got such a great response that Thoughtware
decided to take a gamble on selling it, and in 1985 they reworked the software,
titling it the “Jingle Disk” and sold it in stores for $9.95. One key addition to this version
was a simple greeting card maker, which allowed users to customize a
pre-made image and print it out themselves. Normally, you’d need a far more expensive print
program to accomplish something like this, and computer users took note. Over half a million “Jingle Disks” sold in the first year, and users were clamoring for more. Seizing opportunity, Thoughtware founded a new
division called Hi Tech Expressions, and made more sohpisticated card programs like “CardWare” and “HeartWare.” to cash in on this new market. And before long, digital greeting
cards and computer games were the company’s bread and butter, the Thoughtware name was retired, and Hi Tech Expressions became
the brand they were remembered by. This is the 1986 release of “Jingle Disk” here and is the first one released under
the Hi Tech Expressions banner. It’s quite the humble little package, featuring only some basic information on the back, and single 360K 5¼” floppy disk inside. This one apparently belonged to the
LaSalle County Station Apple User Group in Morris, Illinois, in point in its life. I wonder if anybody from the
group will see this video. If so, then hey! I have your disk! “Jingle Disk” begins with a creepy jack-in-the-box clown providing you with greetings of the seasonal variety, or at least it does in the 1985 version, since there are a whole slew of animations removed from the 1986 Hi Tech release, presumably to make more room for more
involved Christmas card printing options. So we’ll just take a look at the
’85 version for this first part, which is the “Jingle Disk Christmas Story.” Our tale takes place on Christmas Eve in Suburbia, where snow pixels are falling as
fast as the CPU allows them to, and we zoom in on the one house
with owners obnoxious enough to line their entire abode with those
lights that blink so frantically that they really should prop up an
epilepsy trigger warning on the front lawn. Then out of nowhere, a gust of wind blows open the flimsy front door, quadrupling their heating costs instantly, and serving as a poignant reminder of
the benefits of installing a storm door. We then wander inside, because it’s technically not breaking and entering, and see that they’ve gotten rid of the dog since the original animation from Thoughtware. Instead, there’s a cat on the floor, and she’s just enjoying the heat of the fireplace and ignoring everything else, as cats tend to do. [high-pitched voice]
“We’ll have none of that,” says the mouse wearing strange pajamas. MOUSE:
“I’ve got a toy soldier taken
from the previous program that I can wind up and wreak
havoc with. Mwahahahaha!” While Weird Mouse puts the soldier on his way and mocks him behind his back, the soldier then marches forward
and pokes the cat in the nose, waking her up like a total inconsiderate jerk. Even though the cat doesn’t seem to care, Weird Mouse runs back to the safety
of the candy cane ornament, just in time for his engineer
friend in the toy train to drive by. MOUSE:
“Ha! Look at me!
Am I not gangster?” Like a total gangster, Weird Mouse drops into the
caboose like nothing happened. Because nothing happened.
The cat still hasn’t even moved. Finally, the cat wanders over that way, wearing an expression conveying all kinds of
dissatisfaction about her life choices up to that point. But never fear! Santa Claus with boxing gloves is here. SANTA:
“Ho ho ho! I sure do like boxing!” The jolly old elf plops down some fish and cheese and then hovers his hands in the air above them like he’s just had a massive
brain fart and can’t recover. Weird Mouse and the cat then
unwrap their gifts and stuff their faces, nomming away as we head back out into the snow. Looking up in the sky, we see Santa and his reindeer attempting to defy the laws of physics, while Rudolph up front is
bleeding profusely from his face! Oh my word, it’s so tragic. Somebody please help Rudolph!
He’s gonna bleed out! And on that bombshell,
Merry Christmas to all and to all Good Night! What a nice story. Now on subsequent “Jingle Disk” releases, the animations are all truncated, which is pretty unfortunate. Although they did drop in a feature where you can add a customized message to the end and hey, if there’s anything that makes anything better, it’s customized messages, am I right? Moving on to the 1986 version now because it’s time to move on
to menu option number two, and oh MAN, I can sense the excitement! Here, you can create a greeting disk which just writes the animated story
to a disk with a custom message, and print greeting cards, which does that. Chances are it’ll print without any configuration needed, unless you’re the crazy person that own an Okidata 92 and has to be a printing party pooper. Next, you can pick either a
full-page or quarter-page printout. One folds into quarters, the other doesn’t fold at all. Either way, you get to pick from several options, allowing you to customize each and every one of them with your own brand of special greetings. And man, I loved this kind of thing as a kid! I just loved it! Honestly, one of the things I spent
the most time with as a youngster was “Print Shop Deluxe,” so if I had this, I would have tried each and every combination
of pictures, words and printing styles. And yes, just like what happened in real life, I would have gotten chewed out by my parents for wasting ink with this, but that’s okay! Because I’ve got printouts to show for it. Just look at these amazing dot matrix creations. They may look like total crap and you may need to wear ear
protection while printing, but dude! This stuff was my jam! Surely, these are pieces to be proud of, and send it to friends and family with confidence. Just fold the quarter-page printouts
into little cards, and there you go! I don’t know what you’re
supposed to do with the full pages except hand them to someone in person, or fold it in a way that ruins your fine piece of art, but here they are just in case. And that’s pretty much it for “Jingle Disk.” I love these little programs, and this one actually has some
significance in being one of the earliest to really take off commercially. It was also ported to the Commodore 64,
Apple II, and Atari 8-bit home computers, so keep an eye out for any copies. It may not be the most exciting
thing nowadays to some, but to others it’s a nifty little treasure that has a cool story behind it. And a cool story in it. And hey, it’s a Christmas computer thing, and Christmas computer things are just special. [music: synth “White Christmas”] Also need to give a quick shout-out to a couple of Jims. Two different Jims helped me with this video. One of them sent me the “Jingle Disk” and the other helped me get one
of the versions of them running. So thank you very much to Jim S. and Jim L. And if you’re neither Jim, well hello anyway. Thanks for watching my video
and I hope you enjoyed this. And if you did, there are other Christmas videos
that I have done in the past and more coming in the future, so subscribing, or just checking out my
channel, would be a good thing to do, if you, uh, want more. And if you want even more, then you can follow and interact
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