MapInfo 4.1

About a year ago, we were cleaning out our basement and we came across my boxed copy of MapInfo. MapInfo was my first job after college. I worked there just shy of seven years as a software engineer, mainly working on the underlying database engine. After we shipped version 4.1, back in 1996, we were each given a copy. Back in those days, software was distributed in a box. A fairly big box, stuffed with manuals, marketing collateral, and of course CDs. We had a party when we got these boxes, and we all took turns signing each other’s. I would love to do the same for my software team today, but we’ve long since moved to complete online distribution.

It was a lot of fun to discover the box in my basement, read through the names, and remember the good times (the insane hours and release pressure long since forgotten). And I wondered… would it work?

So I fired up my computer and inserted the disc. Now my copy of MapInfo 4.1 was for Windows, and I left Windows behind years ago. So I first had to fire up VMWare Fusion, and try to install in a virtual machine. Lo and behold… it worked!

My favorite part was the registration screen. The company offered a number of prizes if you would register the software. The option I chose was a binder to hold my MapInfo CDs, mostly because I wanted to see if the company still had these binders, and would still honor the software registration. Alas, technology has marched on, and the registration failed.

I spent few minutes playing with the software, mostly marveling at the bad projection of the venerable States database file. Then put it away and never launched it again. It’s fun to visit the past, but time moves on.

I did put the box back in the basement, CDs and all. Which leads me to my final thought- if someone from MapInfo is reading this, could I get a CD binder?