RIP David A. Trampier


It is with a saddened heart that I acknowledge the passing of David Trampier.

I know many of you are saying “Who?”, but if you had an AD&D Players Handbook in the 80’s… saw his work every time you picked it up.  He also did the cover work for Gamma Word, Village of Hommlet and the DMs Screen.  His interior art credits include the DMG and Deities & Demigods as well.  David was a central part of what I like to call “The Golden Years” of Gaming.

In 1977, he started Wormy as a comic series in Dragon (Issue #9) – and I used to love watching the stories unfold.  I am not ashamed to admit it – it was the first thing I read every month when I picked up the mag.

In 1988, with Dragon #132, Wormy ended with an unfinished story line (you can see them all HERE).  In Dragon #136, the editors wrote “We regret to announce that ‘Wormy’ will no longer be appearing in Dragon Magazine. We are looking into the possibility of adding another graphic series in the future.”.  Royalty payments went un-cashed, and it was presumed David had passed away. 


It wasn’t until 2002, that he was found – driving a taxi and uninterested in gaming or art. 



In 2013 – Dave had a stroke, lost his cab job and needed cash.  During his reach out to Castel Perilous Games…he learned that TSR had been bought out by WOTC, and it was only due to that that he he agreed to have his art displayed at Egypt War.  Sadly, he passed away March 24 2014 – three weeks before the convention.

Being a private person – I honestly think he doesn’t mind that we missed his passing.  But, its only right that he get some acknowledgement… RIP Dave.   You artwork always touched my imagination.  I only wish I knew how much those guys got for the huge gem eyes.


PSA – Microsoft: 0Day Exploit Targeting Word, Outlook


Microsoft warned today that attackers are exploiting a previously unknown security hole in Microsoft Word that can be used to foist malicious code if users open a specially crafted text file, or merely preview the message in Microsoft Outlook.

In a notice published today, Microsoft advised:

“Microsoft is aware of a vulnerability affecting supported versions of Microsoft Word. At this time, we are aware of limited, targeted attacks directed at Microsoft Word 2010. The vulnerability could allow remote code execution if a user opens a specially crafted [rich text format] RTF file using an affected version of Microsoft Word, or previews or opens a specially crafted RTF email message in Microsoft Outlook while using Microsoft Word as the email viewer. An attacker who successfully exploited the vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the current user.”

To be clear, Microsoft said the exploits it has seen so far attacking this vulnerability have targeted Word 2010 users, but according to Microsoft’s advisory the flaw is also present in Word 2003, 2007, 2013, Word Viewer and Office for Mac 2011.

Microsoft says it’s working on an official fix for the flaw, but that in the meantime affected users can apply a special Fix-It solution that disables the opening of RTF content in Microsoft Word. Microsoft notes that the vulnerability could be exploited via Outlook only when using Microsoft Word as the email viewer, but by default Word is the email reader in Microsoft Outlook 2007, Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013.

One way to harden your email client is to render emails in plain text. For more information on how to do that with Microsoft Outlook 2003, 2007, 2010 and 2013, see these two articles.

Who wants a copy of MS-DOC source code?


This is crazy cool geek news.  In July 1981, Microsoft made a deal with Seattle Computer Products​ to buy the full rights to its QDOS (Quick and Dirty Operating System) for $50,000. The OS was renamed MS DOS and was installed on all IBM PCs soon afterward. Microsoft retain the rights to sell MS DOS to other PC companies. That was the start of its rise that lead to its OS domination of the PC market.


Microsoft makes source code for MS-DOS and Word for Windows available to public

25 Mar 2014 9:00 AM

The following post is from Roy Levin, distinguished engineer and managing director, Microsoft Research.

MS-DOS Operating Systems

On Tuesday, we dusted off the source code for early versions of MS-DOS and Word for Windows. With the help of the Computer History Museum, we are making this code available to the public for the first time.

The museum has done an excellent job of curating some of the most significant historical software programs in computing history. As part of this ongoing project, the museum will make available two of the most widely used software programs of the 1980’s, MS DOS 1.1 and 2.0 and Microsoft Word for Windows 1.1a, to help future generations of technologists better understand the roots of personal computing.

In 1980, IBM approached Microsoft to work on a project code-named “Chess.” What followed was a significant milestone in the history of the personal computer. Microsoft, at the time, provided the BASIC language interpreter for IBM. However, they had other plans and asked Microsoft to create an operating system. Without their own on hand, Microsoft licensed an operating system from Seattle Computer Products which would become the foundation for PC-DOS and MS-DOS.

IBM and Microsoft developed a unique relationship that paved the way for advancements in the nascent personal computer industry, and subsequent advancements in personal computing.

Bill Gates was interviewed by David Bunnell just after the launch of the IPM PC in the early 1980s for PC Magazine’s inaugural issue, and provided the backstory: “For more than a year, 35 of Microsoft’s staff of 100 worked fulltime (and plenty of overtime) on the IBM project. Bulky packages containing computer gear and other goodies were air-expressed almost daily between the Boca Raton [IBM] laboratory and Seattle [Microsoft]. An electronic message system was established and there was almost always someone flying the arduous 4,000 mile commute.”

Following closely on the heels of MS DOS, Microsoft released the first DOS-based version of Microsoft Word in 1983, which was designed to be used with a mouse. However, it was the 1989 release of Word for Windows that became a blockbuster for the company and within four years it was generating over half the revenue of the worldwide word-processing market. Word for Windows was a remarkable engineering and marketing achievement, and we are happy to provide its source code to the museum.

It’s mind-boggling to think of the growth from those days when Microsoft had under 100 employees and a Microsoft product (MS-DOS) had less than 300KB (yes, kilobytes) of source code. From those roots we’ve grown in a few short decades to become a company that has sold more than 200 million licenses of Windows 8 and has over 1 billion people using Microsoft Office. Great things come from modest beginnings, and the great Microsoft devices and services of the future will probably start small, just as MS-DOS and Word for Windows did.

Thanks to the Computer History Museum, these important pieces of source code will be preserved and made available to the community for historical and technical scholarship.

You’ve Got Mail


I’m an old fart when it comes to the internet.  I go way back…and have some funny stories about it (maybe a future blog post)….and I can remember the first time I ever heard “You’ve Got Mail”.

I also love movies….now I get both, because we have Jim Breuer (from Half-Baked and SNL ) introducing us to the guy who uttered those famous last words.

Who said being a Nerd wasn’t fun?


RIP Pat McGovern


Not only was he involved with PC World – but he was the publisher of countless “Dummies” books.  If it wasnt for his TCP/IP for Dummies, I probably never would have passed my MCSE back in the day. 


IDG’s Pat McGovern, 1937-2014: Computer Publishing’s Man of Many Worlds

The owner of PC World, Macworld and other publications spent 50 years helping the world be smarter about technology.

– Read more HERE