Here’s one final piece of PAFEC memorabilia for the time being – the DOGS 4.4 Option Selector from 1993.
Getting DOGS to do something involved selecting two items from an on screen (or on-tablet) menu. For example, to draw a single straight line, you selected the menu option LINE, followed by the menu option 2. This example was known as an ‘executing option’, as until another menu item was selected, indicating two more points in the drawing area would result in another straight line. You could also select menu options by using ‘typed input’ mode and typing its abbreviation – LIN2 in this case.
Versions of DOGS prior to the 4.1 release used two letter abbreviation codes for menu items which still worked of course, meaning that vast libraries of parametrics (the DOGS programming language used to create automated scripts based on sequences of commands) built since the first releases of the early 80s still worked. The move to three letter menu item codes became necessary as an increasing number of functions that had been added over time had ended up in some rather strange places on the menu.
Providing a printed card was an engineering solution to the graphics terminals of the day not having the space to display large amounts of text or graphics to describe the purpose of each option. The option selector therefore allowed the drawing area to be maximised.
The 4.4 option selector was double-sided, folded into thirds. It was introduced following research indicating that the earlier and larger menu cards designed to fit on a digitising tablet were seen as being too cumbersome. Customers who still wanted to use the menu card on a tablet were provided with a DOGS parametric that enabled one to be printed.
The last of the six images has an old (0602) Nottingham telephone and fax number on it, along with the PAFEC telex address. Company email addresses were probably still a year or two away for us at this point …