What We Did Before Computers, Part 2

Early 70’s calculator

Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far, far away, we didn’t have computers at home. How did we cope?

If a Butlerian Jihad should occur (if you don’t grasp that term, either read Frank Herbert’s Dune or simply look it up in Google), we would be lost, at least for a while. But in the old days, when you had to be a serious geek to own a computer, we managed just fine.

For example, take balancing check books. In 1994, I installed Quicken on my computer for the first time. I’ve used it ever since, although I will probably be switching to a Linux-based alternative soon. That means I have 13 years of financial records archived. That’s pretty amazing. So is the fact that balancing my bank accounts takes minutes, instead of the laborious process that I engaged in long ago when the bank statement came in the mail.

Solitaire, with real cards!

I discovered in high school a love of writing. Who knows, if I had pursued a career in it, I might have done well.But circumstances were such that such a scenario never played out. However, my love of the art persists.

In 1994, I browsed into AOL’s Writer’s Forum and discovered that there was a demand for writers. There weren’t any gigs that you would get rich on, but you could get paid for writing. So I responded to a few ads.

Within a year, I was producing a self-syndicated column on billiards that was published in three different magazines, one of them in Australia! Cool stuff.

The dot com crash put all three of them out of business, but I am proud of the fact that there have been quite a few magazines that have found my writing worthy of modest pay.

Today, many of us affected by the writing muse are blogging. And we’re not doing it for free, either. If you have a website that gets good traffic, there are many ways to earn steady income from it. When Kim Komando made I Remember JFK a daily pick last March, I received over 17,000 visits in one day. I also made nearly 500 bucks. While traffic has stabilized at a level far below that, I still get a nice daily paycheck from the modest (I hope you agree) advertising I do here.

And finally, reader and friend David Paleg reminds me of something else we did before we had computers: We PLAYED SOLITAIRE WITH REAL CARDS!

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