Welcome to the Computer Age

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Is that a computer in your pocket or are you just happy to link me.

 

I was a late-comer to the party. I didn’t look at a computer for the first time until 2000. At the time my mental image of “computers” was formed by those old TV shows and movies where the scientist is in his laboratory and there’s this big wall of machines behind him with all these clocks and dials and blinking lights and levers on them . .

But then one day this friend of mine said: “Ace, there are all these old comic strips by you posted on the internet.” So that got my attention. I remember thinking: “Gee, how did THAT happen?” So he dragged me to a public computer at the library and showed me how to use this thing called a mouse — which I fumbled around with at first until I finally got the hang of it. So that’s how that started.

But I really didn’t get hooked on the internet until the Presidential election of 2000, Bush vs. Gore. It was election night and they had these public computers in the lobby of the Student Union Building. And I was amazed at how you could get up-to-the-second election results from virtually anywhere in the country. And if you remember, that was an election that went right down to the wire (and then some). So it was incredibly exciting following the results moment-by-moment in real time.

So they had me at that point. I was hooked. A junkie. Hopelessly addicted to the internet for life. Apparently. Though it wasn’t until 2002 that I finally got around to getting an email address. So by then I was really in the soup.

I never really adapted well to computers. For years, whenever I wanted to go to a link, I would faithfully type out https:// until somebody finally told me you didn’t have to do that. And then it would be years after that before someone told me you also didn’t have to type out www. (Why am I always the last to find out about this stuff??) And it took me YEARS to figure out how to do a simple thing like copy-and-paste (up until that point I used to type out the entire string of words and numbers if I wanted to post a link). But at least to my credit, I CAN say, I have mastered the mouse.

So it’s been 18 years for me since I entered the Computer Age. And it’s amazing how in such a short time, the computers have changed virtually EVERYTHING about modern life. For the better. And for the worse. I guess that’s just how it works.

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Cold hard numbers on a computer screen

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Cash is no longer king.

 

This is a new one. I go to this new organic restaurant on the Ave to get a cup of coffee. The clerk says: “Sorry, we don’t accept cash. Credit or debit only.”

I always wondered if the day would come when they completely phase out cash money. And everything is just a number on a computer screen. And I sure hope I never live to see that day. I deal almost exclusively with cash and have never had a credit card and almost never write checks (I admit I don’t live in the real world like the rest of you).

I remember when we used to pay the printer who printed up our Telegraph Avenue Street Calendar, we always paid him in cash. Usually around $3 thousand bucks. Most of it in twenties, this big pile of bills. He used to get this look of glee when he saw all that money. He’d hold it in his hands and count it, spread it all over his desk and play with it, with a big smile on his face. I guess most people paid him just by writing a check. But this was like playing with Monopoly money.

Andy Warhol said the best birthday present he ever got was from this guy who took a garbage can and filled it to the brim with one dollar bills. Warhol loved to run his fingers through all those bills. You just can’t beat cold, hard cash.  Well, I guess you can now.

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