Sunday, March 11, 2012

Past misadventures when volunteering to do NGO's homework on old computers

I recall purchasing an Everex laptop in 1992.  MS-DOS only, with Windows 3.1 optional, and Wordperfect.  Then at the end of 1993 I picked up an IBM PS-1 desktop, and it still was common to use the DOS prompt for many applications, including dBase-IV.  I wound up with Ashton-Tate’s product on both machines in that old Arlington high-rise apartment.  I remember the days well.

I didn’t start using email until August 1994, after returning from a trip where I had decided to write my book.  I remember then that we had two kinds of services with proprietary content, AOL, and Prodigy.  They had both been pre-installed.  At 2.4 baud, they were both slow.  But it was from the old AOL that I found out, in 1995, when I got home from work, about the OKC attack.

Previously, on an AST computer purchased at the end of 1988, I had played with Microrim’s RBase, because it was the first to have SQL.  I tried doing my income taxes in the early 1990s by writing my own C program.

I tried to get PC experience then also by volunteering. For a social organization in DC, I did the mailing list on dBadeIV.  Finally, in May 1994, I got a complaint about returned mail.  I stopped. But I checked what I had entered against the envelope stubs I had been given.  As far as I could tell, I had entered the addresses correctly.

I was told that my involvement with the group wouldn’t be effective unless I spent even more time with it.  I’ve been told that my more than one non-profit.  “They” want to monopolize your time. 

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