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Laptop warriors


© St. Petersburg Times, published July 26, 1999

Laptop warriors
The next time you moan about your laptop, remember that those who paved the way for mobile computing are probably visiting the chiropractor twice a week. Even now. This is an excellent article from the ever wonderful Salon magazine concerning the Osborne 1, the world's first portable computer. I remember these beasties coming out and the feeling of awe when I gazed upon the wealth of software that came bundled with it. It made the back surgery and the recovery period worth it.

Speaking of small
The Osborne thing got me thinking about the old days of software and how tiny the programs were. And my near fit-inducing search engine frenzy lead me to Dan Bricklin's home page. For those in the know, Dan is the man who wrote VisiCalc, the spreadsheet program that put Apple on the map and could be indirectly responsible for the whole information revolution. Here you will find a free copy of VisiCalc that you can run on your PC. It weighs in at a mere 27k, which is smaller than most Web graphics.

It's almost real
Can't get home in time to watch Star Trek? Find yourself grinding your teeth at Johnny Come Lately Enterprise commanders? Gravitate to just so you can get a quick peek at the real Captain Kirk? Then this is your humor site, and you certainly will need the Flash plug-in. I was shocked and amazed to find that over 100-million of the Web's audience have this plug-in. Of course, the version 4 browsers and above come with it, and if you are using 3 or below, you have a browser with more security holes than electronic Swiss cheese. A frantic wave of the fedora to reader Dave Butcher for alerting the barrel of monkeys to this one.

Complete waste of time
It's zany! It's wacky! It's an excellent resource on how to goof off at work. Oh sure, making push pin farm animals, wandering the halls and doing crosswords can just about nudge you to lunchtime, if you are lucky. And after lunch, you face the long, dark passage to 5:20 p.m., the earliest you can possibly get out unless you fake a major illness. Fear not, dear reader. Tech Times is here to help you goof off with the best of them.

You know, for lawyers
Is it me or are the majority of items in law offices made of wood? There are an alarming amount of wooden items in my attorney's office, including pens and even his computer monitor. So surely Doug Engelbart, the inventor of the mouse, must have been thinking of our fine legal friends when crafting the computer rodent. Certainly this must be the case if these early pictures of the first mouse are to be believed.


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