40 Years Ago
In August of 1981, the IBM Personal Computer was released.
I didn't see one until I attended a show that IBM was hosting at the Seattle Center on May of 1982. It would be the start to the transition of personal computers in the workplace that would lead to a career.
While Apple II computers were in use in offices and classrooms at the time, it did has some technical concerns including a lack of an 80 column screen, the norm for word processing in office setting, as well as the lack of a hard drive (there were some creative devices that were substituted for a hard drive that I used).
When ITT was a respectable school in Seattle, it did setup the first IBM PC lab for educational purposes in Seattle where I would learn to use them for spreadsheets, word processsing, and programming (alongside IBM System/3x computers). It would be the only computer line that I would sell to some and train many on how to use throughout the Puget Sound and Willamette Valley areas for years. It would become the platform the would kick off the client/server systems that are in use today.
While Rasperry Pi's were introduced in the home last year, they do work side by side with the Intel 64 bit servers that run this website and database server, using the foundation that started 40 years ago, the next generation of devices has taken some time for many to see the future potential in a pattern that is similar to how main frame and mid-range computers were replaced by the PCs that are in use today.
During it's releases (with or without IBM) training and time has been spent networking them, installing, upgrading, and coverting them into servers and workstations, and building applications that can not be accessed from a mobile phone (rather than this bulky device on a desktop).
While IBM has sold it's PC interests to Lenovo, PC support still continues on this website for HP devices today.
(IBM PC Source: Wikipedia)
Now that tax season is over, the Spring and Summer of 2021 will cover Nextcloud, a personal file server that can be used in your own home or business.
During the tax filing season, this server was used to store expenses, invoices, and medical records using the Nextcloud mobile app to process this information through the new open source accounting application that will be released soon.
This system is tiny and can be installed on a Raspberry Pi computer (a computer that is not much bigger than a pack of cigarettes). This computer, when connected to an external hard drive, can store documents, photos, music libraries, and videos that can be played from your mobile device (using the Nextcloud and a media app) or any web browser using built in internet security features.
The software applications are free (with the execption of some of the mobile apps to sync your contacts and appointments from your phone). With inexpensive hardware and your internet services, you can be responsible for your own backups instead of relying on other companies or services to mange these features for you.
Another way to be pro active with your own information.
Covid immunizations and the internet
This epidemic has had it's attention and information posted on the internet through news sources and government agencies.
Using the internet to get the vaccine can help to check your availability, setup an appoinment, to get waitlisted, as well as followup after the shot has been completed.
Many of us have had internet technology for almost 30 years. It is here to make doing tasks like this much easier than waiting on hold with a call center to do the same thing.
Do you need a printer?
When I was selling computers in the 1980's and 1990's, a printer was usually bundled into the sale. Overtime, printers have become seperate devices that don't have to be plugged into the computer functioning as their own computer connected by ethernet or wifi managing the scanning, storage, and printing of documents.
There was a time when I fixed copiers, fax machnines, and printers. While there has been a significant decline due to electronic document storage (such as Nextcloud) you can still use a scanner, with a printer, for these cloud based systems to help witht the storage.
Many use electronic documents and may not see the need for a printer, but there are some are a few reasons why you should have one:
1. printing documents for work (sometimes you may be restricted from doing this from home).
2. Homework. While many are doing schoold from home, submitting electronic documents to a drop folder is a standard practice but for those who are a classroom setting, turning them in on paper may be a preferred method.
3. Legal/important documents. While many of these are electronic, some may still be on paper. Scanning them to store them in a cloud folder is a secure way to keep them backed up if you need a copy for future use.
4. Photographs. Many places can still print phots for you but for some, as the equipment has broken down, they are not being replaced with updated equipment due to the shrinking demand of paper photos. Sometimes, printing your own photos can be less expensive.
5. Postage/Shipping Labels. Printing shipping lables can save you on shipping costs than going to the post office or another shipping store.
6. Scanning your important documents to a local computer or a cloud folder. There is rule we have the house for years know as SSS (Scanner, Server, Shredder). As we have integreted the Nextcloud server as a document storeage cents, it is easier to store them this way in a secure environment that can be accessed from any computer and/or mobile device. There is reason why many filing cabinets are in thrift stores and not in offices.
7. Printers are not the same as they were in the 1980's and early 90's. They are no longer noisy. They don't require tractor fed paper.
Many printers are very inexpensive to purchase and can require only two ink jet cartriges to operate (1 for black and white, 1 for color) that have lower costs in the past few years.
Apps are available to operate the printer from you mobile device allow you to print from home as well as well as when your away from home as well.