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Computer Experiences (otherwise known as old-fart stories...)

  • In 1999 I went to Comdex Chicago and heard an upstart, named Linus Torvalds. He was the champion and "father" of some operating system called Linux? Anyone ever heard of it? 
    http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Linux+and+Microsoft+Square+Off+in+Chicago+Next+Month.-a054231435
  • In the previous year, 1998 I was at Comdex and at the Bill Gates keynote during the famous Windows 98 BSOD on stage.
    http://youtu.be/73wMnU7xbwE BTW, that guy didn't get fired and made the keynote stage in 1999, no bluescreens. In fact he climbed pretty high up the corporate ladder...
  • I can't quite put the dates together but I was also at Comdex in the early 90's(?) I had a Mac II and was waiting for the release of Autocad on the Mac, I think this was Autocad 10, 11 maybe 12. Tried finding it on Wikipedia - not very clear... Anyway was at the Mac booth when John Walker (yes, that John Walker from Autodesk) and Sculley from Apple met. That was interesting. Talk about being in the right place at the right time. I was one of those saps that bought a Mac in 1984 and even a Mac II. Gosh, those were the days - NOT! Autocad on the Mac was the worst piece of software written.
  • I started with Autocad in 1986, so that was like version 2.1x something or other. Imagine how many versions of DOS and Windows I have lived through! I went with IT because the community colleges devalued CAD draftsman to the point it was unprofitable. 
  • I have to add one of my most "honorable" working moments - the year (2000) that the team I worked with were finalists in the Smithsonian/Computerworld Awards: http://www.cwhonors.org/Search/his_4a_detail.asp?id=3780
    As my friend Mike Hammon says, "My name is in a mason jar in the basement of the Smithsonian..." What more can you ask for?

How to Use Up Remaining Balances on Gift Cards

Ever get a gift card? You know from Target or someplace else. I'm speaking primarily of the kind that you can check the balance on line but they're not registered specifically to you -- in other words you don't ever enter your name & address on the card.
For those that you do register, you can use PayPal -- add the card, send money and off you go. But PayPal requires a verifiable billing address -- which most gift cards do not have. The Green Dot cards will transfer straight to PayPal BTW.
So, try to keep the balance above $5 before you try this trick. Why $5? Well...
Amazon will let you purchase an 'email' gift card any amount. Including $8.33. The only restriction? They have a $5 minimum on buying a gift card. 
From your Amazon account, purchase an email gift card, send it to yourself - go ahead and pick out a nice design, you deserve it - enter your gift card, here you can just use one of your normal billing address' and off you go. On the gift card I redeemed this way, I did register my zip code - so in Amazon I used an address that had that zip code - don't know if it's necessary but just wanted to be sure. It went through just fine. Nice thing with Amazon gift cards is you can use any or all of it, add money, add another credit card and you have lot's of choices. 
I've heard this won't always work, but it worked for me.
I suppose if you never shop at Amazon this wouldn't be a good option but chances are if you're reading this, you've shopped at Amazon.