I Love The Internet . . .

We’ve reached the point where you can find the answer to just about any question, as long as someone, somewhere, knows it.

For example, when Jan and I got our pills refilled recently, we each had one prescription that was filled with a different looking pill than our previous refills. So, wanting to be sure that we got the correct prescriptions, my first thought was to make a trip back to Sam’s Club. My second thought to go to Google and type in “How to ID pills”

Turns out, there’s a App for that, or at least a website right here – Pill Identifier.

You just type in the 2 characters on one side and the 3 characters on the other like “IG 248”, and you have your answer, along with the manufacturer and any warnings.

And as it turns out, both of our prescriptions were correct.


I left the rig about 1pm for an afternoon of client stuff. My first stop was Fry’s Electronics to look for the new computer and LCD monitor we talked about yesterday. They had a nice deal on a Dell that looks pretty good, so my next stop was to my clients to get the OK, and also do some set up work.

Since one of the computers I’ll be replacing runs the UPS shipping software, I’ll have to double check what it will take to move the database over to the new computer.

I also started downloading the 425 MB file for the 2012 version of the UPS software which took about 30 minutes. I’m not sure yet whether I’ll upgrade the old computer to the 2012 version before moving the database to the new computer. I’ll call UPS Tech Support tomorrow and see what they suggest.

As I was finishing up, my client decide he wanted another monitor for one of the new computers I installed last week, so that makes two I’ll need.

Finally leaving the office, I stopped back by Fry’s to pick up about $1100 of computer and monitors before heading back toward the rig.

On my way I checked the Gas Buddy app on my Droid to find the cheapest nearby gas. Found  a place right down the road for $3.15 which was a pretty good price. Then leaving the gas station I called ahead to Monterey’s Little Mexico for a pickup order of Tortilla Soup, Queso, and Chips to take home for supper. Sure does seem like we eat here a lot, doesn’t it.

On another note, while I was walking thru Fry’s I noticed a toy called “Geneactor”, some sort of action figure. That kind of rang a bell, but I just couldn’t place it. But on the way home, it hit me.

It reminded me of my very first computer, the Geniac. A little Googling and I found this. (Did I mention I love the Internet?)


It was a mechanical analog computer that I got for Christmas 1958 when I was 10 years old. It was made of a Masonite board and 6 Masonite wheels, along with a lot of wires, switches, and lights. I spent hours building and programming it, even writing my own programs, which on the Geniac, meant moving wires around.

But it started me on my career path. A year later  I had my ham radio license, and six years after that I was programming on a building-sized IBM 360 at Vanderbilt University using Fortran II and punch cards. I’m not sure that punch cards were all that big a step up from moving wires around, but the 360 certainly looked a lot cooler anyway.


Thought for the Day:

“I can fix it. But if I can’t fix it, I can fix it so nobody can fix it.”



10 Responses

  1. You jogged a few old memories here, Greg. I remember well programming a room-size computer (behind glass walls) with Fortran II on punch cards. Got my ham radio license much later, though. I would love to get together with you some time. Could trade some stories. I’ve been going to EPO since before it was EPO. 🙂

  2. Rob,

    I think I was there the first day they opened in, I think, about 1988. They were in the little strip center across the street from where they are now.

    Seems like they were originally called just Electronic Parts Outlet, and I really liked that Richard, the owner, stocked a lot of military surplus stuff along with the electronics stuff. I still have a great pair of Soviet tank commander’s binoculars that came packed in the original cosmoline.

    I told Richard a while back that I liked the old store better, before he went mainstream. He said he did too, but that he made a lot more money with this one.

  3. i’m sure you know, but I had to learn the hard, Windows 7 comes in 32 and/or 64 bit versions. Most older programs won’t run properly under the 64 bit version. So far all my old stuff that won’t work in 64, does just fine in 32. And I fail to be able to verify any speed advantage using the 64.
    Sure do enjoy your blog.

  4. Don,


    Vista/7 broke a lot of programs, especially ones that are really DOS based.

    Also, pretty much all new computers come with the 64 bit version, anyway.

    Thanks for reading our blog.


  5. My pharmacy puts a label on my meds when they get them from a different vendor that says, “This is the same medicine you have been taking. It may be a different color or size but it is the same medicine.” I appreciate that.

  6. I love the internet to!

    Although I don’t have the hi-tech work experiences you have, MY computer introduction was during those “punch card days” when I thought being able to program that big machine in the other room was soooo cool.

    One of my Biz Admin courses was called “Intro to Computer Proghramming” which involved writing simple code on graph paper, keying it into this HUGE keyboard machine that punched MY code into holes on pieces of time-card sized heavy paper stock.

    We then fed that whole stack (sometimes 6″ thick!!) into another machine which read the holes and out the other end popped a ream of paper with a design or report on the old pin-feed printer. ALL a very noisy operation, but I have been hooked on computers ever since.

    That GENIAC advert & your telling of those days sure brought ME back in time, Thanks for the memories 🙂

  7. I have had comments on how neat my printing is when I register at RV parks. I owe it to all the years I wrote programs using these coding sheets from IBM and NCR. Took a big step forward when we got HP minicomputers and started writing our programs online. Also am a ham.

    I think Nick’s key fob problem was being too close to those Apple computers he bought.

    See you in Yuma.

  8. Linda,

    That sounds like a great idea. I’ll try to mention it at Sam’s Club next time.

  9. I remember spending all weekend typing in a program and ending up with an 8″ high stack of cards.

    Then, on the way to class, a guy on a bike runs into me and knocks the stack out of my hands and into a 2 foot deep fountain full of water.

    I almost cried.


  10. Tom,

    I’ve had similar comments about my handwriting, but I think mine came from all the drafting classes I took.

    Wouldn’t be surprised about the Apple thing. I think they’re evil. LOL

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