Stories by Dan Blacharski

Serial Communications and E-Commerce

One of the first modems I ever saw was a clunky device onto which my friend Eddie, who was running a state-of-the-art Commodore 64, placed a telephone handset. The combination of hardware and phone lines started screaming as it sent a rather large data file across town to another computer at a rate of something like 300bps.

Getting Paid

When I worked as an office assistant at a brass smelting company, getting paid, from the corporation's point of view, was a fairly simple process. The factory foreman handed me a greasy sheet of paper with a bunch of hand-written notes on it, from which I typed up an invoice. Although we had no computers in the office, Jack, my boss, provided me with an electric typewriter.

Commercial search engines and online marketing

When I worked for a small-town weekly newspaper, I did a little bit of everything. I wrote local news and obits on a heavy black manual typewriter; I typeset the paper on an ancient hot type machine; I swept the copy room floor; and I sold ads. Sometimes I would make a sales call and some cheapskate would want an ad rate based on the number of customers that resulted from the ad. Of course, such a thing was unheard of. We had 10,000 subscribers; advertisers paid for 10,000 impressions. Today, the World Wide Web has turned that model upside down.