January 26 is Lotus 1-2-3 Day. Probably many reading this will never have heard of Lotus, let alone used it, but I’ve been working with computers a lo-o-o-ng time, and in fact cut my teeth, so to speak on version 1A, so this brought back memories for me. In the old days (in computer years) I used WordStar, Lotus 1-2-3, and dBase II and wrote programs in BASIC, so that’s how ancient of a nerd I am!
The computer I first used this on was an IBM 8088, one step newer than the original 8086. It was the very early days of personal computers, and though I didn’t realize it at the time when Lotus was introduced in 1983, it was the original killer app which shot sales of PCs through the roof. It completely eclipsed its nearest spreadsheet competitor VisiCalc.
You probably already know Lotus is a spreadsheet program, written to deal mainly with numbers and math. It was a major innovation for businesses, which could now do calculations which would have taken hours by hand with a single command. It also allowed them to help forecast the future by seeing what would happen if sales went up by 10%, or you reduced the price of something by the same amount. Also, realtors found it very helpful in assisting clients to decide on down payments and mortgages.
Lotus was retired in 2013, thirty years after its introduction, in favor of Excel, which came as part of Microsoft Office. I use it now for budgeting and practically anything else that works best as data presented in a table format. I can’t imagine what I would do without it.
Quotes about computers in general
Spreadsheet: a kind of program that lets you sit at your desk and ask all kinds of neat “what if?” questions and generate thousands of numbers instead of actually working.–Dave Barry
Computers make it easier to do a lot of things, but most of the things they make it easier to do don’t need to be done.–Andy Rooney
If computers get too powerful, we can organize them into a committee — that will do them in.–Bradley’s Bromide
Why is it drug addicts and computer aficionados are both called users?–Clifford Stoll
To err is human, but to really foul things up requires a computer.–Bill Vaughan
Part of the inhumanity of the computer is that, once it is competently programmed and working smoothly, it is completely honest.–Isaac Asimov
Computers can figure out all kinds of problems, except the things in the world that just don’t add up.–James Magary
No computer has ever been designed that is ever aware of what it’s doing; but most of the time, we aren’t either.–Marvin Minsky
Never let a computer know you’re in a hurry.–Unknown
Computers are like Old Testament gods; lots of rules and no mercy.–Joseph Campbell
Three things are certain:
Death, taxes, and lost data.
Guess which has occurred.
A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any invention in human history – with the possible exceptions of handguns and tequila.–Mitch Ratcliffe
A computer will do what you tell it to do, but that may be much different from what you had in mind.–Joseph Weizenbaum
The real danger is not that computers will begin to think like men, but that men will begin to think like computers.–Sydney J. Harris
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