Happy Birthday to Us

I have been looking for a subject for my first post, and finally I got an idea.

Yesterday, December 21st marked our 19th (correction: 18th) year in business. Way back forever ago, when home computers were still rare, and help was limited, my wife and I started Compuer House Calls in Charlotte, NC. I took out an ad in our local newspaper, The Charlotte Observer, and ran it for seven days. By 3 AM on Christmas morning I had paid for that ad. And as they say it was all downhill from there.

When we started DOS was still the dominant operating system for home computers, with Windows 3.1 as an overlay on top. Lotus 1-2-3 was the spreadsheet of choice, and Wordperfect 5.1 was the number 1 word processor. Home internet service was barely available, with most people using 1200 baud modems to reach specific services (research, travel, and bulletin boards).

Since those days of glory, we have endured regular and frequent changes to the computer environment. With the arrival of Windows 95, the PC entered the Graphic User Interface (GUI). The MacIntosh from Apple had been using GUIs since 1985, but they were holding about 8-10% of the market, and so were not as popular with people looking to mimic their work computers.

Time flies, as do changes to computers. Windows 95 was paralleled by Windows NT in the workpleace, and since then we have had Windows 98, 2000, Millenium, XP, Vista, Windows 7, and 8. Apple was using Mac OS 7 when we started and has moved through to OS X (or 10), and has now added version 10.1 through 10.8 (Lion) to the mix.

The hardware has shifted as well. The average cost of a new PC setup was running about $2500, down from the nearly $5000 in 1986. Today’s new computers can be purchased for a low as $600 including a computer, monitor, and printer. Many of the specially added components of 1994 are now standard, or have dropped into oblivion. One of the most visible changes is the move from 14 inch cathode ray tube (CRT) monochrome monitors to today’s liquid crystal (LCD) color displays which start at 20 inches and climb from there.

The last nineteen years have been fun and challenging. Many new customers have asked how I keep up with all this change. It’s easy. You, the customers, ask the questions, and it is my job to find their answers.

Thanks for the opportunities, the challenges, and the chance to meet so many interesting people.

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