Saturday, July 23, 2011

how to survive without a fresh air

As a new Mac Book Air rolls out to roaring (sorry) reviews, those of us who bought its forerunner too recently to consider plunking down for its shiny successor, can console ourselves with remembering just how high performing our machine is even without a Thunderbolt port or an Intel Core i5 chip. Remember splicing film? And waiting for stats? How did we accomplish anything when cut and paste meant actually cutting and pasting?

Of course, it wasn't only those in our industry who would have killed for productivity made possible by what we have at our fingertips every day. A friend in the financial services industry recalls his computer-less days as a newbie and makes me grateful anew for my trusty old Air.
As the new guy in the finance department I got the job of making the books (showing financial comparisons to budget for our 5 divisions.) There were 4 charts. To make the charts we had a 2'x4' foamcore board and we drew an xy axis on it and hand pasted black tape on it to make the line and you'd add another 3" to it each month. Then the foamcore went across the street to the photoshop where they would take a photograph of it, reduce and burn a plate. Then they'd print 50 of each and send them back to me 8 1/2" x 11". When the 24 page book was done, I took it upstairs and delivered it by hand to every exec and the Board. The book, when completed had maybe 1,000 numbers in it. If even a single number was off by $1, I would have to go back upstairs retrieve all the books, disassemble them back into the collater, replace the offending page, reassemble them and take them back upstairs. That happened exactly 2 times in 3 years. I got very good at checking numbers.

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