On the Cutting Edge of Change


Today we are going to Muse about the cutting edge of change. If this is your first visit, welcome to Musings. If you have been here before, welcome back. Over time we are going to talk about many things: the past, the present, perhaps the future, travel, art, society and more. Wherever my musing takes me. I hope you will come along with me.button linked to Tribbyart's Boutique     This is the way to Tribbyarts Boutique.  Click on the lion and you will go there.

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On the Cutting Edge of Change

Technology is evolving at such an accelerating rate most of us are being left behind.  Those of us who are somewhat current have to work on it to stay abreast of developments.

In my work I use several high-end software programs.  One is Painter 12 by Corel.  It is like having an entire art production studio in a box.  I know that even though I am pretty facile with it, the program offers options way beyond my skill level.  And, every year Corel improves the program, leaving me further behind.

Times have been much simpler.

When I was six, in the first grade, schools still provided students ink wells and a pen which was dipped into the ink.  These could be very messy.

School Desk ink well

School Desk ink well

Somehow I learned that a new kind of pen was available.  It had the ink inside it.  It was a ball point pen.  Something like an early Bic.  Nothing fancy, just a straight shaft with ink inside.

Early ball point pen

Early ball point pen

What!?!  You don’t think this was a great technological development?  It changed the  world.  How many people do you know who still use a fountain pen?

I had to have one of these.  So one day at lunch hour I ran down to where my mother worked.  She was a secretary for an attorney and her office was only a block or two from the school.  When I got there, the attorney told me she was out for lunch.  I was very disappointed and explained my great need for one of these new pens.  The attorney lent me 50¢ against mother’s wage and I  ran down to the dime store and got my pen.  It leaked.

In 2014 dollars the pen cost$4.83.

Bob Zahn Cartoon

Bob Zahn Cartoon

Much later in life I was in life insurance sales.  I would make illustrations for prospective clients showing the cash values of policies in 5 yrs, 10 yrs, 15 yrs, 20 yrs and at age 65. I would also calculate the amount of paid-up-additions at each of those times and the future annuity value at certain times.  Each illustration was a lot of numbers.

In the office there was one adding machine for the use of 20 agents.  A machine like this.

Adding machine

Adding machine

For each calculation, the pertinent number was entered on the key board and the handle pulled and the machine would clank and clank away, eventually calculating the result. Each illustration took a long time to prepare. Just at this time, 1969,  portable calculators became available.

Two agents in my office went into partnership and purchased a calculator (that had to be plugged in)  that would add, subtract, multiply and divide.  It had no memory function.  The cost was $750, in today’s dollars, $4828.

Portable Calculator

Portable Calculator

Within a year there were portable models that operated on batteries and that calculated the basic functions plus scientific functions, inflation values, amortization values, etc. selling for less that $200.  Within three years companies were giving them away as promotional items.  Technology moving on.

Then came personal computers.  I needed a way to do spread sheets quickly.  The portable calculators greatly helped but when I read about computers I realized  they were the answer.

Apple II Plus

Apple II Plus

In 1979 I went to computer store and purchased an Apple II Plus, the second model in the Apple II Series.  I souped it up to 64 K of memory and I purchased one floppy disk drive, a monitor, a dot matrix printer, which printed something like 30 dots to an inch and three software programs: VisiFile, a data file, VisiCalc, an early spread sheet and some early word processing program.  The sales man showed me how to assemble the machine, disk drive, monitor and printer.  I packed it up and took it to my office and promptly left for two weeks with my wife’s family at Christmas in Iowa.

When I got back I struggled to remember what the salesman  had shown me.  I finally figured it out.  However, what to do next was my question.  I knew nothing about computers.  Between the monitor, printer, software programs and the computer there were seventeen manuals.  One taught programming. I thought that was the place to start.

For several weeks I plodded through the manual on programming getting nothing done. It was putting me out of business because I was not seeing people and making sales.  In desperation I opened up one of the software programs and discovered . . . the programming was already done.  I just needed to enter the data.  What a relief.

Even there my problems were not solved.  After spending a week imputing my entire client file and all their data, I mistakenly erased the file and had to start over.

That package of equipment and software cost $3600 in 1979.  The computer had 64K of memory, less than you will find in wrist watch today.  In present dollars it would cost $11, 717. Think of what you can get for that now.

It was worth it; it paid for itself many times over once I learned how to use it.

Technology moves on at an ever faster rate.  You must keep engaged or you will be left behind.  Just keep in mind, it will most likely be cheaper in the future

. more to come

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Books by Thomas L. Tribby Available Click on title below to preview

Works on Paper

On The Waterfront

Impressions of Florida


Original Paintings Available

A Day at the Beach       oil on canvas            40" x 60"

A Day at the Beach oil on canvas 40″ x 60″

Click to see

   Beach Time Oil on Canvas      48" x 36"
Beach Time Oil on Canvas 48″ x 36″

Click to see

Beach Parade Oil on Canvas    30" x 48"
Oil on Canvas 30″ x 48″

Click to see

Lifeguard on Duty     Oil on Canvas          36" x 48"
Lifeguard on Duty Oil on Canvas 36″ x 48″

Click to See

For information about these or other original works of art, please feel free to contact us: 


About Thomas L. Tribby

Professional artist: painter, sculptor, print maker. Maintains a studio in West Palm Beach, Florida
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