Yesterday was the anniversary of VisiCalc being first released in 1979. It changed everything in my life. I bought an Apple II+ solely to run VisiCalc & it immediately made my job as the Controller of two corps, including one with seven locations, far far better!

I may still have a copy of the original program in shrinkwrap among the tons of boxes we’re moving to our new home. For some reason I bought two copies and only opened one. I just discovered that it’s creator Dan Bricklin makes it available to download and run on a PC on his website. Once we’re settled in our new home and I have access to a working PC again, I will definitely download and install it!!

VisiCalc set a very high standard for life-changing apps. Even with all the gee-whiz capability of the modern smartphones, nothing else has had such an impact on my life.

No more slamming doors downstairs, no more neighbors fighting, no more rap music at 3 am, no more cigarette & pot smoke from the neighbor patios, no more waking to morning alarms heard through thin walls, no more landlords, ever. We are nearly completely moved out.

The move has made me aware of how tied to my desktop PC I am. It’s the last thing I want to pack away in a box, afraid I might need some information in it. It has the liability of being big, immobile & requiring AC power. I want to shift to having vital stuff on paper.

Going through piles of paper in packing for move. Organized things by category in three ream paper boxes, with 3 labels per box, created in Excel. Very helpful for move, but I think I’ll continue to use the system going forward. Once again necessity has invented good things.

Today we emptied out our 4th storage locker. For the first time in many years, I am no longer paying to store anything. We can do more boxing of things in the apartment tomorrow & it will all go into the shipping container on Monday. Then the long drive to our new home!

Getting gas this afternoon & so was one of the 3 guys who helped us empty the storage lockers yesterday. He was excited to offer me a huge bag of tomatoes that were picked at the farm just today. I took a lot fewer, as we’re moving. We sure made a friend in giving him work!

We did Step #1 in our move today. Six of us put in 48 man/woman hrs & got everything moved from our 3 storage lockers into the 28 ft container that will be driven to our new home. Sat we will clean out locker #4 an hr away, then we’ll empty our 2 bdrm apt & be on our way!

Today they brought the giant truck (28’ x 8’ x 9’) that we will fill up with all our stuff, so they can then drive it to our new home. I think we’ll have room to spare, my wife is not as sure. It should be on it’s way in a week or less and we will follow soon after in the car. :)

I’m thinking the purists of the literary world who objected last year to the selection of Bob Dylan must be feeling mortified to read the winner of the Nobel for Literature this year, saying in his first interview on the Swedish Academy’s own website, “it’s great to come one year after Bob Dylan who was my hero since the age of 13. He’s probably my biggest hero.” And if they look into the story of Kazuo Ishiguro, they’ll find that when he first started writing, what he wanted most of all was to be a songwriter!

If you want to see extraordinary performances by Bob Dylan, follow the You Tube account of Elston Gunn. Here’s an example, My Back Pages, one of my favorite Dylan songs for over 53 years, rarely performed like this, with violin.

I spent time researching the latest Kindle readers, even the one that would read to me out loud. Then played some You Tube videos showing it in action. No thanks! Installed the latest version for the PC & it is very nice. But for bedtime my old Paperwhite is still okay!

This morning, I got to show my Thai wife how a car heater works. I moved the slider to the right & she immediately switched on the fan. “No, not yet, we gotta wait for it to warm up!” Cars have no heaters in Thailand, as rarely needed. Big smile from her when the air blew warm.

I just read a Melody Kramer article about text only news sites making a comeback. When I started using the Internet, I would set my browser for text only, images would not even load. What a great idea to go back to that! I can read just fine. I don’t need anyone to spoon feed me with videos or pictures. I’ll start with the NPR feed and see how it goes. It actually looks like a static version of Dave Winer’s Rivers of News, except when you click on an item in one of Dave’s rivers, you get the full blown article, complete with images, videos and pop-ups. With Thin NPR, you click on the item and you can quickly scan/read the whole article in text. Text: clear, unencumbered, lightning fast, quiet text!

Just think, no super fast, powerful phone would be needed to consume the news this way. But obviously this wouldn’t be for everyone, just for those who can read. As Kurt Vonnegut said in his conversation about writing with Lee Stringer, “when we think about what reading is . . . it’s impossible. Literature is idiosyncratic arrangements in horizontal lines in only twenty-six phonetic symbols, ten arabic numbers, and about eight punctuation marks. And yet there are people like you who can look at a printed page and put on shows in your head — the battle of Waterloo, for God’s sake. The NewYork Times says that there are forty million people in the United States who can’t read well enough to fill out an application for a driver’s license. So our audience cannot be large, because we need a highly skilled audience, unbelievably skilled . . . Thank you for learning how to do this virtually impossible thing.”

The new Google wireless headphones do real time translation in 40 languages. A new technology that could be very useful to me, with a native speaking Thai wife! But I doubt that Thai is included in the 40. Basic Google Translate does include Thai, so maybe one day!

Well no one seems to have clicked through to see my great theme song & the high kicks. Would you click through to see a child musical prodigy who’s getting compared to Mozart? Alma Deutscher Or maybe go back & see the leg kicks!

Red Letter Day
Today I made my first mortgage payment in many years and my last rent payment ever (this lifetime), the former being almost $1,000 less than the latter. My prize for over fifty years of hard work.

My scholar friend from Cambridge traveled north from SF, writing “Fort Ross was brilliant.” The area, now in Sonoma County, CA was the southernmost Russian settlement in North America from 1812 to 1842. They were Russian explorers & settlers from Siberia. They eventually sold their land to John Sutter, who also owned the lumber mill in the Sacramento Valley where gold was discovered in 1848, which triggered the Gold Rush, putting California on the map for good. It is interesting that the Wikipedia account of John Sutter’s life makes no mention of his connection with the Russian outpost.

In an economy increasingly dominated by mega-corporations, the more focused and personal a company can be, the better. The most profitable small businesses are often in service industries that require special expertise and one-on-one attention to clients; they also have low overhead. These firms aren’t always flashy. Accounting firms, such as bookkeepers and tax preparers, had the highest profit margins among small businesses over the past year, according to financial-data company Sageworks, followed by lessors of real estate and providers of legal services.

That Is Ron Chester!
Not flashy, but expert one-on-one tax help for Americans and a 96.7% gross profit margin!

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Bookkeeper and its variants are the only English words with three consecutive repeated letters. I am not hoof-footed, but I AM sweet-toothed.