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Issue #783: July 24-30, 2022

“Need a GEEK?  We got one for you!”  That was the headline splashed across the front page of a now-defunct magazine insert called NEXT, that was part of the Thursday, July 26, 2007 edition of the Northwest Florida Daily News.  It was inside that magazine that the very first edition of It’s Geek to Me made its debut.  15 years later, the column has 783 issues on the books, and I’ve addressed countless questions from as nearby as Spouse Peripheral sitting in the next room, to as far away as Ontario, Canada, and even East Sussex in the United Kingdom.  It’s Geek to Me has published in dozens of newspapers across the country, and on hundreds, if not thousands of websites around the world.  I had no idea when I began this little experiment just how far it would one day reach.  To quote someone very close to me (that would be myself, in I.G.T.M. Issue #209) “Writing columns is like releasing a bunch of helium balloons — most of the time I never know where they land.”  It always brings me a smile to hear from people who live outside the column’s home area of the Florida Panhandle, so even if you don’t have a question, drop me a line and let me know where you’re reading it.

It was certainly a different world when that first edition published.  The President of the United States was George W. Bush and it would be two more years before he would complete his second term.  Most Americans at the time were still rather unacquainted with the man who would replace him – Barack Obama.  This was a world without iPads, the very first iPhone having just been released less than a month earlier.  Windows Vista was at its peak of bringing much unhappiness to users.  Windows XP was the prominent version, and names like Windows 7, 8, 10, and 11 had never been heard outside the boardroom in Redmond.

CDs were still the dominant music media format, with the rise of affordable MP3 players still a year away.  The most popular format for distribution of movies was DVD, with the acceptance of Blu-Ray as the de facto standard still a year in the future.  In fact, Netflix existed as a large-scale DVD shipping company, rather than the on-demand online video service we know today.  Hulu was founded the same year, but other on-demand services like Disney+, Paramount+, and the streamers from other networks were not even conceived of yet.  There was no such thing as Apple Pay, or Bitcoin.  People could actually send and receive e-mail messages without half of them being SPAM.

Yes, the world has changed a lot in 15 years, and more relevant, the world of computers and technology has changed. From the perspective of someone who writes a Q&A column focusing on those topics, it’s a surprise even to me that I can keep up.  And technology is not slowing down one little bit.  I wish I could say the same thing about myself.

So, happy birthday, It’s Geek To Me!  15 years seems like a rather significant milestone to me, and I always ask myself at times like this, what’s next?  What does the future hold?  I honestly can’t say.  Some weeks I find it difficult to find the time just to put out a column, much less dream up and add new features to the column’s website.  But I enjoy the work, and being of service to all of you, my fellow Geeks, and loyal readers.

As I’m always asking of you, keep those questions flowing!  I have plenty of ideas for columns where rather than answer your questions, I write about some topic that’s in the news, or that I think will have broad appeal, but I’d rather be answering your questions! So, keep them coming!  In the meantime, let me offer my sincere thanks for 15 great years of Q&A, personal appearances, e-mails, and learning along with all of you.  It may not always be “fun” but it’s certainly never boring!  To drop a catch phrase that I don’t use nearly as often as I should: Good luck, and happy computing!  

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