_D5C5045brianby Brian Clarey

It’s been a full 10 years since I had a proper home office, a space that is now domain to a little girl of roughly the same vintage and a bearded dragon lizard named Phoenix who eats live mealworms and crickets with a quick flick of his tongue.

So I’ve been setting up in the living room, old school, while riding out this bout of weather, a thing I haven’t done since the place at Lincoln Green, where I wrote from a desk in the corner.

My computer, bought new in 2000, was not nearly as powerful as the phone I now carry in my pocket.

I know I sound like a yokel when I marvel at the technological advances birthed in the last few years, and it makes me think of the time I saw my grandfather try to change the TV channel with a calculator.

But those gadgets tho.

Last month I took a credit-card payment over my phone while I waited in the car line to pick up my kids from school. That same device takes video, records interviews, captures photos and does 50 other things besides the very useful function of making phone calls.

From my laptop I can access the office server from New Orleans or New York as easily as from my kitchen table in Greensboro. I run the entire business from this laptop, deposit checks with my phone and keep in touch with the team when I’m mobile through email and text.

We use old machines, subscribe to software instead of buying licenses, create our online presence with WordPress which is basically free, though we rent a private server that exists physically in Seattle.

It’s this confluence of technology, this democratization of access to the tools of business that makes Triad City Beat possible. Even five years ago, an enterprise like this would have been prohibitively expensive for career journalists like us.

The playing field is still not quite level; for example, TCB does not have a monster truck, or even a billboard.

But we are most definitely in the game.

And golly gee, isn’t that just something, paw?

Consider that I wrote the first piece I ever got published on a typewriter before someone set it in columns and pasted it up on a board. I used to send queries in stamped envelopes and do research in the library. Now I can find out more in 10 minutes on my laptop than half a day in the county clerk’s office.

Still, sometimes it comes down to me and the keyboard, putting down words while the rest of the family sleeps.

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