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El Nitty Gritty

El Nitty Gritty by Howard Fryer Jocotepec Ajijic

We are pleased to announce that starting August 1, 2010, we will be bringing you excerpts from Lakeside’s bestselling book “El Nitty Gritty”


The Coming of the Internet

It was the Christmas of 1989 and Yolanda and I were having the traditional Christmas dinner at her mother’s house with the rest of the Esqueda family. Everybody knew that I had brought a computer from Canada. They all wanted to know why I had it and what on earth I could use it for. I explained to them how I used it for doing my costing and printing my menus. They generally thought this very strange. Why would I take a simple hand operation and complicate it by using a computer?

Everybody thought that computers were only of use to governments and large corporations. To them, the one that I had was nothing more than an expensive toy. The only one who took me half-seriously was Yolanda’s brother Nacho. He asked me if I would explain it to a group of his friends. I agreed and the following week we met at a house in Guadalajara. There were six of them and they were eager to know if there could be any financial opportunities to be had with this new invention called the personal computer. I was convinced there were.

After explaining what I did with my computer, I expressed my views of how I was convinced that it was the beginning of a revolution and soon everybody would be using them. I then explained the Internet to them. They found it hard to understand that the Internet would allow computers all over the world to communicate with one another and even harder to understand what these computers would say to each other and why. What use would it be? When I explained that one of the uses for the Internet was for electronic mail, which was like regular mail only instant and without cost, they began to see the possibilities. They thought this was great. However, the stumbling block was the lack of computers, which were very few, and ready access to the Internet. I was convinced it was just a matter of time.

I expressed my enthusiasm regarding the World Wide Web that had been invented the previous year and was quickly coming on stream. Our weekly meetings had been in progress for about three months and the attendees were now up to nine men. By now they were convinced of the computer’s and the Internet’s future and were exploring the commercial possibilities of setting up and franchising cyber cafe’s plus the setting up of a Mexican version of AOL and an online auction site.

Then out of the blue, the World Wide Web took off and burst onto the scene. This was more than we had hoped for. It would open the Internet to everybody. The group of men, led by Nacho, were now talking about incorporation and raising capital. Not having sufficient capital myself, they assured me that I would still be included and would become a shareholder.

Over the next few weeks I learned to write HTML and demonstrated to the group how web pages worked. At the time, Nacho was having domestic problems and had been smitten by a new lady who had a uniform manufacturing business in Guadalajara and had visions of expanding her business into the California market.

Going to the meeting one week, I discovered that nobody was there. I was told that Nacho had gone to the States with his new girlfriend and as a result, the project was put on hold until he returned. He never contacted me to tell me his plans. The rest of his group went off on their own to pursue the project but I was not included. Exactly what they did, I do not know. However, the resulting boom in computers and the Internet are now a common part of our lives.

The author, Howard Fryer, a resident of Lakeside for over 30 years, has given Ajijic News exclusive rights to publish excerpts from his book on our web site. We are sure you will enjoy the many true stories that range from humorous to unusual to outright bizarre.

If you live in or around Lakeside you can acquire your own copy of “El Nitty Gritty” at one of the local booksellers or in Guadalajara at “Sandi's book store The book can also be downloaded as a “Kindle book” from Amazon.com

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