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Flea market tales

We're like any cautious Yankees: Until we were sure, we were loath to commit ourselves on whether the computer - or anything else - was here to stay. We wouldn't be swayed by the thousands of home computers that Americans own. Nor by the knowledge that US companies by the carload keep records on computers. Nor by the cicada-like hum of checkout computers that have replaced most of yesterday's cash registers.

All that indicated that something was up. But it still didn't add up to meaning computers had fully arrived.

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It remained for last Saturday's flea market to do that. There, competing with a 1927 encyclopedia yearbook and genuine antique reproductions, sat a booth bristling with electronic gear - a cornucopia of computers.

Now that computers have made it to the flea market, along with other dubious antiques, the cycle is complete. The new is now old, and sits between the old that nobody would want and the supposedly-old that is actually new.

And we're ready to admit that the computer, like the Victrola and horseless carriage, is here to stay.

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