Ticketmaster and Fandango are far in the future when this pilot fish's boss asks him to develop a basic ticket-purchase system -- one that uses timesharing, minicomputers and 300-bits-per-second modems.

"A group of investors owned a large venue for performances," says fish. "I slaved away at 300 bps for days and weeks on a demo to show them how we could display the seating, which seats had been purchased, selecting and buying tickets, and so on. It was a beautiful thing.

"The day of the demo came. The salesman walked in with the three decked-out suits, all large as linemen, and after his lofty introduction we gathered tightly around me and my green-screen terminal.

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