Pictured above is an aerial photo I took of the grocery store I was working at in 1977. I’m in the process of digitizing a large collection of my old photos, and it’s one that resurfaced. A friend of mine was a private pilot, and on one of our flights we flew over the location.
Here’s the location today, courtesy of Google Earth.
Back in the days BM (Before Microsoft), I worked for a small company in Seattle called International Entry Systems, Inc, or IESI. They manufactured Z-80 (8-bit) based data entry terminals consisting of a single line display, a keyboard, and a cassette data recorder (hence the product name: “DataCorder”). All software was loaded from tape. (This was 1980, after all.)
One of the software packages they had available was a copy of Microsoft Basic. I won’t go into the machinations needed to have a working Basic interpreter using a single 40 character line display and a single cassette deck for all storage, but they did.
It was in place, though underutilized, when I showed up.
At the risk of assuming anyone actually cares, here’s a peek into:
How it all began…
From late 1979 to 1983 I was working for a small company in Seattle writing software for a Z-80 based data entry terminal, and eventually a CP/M based computer. The problem was that they were small….and getting smaller. They were 25 people when I joined, and around 6 at beginning of 1983.
St. Benedict’s Seattle, Grade 7 Class Photo circa 1969 (I’m in the middle row, 4th from right.)
Looking back I think it was in 7th grade that I got my first clear indication of what my future career might become.
We were being taught about number bases. Because we have 10 fingers our numbering system uses ten digits, 0 through 9. This is refered to as “base 10”. There are, naturally, other possible systems that can use pretty much any number of digits. Bases of less than 10 simply use only the digits needed, and bases of greater than 10 would add alphabetic characters in addition to the numeric digits 0-9. Base 16, for example, uses 0-9 and A-F to indicate the 16 possible digits in a number.
Base 2, or binary, is where it gets interesting; at least for me.
That soldering iron doesn’t really belong to me. Back in “the day” (1983, to be exact), when I joined Microsoft it was truly a small company. 360 people small. It was also not networked. Instead, each office was connected to shared servers by one or more RS-232 serial port connections – think dialup modem technology, … Read more
Back in 1999 I was in Microsoft’s Developer Division, the folks who bring you developer tools like Microsoft Visual Studio and the like. Y2K was coming, but we weren’t particularly concerned. Most PC software would handle the “problem”, such as it was, just fine. It was really only older mainframe based software that really raised … Read more