The Accident

Or, rather, the “Accident” … as it was actually quite intentional.

I recently stumbled upon the pictures associated with the event, and since this is one of our “life stories” that we tell folks about from time to time I decided to share here…

This all takes place on Friday the 13th of December, 1985.

Read moreThe Accident

How it began … and ended

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.

So, I took a chance, and responded to an ad in the Seattle Times:

Read moreHow it began … and ended

Base Race

Grade 7 Class Photo
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.

Read moreBase Race

Borrowed Property

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

The TV Repair Man

I credit a friend of the family, a TV repair man by trade, for setting in motion the sequence of events that would lead to my eventual career and subsequent success.

All this while I was somewhere between 9 and 16 years old.

Jim and his wife Tina were friends of my parents – Tina being of Dutch ancestry she’d become friends with my parents and of course Jim did as well.

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A (Pre) Microsoft Story

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 based data entry terminals that were, basically, a
single line display, a keyboard and a data cassette recorder. 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 you might go through to have a working Basic
interpreter that uses a single line (40 character line, at that) display
and a single cassette deck for all storage, but
they did. It was in place, though underutilized, when I showed up.

Read moreA (Pre) Microsoft Story