Old Haunts

Lucky Store, Juanita Washington, 1977
Lucky Store, Juanita Washington, 1977 – (Photo: Leo Notenboom)

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.

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Every Picture Tells a Story

Some stories just aren’t pretty.

The bedroom wall.
The bedroom wall. Click for larger image. (Image: Leo A. Notenboom.)

In 1981 we purchased our first house. 740 square feet of education lay ahead of us.

So. Much. Education.

Starting with the day we took possession.

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A Pre-Microsoft Microsoft Story

I E S I Datacorder II
IESI Datacorder II

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.

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Little Leo

I finally got around to having a couple of old movies digitized. Yikes. Smile

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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.

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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.

There was an ad in the Seattle Times:

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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.

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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

Y2K wasn’t going to be a problem, but …

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

The TV Repair Man

I credit a friend of the family, a TV repair man, for setting in motion the sequence of events leading 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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Cleaning out a desk drawer I stumbled onto one of these:

Intel MCS-86 Assembly Language Reference Guide

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Our Home

Our home in the Hollywood Hills area of Woodinville.