Wow! It's been a long time (and a lot has happened).
Of course, all I did was read People's Computer Company, write a letter and
visit once when I came down the Bay Area with my family. To me it doesn't
make me feel much like an alumnus, but I am glad to be considered one.
After I left high school I went to the University of Oregon and got two
bachelor degrees...one in journalism and the other in computer science.
I felt I needed to grow a bit in my people skills, so emphasized journalism
as my career path. When I worked in Klamath Falls at KFLS/KKRB in 1981 I
called down to PCC to find out what had happened. Even then things had
changed a great deal.
By 1984 I had moved on to work at a radio station in Western Kansas and
made enough money to finally afford to get a computer. My Commodore 64 was
fun but I never did too much because of its unreliable power supply. Soon,
though, my employers were getting computers and I was often using them to
manage data (and continued writing in BASIC to help in this).
Soon, I moved onto another radio station in Murray, Kentucky. Murray State
University had a great program offering an interest free loan to help me
buy a computer...so I got the best at the time (well, not cutting edge, but
a reasonable choice): an XT PC clone.
I managed with this for years, writing my BASIC programs but also finding
cheap computer programs to run (I loved Windows 1.0).
Moving back to Western Kansas, I started moving into radio station
mid-management and began using more commercially available software and,
unfortunately, stopped writing code. By then, however, I discovered HTML
and entered into a new way of displaying images, data and even sounds and
Public radio, however, never paid me enough to use the best machines so I
scrimpted about with second hand machines and reconfigured (by me) PCs.
When it seemed absolutely necessary I got a 386 and incorporated Windows
3.1...so I could use PPP to go on-line.
I had hoped that I could use my computer background to help transform that
particular public radio station, but it was too slow to accept change and I
was unwilling to wait for it. Among other reasons, I abandoned my media
career and chose to use my other University degree to forge a new
In 1997 I began to work for Intel and have ever since. My computer degree
was really not enough to get me in as a programmer as RPGII, Cobol, FORTRAN
IV, SNOBOL, PASCAL and BASIC weren't the big thing anymore. C, C++ and PERL
were...and I didn't know 'em. Also, I was way behind on the
telecommunications end of it.
However, Intel needed polygon pushers...folks who could use Computer Aided
Design programs to create masks used in creating microprocessor chips. I
didn't know how to do this, but I had the skills and background necessary
to successfully make it through a training program and become an
accomplished mask designer.
Now, in my 4th year at Intel, I have started doing more programming again
as I use PERL, SKILL and shell programming languages to automate various
My vision remains, though, for a future when all people can access
information and technology on an equal basis, regardless of financial or
social status. If there were a way I could do that and maintain my own
personal projects in the media and at home, I would do so.
I worry about a future when the "haves" control all the useful data and
information and the "have nots" can't even access it, let alone afford to
pay for the use of it.
Every week I see all those once valuable 286 and XT computers get trashed
and dumped as if they have no value, yet somehow I think all that computing
power can somehow be used again...not simply be recycled as raw material,
but maintained as viable machines for use by people who can't afford the
latest computers that I help design.