Going Digital

Life after Analog

The pages following is first a brief history of how I got started in the computer industry then as a programmer.  The work portion is are broken up into the actual places I worked over the 30+ years I was a programmer.

How I got Started!

Where to begin, that is hard as I kind of fell into computer even when I was back in my  Rock 'N Roll days.  "How does computer enter into Rock 'n Roll?" you ask.  Good question, it wasn't until years after that I realized that we had been building automated systems using "Radio Shack" and "Tandy" parts for years before there were computers and that what we were doing was a very primitive version of a computer.

We built small automated control boxes, usually made up of relays and toggle switches that could produce either a sequence or lighting events or using step motors mechanical events for scenery or chain climbers, which are still used today, to lift or lower things on queue and to a specific position.  A lot of it was common day functions  that were repetitive and we wanted to just hit one switch and it was done.

After I had got out of the music and the movie industries I was kind of in a limbo of what to do with the rest of my life.  So I took a couple of years off and was a part time bar-tender, there was damned good money to be made back then and I hooked up with a guy who had a liquor license and he used it for the underground discos that happened ever weekend somewhere different every weekend.  There would be 8-10 bartenders for about 5-7 thousand people and we made a small fortune each!  During the days I had somehowe made a friend with a computer junkie (nerd in todays colloquialism).  Anyway he introduced me to the Pomona Fairplex Computer Swap meet that happened almost every weekend back then.  It started off in barely one building but within a year of two as computer took off was then using all 6 of those huge buildings at the Pomona Fairplex.  And I knew every vender and how to play one against another to get the best deals.  This was a local version of "Comdex" the greatest computer show on earth during the 80's & 90's, it was an industry only event and you had to be invited to get in.  Which I managed to get invited to, not sure how now, but I was there every year for about 8 years running.  Now it is the Consumer show, not as much fun!

So that got me into the hardware side of computers.  I got so good with the hardware stuff I started a small local business on the West Side of Los Angels selling small systems, a server and 2 to 4 workstations, to law offices, and medical facilities.  It wasn't long before every one kept asking for this software or that to be installed and to teach them how to run it.  After about a year of doing both I decided that I didn't want to expand and start keeping enough spare parts to cover my clients.  I made the decision to more out of hardware and full bore into software.  At first it was the installation and basic training but that was short lived as the law offices especially would ask for more and more scripts written for them so they could be more productive.  That moved me further and deeper into programming and writing my own custom programs for people.

So here I am it's now about 1984 or 5 and I am starting to write software using "Basic", and not soon after dBase II, then dBase III, then Paradox (this program was a huge leap forward in programming and interface design,  And it actually used the mouse not text based, it was a wonderful interface and fast to build apps with.  Of course they all faded away into the clouds, not todays clouds but the real ones, when Bill Gates made a huge marketing move... he had a box of 3 1/4in blue disks put on every checkout counter in every computer store or store that thought they might sell computer and sold Windows 3 for $9... well at that time a blank 3 1/4in disk was $10... so every one bought Windows as they were actually getting a blank $10 disk for only $9... What a deal!  and if they did put the disk in to the computer they would have to try this things called Windows out for themselves... suckers... we were all now hooked on Microsoft Windows.  I put that marketing strategy up there with the "Pet Rock".

So here I was fully immersed in teaching myself Basic from book, back then there was only one book store in the whole of Greater, and not so great Los Angeles that carried computer books, it was in Hollywood, fortunately for me, and within a few months owned every book they had and was looking for more.

Then came the decision time could I support myself programming on my own or should I go work for someone else.  I decided to work for someone else a very foreign thought to me.  I got my first computer job for a Workers Comp Administration company in Glendale, Ca., actually the corporate HQ was in Atlanta Ga.

It was now 1985 or 6 and I actually had a job working for someone else and getting a pay check each week.  That was scary!


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Created by Phillip Seaman
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