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pcPast - My sordid computer past:



Circa 1974 in 4th grade was it?.......... Before computers I was into electronics. I loved when my Dad would stop in at radio shack with his free battery card. (OOOooo! ONE free battery a month! I had mine, too, of course.) There were cool little crystal radio sets, and ESPECIALLY those 100 in 1 kits! A bunch of electronic components stuck onto a sheet of stiff cardboard with springs to slip wires into, building a circuit of some sort. Not sure they're even sold anymore which is SO lame. Radio Shack used to be the coolest place in the world. NOW, it's just a place to go to see greasey cell phone salesmen. And I do mean greasey...:P Yeck! The thing came in a wooden box, not like the lame cardboard boxes of modern immitators. I spent plenty of time tryin stuff out. My son has a "snap circuits" thing - snaps connect plastic mounted components. He just doesn't get into it...:( Maybe the programmer gene has skipped a generation...:(
Circa 1977 in junior high.......... Popular Electronics was a GREAT magazine. (As well as many other electronics mags back then) It taught me about these cool little "integrated circuits"! A bunch of transisters all crammed together into a little black box :) It showed me how to etch a circuit board (which I could never do very well). And how to hook these wierd little resisters, transisters, diodes and such to LEDs to make a random dice thingy and blinking light sequences. I could never get the hang of soldering without frying the components, but luckily there were "breadboards" which you just stick the components and wires into and BAM - UNfried circuit that sometimes worked! That pic is just one I found on the web - the ones I used had different colored blocks - some for integrated circuits, some for resistors/capacitors/etc. And my wiring was WAY neater than that! I tried wirewrapping too, but I'd still stick with breadboards if I were you. I was awestruck. Thought occuring in wires! Oh we had an Atari 2600 game machine, alright. But I still threw away a HUGE FORTUNE in quarters playing Pac Man, Space Invaders, Asteroids, Dig Dug, Pole Position, Tempest, Centipede Galaga, etc, etc, etc in the arcades with my buddy Richard. There were also the calculators in my life. And again, the hp15c isn't the exact model I had - MINE was a hp16c! WAY better - converted between ALL number bases, not just binary, octal, decimal and hex - ALL OF EM! Reverse Polish Notation, baby - look it up. Programmable, too! However, I can't really count calculators and video games as computers (although they definitely were)... Computers didn't enter my life until.....
Circa 1980 in highschool.......... Commodore Pet and TRS 80 Model 3 (TRS stands for Tandy Radio Shack) When I first laid eyes on these things in high school, I was hooked. When "teaching" time was over and we were allowed to use em, I RAN for the biggest one and sat there wondering what to do. The 5 other kids I had to share it with wanted to turn it ON and I think one guy actually knew how to use it but I was gonna be DAMNED if I let em. I just sat there staring at the thing. Later on I figured out how to use it. I learned the wierd dialects of Commodore and TRS 80 BASIC for these. These babies were outfitted with tape drives (casette tape) for storing your basic code. I think they could store data, too. But you weren't guaranteed to get it back and it took quite some time to load a 2K program. The PETs had no graphics mode. You were stuck with a 40 x 25 text grid in which you could print Os. The TRS 80s had a graphics mode where you could use resolutions up to 64 x 48 if I recall. It did it by dividing up a character cell into quarters and having a special font that'd display all combinations of each quarter cell being on/off. I was taking geometry and could use the Cos and Sin functions to plot out circles and sin curves. Polar equations for a rotating line! I was able to put math on the screen and loop thru wonderful little animations. No printing tho if I recall.
Circa 1981 at home.......... Sinclair ZX81 No more electronics for ME! I had my OWN FIRST COMPUTER!!! I hooked it to my TV. MAN! Talk about coooool! It was outfitted with an old casette deck we had layin around the house. The thing was trouble, but it stored my basic programs and I learned WHY it's important to have a BACKUP after doing plenty of retyping. No easy feat on THAT flat little two finger keyboard. (not easy to retype OR to back up:) Later, I got my baby a little more RAM! (2K was a little cramped). I spent the big bucks to get a 32K expansion pack. Battery backed, too! Unfortunately, being battery backed really didn't do me much good, cuz if it was even SLIGHTLY bumped, FZZZ - dead computer. At least boot time was zero back then. I sure miss THAT... I learned about "screen memory" - the grid of memory that you could use poke and peek to load and save the screen. You could also do 64 x 48 block graphics on this baby (again, not sure about the exact resolution). After reading through plenty of books and magazines, I started learning Z80 assembly language. THAT was cool stuff! Basic was for wimps. Assembly language let you control the whole machine. I could even do ANIMATION - a shrinking square flipped onto the screen via assembly language in FAST mode :)
Circa 1983 at home.......... Commodore 64 Times had changed and the C64 was WITHIN MY PRICE RANGE ($350 I think.) Another Commodore Basic dialect which i scoffed at. I learned the 6510 assembly language right away (a 6502 variant CPU). Basic had it's uses, but you had to use assembly language to do the COOL stuff. Endless typing of hex from Compute and C64 Gazette and Dr Dobbs in order to decode the assembler and figure out HOW to do that stuff. And, by the way, the magazines of the time were REALLY GOOD! Remember - there weren't no internet back then. I really miss reading narratives rather than todays crappy web references. Plenty of memory (64K of which, umm, was it 24K was usable? who cares - PLENTY) I learned the different graphics modes and the SID sound synthesizer. It had sprites, dual mode graphics capabilities via split screens occuring on raster interrupts. I spent soooooo much of my life learning about this machine. Kinda sad. But i don't regret it. I went from the tape drive to the disk drive. I bought a mouse for it when they came out and scoffed at the thing. It's just a lame joystick, right? How lame. Mice. If you can type, isn't a mouse pretty much worthless? I still feel that way, but I use the mouse constantly of course. And i could finally PRINT stuff! On this awesome fanfold paper with feeder strips on the side that you always had to rip off. FINALLY i could see my code ON PAPER and 66 lines on a page! Much easier on the eyes than a 40 x 24 text screen.
Circa 1984 at college.......... (sorry - no pics of VAXen... no loss - they're ugly anyway) Well, at the UW we only had VAX machines. I found these ok. But just ok. How the heck do you use assembly language on THESE wierd terminaled things? But I started to learn about "real" computers. Computers that understood this FANCY SHMANCY language called "pascal". And later they swapped in "modula 2" on me. I had to do all this "commenting" and "modularizing" stuff which I was struggling to see the point for. I mean, if it works, it works, right? But I figured it out. It's so you could understand it LATER. Like my old C64 assembly language. Sure - there it'd be all printed out in it's magnificent glory, but then I had to change it a couple months later... Where the HECK do i start??? And that stuff also got you a better grade. I learned to indent, discovered my preferred style, learned about "big" computers and so on. They also brought in this thing called a Mac. My jaw dropped when I saw it. A paint program that came WITH the computer! But I =REFUSED= to admit that it was better than my C64!!! Heck, I'd never be able to afford one of those ANYway... But just spending my 20 minutes in the computer lab left me feeling empty. Screw that. BACK TO MY WONDERFUL C64!!! I wrote a text editor called NEd (Nifty text EDitor). All 6502 assembly. load "*",8,1 booted it up off floppy. It took about 3K of memory (at $C000) I used it to to write my other cool little graphics programs. I had a start on music on this machine, but it was kind of minimal. Just playing a string of notes. Trying out the machine's "ring modulation", etc. I expanded NEd into Ward. (my ward processor for writing college papers.)
Circa 1986 at another college.......... clones! Well, it turned out at the UW i needed a 3.6 GPA to get into computer science. Soooooooo, my puny 3.0 was not gonna cut it at that school. My counsellor asked me if I'd be interested in business or anthropology or (god forbid) SOCIOLOGY!!! I sorta liked anthropology and linguistics, but SPARE THAT! I was GONNA major in computer science SOMEhow. I dropped out the UW and signed up at SPU where you simply had to pay through the nose to get your major. (It was an ok school, though.) I scoffed at the IBM PC. It was sooooo lame compared to my C64! But up until SPU, I hadn't had a chance to get my hands on one. I was forced to in my courses. And I learned to deal with them. At least they had Turbo Pascal on em! And there were plenty! The school must have had 20 of em!!! Plus a PDP8 (which I never figured out). Turbo Pascal had an editor built right in. And it was FAST! And wooooooooooonderful. WAY less hitting ENTER and such. THEN Mr. Tindal filled me in on Int 21 - the way to make MSDOS actually DO something. You could read the disk, write the disk, display text on the screen. The BIOS interrupts could get you into graphics mode. I played around with making "windows program". (Pre windows - text mode screens within screens with a border around em.) Fun stuff like that. I learned how to make the printers do graphics using escape sequences. They had MUCH higher resolutions than the screens, but only black and white, and you had to learn the escape sequencers - rather ugly stuff. VERY cool to get a hi res printout of rotating shrinking triangles or some such thing, tho :) THEN Mr. Tindal told me about a computer language called C. This language was ALMOST as good as assembly language. In fact, you could even increment a variable like in assembly language. It made me go "whoooah". But assembly language still ruled. I learned 80x86 assembly, of course. But I used it with C to keep my source code more compact. I learned the graphics adapters of the time - Hercules, CGA, then that killer EGA. It ruled. I also took a course or two about SQL. RBase... EEEEEEEEEEYUCK! WHO would be stupid enough to set up something like THAT??? Keeping data somewhere you don't even know. Who could trust THAT? And who even cared about data. Code was the cool stuff. Storing data is dumb. My senior computer science project was done with 2 other guys. One was a braniac - photographic memory and everything. Another was just a geek like me. We built a forth interpretter. And it ACTUALLY WORKED! Thanks mostly to the braniac guy. But we did understand it and put a TON of hours into writing and testing it. Testing, by the way, I found to TRULY SUCK when you've got a deadline. Up until then testing was just finishing a program - fun. While in college, I got a job at "Berta-Max". A small Mom n Pop educational software company across the bridge from SPU. (owned by a guy named Max and his wife, Berta. Good people.) Here, I got my hands on the infamous Apple II, the ole TRS Coco and the IBM PC. I got hired because I knew the C64 and an employee. The AppleII was kinda lame and I didn't mess with it much. The TRS Color Computer was just a really crappy totally incompatible IBM PC. We used Turbo Pascal (versions 4,5,6 and 7 as they came out.) for the IBM PC and Commodore's and Apple's Basic dialects. (Not a lot of cross platform portability goin on in those days.) They DID hook to this killer Echo speech synthesizer. I spent months piecing together phonemes to make it sound right. (And building the associated editing apps in Turbo Pascal, etc.) Built a cool little slinky screen that'd sound out words and such. I kinda regret not getting more done at that place, but it didn't pay very well, so I figured, oh well. No biggie. I also figured out how to make the crappy ole ibm pc's speaker squeal. Had to use assembly language to do that, of course.
Circa 1988 at home.......... Amiga500 The new love of my life. I'd already wrung the C64 dry. I was almost ready to buy a CLONE - horrors! Then the Amiga came out and oooooooooooooo it started all over. $600 for the CPU and $400 for the monitor. I bought a TV tuner to see TV on it. A =MEG= of RAM! 3.5" disk drive! Mouse and a keyboard like the clones' Superb graphics and sampled sound better than the Mac. I learned 68000 assembly language immediately. I bought a C compiler for it immediately. NOT CHEAP! 250 bucks was it? I even saved up the BIG bucks required for a hard drive. 15 Megs! But I ran the C compiler off floppy for 2 years. Not an easy task. Well, now I had to rewrite NEd. Never bothered with Ward. It took a long time to learn the OS. A loooooong time. I read and read and read alll the magazines and books that were flooding onto the bookstands. This one -sucked- but there were plenty that didn't. The Amiga could run MORE than one program AT THE SAME TIME!!! several PARTS to the OS. A UI called Intuition. It had several sweeeet graphic modes - defaulting to 4 color 320x200 pixels. But it could do a full 4096 colors in "hold and modify" mode in 640x400 pixel interlace mode if i recall... You could even split screen and get 2 FREAKIN graphics modes goin at the SAME TIME! Tricky OS to figure out, but i eventually figured it. Man. GUI programming sucked. But once it was done, verrrry cool. I wrote a program called CLIed (CLI was the Amiga "command line interface" - dos) So it meant "CLI in the past tense". A file manager operated by the mouse. Yep. After seeing Norten Utilities on the clones, I was jealous. The Amiga rocked. I learned Rexx on it too. Just like i did on VM/CMS at my first "real job".
Circa 1989 at Boeing.......... Well, I'd finally graduated college and spent a looooong time trying to come across a job. I was really starting to think I'd never find one, then my friend Dwight got me in at Boeing. Wow! Getting paid enough to MOVE OUT finally and pay for a crappy little apartment. Not THAT crappy, but sorta. Anywayz, time to learn how businesses used computers. Kind of a let down... These stupid guys were using MAINFRAMES :( And DATABASES :( Again, EEEEEEEEYUCK!!! IBM's VM/CMS operating system. (Kid sister to IBM's MVS) (VirtualMachine/ConversatinalMonitoringSystem - like that means a lot) And I got introduced to Oracle. I think it was version 4 or 5. I've tried to block it out, but sometimes ya just can't...:( So I learned SQL. It turned out to be pretty stupidly simple. Rather longwinded like the COBOL and FORTRAN I'd learned in school and would be forced to use here... Bleh :P After a while I learned that although the OS was crap compared to my wonderful Amiga, they were actually HOOKED TOGETHER! Networking meant a TON in the business world. So I spent the time to learn these archaic beasts. Eventually, I really got into SQL and this wierd old OS. C =finally= came out for VM/CMS and I switched our shop over to it as FAST as I could. It sure took a lot of convincing! It wasn't the greatest C compiler. Bugs galore, and there were no square brackets in EBCDIC (IBM's version of ASCII). So we had to use unbrokenVerticalBar and centsSignCharacter instead. Luckily, I had NEd on the PC for editing and there was this wierd IRMA software that could upload/download text files from pc to mainframe. We used VM/CMS panels as the front end (similar to older PROFS versions.) and Oracle 5 as the backend. There was the option of Oracle Forms for front end, but I thought it was rather clunky. Sure it did all of this STUFF, but you had to do everything a CERTAIN way. Quite lame, I thought... Oracle had Pro*C, Pro*COBOL, Pro*FORTRAN and Pro*REXX so that your app could just "do" SQL within itself while showing the UI nice and customized. Even Pro*Rexx - interpretted code running SQL :) That was alright, but you still had to "pre-process" your C. Then Oracle came out with their OCI (Oracle Call Interface). All you had to do was link! The OCI was a little wierd though. Rather terse and not very intuitive. I just put a C wrapper around it, though. It had built in debugging of the SQL and everything. I could whip up a database system on VM/CMS so fast, it'd make your head spin! We also eventually got an UngermanBass network for our PCs, too! Whoa! PCs and mainframes chattin, printing together, etc. I wrote some PC software to print mainframe stuff including graphical charts, etc. (Pretty fancy for a mainframe system in those days.) Then I learned of FTP! WAY cool. EASY transfer of files now! Then, Microsoft came out with WindowsForWorkgroups - Win3.1... I was sceptical. It sure looked glitzy though. Still had segmented architecture though. I still disliked it. But I grudgingly learned a little about it. Then, the layoff days came at Boeing. Tons of folks getting kicked out the door. My first intro to layoffs...:( I survived it fine. But it sure left a BAD taste in my mouth concerning how I felt about Boeing. It just didn't seem right to hire and fire like that. Boeing got boooooring. I was STUCK using mainframes although Unix was taking over the world.
SCREW THAT. Back to my WONDERFUL Amiga! The Amiga was where I REALLY got into music. My gramma had always told me I should learn to play the piano. I'd taken lessons as a kid and could single finger a melody from a commercial. But i just could never get both hands working at the same time. THEN i found out you could hook a computer to these things called SYNTHESIZERS! You hook midi cables between the computer and the synth and BAM! You can write a program to make the computer store what's played on the synth, and then have the computer play the synth itself! I bought Bars&Pipes Pro for the Amiga - a popular midi sequencer (software to record/save/play songs to synths). It was sooooooooooooooooooo cool. But there were things that bugged me about it. I just HAD to try to build one of my own. I'm -still- building one of my own :) My first synth was a Kawaii Spectra KC10 keyboard. It was, what else?, COOL :) I still have it in the closet in case I ever get good enough for a 2nd keyboard. My Kawai keyboard was ok. It had some nice sounds and was a real quality keyboard. But I went searching for a synth that had BETTER sounds. I came across the Yamaha TG-33 at a local music store. It had nicer sounds. But I just couldn't get NEW sounds into it like I could with the 8 bit samples that my Amiga could play. It was a pretty costly mistake buying that TG-33! But, I chalked it up to experience and somebody actually answered my want ad! I mean after all - I was making $19,200 a year!!! I had PLENTY of dough to blo! Next, I found the Peavey DPM V3 sound module! I hooked it up to my Amiga's out midiport and hooked the Kawai to the Amiga's in midiport. That V3 could do "sample dump standard" to load in new samples! (but 16 bit mono samples go DREADFULLY slow thru midi cables at midi's 31K baud) Then I could build patches off these new samples. It was cool, but not tooo practical. I made it work tho :) I went and got a 16 bit sampler, too. A Peavey SX. 16 bits, baby! At either 24 or 48KHz, baby! Never used it much :) So i had hung another thing off my Amiga OCTOPUS - the midi interface. There was already a printer, mouse, monitor, modem (for Gramma's BBS:), hard drive, floppy drive, a soundscape wave sampler, a picture digitizer (frame grabber), and my stereo. The thing took up an entire 6 foot long table :) Not including my stereo (BIG speakers) and Spectra keyboard! My midi rack and other STUPH just spraaawled across the living room of my loooooonely apartment... I bought a PC (DOS) laptop once. I figured I'd learn it in parallel with the Amiga. I threw it away. DOS was worthless compared to the Amiga. Truly! (Windows was still in those way old early releases that required REALLY expensive hardware and was crap anyway.) I just kept learning my Amiga. It was woooonderful. I came quite a ways along in building my Midi Sequencer. It was 2 apps named MidiPlay and MidiComp in those days. Hooked to my NEW fully weighted 76 key Ensoniq KS-32. Good piano sounds on it (the rest sucked.) But the main reason I got it was as a good solid controller. My Peavey was makin the sounds :)
While working at Boeing, I finally acquired a LIFE. Met some friends. Some of whom were female. Realized I'd better come across one of these for myself. All the ones I came across at Boeing were taken...:( Met a girl, with a girl (almost a yr old), and a boyfriend. She hated the boyfriend, moved in with me, and WHAM! No room for my Amiga :) I tried like heck to make time and ROOM for it, but NO DICE. Quite a bit happens when a woman and a little girl enter your life. Especially at the same time :) Sooooooooooooo, I sadly said goodbye to my Amiga. Commodore had since, died, too. Further speeding along what I call "the dark ages of my programming past". (Bright ages of my LIFE, though, you understand:) I bought myself a little Mac classic thinking it'd be just what I needed. A fresh OS to play with. And THIS time I could finally just port my C code! It ported ok, but it was a PAIN trying to find out how to make a mac do ANYTHING. Even on AOL (the internet was pretty young) there was NO source code for messing with midi :( I finally came across something, but by the time I did, Windows 95 came out. And that was the beginning of the end for that mac. I still have it's bag tho - very handy for storing cables and such :) Boeing's low pay finally got me lookin elsewhere and a DBA I knew called me up about a job at a place called Claircom, about to be bought by AT&T.
Circa 1995 at Claircom.......... Lucky thing I took this job - my Boeing pay was not gonna handle a mortgage. Yep. Closed on a 2 bedroom house. Kathy had given her crappy old boyfriend another shot and I said LATER. But i knew... I knew her sister and kept tabs on her :) Closed on the 2 bedroom, got back together with Kathy&Carissa, and WHAMO - Connor happened :) Sooooooo, we got married and handled a 4 yr old and baby in a 2 bedroom house... NOT EASY! You try it! Yep. 1995. A very big year for us. At least I was an us now. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand, what else happened in 95??? Umm, Windows95 :) Well, we got it circa 97, but I was DIEING till then... Oh yeah, Claircom. Called AT&T Wireless' Aviation Communication Division (by AT&T, not us:) This job was cooooooooooooool :) Windows 95 with a 2 GIG hard drive! AND Windows NT!!! AND Solaris Unix!!! AND Oracle 7!!! AND Forms and Reports and PowerBuilder! AND Informix... Okay, Informix wasn't that cool, but I figured it out, too... And Remedy... Ditto... Bleh...:) AND I figured out a little about how a business is put together. Sure there were Networks, OSs, Databases, n Applications. But there was also this stuff called Billing and Inventory and Marketing and Accounting and Human Resources and all those other wierd parts of a company. Much easier to identify in a company sized at about 200 people. (350 in it's hayday, down to about 20something when i got booted out.) Call Detail Records and Switches hooking to cellsites that control an RF connection to an airplane phones network :) Very cool stuff. I worked the billing system. Solaris and Oracle and Pro*C and Forms and such. There were about 5 other folks working on it with me. Contractors built it. We maintained it. THEN, we picked it all up when the contractors up'd their rates :/ Billing is boring, but necessary. It's also rather involved. Not so much in the math. That's easy. Just in data flow and taxing logic and usual hassles of dealing with DATA. Unfortunately, this airplane phone technology was all WAY cool in 1990, REAL cool in 1995, and, umm, welllll, not so cool in 1999... In 1995 when they installed the American Airlines MD80 fleet, we saw our usage (and REVENUE:) skyrocket. Thing is, it really didn't keep going up. And it didn't matter anyway... We were doomed from the start... I found out that although we were bringing in PLENTY of revenue, well, we had even huger expenses from revenue share with the airlines (33% of our take!) and paying to keep up long distance connections from 150 cellsites scattered across the US to our central switch in Texas umm, VERY VERY costly... We never EVER made a profit in ANY quarter... Sooooooo, circa 2000 I finally figured out that another layoff was coming my way - and this one wouldn't be escapable... But, I didn't care. I was busy learning Windows 95! Yep. I'd officially become a CLONE. It was hard to accept for a post-Amiga-ite... HARD! I felt bad about it. But what choice did I have??? I'd already learned Sun's unix by now. Plenty of wierd things like Perl, C, and a buttload of 2 letter commands to mess with. But, it's really a pretty BORing OS if ya ask me... Sure, it'll run a network and oracle and a webserver. But the user interface is basically NOT EVEN THERE! Even using C, I'd have to resort to X-Window calls to put up a GUI on my app. And x-windows did NOT look promising - BLEH!! I like Unix. But only for housing a DB or web server or whatever. And although I like to tinker with that stuff at work, at home i want to work on a MIDI SEQUENCER! So back to Windows95... The 80x86 had grown past the horrid segmented architecture biz. And the windows OS was nothing short of amazing to me. It had a VERY robust GUI compared to the Amiga's :) Open up a dialog with controls in it that you just pop in via a resource editor! And it had threads and memory mapped files and all the stuff a really good OS needs. Except it's midi capabilities were, umm, let's just say POOR! I bought the ole MS C++ compiler and it came with this nifty thing called MSDN. Wooah! ALL the docs i could ever want RIGHT THERE!!! Sure, I really missed having a nice paper book, but at least I didn't have to GO GET all the paper books. And at least I had ALL the information instead of MISSING paper books about topics i wanted to know about... MSDN is truly remarkable. PERIOD! So I figured out that MFC was a pile of crap. But at least it was a pile of crap I could learn from. I rewrote all the good parts into my own library - a set of .h files for classes that are mostly just compiled each time along with the app. C++ I found to truly rock, as well. Sure it was a little bulky compared to C in some places. But, i figured out how to strip out all the runtime library crap and got my executables back down to 8K for a simple do nothing app. the windev email list and codeproject.com are what made me what I am today as far as a windows developer. So it was unix at work n windows at home. Ok, I gotta admit that during the layoff daze, I spent a good dose of time playing with windows at work, too ;)
Circa 2002 at Western Wireless.......... Got booted out of Claircom since the company went down the drain. I was one of the last to go. Down to 20something! Kinda sad. Kinda cool. Weird experience. Spent the next year looking for a job. 2002 was =NOT= a good year for a job search. And this was the first actual SEARCH I'd done. Yeck. Had fun with the kids tho - plenty of swimming and such :) Finally I hooked up with Western Wireless. The commute from north Seattle to Factoria was UTTER HELL. Guess I'll never work at Microsoft :P (Did you hear that, recruiters!!!) But at least I got into Oracle 9 and cell phones proper and billing systems proper and BREW and AmDocs yada yada yada... Nice place, but people hire on there and take off at lightning speed. Including me...:/ (Just before it got converted to Alltel)
Circa 2003 at Tideworks.......... Contractor time. Thought I'd give it a shot. I'd done it before, but just to get INTO Claircom and Western Wireless. Got a job doing Oracle Forms and pl/sql at this company writing terminal s/w. Ship/Train/Truck terminal we're talkin bout here :) Scootin' around those big ole rectangular containers. I'd always wanted to get REALLY GOOD at forms. Well, now i think it's safe to say that i am... Not that i LIKE forms... I =DON'T= Bleh :P It does so much at the outset, yet is so PAINFUL when it comes to polishing the app...:P Well, at least Tideworks got me a LOT more into the whole schedule driven thing. That's the life of a programmer: Deadlines and code versioning and standards, oh MY :) It's no biggie tho. Writing code is writing code. It will always ROCK! Some day I gotta getta job writing PC apps. Unix is starting to BUG me... Well, more bore than bug... In the mean time? SCREW THAT! Back to my WONDERFUL WindowsXP machine and C++/Win32 :) Let me tell ya - wifi and a laptop are reeeeeeally really cool! I can finally get on the pc and write code without the kids needin it! SUH weeet :) And I've tossed my Peavey V3 and SX in favor of a PC synth on a card - the Augigy and Audigy_Notebook :) (This was actually back in the early Western Wireless daze) Way higher quality and no need for a midi out port! Also, you can load in new sounds with ease (if you use ditty:) Google for soundfonts and see what you find - TONS!
Circa 2005 at Cingular.......... Cingular was a sweet commute. 15 minutes from door to desk. I'm on Oracle 11 now??? Sheesh. Not much better than 8 if you ask me... I wish Oracle would quit bumping it's version for dumb stuff. I only got to write a little bit of perl and pl/sql the whole time. That's kind of the way it is in big companies I guess. Too much money for riffraff. Not enough real work. A job is a job, however. I've felt good about fulfilling my expected duration on each contract. Well, here I am finding that I've become a "contractor". Ugh. Contrator-ness was always against my religion. Still is. Unfortunately, I've become one. I mean, converting from Amiga to Windows was a soul rendering experience, but turned out positive. Converting from a regular employee to contractor has been, well, just negative. I'm the one at fault. I saw the $$$/hr and went, "YUP!" But it's not worth it. No way. Some day I need a permanent gig where they actually let you LEARN SOMETHING NEW! I've learned SO MUCH at home that I CAN'T put on my resume...:( I could fill SO many killer c++ jobs, but, nope, no WORK experience...
Circa NOW.......... Well, I'm back at Cingular after a 2 month layoff (RIGHT in the middle of summer:) Eh, it's a living :) Some day I want to be an employee again at some place with a short enough commute. (north end or downtown on the buslines - NOT bellevue or below you recruiters!) I'll get hired for a pl/sql job by a co that has a c++ job that I can transfer to once I'm in. (ok... or c#/java if need be) Thank =THE LORD= for my home pc! ditty is still coming along. It's pretty functional and I've spent the summer doing more piano practice than programming! Shock and awe city! But I'm feeling the neeeed - the neeeeeeed to add functionality again ;)
People sometimes ask me what it takes to be a good computer programmer... Here's my answer: ^ALL THAT STUFF UP THERE^ (or equivalent)
Updated: ; stephen.hazel over at gmail.com