Computer Programming Experience of
I have been involved with computers and software since I was a high school student in the summer of 1962. I have written books on the subject, I have taught classes on the subject and I have developed and published commercial software. I have a patent on software that I have written and I have testified in Federal Court as an expert witness on user interfaces and software "look and feel".
I have created package covers, brochures, documentation, user instructions, press releases and advertising copy for software products. I have created an internal mail order and accounting system for a software product and am presently working on a world wide organization to assemble and sell an intellectual product in CyberSpace.
Although not a language per se, I understand HTML and understand and have used the CGI interface to create interactive client server applications on the web. I am familiar with and have used, over the years, most of the IBM mainframe OS's as well as UNIX and all the desk top computer OS's including CPM, Mac OS, DOS, and Windows. I have read many articles on XML and have incorporated it in a PERL program that creates interactive web pages on the fly.
I have also done a lot of other things not involving software, like command troops in Vietnam, served on a Peace Corp Team overseas and help write two major State Wide Ballot Propositions. You can read about these other things in my Informal Resume. This page is created to give you an understanding of my ability to create great software.
In addition, I hope that you will get an appreciation of my ability to learn new things, as well as lend advice to a project team based on past experience. If I don't have a particular skill you are looking for, I can probably learn it quickly. Just ask me.
What follows is a comprehensive chronological offering of my work experience as it relates to computers and software. At the end are four major client jobs that I can give as references.
I wrote my first line of computer code in the Summer of 1962 as a high school student in a program sponsored by the National Science Foundation (The worlds first computer camp.) It was at this time that I fell in love with what the computer can do to improve business and life in general.
My major at the US Naval Academy was in Systems Engineering, which was the Navy Academy equivalent of Computer Science. The major included courses in electronics, electrical engineering and both analog and digital computers.
Unfortunately, my first assignment after graduation was to a Mobile Construction Battalion in a combat zone in Vietnam and had nothing to do with computers. It was as the Officer in Charge of a detachment of steel workers working on a fuel tank farm near the city of Hue that I learned CPM scheduling first hand. My second tour in Vietnam was as a Commanding Officer of a Navy Technical Assistance Team working for the State Department. Again no computers, but a lot of leadership experience under fire.
On returning to the States, I was sent by the Navy to Stanford University as part of a two years program to get a Master's Degree in Engineering Management. At Stanford I used the campus Time Share System whenever possible in carrying out my assigned work, including creating a computer program to handle CPM Scheduling.
My first assignment out of Stanford was as Assistant Public Works Officer for the Marine Corp. Air Station at Yuma Arizona. It was here, while studying for my Professional Engineers Exam that I fell in love with the HP-35 and what it could do for engineering.
My next assignment was as the Acquisition's Coordinator Officer for the Navy's West Cost Construction Effort. This involved a lot of contract negotiations with A&E Firms and, using my love of the hand held, I developed an extensive set of programs on both the Texas Instruments and Hewlett Packard calculators to support price negotiations. I was also involved in lengthily housing turnkey evaluations and wrote a program in BASIC on the local time sharing system to factor all the different components that were used in deciding a winner.
In 1977 I went to work as the MIS Director on a Department of Energy project to open up the Elk Hills Petroleum Reserve . Here I made decisions on computer and software acquisition and the hiring of personnel. I also had a chance to examine and use the latest project management and scheduling programs. I developed training courses on CPM scheduling for Project Engineers in the home office and Construction Engineers in the field. Programming skills learned and used were in the area of programming the IBM OS to run the major applications programs that were being used.
Not much programming while working for the Department of Energy as a Senior Project Engineer, but good experience working and understanding high tech projects like laser isotope separation and high energy physics.
As Senior Engineer for a Wind Energy company, lots of exposure to the mechanics of wind energy and my first exposure to a spreadsheet in the form of Visacalc on the Apple II. It was the financial bottom line on the spreadsheet that put the company out of business.
While in charge of Design and Construction at Sprint Communications I purchased my first micro computer and fell in love again with what they could do. My major love was the spreadsheet. I was the first person at Sprint to use a spreadsheet to do the annual budget and convinced the MIS department to make it a company wide process the following year. It was while at Sprint in my spare time that I wrote my first two of four books on using spreadsheets. I became a spreadsheet expert and was proficient in VisaCalc, SuperCalc and MultiPlan. When Lotus 1-2-3 came out, it took me only a day to master it, and Lotus had something that none of the other spreadsheets had, a macro language programming capability. While at Sprint, I also learned all there was to know about telephony including AD and DA converters, Computer Switches,T-1 lines etc.
1984 and on [Computer Consulting Business]
In 1984, Sprint was purchased by a company headquarters in Kansas City and started moving the head office from Burlingame California to Kansas City. I elected to leave the company and start a new career as a Computer Consultant. I wrote two more books on spreadsheets and did a lot of training in basic computer applications and especially how to use spreadsheets.
Getting into the Software Development and Publishing Business
It was while developing courses in spreadsheets that I created a series of spreadsheet templates that challenged the user to solve puzzles, and in the process learn basic concepts. The puzzle templates went over so well with my students that I decided to market then as a commercial program. I linked the different puzzles into a running James Bond-like story narrative in which the user had to solve the puzzles in order to continue with the story. For example, the user would be challenged to find the weapon of the hero in a box of numbers. It turned out that if you made a graph of the numbers, the outline of the graph looked like a particular type of weapon. I called the program The Templates of Doom and went into the publishing business with a slick box, printed instructions, a 5 color brochures and mail order department.
Templates of Doom was a big hit with the people back at Lotus 123 and I was invited to several conferences and meetings in Boston. I was also invited up to Seattle by Bill Gates and after signing an NDA, he showed me what Microsoft was doing with a new program to be called Excel. He game me advanced copies and encouraged me to develop a version of Templates of Doom that would run on Excel, which I did. He helped me market it by including my brochure with each copy that went out. Philip Kahn of Borland also invited me to develop a version for Quattro, as well as Adam Osborne for his spreadsheet program. At one point Templates of Doom ran on 9 different spreadsheets. One major programming skill I learned in developing Templates of Doom was the art/science of a good user interface design. The original version of Lotus 123 would only allow a single spreadsheet to be displayed at a time. That spreadsheet had to contain, not only the programming code and the puzzle, but the instructions and selection of answers. I also developed creative was of maintaining continuity between separate spreadsheets while loading and unloading each different template.
As a Software Developer and Publisher I joined the Software Publishers Association. I attended all the West Cost conferences and even ran for office. I learned a lot about code development, along with all aspects of software publishing, including marketing and finance.
All was going well with Templates of Doom until I was sued by the Movie Producer George Lucas who didn't like the name of the program. The effect of the law suit was to stop the production of Templates of Doom. However, I was not discouraged, because I had already started work on the concept of a game that would teach anything, not just a computer programming skill. The eventual name of the game was EdUGames and it has consumed a major portion of my creative energies for the last 13 years.
Expert Witness Work
In 1986 I was approached by a lawyer to be an expert witness on a software litigation involving the look and feel of the desktop publishing programs Print Shop and Print Master. I helped the lawyers develop their case and testified in Federal Court as an expert witness. Aspects of the case eventually developed into case law involving the look and feel of software copyrights. I later participated in the Lotus law suits against other spreadsheet developers on the side of the other developers.
Developing the interface to a Large Scheduling Program
While developing and marketing Templates of Doom, I continued to teach and consult. One of the major clients was a company called PolyOptimum which was creating a hospital staff scheduling program that used linear regression programming. The Linear regression aspects of the program allowed a user to come up with the least expensive combination of staff assignments and still cover 100% of projected needs. It looked at the cost of paying overtime verses bringing in a part time staff person for example. The code for doing the linear regression was purchased by PolyOptimum, and I developed the user interface in Lotus 123. In may cases, I had to create ways to stretch Lotus 123 to do things it was never designed to do, like binary math. I continued to program for PolyOptimum over the years as they evolved their product. My last check from them was in 1997. While working with PolyOptimum I learned a lot about team software development. I developed the code while others created the training and instructions sets. I was often called on to create a separate product for a particular client's needs. I also learned a lot about hospital staffing and doctor training.
Other Consulting and Training Assignments
As a consultant over the years, I taught classes for companies and public institutions to numerous to mention. I helped Microsoft create a Lotus 123 macro capability in Excel. I helped Broderbund test the latest version of Print Shop. I helped Borland create a set of interactive user instructions for Quattro. I had a year long assignment with a company called Pinnacle Software to develop an alternative interface to their commercial budgeting program.
My major love
Most of my time over the last 15 years had been in developing EdUGames. In time EdUGames will be used in all major schools world wide, but for now, I must wait for the schools to catch up with computer and software development. You can check out the program at WWW.Edugames.com/edugames/PlayTheGame.htm
The business plan along with my concept of a Cyber Organization are all contained at the web site