I grew up in Abingdon, Virginia, graduated from Abingdon High School, and Virginia Highlands Community College. I studied Computer Science for a while at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. I crammed three years of computer science courses into one year during that period. My first technical job was at Virginia Community College System Data Services in Richmond, Virginia. After leaving Richmond, my family and I have lived in the Atlanta area three times for a total of 8 years, Altimonte Springs, Florida for a couple years, Cincinnati, Ohio area for more than three years, Huntsville, Alabama for about a year, Durham, North Carolina for 8 years, and Kernersville, North Carolina for 4 years.
In my early technical career, I worked primarily on IBM DOS/VS, OS/VS2, MVS/TSO and VM/CMS mainframe computers, finally finishing that phase as a vender team leader for a couple years on a Big Blue contract. After starting a contract with a telephone equipment manufacturer in 1993, I managed to acquire Unix responsibilities involving Ultrix, HP-UX, and C, while providing VM/CMS/REXX expertise. In the early 1990’s I had bought a small DOS PC and Turbo C/C++. I was in the process of building myself a complete operating system from scratch, when I got distracted (again) with another of those “someday I would like to” projects. Win95 and Linux arrived on the scene before I got back to that project.
For several years I had planned to build myself a computer from scratch. In 1996 and early 1997, I managed to finally get this accomplished. While looking for an operating system, that was actually usable on my new built from scratch machine, I stumbled upon The November, 1997 issue of Boot Magazine, which included a small distribution of Debian Linux. After installing this GNU/Linux distribution which included the 1.3.1 kernel, I was intrigued enough to order the full version of the next Debian release. Needless to say, I have had at least one GNU/Linux machine ever since.
My last two full time commercial projects primarily involved Unix HP-UX. The last year contracting with the phone switch company was exclusively HP-UX, C, HTML, and Oracle databases, followed by a couple years at a bank doing HU-UX, Perl, C, and Informix SQL to keep an internet banking system up to date and accurate.
I have used personal computers with all the major operating systems, environments, and hardware. During my college days our projects included simulators and interpreters for 8080 based hardware. I tend to write programs for PCs’ as the need and opportunity arises. I understand X86 assembler – and I would do it for cash, but it is about as much fun as digging through 370 micro-code, looking for a 1979 coding error. My most recent part time commercial work involves software research, prototyping, and speculative projects. Apparently it is still sometimes slightly cheaper to let someone look at your particular situation and build a prototype before the project actually gets sent to the dark side of the moon for coding.
Many of us saw our technical careers effectively end with the events of surrounding the Y2K fiasco, the technology bubble in the markets, and the massive move to offshore outsourcing of most if not all technical work, culminating with the September 11, 2001 attack.
I have not given up on technology. I occasionally repair busted laptops. I have used a solder iron since I was ten or twelve years old. I got one for Christmas one year, and I have been finding stuff to solder ever since. One of my first projects was to repair an old TV someone had given me, so our family could watch the moon landing in July 1969. I have attempted to repair about everything at one point or another: Laptop, desktop, printer, television, radio, small appliance, washer, dryer, stove, mower, car, tractor, truck, whatever.
Most recently I have primarily concentrated on building a private Linux distribution targeting developers and systems administrators who seek highly secure, stable, and current customizable Linux systems, along with a methodology and integrated development system to actually get this stuff to work optimally together.