Ancient (and not so ancient) History

I have been working on computers since 1969. Yes, I know that was a long time ago, and they have come a long way since then. But we did go to the moon and back with those old, slow ones. No, I didn't work for NASA. I worked for Westinghouse in the Telecomputer Center. After 2 years there, I transferred to the Transportation Division in West Mifflin where they made the propulsion and train control equipment for the Bay Area Rapid System, the Tampa airport, the Seattle-Tacoma airport, and another in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Ever since then, when people find out I work on computers, well, they have me working on computers. I've also worked as a legal assistant and even drove a truck cross country for three years. But there are always computers that need fixing, updating, connecting, replacing, and sometimes just some TLC. They have made our lives so much more than they were before. 

I bought my first personal computer around 1983.  It was a Tandy TRS-80 Color Computer.  Let's not talk about it.  It had to be tediously programmed to do even the simplest tasks.  It was no fun at all for me.  I had learned to program in BASIC, FORTRAN and COBOL in school and didn't want to do it for fun. 

In 1985, I went to work for a wholesale plant nursery in East Texas.  They had just bought a computer system and needed someone to run it.  In about a week, I figured out that that computer system was never going to be able to do what they expected of it.  We hobbled on through with part of the business computerized and part still on paper.  In 1987, they bought a 286 system, which arrived from Dallas in cardboard boxes with an installer to set it up.  After he unpacked and connected everything, he handed me a pocket screwdriver and told me if I had any questions or problems to just call the number on the screwdriver. A couple weeks later, the whole system crashed.  I called the number on the screwdriver.  It had been disconnected.  So I used the other end of the screwdriver and fixed the system myself.  And so it went. 

I bought my next personal computer in 1992.  It was a 486 IBM, with Windows 3.1.  I then bought an Acer Pentium desktop system from Best Buy on 48 easy payments.  I became a beta tester for Windows 95 and installed hundreds of programs on that Acer.  My son played every game we could afford, many of them DOS loaders.  Money was tight so we didn't have the full version of Doom but we had Wipeout and we tried lots of shareware.  I read the license terms and abided by them.  At this time, I was working for the State of Texas. 

I also started getting used computers because everyone wanted a Pentium.  There was no recycling then, nobody wanted the old 486s.  They either had Windows 95, Windows 98 or Windows NT on them.  I used them to test software, used the parts for other computers and eventually ended up recycling them with Goodwill. 

I moved back to Pittsburgh in 1998 and went to work as a legal assistant.  The firm used a Windows NT server system and, in 2001, its outside tech support firm was dissolved.  I bought a couple used servers and some books and learned at home at night and on weekends.  I took every free Microsoft seminar that I could attend.  I bought a MAPS subscription and kept learning.  I worked with a consultant hired by the firm, and eventually was promoted to systems administrator.  I retired in 2005 due to family responsibilities after my parents' deaths, and began my consulting business in 2006.