My Personal Background
Greetings! When I originally got interested in general electronics, it led me to an Amateur Radio Operator license which I have maintained ever since. This was back in 1958 while I was in high school. During that time, I'd done a large amount of traveling with my parents. My dad was in the Air Force and we were stationed in such diverse places as Alaska, Washington, D.C., Germany, and California. I continued my love of all things electronic (after a year of college) by enlisting in the Navy. It was there that I learned most of the useful things I know now. I spent 20 years in the navy as a Cryptographic Technician whose ratings were closely aligned with the National Security Agency.
After I retired in 1980, I went to work for RCA in New Jersey as a programmer on Digital Equipment Corporation computers such as the PDP-series utilizing various operating systems. Two other later positions, with other companies, gave me further knowledge of a diverse set of operating systems and hardware. Now that I am fully retired, given the explosive growth of personal computers, I enjoy working at home with my computers. As you can see, my experience with computers, hardware and software, is extensive.
My Technical Background
Although specific curriculum cannot be cited, I did graduate from numerous schools while in the Navy. Among them were my favorite two: UYK-3 Programming and UYK-3 Maintenance school. Together, they encompassed almost 14 months: Along the way, I also did a lot of work with other computers, such as the Data General Nova series, B.nker-Ramo 133 and others of that time. I used a host of languages from the very basic machine language through the Navy-mandated NELIAC and AOSP suites. More sophisticated operating systems (CAPS-11, VAX/VMS, Ultrix, NetBSD, etc) had their own brands of programming languages which I mastered - FORTRAN, BASIC, and COBOL being the leaders.
When personal computers appeared on the horizon, I immediately turned to them by building my own; first with a do-it-yourself 4-bit computer with an Intel4040 CPU and an amazing 128 bytes of RAM. This escalated through a nice 8-bit kit (Imsi) and eventually to four Heathkit Corporation computers with up to 32K of RAM, a disk operating system (HDOS), and BASIC as a language. Intrigued by the possibilities, I designed and built an interface to my amateur radio teletype equipment so I could print out program listings and other items.
At that point, I never stopped learning. I was employed by firms as a systems designer/programmer and worked on such projects as a mine electrical load-sharing system, traffic light controllers, MH-53 (Pave Low) helicopter avionics, hospital patient data systems, airline display boards, railroad passenger station announcement displays and the like. These were mostly accomplished with Visual Basic and Visual C++ with a healthy dash of communications skills thrown into the mix.
Nowadays, I've moved onward and into such areas as HTML, VB.NET, and contract programming/systems design. I may not know how to solve your task immediately but, more importantly, I do know just where to find the knowledge that will help.
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