in January of 1972. I accepted a position working for
Perot's company - Electronic Data Systems
(EDS). I was hired as a computer operations
trainee, but I had to start in the tape library. We were in
the old Exchange Bank building at Mockingbird and Harry
Hines, near Love Field in Dallas. Within 6 months, I got
off the loading docks and out of the tape library to work
out on the computer floor. I was hanging tapes for the
overnight data processing runs of various banks, insurance
companies or state Medicare systems. By the end of my
first year, I had progressed to running the Master Console
on our newest 370/165.
started, our computers were room sized, and had to be
installed on raised flooring where industrial air
conditioning systems kept them cool by blowing air from the
bottom up. Back then, most of our data was stored on large
12 inch reels containing 2400 ft of magnetic tape. Often,
input data was produced on key punch machines.
At the time that
IBM released the System/360 (like the one pictured), they
were beginning to make the transition from discrete
transistors to integrated circuits, and their major source
of revenue moved from punched-card equipment to electronic
When I was first
assigned to the Fort Worth National Bank account,
they were still using electronic accounting machines such as
paper tape, manual card sorters, and wire boards.
Learning about the hardware and
equipment in computer operations helped me better understand
the big picture of Data Processing systems. This proved
invaluable when I later progressed into the programmer ranks.
I spent a couple of years
working out on the computer floor, a
couple more in technical support, and then got to teach
full-time at EDS for a year and a half. I was finally
admitted to their SED (System Engineer Development) school
and learned about the Assembler and COBOL
Towards the end of the 1970's,
East Texas State University offered me some course credits
for my work experience at EDS, and I finally had a degree
plan to major in Computer Science. I continued to take night
courses at TCJC, the Tarrant County community college, and
many, many extension courses
from ETSU (now Texas A&M
and graduated with a Bachelor of Computer Science
degree in December, 1981.
By the early
1980's, personal computers (PC's) - had begun to spring up
everywhere. The Apple II
became an instant success when released in 1977.
Radio Shack had it's 4K TRS80 and had been
around a few years. In 1981
its PC, igniting a fast growth of the personal computer
market. The first PC ran on a 4.77 MHz Intel 8088
microprocessor and used Microsoft´s MS-DOS
I bought my
first computer from Toy's R Us. It was a Commodore
Vic-20, and was mostly just a keyboard that hooked up to
our Television and used a cassette tape player to store
data. By the time I added 24kb of memory, a disk drive and
a printer, I had over a $1,000 invested in this toy. But, I could
program it myself with the BASIC
to keep my checkbook in balance, and it had some
swell plug in games like Space Invaders, and
own version of Pac-Man).
By this time I
was working for Frito-Lay, and they were very leading
edge. Apple Computer launched the
Macintosh - the first
successful mouse-driven computer with a graphic user
interface. We began
to see many managers begin to use spreadsheets and word
processors, and very expensive plotters that could draw
wonderful color charts and reports.
its PC Jr. and PC-AT. The PC Jr. failed
commercially, but the
PC-AT, several times faster than original PC and based on
the Intel 80286 chip, claimed success with its
notable increases in performance and storage capacity, all
for about $4,000. It also included more RAM and
accommodated high-density 1.2-megabyte 5 1/4-inch floppy
the mid-80's, while I was working at Chilton Credit
Bureau, we saw the PC market explode into
the corporate world. Hard-drives with 10, or 20, or even
40mb of storage made the old 8 inch or 5 1/4 inch floppies
obsolete. Everybody had to have the "new" 3.5 inch
floppies. Why, they could hold all of 1.44 mb!
its PS/2 machines, which made the 3 1/2-inch floppy disk
drive and video graphics array standard for IBM computers.
The first IBMs to include Intel´s 80386 chip, the
company had shipped more than 1 million units by the end of
the year. IBM released a new operating system, OS/2, at the
same time, allowing the use of a mouse with IBMs for the
It would be about 4 years later
before I could replace my old PC Jr, with a new Dell that
sported the highest speed 33mhz 80386 CPU that would be
able for me to upgrade to my first Microsoft Window's
based home computer running the Windows 3.1 version. I was a very happy camper ... for a little while.
In the 1990's, computer hardware
and software began to increase in speeds, capacity, and
capabilities that we had previously not even thought of. When I arrived at American Airlines, they were
leading edge because they had rolled out 80386 based
workstations across the company. Within 4 years, we needed
at least the 80486 based CPU to run larger Project
Management programs like MS Project.
I went back to work for EDS
in Plano in 1994, but it wasn't the same company Ross
Perot had sold to General Motors back in the mid 80's. I
had a good run thru 2001 when EDS bought half of the
SABRE airline reservations business. In just those 7 years back at EDS,
we saw the Intel 486 platform become obsolete
to the Pentium CPU (80586). The Pentium Processor was Intel's
successor to the i486 chips, and used features such as
pipelining and larger L1 caches to significantly increase
the performance of the chips when compared to the i486. It
was shortly replaced by Pentiums II, III, and then IV's.
Today the latest offerings are 64-bit based.
Microsoft's Windows operating
system has evolved rapidly over the years - from Windows
3.1, to Windows 95,
and then Win98. Then Windows ME & Windows 2000. Windows
XP came out in 2001 and has already been replaced by Vista, and
in 2009, now
we have Windows 7. ... It was My Idea - :>)
OK, not really.
This is a slide rule (pictured on the left).
Have you ever seen one of these? When I tried chemistry in high school and
college, we only had these for calculators. They were invented in 1625 and these were in continual use
by scientists and mathematicians right up until the
introduction of the first handheld electronic slide rule -
the HP-35 by Hewlett Packard - in 1972. It was the first
handheld ever to perform logarithmic and trigonometric
functions with one keystroke.
I have been working in
this computer business for over 40 years now.
When I started in this business
in January 1972, I had not even seen a computer. Yet, I
have dedicated my entire adult career to this technology.
continued to attend night school while holding down a full
time job and balancing a wonderful marriage to Vicki, (my
loving wife and childhood
sweetheart). Together, with God's help, we raised three grown, married kids
(all college graduates), who
have provided us with eight fantastic grandchildren.
Since I did my first CPU upgrade from a 486/66mhz to a Pentium/100mhz, I have been
maintaining and upgrading Personal Computers at home and at
work, and as a personal hobby, helping friends and family
get the most satisfaction using their PCs in their homes and
help you get the
most out of your personal computer or local network hardware
and software. We provide on-site support to homeowners and
small businesses. Our customers call us for
experienced help at improving their computer
I hope that short little personal history
helps you see how far we have come in just a few years.