Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   a bone thrown to Austin
Monday, November 29 1999
I wanted a copy of the Palm Pilot ROM, and someone emailed it to me! Thanks Peter! If you want a copy from your Palm Pilot, you'll need an application to help you; it's part of the Palm Development Platform (900 K).
I've been working remotely with a team of people from that Austin-based company that my company recently acquired. The project I'm working on is clearly some sort of bone thrown to the other company, an effort to get them up to speed with our management system. But of course, since they have no access to our local network and no one skilled in either ASP or Microsoft SQL, I'm the one who has to do all the development, front to back. To make matters worse, the team leader is a rather pushy woman who is, let us just say, lacking in a sense of humour. She wants everything done her way, and everything she tells me reeks of condescension. Today she called me on the phone (Email? What's email?) about a table that was being rendered improperly on a Mac running Internet Explorer (who uses IE on a Mac?). Evidently I'd swapped the placement of <tr>/</tr> tags in one of my table-drawing scripts and IE on a Mac, being the half-assed development effort that it was, couldn't deal with it. I clearly got the impression that she felt the need to tell me that this was unacceptable, as though I was going to try to weasel out of fixing it, leaving her to have to settle with a 4000-pixel wide table.

This evening as I walked Sophie, I was reflecting on the growth of my knowledge of computers. Consider:

  • 1981 - I begin learning the complexities of digital electronics, buying (and shoplifting) chips and building simple digital circuits.
  • 1982 - I connect an Opto-Isolator to the connectors of a calculator's equal button and, with the steady output of a square-wave generator, I simulate my monotonously pressing it. Intrigued, I begin to plan a more complex device that can control all the buttons and even read the display to perform conditional operations. I never actually build such a device.
  • 1983 - I scrape my limited funds together and buy a VIC-20 for $85 at the K-Mart (now defunct) in Staunton, Virginia. The machine has only 3K of RAM. At first I don't even have a display and am forced to test my BASIC programs using only a homebrewed sound output system to hear if my programs are actually running.
  • 1984 - I develop a character editor for the VIC-20 with many of the features found in such programs as MacPaint. My program, written partly in 6502 machine language, fits easily in 3K of RAM.
  • 1985 - I buy a C-128 for nearly 300 dollars and write a musical composition called "The Tadpole" which I store on digital tape (thus the original code is lost forever). I also begin the first of a complex series of modifications to my VIC-20 that will eventually result in its having over 64K of RAM.
  • 1986 - As I attempt another expansion, my VIC-20 dies on the operating table, never to recover. At Oberlin College I get my first UNIX account, on a VAX 750.
  • 1987 - My VAX 750 account is temporarily suspended after I'm suspected of "hacking."
  • 1988 - Perhaps the least-computerized year of my adulthood; I have my first real girlfriend, Lisa Joy Powley.
  • 1989 - I start writing parts of my diary with a computer, a Zenith IBM clone with an 8088 and 640 K of RAM.
  • 1990 - I "obtain" my first Macintosh. It's a Mac SE with 1 Meg of RAM. My favourite program is ResEdit 1.X.
  • 1991 - I get my first exposure to Macintosh System 7 and can't wait to install a pirated copy on my home machine.
  • 1992 - I "obtain" my first colour Macintosh, a Mac SI with 5 Megs of RAM.
  • 1993 - I modify several AfterDark screen savers. Using ResEdit, I crack the password-protection of a wide range of software, even code blocks that have been encrypted. I also discover global FTP on the internet and am amazed to be able to download stuff from a New Zealand server for free.
  • 1994 - Adding some hackerly video modifications to my C-128, it dies a tragic death on the operating table. Later I learn all about basic IBM hardware, doing lots of interesting modifications to an "obtained" clone. I see Netscape 1.1 for the first time at Virginia Tech while on a software pirating mission, but it doesn't impress me.
  • 1995 - I do a search on the Web for information about the "Transputer" and get hundreds of results. Amazed, I'm deluded into thinking that the Web is much vaster than it actually is. Later I use the Web with almost as much success to track down information and freeware related to Astrology, an interest of a new group of friends.
  • 1996 - I get my first real job, working at, an ISP in Charlottesville, Virginia. I'm impressed enough by Windows 95 to gradually wean myself away from the Macintosh platform. I also launch my website and learn HTML.
  • 1997 - I begin dabbling with Javascript just as goes bankrupt.
  • 1998 - I move to San Diego and get a job with an obscure web-based community. I quickly learn ASP.
  • 1999 - I learn SQL and database design and develop a number of complicated web applications. My company's website rises to as high as tenth most popular website in the world.

That's as close to an accurate resumé as I'll ever write.

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