The Early Years


And so begins the tale

I first started in computers in the dark ages, in 1968 The US Air Force sent me to technical school in Biloxi, Mississippi .. about 9 months or so of intensive study in Electronics and then Analog and Digital computing, this included building, programming and maintaining mainframe computers. At the time it was the only type there was available.

In 1971 I was selected from a pool of thousands to attend a very special course taught by IBM on the then major mainframe computer and the very last of the “Matrix” design called the IBM 360/75 Series. This was the computer selected by NASA for the operational space missions of the era. The course was for about 6 month, 8 hours a day 5 days a week, and included in depth knowledge of the inner workings of the complete central processing unit. After the course I was assigned to Woomera, AFS in South Australia. Where I was involved in both a technical and managerial role as part of a space surveillance system. During this period I was also tasked with teaching the intricacies of the systems to new employees and military.

In 1976 when I first heard about micro-computers (as PC’s were called then) I stared to study what information was available in magazines and other periodicals such as BYTE magazine. I also was a contributor to CREATIVE COMPUTING and later in 1978 to TRS-80 Computing. In 1977 I went to Eglin AFB in Florida where I was involved in supporting the computer systems for the Satellite Phase array tracking systems for the southern hemisphere.

In 1979 - 1983 I was seriously involved with the PC’s of the era. I wrote disassemblers later published the complete internal operational code for the TANDY computer systems of that era. I also helped develop the original CPM operating system for microcomputers, which was developed from UNIX. Also during this period I attended University at West Florida and did extensive courses in IBM operating systems as well as FORTRAN, COBOL, and Assembly language programming. I also had the privilege to be involved as a contributing editor for the book, TRS-80 Faster and Better, where we published the inner workings of the PC’s of that era based on my work with internal coding.

In 1983 I left the US Air Force and found work with GENCORP in Colorado Springs, CO. There I had the unique opportunity to write the central processing, Operations Guides and user manuals for the generation of computers that were then on the SPACE SHUTTLE. These were based on a range of INTEL and MOTOROLA CPU chips. At the conclusion of my part of the project I left the USA to come to Australia.

Continued in the PC Era: