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At a very young age, communications fascinated me. It was the late sixties after the British invasion, the cold war was going strong and shortwave radio gave a view of the world that few would agree with. All this sparked an interest in electronics which offered up amazing puzzles to solve. Much like chess, electronic components all had their own unique qualities and a malfunction caused a cascade effect.

When I was offered the chance to attend a Vo-tech while I was in High School, I jumped on it. I remember the day I saw a calculator for the first time on the bus to Vo-tech. One of my fellow students was showing us this new device that cost about $100, no small price at that time, and it could instantly add, subtract, multiply, and divide, all while displaying this magic on its glowing red LED display. He was nice enough to let us all try it and we all wanted one.

Front cover of Popular Electronics, january 1975

Not long after that Popular Electronics had a most unusual device on its front cover with LED lights and a row of switches bearing the name Altair 8080. It actually did nothing unless you flipped a bunch of switches in the proper sequence. They called it a Minicomputer and just like that, the micro-processor age had begun. Of course we all wanted one of those also!

I never got to own an Altair 8080 but I do own an IBM PC-XT. I origonally bought it to prop up a second monitor and thought it would look cool. All these early computers were very expensive. The IBM PC-XT sold for around $6000 with a 10MB hard drive. That was a big heavy full height hard drive with less storage than a micro SD card today.

Two guys named Bill Gates and Paul Allen made the Altair 8080 work without having to flip a bunch of switches. They made it boot and they enabled it to operate with other devices. Although there had been large mainframe computers along with mini computers in schools, the term software was foreign to most of the general public at that point.

While software sounded interesting, radio was still my first love. Computers did not seem like communications, they were more like fancy calculators. Hardware seemed to be a lot more fun and software code looked annoying. It would be many years before I looked at software differently.

I built this offshoot website several years before I built my professional website. It is an example of a static website, unlike The-Web-Pros site that uses a content management system. Every word and element on this sub site has to be hand coded in HTML.