In August of 1983, I was, like most people at that time, a total computer illiterate. For 5 years, l’d been chasing literary dreams, writing reviews and articles for the Chicago Tribune Book World and others, and supporting myself, barely, by teaching freshman English at Northern Illinois University.
I’d heard about microcomputers, but I had no idea that a revolution was spinning up, a revolution that would change just about everything. If you’d have told me then that in six months I’d be teaching computer programming to university computer science majors, or that in two years, I’d be making a comfortable living as a tech consultant, I’d have advised you not to Bogart that joint, my friend.
And yet, six months later, there I was, standing at the front of a college classroom, drawing flowcharts and putting COBOL statements on the chalkboard two afternoons a week. By summer I was done teaching English forever; computers and programming had become my new obsession.
During the next two decades, I developed interviewing software for an academic research lab, wrote manuals for Chicago-area software firms, co-authored a desktop publishing textbook, taught the occasional business seminar and wrote scores of articles on home computing topics for the Chicago Tribune.
It was great fun, but as with all things tech, everything I created is now ancient history. That’s the nature of the beast of course. It drives you through one new experience after another, raises fresh challenges at every turn, accelerates and exhilarates, and then renders your hard work obsolete in very short order. It’s a wild ride that never ends.
Selected Articles and Reviews