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Showing posts from June, 2019

Thirty-four Years - Networking and Software Development (Part 2)

At the college we were extremely fortunate to have a president who had a very forward looking view of technology. In the mid 1980s he was already using personal computers regularly and had written some of his own software. Sometime around 1988 or so he described what he thought would be appropriate use of technology in education. He wanted all student records and curriculum to be electronic, all student testing to be electronic, and all grading to be electronic. He envisioned that students could walk up to a computer, login and access the curriculum, access and complete tests and quizzes, look up their progress toward graduation and any fees they may owe, and generate a transcript.

And of course he wanted it all tied together on a network.
About that time (1989) I was experimenting with RDBMS software (R-Base) to put together a simple system for recording student assignments and scores. The college had installed a couple of local area networks (Netware 2.0a on 286's, ARCNET and IBM …

Thirty-four Years - Instructor, Machinist, CNC and CAD/CAM (Part 1)

As I've now ended 34+ years of public service, I'm going to burn a few posts on where I've been and what I've tried to accomplish.

Like many people my age, my path toward a career in technology was non-linear. My first stop after a Baccalaureate in Physics was a move into teaching Machine Tool trades at a 2-year college. Make sense, right? Actually I had taken a few programming courses in college (FORTRAN, Pascal, PDP-8 Assembler, SNOBOL, FORTH), had worked my way through college as a machinist, and taught myself how to program CNC machines. So the trade school route wasn't too much of a stretch.
When I started teaching (in 1984…arghh…) the tools of choice for programming machine tools were either a Flexowriter, a Model 43 Teletype with a tape punch, or a really expensive CAD/CAM system. The CAD/CAM system that I inherited was a 1970's vintage TTY based system running on a Data General Nova 3. Input was a proprietary language entered via a TTY. Output was either…