I was an electrical engineering student using the 6502 Kim kit in lab
when I saw my first AppleII. I was blown away, that you could make a real
computer from a simple inexpensive processor and limited instruction set.
There were platform wars then between the students over calculators (TI
and HP, I was an HP guy) and microprocessors (6502/6800 or 8088/Z80, style
processor camps, little endian or big endian) and programming languages
(assembly, Fortran, basic, cobol - I was agnostic). I got a job working
for the ME department upgrading their AppleII data acquisition system
to an AppleIII. I spec'd it out, placed it on order and graduated. I heard
that it worked well in spite of a little over heating problem. I went
on to design a few control systems programmed in assembly on 6502 and
few other now obscure processors. I got my dad to buy one of the original
IBM PCs, 128K Macs, and eventually introduced my MacPlus to NASA's Stennis
Space Center which eventually led to an entire Rocket Test Facility that
was run on Macs. It was our answer to Dan Golden's(NASA's Director) personal
challenge to me and my team to build the most technically advanced and
cost effective test facility in the world. (Imagine mission control with
a bunch of G4's equipped with dual Apple Flat panels.) I got a real kick
out of doing things with Macs that "they" said couldn't be done.
Before I left NASA to join my Dad in a technical services business I won
a few awards, the last and most significant being NASA's Medal for Exceptional
Engineering Achievement, NASA's highest pure engineering award due leading
the team that designed and built that control room. I, like you decided
to stay on the technical side and out of management.
I'm jealous and envious. I'm jealous because it's obvious that you had
a fun computer youth dating back to your early computers. I'm envious
because of your great accomplishment at NASA. It takes a lot of sweat
to make things better than what would just get by.
I'd like for you to know that next to the engineers I knew personally
(My Dad and Uncle are both great engineers) you (although I don't know
you personally) have been a great inspiration. The other Steve certainly
deserves some credit for the success of Apple, but I credit you for your
personal hands own engineering that started a legacy of great design coming
out of Apple to this day.
I'm glad to know that we both have fathers and uncles that are engineers.
To me, that was the highest position anyone could have. Being an engineer
is sometimes hard, with the rest of the people not understanding why you
are interested in such things and why you want to talk about them. They
prefer to classify engineers as 'geeks' rather than as 'different'. They
see our issues as boring when we see them as exciting. I'd never have
wanted any other life.
So is there a question in here somewhere? No not really, other than
could you send an email just saying Hi? I would be like getting your autograph
and I would be the envy of my other engineering buddies. :-)
Well, I hope that we do meet somewhere someday, even if just for a coffee.