Profile: Deltoid


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Personal background
I currently work as a "technologist" at a US university but I've been interested in computers and computing since my first taste back in 1979 when I began high school. The school had a newly-minted computer lab outfitted with an IBM System 3 which read punch cards and no one was allowed to touch. They also had four Commodore PET 2001s with the green screens, embedded tape drives, and the chicklet keyboards that only kids 12 and under could type on comfortably, and a single WANG, which ran pretty much the same BASIC as the CBM machines, but at around 5x the speed, which meant people would fight over who got to use it first.

Only a couple of years later the Commodore 64 came out and I got one for the Christmas of 1982 under the premise that I would do my dad's bookkeeping on VisiCalc. I can't imagine why, but VisiCalc never seemed to be on the top of my list of things to do on the C-64, mainly because once I started messing around with it and doing some programming, I couldn't stop!

I ran a C-64 BBS (Bulletin Board System - the precursor to the Internet using telephones for dial-up access) for some years and did Assembler coding and graphics on the C-64 as well. When the Commodore Amiga was released, I immediately got one and moved the BBS to it. I ran a 7-node BBS on the Amiga and did coding for Ami-Express BBS software along with a number of plug-ins for the BBS. I did a lot of graphic art, 3D modeling and programming on the Amiga, and did extensive scripting with AREXX (Amiga REstructured eXtended eXecutor) to manage image manipulation processes across various programs.

All of this Commodore experience helped me get a job with a company that manufactured video processing equipment for TV and film (synchronizers, transcoders, color correctors, etc.,) manufactured one of the first DDRs (Digital Disk Recorder) ever made, which ran on the Amiga, was the precursor to TiVo, and was used for video editing, computer animation and rotoscoping. The company later made DDRs for PC as well as non-linear editors, software for video editing and post production, and also software for film and special effects.

I still have both my C-64 and my Amiga (both heavily modified from stock) and fire them up occasionally. Just for comparison to the speed of the computer from which you're probably reading this, the C-64 runs at 1MHz, and the Amiga runs at 33MHz - it has a processor upgrade, and I over-clocked it from 28MHz. There's a good chance I've been over-clocking computers since before you were born!

My current hobbies include classic gaming (recently restored a “TRON” upright arcade game from 1981,) crunching for S@H, karate (Shorin Ryu) and spending time outdoors with my family.

As my wife would tell you, I'm a "professional nerd."
Thoughts about SETI and SETI@home
In this vast universe... err, multiverse... there is indeed life beyond our imagination. With millions of galaxies and billions of stars in each, it is inevitable. I know we will never find anything beyond our local cluster by searching for radio waves, but as the author J.R.R. Tolkien wrote, "There is nothing like looking if you want to find something." My hope is that one day we will find something incredible, and that the government won't hide the discovery or cover it up - that right there is the hard part!
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