Profile: Purple Rabbit


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I was born at a very early age in Alliance, Ohio. The harbinger of my future showed itself early in my life. I "adjusted" the back-of-the-TV controls when I was 4 years old. Grandma was babysitting at the time. Watching TV (in 1955 this was special) was the bribe she got for babysitting. After I finished adjusting there was no TV watching to be had. By the time I was 5 years old I was "wiring" the house with old radio parts, car parts, wire, and chains my Grandfather gave me. Unfortunately I wired all the doors shut so my Mother had to call a halt to that activity about 3pm so she could get to the food to fix supper. The next day I did it all again. She never forgave Grandpa for his gifts, but was VERY understanding about my exploration activities :) At 6 years old I tried to squeeze the AC electric cord to my 78rpm record player with pliers (actually wire cutters, but who knew? I was 6!) to make it go slower. I blew the fuse, made smoke, and a big BANG (not to mention scaring me and my Mother almost to death), but my future as an engineer was assured. Thank heavens the wire cutters had rubber coated handles or my life may have been cut short (pun intended).

I've always been curious about how things work. I got my amateur radio license when I was 13. I built a ham TV transmitter a year later. Having survived a childhood that the FDA, EPA, and the AMA now says was impossible to survive (no seat belts, lots of exploding things, and comic books), I graduated with an Electrical Engineering degree from Case Western Reserve University in 1973. All of us were glad that was over.

My college degree is in analog radio hardware design. My first job was designing digital processing equipment. Go figure. Anyway, I did well at that. About 1979 I decided to figure out what these new fangled things called microprocessors were all about. They looked like they might be important, but probably not. I built (soldering components on the board) a Heathkit H89 with a 2MHz Z80 processor, 16KB memory and an audio cassette for mass storage. I later upgraded it to two 100KB floppies. I eventually put $5000 into this puppy and had a whopping 1.6 MB storage on 5 floppies. This turned out to be a good investment of my time and money because knowledge of these things became somewhat important :-)

I worked as an engineer for 29 years for the US Government. I've been completely retired since 2002. I still like to explore technology, but I haven't squeezed any AC power cords recently.
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