Hello World!

By Larry Danberger January 1, 2011

Larry Danberger

I figure I’ve been playing and working with computers for some 33 years now, about time I set up a blog and started keeping public notes about some of the issues and fun I’ve been experiencing. If you’re bored with this, go away. If you’re looking for a consultant, maybe knowing something about me will help you decide. Or not. Anyways it’s my dime here.

First I guess introductions are in order, so okay one post for the past, the rest for the present and future.

33 years ago I was in high school learning basic and pascal and RAMs and ROMs, while at home I was learning a language called chip8x, on a COSMAC VIP RCA 1802 processor board. My dad, brother and I spent a lot of time on that thing. We added a membrane keyboard, Integer basic, 4k memory modules, tape player for storage, small monitor for a display, and even a sound board. I still have it and the manuals.

Since then I’ve owned or worked on Apple ][s, Pinapples, Sinclair ZX81, Commodore PET, Atari 400, Commodore 64, TI something, there was a TRS 80 and my brothers Radio Shack COCO, an IBM PC Jr, XT, AT, PC, tonnes of bios compatible then software compatibles then just PCDOS machines now Windows machines.

Software has been fun, visicalc and multiplan and lotus 1-2-3 days. The pinball arcade. Apple Panic. Lode Runner. Choplifter. Leisure Suit Larry. Aklabeth. LOGO and turtle graphics. Flight simulator from the early apple days to the current wow packages. Jet – ever land on an aircraft carrier and do donuts? Lemmings. TASC – the apple soft compiler, where they ran their program through their program to compile it, think about it! Did a lot of time ‘investigating’ software security techniques, was a great learning experience.

I’ve installed and supported AT&T Unix System V, BSD Unix, Altos, Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, X Windows, VMS, pSystem, CP/M, DOSx, Windows 286/386/NT/95/2000/etc, GEM, DESQView, novell, DR DOS, FreeDOS and others that I can’t remember any more.

BBSes and modems, which started (for me) at 300 baud with acoustic coupler, and kept getting better. My brother showing me a PC hooked into a HAM radio (packet radio) and communicating with people in Australia via PCs, long before internet was available. Downloading weather radar maps. X.25 and tymnet for global sales communications. Voice over frame relay. CIR’s.

VM/CMS, Rexx, LOCUST at Humber College in Toronto. Guys I’m sorry, I really didn’t mean to crash the system that many times. And any rules I broke were in the name of learning! Honest!

VMS at Red Deer College. Second times the charm, right? I played nice, and received a piece of paper as a reward. Gane & Sarson, Yourdon. Systems and subsystems. Objects all.

My first computer job was in high school feeding cards (punched or marked with pencils) to the computer and sorting out reports to send back to the various schools. I think it was an IBM 1130. Mr. Darkes, thank you. (and I hope I spelled your name correctly)

I did a few months with Amoco help desk, a couple years with SHL Systemhouse (drawing charts, Oracle SQL on PS/2, dbase, clipper, prototypes, serial based network, played with SGI equipment, AQAP13) – SILC training (Systems Integration Life Cycle) – ‘the key, the whole key, and nothing but the key, so help me Codd’. 11 years with Hyprotech (networks, windows, internet, firewalls, global communciations, LanTastic, MS anything, long nights and busy weekends, answering support calls at 4am from around the world), and now 9 years consulting (Northstar Drillstem Testers, Outlaw Automation, Encana, Breaker, etc.) — wireless communications, satellite VOIP, troubleshooting field equipment, SCADA, upstream tools and processes, process optimization, budgets, forecasts, sales and metered, Oracle and MS SQL. MSAccess is a great prototyping and proof-of-concept tool, we built tools with it that ran for years, too bad they stopped moving forward with it. Visual Studio team could learn a lot from the IDE (one step forward and two steps back), no secret handshakes here.

Currently I’m working with C#, Silverlight, WCF, MS SQL, ArcGIS building a well data management system called PetroFX. Was called WellMarshal but the folks at _________ sent their lawyers after me ’cause they thought it was too confusing with their internet big brother tools. Oh well life is too short. The eventual goal of PetroFX being to be everthing IMPACT (Encana) and i2 (Breaker) was plus everything the users were asking for but I couldn’t get IT or financial approval to implement. You’ll be hearing more on this as it’s my platform of choice for learning — and I’m looking for sponsors if you’re interested!

I just finished GasFlow, an iPhone/iPad Objective-C app for calculating gas flow through orifice meters. It also sends it’s data to PetroFX above using SOAP and JSON, which was fun to do. I’ll be talking more about iPhone apps too, probably.

Oh and I live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Lived in Halifax for a while, great city and province, but came back partially due to work load on Encana project and some other opportunities.

So if you need help with a project, or just want to ask a question or say hi, drop a note.

And Happy New Year! This will be the best year yet!