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Reason for this Website.

Welcome to my new web site, called TheNinjaCodeMonkey.com. I am planning on using this web site to share my knowledge I obtained over the years in writing computer programs.

My past languages includes, PC assembly, Basic, Fortran, Turbo Pascal, Quick Pascal, C, C++, and C#

I am a self taught programmer, never took any classes, except for a Java class my employer sent me along with 5 others. Never did use this language after that week long class.

This web site is a work in progress, so please keep checking back for updates.

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December 1982

I started with the Commodore VIC-20 computer in Dec 1982, right before I left for Japan. I purchased it at the local K-Mart for $99. I was deciding between the Texas Instrument's TI-99 and the VIC-20. I heard of the VIC-20, so this was my reason for purchasing the VIC-20.

I didn't have any way to save my programs for later retrieval, so if I wanted to mess around with the same program the next time, I would have to re-key it from scratch. I believe this helped me in re-coding programs from scratch in my later programming career.

1983

USMC Journalist using computer

At the AFRTS (Armed Forces Radio Television Station) TV/Radio at Yokota AB, Japan, they had self built Northstar S-100 computers, running CP/M, with 9" floppy disk drives, 64K of RAM. They had Asthon-Tate's dBase II as the database engine. I wrote many db2 programs, for keeping up with inventory of spare part kits for the station.

1984

SSgt Wayne Davis

About this time, a TSgt Gene Parker came up from the FEN station in the Philippines to interface the IBM Selectric Electric typewriters to the computers using the RS-232C interface. I went about writing a program to allow the journalists to enter the text to be used on the TV newscast on the teleprompters. In the past, they would use the typewriters, and had to set their margins, as the text had to fit within 4" so that the teleprompter camera would pick it up.

I allowed them to save their data in a dBase II database, for later retrieval to be re-used to edited and printed on a continuous roll of paper.

Personal computers, what we called IBM PC compatiable started coming out in Japan about this time. A couple of co-workers (SSgt Paul Metzger and IC1 Ray Dye) bought a Sanyo and a NEC IBM PC compatiable computers for their personal use. Ray who bought the NEC, was in the room next to mine, in the dorms on base. I would go over to his room, and spent many hours learning to code with a database system written by Condor. I wrote a movie (VHS tape and Laser Disc) inventory application for his use. Allowing he to catalog his tape collection, search by title or actor(s).

One time, I remember, he kept asking me what time did I go to sleep. I replied, "When ever I get tired." Finally, he said, "Dave, I want to go to sleep.", it is 2 in the morning, and we have to be at work by 6.

1985

Me, sitting in front of Commodore 64SX

In 1985, I ordered the Commodore 64SX, which is their "portable" computer. It comes with a built in 5" color monitor, a 5-1/4" floppy drive, the lid is the keyboard. The weight was kind of hefty, so I wouldn't classify it as portable as the laptops of todays world. It had no built-in battery, so where ever you went, you had to have access to a 110v AC outlet.

1986

SSgt Dave Keyes

Sometime in 1986, I bought a Commodore C-128 computer, with the 640K RAM expansion module, CP/M and Ashton-Tate's dBase II. With this computer, since I was a secretary of a Men's bowling league, I wrote a bowling secretary program, to calculate the bowlers averages, print out the standings sheet, etc. I had a Star Micronics Gemini 10x dot matrix printer, hooked up to the printer port. I purchased a RGB TV/Monitor from a local store, named Pony's, located right off base. I never did use the RF modulators on the VIC-20 or C128, I always hooked them up to the monitor with a self-built RGB cable.

The Air Force started realizing how PC's can assist in doing our every day jobs. So they shipped a bunch of Sperry PC's to our unit in Japan. I had to go around and add the additional RAM chips and set them up for the different offices in the station. They was running MS-DOS 2.0, with a color RGB monitor, 5-1/4" floppy drive, 10 MB hard drive, total RAM 640KB, RBase, WordPerfect, SuperCalc, to name a few of the applications. I got to learn to program with the RBase database application.

1987

After I got out of the Air Force on 1 March 1987, I found a job as a computer programmer at a large corporation, Policy Management Systems (PMS). I started on 28 March 1987 as a mid level programmer.

My job was a communication technician, responsible for maintaining all of the communication software and assisting the help desk with any technical assistance with our clients.

With this job, I had some interesting times, helping our clients with their communication and computer problems. One time, I spent over 2 hours on the phone with a client located in Key West, FL. I had to talk her through how to remove the cover off of her IBM XT, remove the communication card, flip a chip around to change the COMM Port from COMM2 to COMM1. She was pleased that she was able to do this task, and that the communcations software started working to be able to download their updates from our servers.

Another time, my predecessor told me as I was taking over his position, he had a client who he had her to place a special order for the serial cable for her modem. I kept wondering and asked him, why a special cable, and why not use a standard cable. He said it wouldn't work. So after about 3 months, this client called me, and ask me to tell her how to install the cable. After talking with her, one end wouldn't fit to the comm port. I asked her to take the cable and plug each end to the other end of the same cable. Wouldn't fit. My predecessor mistakenly had her order the wrong cable, why it took so long to come in. I had her find a standard serial cable, which she had in her office. I had her up and running in a few minutes.