Rick Smith started working with computers in 1972, while in high school. It was an IBM 1620 with 16K of memory and 10 megabytes of disk storage. He then worked with an IBM 370/158, while he attended the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle in the seventies. His first "home-built" computer was based on the SC/MP microprocessor from National Semiconductor. He designed a 2K memory board for it and hand wire wrapped it. He wrote a few games for it, but these were limited, since there was only 26 variables in this version of BASIC.
In the eighties, he became involved in computer repair and repaired mainframe peripherals, Memorex 660 drives, Pertec tape drives and Dataproducts printers. Those 660 drives were the size of washing machines and stored only 20 megabytes on multi-platter removable media.
Also, during this period, he began to write software for the new Apple ][ computer using both Integer and Floating Point BASIC. He used the Apple Disk ][ drive and then began to solve computer problems for his friends. (At that time the Apple Disk ][ cost $535 with interface card and stored only 90K on each diskette!)
As a result, he began working for ComputerLand stores in the Chicago area and also started working with business systems other than the Apple. He ran CP/M on the Apple ][ (with a Z-80 card) and the Altos computer. He also worked with the IMSAI series of computers and still owns an IMSAI 8080. (This is the same type of computer that was used in the movie War Games.)
He worked with the Osborne I and was in the booth with Osborne representatives during the launch of this new computer at a Chicago computer trade show. (At the same time, across the aisle was a new product, from Hayes Microcomputer, the Smartmodem, which had a new command syntax starting with AT!)
When IBM came out with the new "PC" he was in the third technical training class in Boca Raton, Florida. His first nationally published article appeared in C.A.L.L. Apple and was about the Apple /// "debug" mode - an undocumented feature.
He was also in the Compaq plant in Texas when the first Compaq portable rolled off the assembly line during the week he was attending training class.
His first mobile computer was the IBM portable 5155 (20+ Pounds) and has since successfully upgraded this system to a 386 system with a hard disk drive.
Through his career, Rick wrote in the languages of Pascal, Delphi, BASIC, Visual Basic, Perl, Objectview, Powerbuilder, PL/1 and FORTRAN.
He has also installed, configured and used the following operating systems:
DOS (Version 1.0 to 7.0), including the operating environments of Windows 2.1/3.0/3.1/3.11 and Windows for Pen Computing 1.0
Windows 95 (Retail and OEM A&B)
Windows CE 1.0/2.0
OS/2 Warp/Warp Connect, OS/2 4.0 (Merlin)
Windows NT 3.51/4.0
Sun Solaris 2.5
In the past, he has also used CP/M 2.2, MP/M 1.0/2.0, IMDOS, Apple DOS 3.3 and the Apple /// SOS (Sophisticated Operating System).
He has configured, installed, upgraded and repaired personal computers such as IBM PC/XT/AT, IBM clone systems, Compaq, Hewlett Packard, Macintosh, DEC, Epson, Apple ][, Apple ///, Osborne, Altos, etc.
Currently he uses several computer systems. Here is a brief list:
Systems used on a regular basis:
|Compaq Concerto 4/33: monochrome pen based tablet/laptop system (486/33 - 12 mb RAM with 250 meg drive)|
|IBM 755CE: active color laptop system with removable hard drive (486/100 - 24 mb RAM with 2.1 gigabyte drive). He has over a dozen of these drives ranging in size from 170 meg to 2.1 gigabytes.|
|Grid 1755: monochrome laptop system (386/20 - 4 mb RAM with 80 meg drive)|
|Clone Pentium 233MMX system (Pentium 233MMX - 64 Mb RAM with 4 gig hard drive) He has several hard drives for different operating systems.|
Other systems occasionally used:
|IBM 750P - (monochrome 486/33 pen based convertible laptop)|
|IBM 360PE - (color 486/50 pen based convertible laptop)|
|IBM 730T - (monochrome 486/33 pen based tablet)|
He also has a Compaq portable I, IBM Portable, Commodore PET, IBM PC Jr., IMSAI 8080 and a variety of 286/386 and 486 clone motherboards and systems.
Every chance he gets he attends seminars and tutorials to keep current with the latest technology trends in software, hardware, networking products and the Internet. (Design Engineering Show, SoftBank Comdex, Windows World, Consumer Electronics Show, Web World, MecklerMedia's Web Developer Conference and Internet World, National Computer Graphics Show, Client/Server World, Database World, PC Expo, Data Warehousing Conference, Illinois Accounting Show, Quality Expo and Novell NetWare events).
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