I retired almost two and a half years ago. My degree is in Electronics Engineering. I have done electronic circuit design, including printed circuit board design. layout and some programming in various assembly languages, but I spent most of the last half of my career coding BASIC (QB4.5, VB6 & VBA) and C for embedded devices.
I have several Windows laptops, a bunch of Android devices (phone and tablets) and a couple of Chromebooks (which will run Android and Linux apps). I bought and have played some with a couple of Raspberry Pi 3’s. We have several Google Home devices and several Amazon Echo devices. I enjoy comparing how they work/don’t work. I’ve used X-10 Power Line Control devices to control various lights throughout my houses for many years. Home automation is something I love to play with and dream about. I’m very financially conservative, so I try to avoid spending the huge amounts that one could easily blow (invest) in the latest technology.
My dream, since I was a child, was to build something to help organize my life (long before I knew what a computer was). I was introduced to computers in collage. Both in Electronics Circuits classes and as tools for classes like Chemistry.
Throughout my life, I’ve tried to automate the things that I could.
My first, favorite computer, was the Model 100 Notebook. I purchased the 3.5 inch portable, battery powered, disk drive and a lot of option ROMS. I programmed all kinds of things on the built-in BASIC. With the external 360K floppy disk storage, and 32KB battery backed RAM, it was a very powerful machine for its time. I bought a checkbook program and accounting software and merged them together. I was able to print checks for my real estate businesses.
Connecting to Compuserve was fun, but quite time consuming at 300 baud.
My first desktop was a 286 PC Clone. I had to spend an extra $100 to get driver software to allow me to access and use all of the 40 MB hard drive from DOS 5.0. I taught myself QuickBasic and along with a commercial database program, I was able to track all kinds of data. I started purchasing TaxCut to help do my taxes and Managing Your Money to help track my accounting and print checks to pay the bills. Managing Your Money was replaced by Microsoft Money and then that was replaced by Quicken, which I still use.
My current Android phone has way more computing power and RAM and Solid State memory then all of my first few computers put together.
I’ve been purchasing voice recognition software and watching that technology improve for a couple of decades, I guess. Again, my cell phone, with Google’s cloud support does an even better job of listening to my voice and converting my words into actions or information.
Toward the end of my first job, I used to keep my to do list in the battery backed RAM (also backed up to disk) and I would review and organize it using the Outline program on one of the expansion ROMs. Once I had it updated to my best understanding of what I wanted to keep an eye on and get done, I would print it out on a dot matrix printer and slide the paper copy into my laboratory notebook. As my day progressed, I would cross off items, as they were completed, and I would write new items at the bottom of the page. When I returned to my office and had time, I would update the computer file, rearrange the list by order of priority, and print out a clean set of tasks to be addressed as time permitted. It was nice to have a clean list to work from every day or two.
Since I’ve retired, I have a six core i7 laptop with 12 processing paths, 32 GB RAM over a TB of hard drive, some of which is solid state. It currently has three displays connected to it (built in LCD, 1K monitor and 4K monitor). It has a network connection to all my other devices and the rest of the world. It runs Windows 10 and Linux (via WSL2) and will run a program to run Android apps.
I’d like to figure out how to utilize all this technology to help me do a better job of spending my time. I no longer have to earn a paycheck, but I feel a duty to try and do the best I can with what I have. I have a dream of making a lot of money so I can help those less fortunate, or at least come up with a better way to do some of the things that need to be done better.
I’ll probably start some new topics in other areas as time permits.
Thanks for listening.