20 Years Ago Today…

Twenty years ago today I became serious about databases and programming. Yeah, I keep  an ongoing calendar of when things first happened to/for me in my life. It’s a fun way to remember things from the past, seeing them show up on my Google ‘On This Day’ Calendar annually.

On Monday March 23, 1992, while working at Brandt, Inc. (later bought out by De La Rue) in Bensalem, PA, my boss bought me Paradox 3.5 for DOS. This was to help me in my job of inventory control of their used currency counter equipment that was sent out on a loaner basis or were resold. I moved from the Service Department to Used Equipment where I had about 50-100 machines on hand at any given time, while many others were out in the field. Until then they were tracked on a spreadsheet (Lotus?). I did some research and found that a database would be a better method to keep track of them and Paradox for DOS got the best reviews.

I built my first database application! I even named it some silly abbreviation, but can’t remember what I called it off the top of my head. First upgrade was to Paradox 4.5 for DOS, and then the big leap to Paradox for Windows 1.0. Exciting! With Paradox for Windows I was able to use it to control WinFax. Using DDE pokes I automated reports for the different districts around the country which had part of my inventory, to be faxed instead of printed, directly to their offices once a week. Aside from being proud of myself for that, it freed up a lot of time for me to goof off on the computer, exploring the World Wide Web, I mean Internet with Compuserve and Procomm Plus, smoke cigarettes, and talk on the phone.

Prior to Paradox, I had only toyed with a dBase II or III on an Apple IIe. With Paradox, it was the first time I studied what databases were all about. Unfortunately I did not learn how to build them properly until years later, with FoxPro when I worked at DataEdge (acquired by Fast Track Systems, Inc) in Fort Washington, PA.

From FoxPro, then moved to Visual FoxPro, Microsoft Access, SQL Server, and Oracle. I went to Pennco Tech technical school after high school which landed me that first job at Brandt where I sat at a bench working on circuit boards for the equipment. It was that job that gave me the opportunity to self teach myself what I should had done from the beginning- Computers. It was that day 20 years ago that set the direction of my career and  much of my spare time, database application programming.

Paradox Photo credit: http://www.emsps.com/oldtools/photos/borland/pdx/35rs.jpg

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