Hello world!

This is my new blog. I have much to say but I want to organize my thoughts and learn the mechanics of this blog site first. If anyone knows me and wants me to talk about anything in particular, let me know.

My background: I’ve had a 40+ year career in computing (with a lot of emphasis on teaching), on both the academic and industrial sides. The industrial side of the career included almost continuous employment at three industrial companies: Ford Research Labs (1960’s), Texas Instruments (1970’s-1990’s), and Raytheon (1990’s-2010). I rose through the ranks on the “technical” side of the ladder and was a Principal Fellow in my last few years before retirement. In parallel with the above, I had an equally long career in academia, mostly part time: Purdue University (1960’s), Southern Methodist University (1970’s – today); U of Texas at Austin (Mid-1980-s); and various other organizations on a temporary or volunteer basis (UCLA, U of Texas at Dallas, etc.). I had tenure and an associate professorship during my full-time stint at SMU but most of the rest was either as an adjunct professor or as an instructor.  I’ve also been active in technical societies (ACM and IEEE Computer Society) where I’ve held numerous volunteer positions including VP of ACM (in the 1980’s) and Board of Governors of the IEEE Computer Society (since 2011). Another important activity is being a program evaluator for ABET (which accredits engineering and related programs in US universities) since 1986. I have evaluated programs in computer science, computer engineering and software engineering. I’ve also been a lecturer for both ACM and IEEE-CS for many years so collectively I’ve visited a significant percentage of the computer science, computer engineering and software engineering programs in the US (perhaps as much as 1/3).

Other notable accomplishments include running the technical program for the National Computer Conference in 1984 (90+ sessions, 360+ speakers) and setting up an extensive education program for the New York Stock Exchange in the 2000’s. Today I head professional development programs for the IEEE Computer Society, consult with a small, special purpose radar manufacturer called RDRTec, teach on an adjunct basis now and then, and somehow find ways to keep myself as busy as ever.

So what?

I once saw a cartoon where an elderly man was being interviewed by a young reporter and was asked this leading question: “You must have gained a lot of knowledge in your long career.”

“Yes,” replied the man, “but there’s little call for it.”

In other words, those younger than I would rather learn it for themselves. I’d be content with that except I see so many people making big mistakes that I could warn them about. This blog is for those willing to learn something from one who has been down the path before.

Whether it be how to invest your retirement nest-egg, whether to buy that first house, what to watch for when having a house built, what matters in a good car, how to equip a house properly, or how to teach computer science effectively, I have opinions, most of which are well informed, I think. My best evidence is that I’m retired after having done well in both industry and academia, living in a house I micromanaged the development of so it would be done right, and in good enough financial shape that I don’t worry about where my next retirement check is coming from.