Bio --- My Career Story --- Briefly

The Career

I was a career computer systems engineer and programmer, having fallen into the field after scoring highly on an aptitude test for automated data processing back in 1956!  It was an exciting career lasting 35 years.

It all began with a first job at Ohio State University, in Columbus, where I met IBM punched cards for the first time.  Within a year I was juggling those punched cards in a headquarters data processing department of a specialty steel company in Pittsburgh.  A few months later, I met a monster machine called an IBM 650 computer with a magnetic drum for storage that rotated at 12,000 RPMs.  That first encounter with a computer changed my life forever.

Soon, I was writing programs for the above computer – in machine language, mind you.  No compilers, no COBOL, no FORTRAN, no Visual Basic, no SQL, or anything else; just hard-nosed machine language coding  (in decimal, octal, and hexadecimal) equivalent to the output from today’s compilers.  Those higher-level programming languages experiences were to come later ... and part of my life.

It wasn’t too long before new challenges were needed.  So I wrote my first computer compiler program that got rid a lot of the tedious coding programmers endured back then.  Soon after that the steel company I was employed by began giving me real challenges.  For example, one assignment was to design and write the computer code to be the Company’s steel sales invoicing, shipping notice, and certificate-of-test system and my boss said he had to have it working by January 2, which was only 53 days in the future.  The system he wanted me to develop had to execute in a computer with only 48K of memory!  The task put me on a 12 hours a day, seven-days-a-week schedule and it wiped out the Thanksgiving and Christmas Holidays.  At the outset, I felt the job couldn’t be done in time and I told my boss so.  He told me that he knew I could do it – that he was on the hook to have it done to go live the first of the year and that he was counting on me.  Actually, he had more confidence in me than I had in myself.  But I finished in time to have New Year’s off.  From that time onward I felt I had reached the professional system engineer/programmer level which covered several programming languages.

During the above “adventure” one day my boss came in on Saturday to see how I was doing.  That was right after I had created a tightly-coded machine language module that contained just 19 instructions which could sort a data array.  He asked, “We are going to rely on this; are you sure it will work?”  I told him, “Tom, if it doesn’t work, I’ll make it work!”  Cocky, I suppose.  But it worked.

The rest of my 35 years working for others, after the specialty steel company, involved two big Fortune 500 corporations in their headquarters data processing centers doing systems engineering and computer programming projects.   One corporation was a large copier manufacturer, and the other a large diverse outfit similar to the likes of General Electric Corporation today.

Along Came Bradley

I had always had an interest in the stock market since earning a few dollars back in 1957.  It has been a learning process ever since.  Some of the stock market research – I’ve done a lot of it – years ago brought an introduction to Donald Bradley’s work, “Stock Market Prediction – The Planetary Barometer and How to Use It,” that he had documented back in the 1940s.  Others in the stock market analysis field had previously picked up on his work and were charging what seemed to be rather high prices for their annual one-page stock market projections based on Bradley’s research.

Actually, retirement came first, then the interest in Bradley's work.  Not liking to be ripped-off, I finally obtained a copy of Bradley’s research after a year-long, exhaustive pursuit resembling Cary Grant’s pursuit across the country in the movie: “North by Northwest.”  The first thing after absorbing Bradley's writings was to transform his research findings into a Visual Basic program for Windows for my own use.  After a while, I decided to offer it as an alternative to those who were charging exorbitantly for an annual print-out of Bradley’s projections.  That effort led to the creation of the Bradley software you see offered on these web pages.

Then Along Came Sudoku

One day in retirement, over coffee with a real good friend, we were working a Sudoku puzzle.  I said to him, “Don, I’ll bet you I can write a computer program that will solve these Sudokus.”  He said confidently, “Ah, there’s no way you can do that!”  That was the beginning of a project to do just that: create a Sudoku-solving program in Visual Basic for PCs.  Initially, I thought it would be easy.  Discovery: It soon became apparent that to cover all the angles, it would be a formidable undertaking.  Hence, it became a far larger project than I envisioned early on.

A lot of time was put into what has become the Ultra Sudoku Solver.  The program was designed to remove the tedious, error-prone, grunt work to solve Sudoku puzzles and make the process truly enjoyable.  A special effort was made to embody the teaching of the most complex rules and methods for solving Sudoku right into the software so anyone can become a master Sudoku solver – this is accomplished by detailed descriptions of the solving rules and by on-screen examples to go along with the rule explanations.

I think that objective was achieved in grand fashion.  And for the record, so far we have found no Sudoku puzzle that it fails to solve.  But keep in mind, it was primary designed to be a tool to assist you in solving the puzzles and getting the enjoyment that goes with it, rather than just a Sudoku solver.  Our Ultra Sudoku Solver software is for sale; just click the link on our home page.

And Now the Afterthoughts

As I look back to when I wrote my first computer programs, the thought comes to mind: “There aren’t many around here in 2017 who can say they have been writing computer programs for 60 years!  By the way, after 17 years from the beginning in 1956, I earned a BS degree in Computer and Information Science in night school.  By that time, I could have taught all of the required core courses.

Now in retirement, I’d best describe it as “I’m busier now that when I worked.  How did I ever have time to go to work?”  There are seemingly an unlimited number of things I find to draw my interest.  Never an idle moment, always thinking about something new to explore, to consider or enjoy.  Seems like there is always a new problem to be solved.  And I’ve left so very much of this exciting life out while trying to keep this modest and brief.  So there you have it: a long story made short.

If you want, I would enjoy hearing from you anytime.  You may reach me via the “Contact Us” link at the top or bottom of the page.  Until then …

All the best,


Last Updated 02/28/2017 © 2017 copyright