Friday, May 13, 2016


Don't be so Left you don't see what's Right but don't be so Right you don't see what's Left.

Make sense? Let me explain then. When did we become a nation of Left VERSUS Right? Where did the balance go and the blinders go on where we can't see that politics, like everything else in this world, has to have a balance or things simple are not sustainable.

So don't be so Left you Can't see what's Right. That we can't see its Right to want people to support themselves and be responsible for their own lives. It's Right to abide by the second amendment and allow us to bear arms. It's Right to insure business and capitalism grows and provides jobs and economic growth. It's Right to allow freedom of speech and expression even if you are offended by it. To see that it's Right to have a strong military even at the cost to protect ourselves and our interest. We have to see it's Right to use natural resources to better our world and lives.

But don't be so Right you don't see what's Left. We have to take care of those Left behind in today's world and help them succeed. We have to deal with what's Left over from racism and history and acknowledge the hate and work towards solutions. We have to insure big business leaves something Left for the middle and lower class that isn't just left overs. We have to insure what's Left of the world and environmental resources is everything that was there to start with to sustain it long term. We need to understand there is room Left to have other or even no religious beliefs if one so desires. 

We need a mending of extremes in this country to restore the balance required to survive. But it should be noted that sustainable "balance" isn't two extremes way out on each end of the limb balancing each other out as that situation is ripe for catastrophic failure when, not if, one extreme fails taking the whole system down. 

You don't have to agree with me, your neighbor, your friends, family or the President of the United States, but you do need to understand that "United We Stand, Divided We Fall" and recently we seem to be more divided than I've ever witnessed in my life at least. Time for all of us to look for the balance. 

Friday, May 6, 2016

The Age of Magic?

Do we live in an age of magic? Yes? No? Follow along and see if you agree or not...



the art of producing illusions as entertainment by the use of sleight of hand, deceptive devices,etc.; legerdemain; conjuring:
Things we take for granted would likely be magic to those from the past, or even really for us here today. Look around your house, do you know HOW your TV works today? Your computer? Your cell phone? Heck anymore even your computerized refrigerator? You drive your car every day but I bet you have little knowledge of how the thing really works inside, computer controls and all?

Now think about someone from 75-100 years ago seeing this stuff.... "Maaaagic". Today we take this stuff for granted but most of us do not really have a clue how it all works. Of course things are only going to get worse... or is that better? With the advancement of artificial intelligence and self learning algorithms even the experts that designed and started them admit they really do NOT know how it is now working after being trained. Would it all be magic if we jumped forward 75-100 years? I'm sure it would!

Indecernable human looking robots with the knowledge of the Internet and beyond hooked into their brains for instant ultimate intellegence. But more than that the ability to understand, feel, express, and either have compassion... or have true anger at the "robot repression" of the "past". Will they integrate with humans or force humans to integrate with them? Maybe just toss us aside as a nuisance. Sound too far out? So did a handheld device that billions would own that you can ask questions by voice and see or talk to someone around the world anytime you want to just a few decades ago. 

Even today, from self learning AI algorithms that schedule your planes push off times to those that automate the selection and delivery of your on one orders, to those that will drive your future self driving car, to learning the best settings for your personal home heating and cooling, the magic continues. The magic of yesterday is the reality of today. Will it be white magic or black magic? Only the robots know for sure. 

BTW yes that is a robot girl, HRP-4C is her name and that was seven years ago - More here:

Friday, April 29, 2016

What About the Cars?

So what is it about cars that so many people around the world just seem to love?

Me and the old '69 in 2015
20+ years off the road was way too long
It's not just an American thing, people from all over the world have a love for cars and trucks, although obviously different types and tastes. Non car people just can't "get it" just like I can't "get" someone wanting to watch most (non car related) TV shows I guess.

It's actually rather amazing of how many different types of car aficionados there are. Some just want to buy and sell them, some want to just own them, some want to drive them, some want to race them. Some want them perfectly like new from the factory even thirty or forty years later and some want them cut up and modernized, some want them fast... OK, most car people want them fast, but some want them slow and powerful.

Just looking at racing types alone there are so many options from dirt roundy rounders to drag racing, rally racing, road racing, drifting, stock car, F1, city to city, off road, Baja, hill climbing, rallycross, ice racing, and obviously many more not listed here including my least favorite demolition derby car killing.

Sure there is the constant bantering of Ford vs Chevy vs Dodge vs every other brand out there but get the bunch together and they will likely all help each other get a car running or ooh and ahh over some cool ride that rolls up. Some of us like the street, some like that strip, some like the dirt and some like the auction houses better but most will appreciate the efforts of others with just a few arse-holes as the exception.

Some of us may not want to own a 48" tired lifted F350 or a bagged Merc cruiser, or a rusted Rat Rod, or a strip only dragster or a turbo four cylinder powered 80's car but most of us still appreciate each vehicle for what it is and where it came from. The history, the work to get it where it is now, the vision and persistence of the owner.

There are car people that never touch a wrench and car people that wrench daily. Owners that never drive and drivers that never own. Everything from lawyers and doctors to teachers, computer programmers, bank presidents and fast food workers (those are not in any order in the car world) that are "car people". There are still shade tree mechanics and mega corporate sponsored multi car operations but they all have a love of cars in common.
If this were the 1980's I'd be a rich man...

Obviously I have my favorite types of cars and trucks and own some of those and I have my favorite type of car person. My favorite type of cars are Fords overall with the street being my environment. However, the car people I actually admire the most are the do it yourself people that like the DIY world. Likely because that is how I am, also likely to a fault, but seeing the work someone has done themselves instead of farming out to someone else always earns more respect from me personally.

I honestly like building more than driving them and tinkering through the challenges of getting it all working, updating it and even making it as original as can be with the resources at hand. From rebuilding an engine from scratch, welding in new panels, wiring it all up after the mice had their day, and seeing it come back to life after years of decades of neglect. My weakness is paint and body but I have a few years left I hope, maybe that will work out. I've also always wanted to do more interior work as the little I've done felt quite satisfying.

So if you're a owner, building, tinkerer, engineer, or just trying get it running again, hats off to car people. The future is sketchy at best for our breed with a changing world ahead. Enjoy the now and go work on your ride!
Time Flies - Go Work on your Project

Friday, April 22, 2016

Divided We Fall...

I know everyone has heard the "United we stand, Divided we fall" saying. The saying goes back to Aesop and has been used in America for centuries. In my opinion it stands true today but today we are in the divided side, not the united one.

From race, sexual orientation, and religion, to politics and wealth, and even law enforcement we seem to have fallen out of balance and many feel it's "my way or no way". Sure there are many bad things that have happened here over the centuries but we generally stand together in the end despite our differences for an overall bigger need. We used to seem to know that we MUST all stick together in the long run in order to survive and thrive. 

Today the drive for "tolerance" seems to have no tolerance. I personally think I have tried to have the "live and let live" mindset and that seems to be the exception any more. I don't HAVE to agree with your politics, lifestyle, "genderality", sexual orientation, religious beliefs, race or other differences but unless you are trying to force me to do the same against my internal guidelines, or are harming another person or property, you should be able to do what you want. Of course, there are exceptions that ruin lives, place loads on society or others that need to be understood but again, those are exceptions.

Life is a balance and the balance must be kept. Nature is a prime example of the need for balance. When something in nature gets out of balance, things go bad quickly and damage is done until balance is once again achieved. Everything must be sustainable to continue to exist. The world, nations and individuals are no different in my opinion. 

However, to me, achieving balance isn't accomplished through forcing others to change their beliefs, it is accomplished through understanding of both sides by both parties and mutual agreement at some point. You shouldn't have to be ultra liberal or ultra conservative to be elected to lead us, neither is self sustainable. You can't riot and destroy things because you disagree with something that happened, especially when the full story isn't known, there are processes for this. You shouldn't bastardize gays or others in the name of your religion known for love and forgiveness and you shouldn't deem all non believers of your religion must be killed. You can't suck up 98% of the wealth in the world and expect the world to keep functioning in balance. There is no balance in any of these and is not sustainable, at least in a country as diverse as the USA.

By concentrating on our differences instead of of common traits, common situation, common time of the world we live in, and common needs, we could be so much better off. Unfortunately there isn't a lot of "drama" in that way of thinking and drama seems to be the lead mindset in the world today, especially in the extreme media and self reporting we hear and read each day. By listening to the extremes we only reinforce our belief in the extremes thus propagating the differences instead of the common concerns. 

Are there inequalities on America? Sure there are, just like any other place on earth. But don't use extremes to justify the means. There are usually underlying reasons for things that need addressed and burning or stomping flags or outlawing them isn't going to help either. It's just a diversion and another extremist expression that the drama driven world loves to see. 

But United We Stand does NOT mean united on the Left or united on the Right, it means United as Americans of all races, creed, religions, ages, economics and all.

Believe in what you want to believe, lets others do the same, and remember this country has survived by being "United", not divided and until we once again become the "UNITED States of America" our future is not in balance and questionable at best. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Man writes blog, you won't believe what happens next!

What is it with these types of headlines anymore?

Does every headline have to be drama driven click bait and not tell you anything real about the story?

The older you get the more you remember the "Good Old Days" I guess... the days when a headline told you the premise and the story the details. You didn't have to play the drama of "You won't believe what happened next" to want to read the story.

Back when you could actually read a story without having to click "Next" fifty times to read the next tiny portion of the story or wade through forced advertisement inserts between every third or forth piece. Or even before the world of "Idiocary" where content actually filled the majority of a website instead of that tiny area of content with ads surrounding everything else?

Remember the hilarious big screen from the 2006 movie Idiocracy?

Now take a simple look at a "" story and compare - we are almost there. Even the content from the move TV show is pretty accurate with today's content we have available... :-/

Sure that's the web versus the actual TV but have you tried to watch a TV show and the full lower third is filled with ads, logos, and other "information" you could well do without?

Welcome to the world of "Free" where the content may cost no dollars but life is measured in time, not money and that continues to get sucked away clicking "Next" or waiting for the ad for something you'll never buy timeout or play through.

 Yes, I remember the good old days... and yes there were ads on TV back then but there were far fewer and far less invasive.

Have a happy life and keep clicking on the click bait and the NEXT button, life will be over before we know it.

Footnote: Yes, for those technically inclined reading down through this: I know there are ad blockers, host file modifier options, and other browser options. Not so much on a tablet though, especially iOS, and that is where the future lies for most.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

So what have *I* done?

IF you get older you always seems to look backwards to see what have you really accomplished, what have you really gotten done, what have you experienced in your life. Sometimes it is with regret, sometimes it may be with pride, sometimes it is with "what the heck just happened"? I'm no different and usually I'm in the what the what the heck just happened category.

You can look at the past, you can plan the future, but you can only live the now. I'm sure we've all heard that before and it's not bad advice. I like to look at it from the "learn from the past, hope for the future, but enjoy the present" mindset.

I know that's really hard sometimes when you're stuck behind a desk, or vacuuming the floor, or doing things that you'd rather not be doing but that moment is really all we have.

But really looking back for me I've had fun doing the many different things that I have none. I've always been a "jack of all trades and master of none" kind of person and I've actually enjoyed that experience. From knowing how to take apart a bicycle, a motorcycle engine, or even a car engine, fix it or make it better, put it back together and then enjoy the results, I've created the solution and code that let's me control things and see what is going on in our house from anywhere in the world in 1999 way before "online house" meant much, 

I've built things from small robots that entertain and roam around the room or let me tell them what to do and talk back to me, to RC lawnmowers help me mow, made stop motion videos out of Lego, built custom chopper bicycles from junk bikes, and turned an old riding lawn mower into a go cart.

I've "saved" a few cars from being scrap like my 1988 Turbocoupe, 1985 Mustang SVO, and 1989 Ranger 4x4, kept my 1969 Mustang that was first car in 1974 and nearly completed rebuilding it with nearly everything done myself. I already have another rescue under way in the form of a 1966 Galaxie 500 fastback that Austin and I are building. 

I've built a some patios and car ports, put up a few fences, developed a few database back ends and websites, and written code that keeps a lot of a city running. I've raced radio control cars and won a few trophies, flown quad rotors in the rain and lost one, rode MX motorcycles way above my head and fell off a few times in the process.

Sure I haven't solved world hunger, saved any lives, or changed the world in any manner and doubt I ever will. I haven't made a million dollars, created any businesses, or make something the future will be proud of. I have, however, had a bit of an varied life learning, trying and doing quite a few different things and enjoyed the experience of it.

If you're still reading this you may be thinking wow this is a lot about "me" but then again that is what the title is called, "What have I Done" :-) Note that I did say "IF one gets older", not when. First we must count ourselves lucky if we are the fortunate ones that "get" to get old as many are not so lucky. 

So "Learn from the past, hope for the future, but enjoy the present"... it could always be our last "present" we have.


Sunday, February 7, 2016

Losing Our Balance...

Balance... Simple word, dire consequences when not maintained. 

Everything has to have and maintain balance in order to survive. From Mother Nature and wild life, the overall environment, and even the planets, there must be balance or everything goes awry. From financial systems, government, the economy in general, and down, yes down to politics, a balance must be maintained in order to survive and thrive.

I suggest we, as a people, a nation and a world have lost our balance, or even worse, it appears we are trying to maintain the balance by moving to the extremes of each area to keep it there. Using extremes, be it super rich vs super poor, big government vs no government, using all natural resources vs nothing can be used or extreme left vs right wing politics, to try to keep balance by extremism is very very risky.

Trying to balance by radical extremism is literally a recipe for disaster because if you actually win, you really lose. You can't use up all the natural resources this earth offers and expect to stay alive as people, nations, companies, or planet. You can't have only an upper elite of super wealthy as they cannot spend enough to sustain the economy that got them there to start with. You can't have a government that provides "free" health care, schools, income and more as there will be no working people to pay for it. You cannot have the only choices in politics be pure socialism or pure capitalism as well as each cannot sustain a long term balance.

Trying to maintain balance by by radical extremism is like walking a tight rope with your balance pole being too long and large weights on each end of the pole, but each weight could care less if YOU succeed as each weight is shifting and falling apart as you walk. It might work for the short term but you're going to fail in the long run.

Are we all really that extreme, are we all really radical haters anymore. We seem to so easily label each other as extremist. You can't support law enforcement without being a racist? You can't be a Christian without being labeled Islamophobic? You can't be Islamic without being labeled a terrorist? You can't cite the continued lowering of gun related deaths without being a gun fanatic but you can't talk about trying to lower that number more without being a 2nd amendment hater? You can't talk about the un-sustainability of either uncontrolled socialism or unbridled capitalism without being labeled one or the other. You can't talk about illegal immigration without being a white extremist? What's happened to the civility of our "civil" society? Are we all really that insecure that we can't work together for a better outcome but instead fall to name calling the first time we disagree? When will the main stream media start focusing on news instead of manufactured drama? These all negatively affect how we accomplish living on this planet and nation and they are all quickly falling to the extremes.

There has to be a better balance with less extremism and more cooperation on everything in our world. Sure moving those balancing weights close to you while you're on the wire may make the balancing act a little harder but with the weights being shifting radicalism you're less like to fail, fall, die, or kill your country or planet. Radical extremism, be it wealth, policies, race, environment, politics, or beyond, only creates a system of future failure when one side starts to fail and the fall to the other side will not be pretty for anyone.

When will we see how important keeping a proper balance is for everything?

                              I'm hoping I see it in my lifetime but I'm not holding my breath for sure...


Sunday, August 30, 2015


Looking at the "new" lot
Sitting is good right? The older you get the more that seems true at least. I know, I know you're supposed be active and not sitting all the time but I'm talking about sitting to relax, refect, and renew. 

I do sit all day long at work for the most part and I know it's not good. My back tells me so after nearly forty years of doing it. But having those get away "Sitting Places" at home is what I'm talking about. 

Looking at the house
I guess I've taken that to heart as all told I think there is twenty two or so outside seats around our place. From on the patio to the old swing in the trees to what I call the "Tree Patio" and off to the "new lot" and into the hammock, there are plenty of places to stop, renew and reflect. 

Some locations let you see the house, some let you see the road, some let let you see open aread, some let you see the sky while others let you see all the yard work you still have to get done. 

Looking a the work to do
They all let you see the world in a little different way if you just stop and let them.

Now let's just sit and think about that for a bit...
Looking at the road
Looking at the sky

Thursday, August 20, 2015


That's the hash tag for the HotRod magazine RoadKill webisode and I guess it's fitting. The web show, where David Freiburger and Mike Fennegan throw hot rods together and make a road trip out of it seems to strike a cord among the masses of gear heads around the states. I'm guessing it's backlash from those masses against the mega money built cars and trucks of today that we all think are cool but will never have the six figure pocketbook to build or own.

They definitely have a following and although I'm not always entertained by their builds or methods I do like how it seems to bring the fun back into hot rodding. Sure they are still sponsored and get freebies the rest of the rodding world can only dream about but they seem to end up making it feel like you could actually do some of that yourself... maybe.

With the RoadKill Takes America episode spending a couple days in Oklahoma and having enjoyed seeing and talking to Freiburger at Drag Week 2014 I couldn't resist taking a couple days off to see some of their builds on the Hallett road track, the Tulsa drag strip and follow along for a visit to the Hajek Motorsports Museum this summer. The produced version will not be online until December of 2015 and I can only hope that my face isn't in there somewhere but I figured it would be worth a little road trip.

In the spirit of #becauseRoadKill I decided to NOT take a daily driver and NOT take Interstates or Toll Roads to get there and back. I'm actually glad I did. Although more true along the RoadKill theme would to have been to take the recently running 69 Mustang, I am not THAT confident. Since the old 1988 TurboCoupe just turned over 200,000 miles I figured it would be close enough. Sure, it's a comfy car with cruise, AC, and lumbar seats but it does have a lot of miles, some scary squeaks and moans from the front end, the passenger window doesn't work and it smells like gasoline every time you park it due to a leaking fuel injector. RoadKill enough for me.

The events in Oklahoma included time at Hallett Raceway where it was supposed to be their Grandpa Charger vs the Vette Kart around the circuit. Although for the most part the cars were a bust with a wet track slowing the charger down and problems with the Vette Kart taking up the afternoon, the time with the crew was nice as there were only 30-40 spectators there. It was nice chatting with other RoadKill fans and fanatics as well with some of them following the crew from Michigan through to Ft Worth.

Next was drag strip night at Tulsa Raceway and spectators and RoadKill groupies could participate in this one so there was plenty of action on the strip from 20+ second hybrids to 8 and 9 second rockets. That was a good thing as Freiburger and Fennegan spent the whole evening doing #becauseRoadKill trying to fix the General Mayhem to get it track worthy. The 'big' event here was supposed to be the General Mayhem vs the Blasphemi blown hemi powered 55 of Fennegans. After getting the Mayhem driveable there was an attempt but Blasphemi wasn't playing and never made a full pass. The General did run a 10.666 once Freiburger ran a clean pass which is quit respectable with it's Hellcat transplanted power train.

The best part of the whole trip for me was the visit to the Hajek Motorsports Museum. Brent Hajek is a blast to be around and seems to have the back story for every one of the 48+ cars that were in the museum as well as the many others they have loaned out around the nation. Since Hajek is a big Ford partner, this history was mostly Ford which obviously works well for me. From Bob Glidden's Pinto Pro Stock to modern Cobra Jet Mustangs and all things in between it was very entertaining listening to Brent tell all. We even were able to hear the famous Ford GT-90 car start and rev up in the shop. You really don't hear too many concept cars run, let alone a 20 year old one. Nice.

I cant' say my little trip went without some drama myself but I did make it back in one piece and that's what matters. However, I'm going to have to do some debugging on the TC as once I got past the noisy passenger window, the double try 3-4 gear shift, the freezing up AC evaporator, and the general squirrelliness of worn out front end, I started getting dropping oil pressure and increasing temps on my way to Hajeks Museum. I know these are factory gauges and a guess at best but they have been stable in the past. First I thought it was low on oil as it does use it and I had driven 325 miles or so by then. When that wasn't the problem I just kept on keeping on and enjoyed the stay at the museum. On the way back, the problem persisted. Under constant load the oil pressure dropped down to the danger zone and temp inched up. Clutch it and coast and oil pressure goes up. Hmm...

Once I hit Guthrie on my back road way back home, I turned off the AC trying to see if that was the problem. Shortly thereafter the temp spiked up and she starting billowing blue smoke out the back. At that point I figured I had been "RoadKilled" and turned off on a side street to assess the damage and try to think who had a trailer and liked me enough to rescue me an hour and a half from home.

After letting it sit a few minutes I fired it back up and immediately noticed no radiator fans running. Ah yeah, I had bypassed the computer control at one point to have one fan always on. Quick check and the patched in "temporary" wire had lost connection. Pushed it back in and now we have fan. No more blue smoke either... kind of odd but I wasn't complaining. Maybe that fixed it.... Nope. Oil pressure still drops under constant load but temp was stable now. Limp mode home I guess.

My solution was to chug up the hills and watch the oil pressure drop and then clutch and coast down and watch the pressure rise. Got me home but I didn't make any friends of those following me for sure. Still a mystery as to what the problem is but hey, it wouldn't have been an adventure otherwise, I mean seriously, #becauseRoadKill.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

A Mentor Lost - Godspeed M J Madden

Although you know it was inevitable, the news of someone that was a huge influence in your life passing away is never easy to hear. M J Madden passed away July 9th, 2015 making me once again stop and recount my life, my blessings, and the opportunities that have made me what I am. M J made it to 84 years of age and was likely as busy as he could be until the end. He never seemed to stop getting things done even in the later years when I'd see him around town or at the post office and we'd get to chat or catch up.

He was actually just a bit younger than I am now when he hired me back in 1979 to be a draftsman. I was barely 20 years old, still in college for my Drafting and Design degree, and was looking for a "real" job. I happened upon a friend from the drafting days at votech, Glenn Burton, and when I mentioned I was looking he said to check in with MJ and his business Tel-Elec Consulting Engineers in Tecumseh as Glenn was working there and they needed help. I did, and the next thing I knew I was hired as a newly instated draftsman. The company was small, three owners, a secretary, and a couple of draftsmen, but it was new and exciting to me. 

I drew, and drew. The engineers would take field notes and rough drawings and the draftsmen would turn them into engineering drawings for review for Southwestern Bell Outside Plant replacement. In other words cable replacements in the field. Things were moving along well with good business and then things slowed way down. I figured I'd be laid off, but M J and the other owners kept us on even overlooking a few of us playing Frisbee behind the building when there was nothing to do. 

Soon however, business picked back up as M J and the other owners expanded the work and the area including work in Texas and before long Tel Elec has purchased an empty building on south Broadway in Tecumseh and fully remodeled it with individual offices, a big work area, kitchen and more. High times for a 20 something to have his or her own office back in the 80's. My work expanded as well, soon I was the one helping or even taking my own field notes as to what and where to place telephone cable and how to do things. The big push then was Southwestern Bell had to eliminate all their "party lines" where two or more houses shared the same wires and therefore were limited on their phone use. Amazing to think now that just thirty years ago that was the issue when today billions of people have their own personal mobile number. Times have changed. 

As the work changed new opportunities arrived and others faded away. One major project I'll never forget was here I was, a 20 something in Tecumseh Oklahoma leading the job to design and deploy the CHATLOS system for downtown Dallas and its urban areas. I'm can't remember if that was an acronym or a product brand but the short version is this involved computerizing the air pressure system for telephone cables in the underground manhole system in Dallas and some surrounding telephone exchanges. There were specs for where to place monitoring sensors and where to place monitored air injection points but the rest was for us to figure out, design, and generate the drawings to install all these pieces of hardware to make this work. 

Some other big projects that I could not imagine myself handing off to a 20 something draftsman was the LROPP, Long Range Outside Plant Plans for a lot of local and Texas SWB exchanges. These were bigger, deeper, projects with plant inventory, land use review and density projections, plant and  electronic "pair gain" planning and more. Each project took months and we did quite a few. Of course I was looking at how to automate all this paper generation back in the day and had setup several templates and forms on our DEC dedicated word processor system that stored all this on 8 inch floppy disks. It saved us typing time, made it all look uniform and more professional. I have no clue how well the long term plans worked out but I remember bits and pieces of the Shawnee plan we did and do remember projecting growth on the north side more than the south back then. Of course today it likely really doesn't matter much with wireless service and high speed digital electronic voice over IP traffic but it was crucial back then to have a plan.

M J and partners Larry Epple and Gary Vanmeter are one of the main reasons for my Information Technology career. As a side project Tel Elec purchased a Digital Equipment PDP 11/34 mini computer and had some big plans for selling time share and software services. Although in the long term things moved too fast to make this happened, we did end up with some steady customers for several years that hopefully at least made it worth while. It did for me at least as they gave me access to this new machine and I spent many hours behind a VT100 terminal learning how to code better in its version of User 11 and BASIC. I remember converting a program source code I found that would calculate the elasped time of a drag race car based on the parameters you input for horsepower, torque, traction, weight, etc and then plugging in numbers and waiting... and waiting... and waiting... as the machine crunched the code and gave the answer. I finally added some code to light up the little status LEDs on the keyboard as the code worked through its stages so I'd know how close it was to done. 

This was the mid 80s and the market wasn't clear as to which "PC" was going to rule the world but M J and staff knew the mini world was going away and the PC world was coming so we did buy a PC to start using. There were even big discussion on becoming a re seller for computers in our area so we purchased a CP/M 86 based system and I remember doing a few things on it. Shortly thereafter, the PC/MS DOS operating system was obviously the future and we picked up a Wyse clone 8088 system with 640kb of RAM and a whopping 10 megabyte hard drive... 10 meg, not Gig. I figured I'd never fill that much space up. That is about 1 or 2 of today's digital photo on your smart phone. 

I learned a lot about word processing, spreadsheets and databases on that machine. It was what I cut my PC teeth on and helped me move from the Sinclair, Vic 20, and C64 days of computers at home to a Commodore PC clone. The PDP mini still was the workhorse though and we hosted time share and software development for the City of Tecumseh and ran water billing for a local rural water district. 

In the late 80s the consulting business started slowing down and MJ had problems finding more work. He was traveling a lot in Texas but continued to find jobs to bid on and kept many other contract engineers busy. Most worked out of their house at that time so the office was pretty empty. I always wondered if the doors would be shutdown someday but even after I left in 1991 to take a computer based job at the city of Tecumseh after they moved off our billing system, M J kept the company running from what I know. 

M J never seemed to sit still in the years I knew him. Early on he was always on the phone, traveling, finding jobs or making contacts. Even in his years after shutting down Tel Elec I'd see him running around town, staying busy helping out his son-in-laws business or checking mail at the PO box in Shawnee. He was quite the inspiration and always had a positive outlook, even when business seemed slow and the future looked not so bright. 

Fortunately I did have enough common sense to tell him in the last couple years how grateful I was for his mentoring and the opportunities he provided to me over those early years of my career. How his influence gave me great confidence that I could do more than I may have thought I could. 

His response was honestly shocking. Intead of saying your welcome, he THANKED ME for what I did and told me I was key in keeping the company going in some of those lean years. Quite moving to hear that but I guess not surprising knowing his nature. 

Godspeed M J Madden, you will be missed on this side...