Art without engineering is dreaming;
Engineering without art is calculating.

Steven K. Roberts

Early Years

Structured Design Attitude Problems

I’ve never pretended otherwise… I’m not a good employee. I’ve mostly managed to avoid it over the years, with a lack of economic stability to show for it, but what the hell… it has mostly been fun.  This little snippet torn from an old notebook is near the end of my brief flirtation with being a software…

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Cybertronics Offers Data Collection Systems – Kentuckiana Purchasor

My best custom engineering contract back in the late ’70s was with Corhart Refractories (part of Corning Glass), and involved designing and building rugged industrial terminals for the factory floor. I wrote of the design in my engineering textbook, and it was even profitable. One huge regret, though… after I shipped the first three, along…

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Daisy Wheel Printer Paleo-Graphics

A relic from an evening in 1977 (despite the title on the image), using the Cromemco Z-2D computer, BASIC, and the Diablo daisy-wheel printer micro-positioning. This hung on my wall for years… This is the system….

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Cybertronics in Louisville

I’m guessing at the precise date of this as the original is lost, but it is almost certainly late 1976. The little insert with the computer photo in the upper right was added much later when I posted this ancient scan somewhere, and I am leaving it for context… but there is another post with much more detail…

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Cybertronics flyers from 1976

Way back in 1974, as a 22-year-old in Louisville, I started a small electronics business called Cybertronic Systems to help fund my growing microprocessor addiction and begin my escape from the employment treadmill that was already looming as a dangerous life habit. Within about a year, I was doing enough sales out of my apartment…

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An Excruciating Feghoot

This excruciating feghoot has been languishing in my old paper HUMOR file for decades, copied from a mid-70s issue of The Isolated M, a little ‘zine published for remote Mensa members by the late Harper Fowley. I do not know the name of the author… I am only the dutiful scribe, slaving at the keyboard…

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Portrait of the Computer as a Young Art Form – RagTimes

I’m very fond of this piece from an obscure magazine published in Louisville in 1975-76. I believe only two issues were ever produced, and it was founded by Ernest Johnson, David Caudill, and friends. What I find fun about this is that it captured a glimpse of my life long before the bike, and even…

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Cybertronics Catalogs – 1975

When I was 23, I began the second year of my mail-order electronics parts business, operating out of a 2-bedroom apartment in Louisville. This was profoundly liberating, especially as I had just taken the huge leap of quitting my job as a field engineer for Singer Business Machines. My own work was much more exciting;…

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Homebrew 8008 Computer Schematics – 1974

I unearthed the original schematics of the homebrew computer I built long, long ago… an 8008-based machine that resides in the Computer History Museum (that link will open in a new window and show you four professionally done, zoomable photos). Before sending these six 11×17 hand-drawn documents to be with the machine, I scanned them…

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Geeky Dorm Room at Mountain Home AFB in 1972

Looking at these ancient photos now, I can see why I often got “written up” after room inspections. My bed, not shown here, was a crawl-in cave behind the workbench, and I had a cat living with me. The tall equipment rack was a homebrew HF transmitter with a pair of Eimac 100TH tubes in…

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