This one started when applied for a
job at Compro, a firm in Tampa that contracted technical workers out to firms around the Tampa Bay area.
I had answered an ad in the paper. I was assigned to Fotomat in St.Petersburg, where I worked on
the telecommunications system
associated with the point-of-sale
terminals used in the Fotomat Kiosk system.
I had to integrate a huge quantity of patches into old software using
the VAX/VMS development system for 8088 assembly language project development as a first step.
Then a manager stepped forward with a proposal for a credit-checking system as a separate device
that could be carved out of the old point-of-sale terminal.
So I carved it out and wrote a new front-end for it, and packaged it for a new product.
I had the opportunity to familiarize myself with
network communications and a
in addition to the
development system for the microprocessor software.
The atmospherics were pleasantly
Star Trek: one fellow computer expert had prints of imaging nebulae around his desk,
while I found my company laboratory-office featuring a mysterious print of a desert scene
showing dinosaurs carved into immense rock formations entirely by natural forces.
While I was at Fotomat, the company was acquired by a Japanese firm,
and the Japanese management came through one day full of friendly chiding remarks for us:
these were the whores that were going to have to leave!
Compro had party meetings,
and I attended most of them, missing only one, which I regret to have missed. T
ypically, we would have a dinner and a keynote speaker, followed by socializing over drinks and party favors.
The atmosphere was cosmopolitan and modern, and discussion was germane to our mission.
One time we met at The Ocean Club, the local disco where I met Jean.
Typically, Compro would function as the hub, rather like the hub of a space station,
and we would go out on missions from there, like Star Trek folk with a directive to
boldly go where no man has gone before.
I liked it, but it was not always possible to keep those outward-bound missions coming fast enough.
Then, like Gully Foyle out of The Stars My Destination,
an old science fiction novel by Alfred Bester,
we scientific and technical futurists have to "jaunt".
I landed in Wichita at Mycro-Tek for the 2nd time in 1986,
jaunting all the way from
Tampa with the whirling turbine of a jet engine behind me, and ready to revisit
WSU Engineering, too.