Fotomat in St.Petersburg & Fotomat Kiosk | Resume Profile | Systems Architect
Fotomat was located in St.Petersburg several blocks West of the St.Petersburg pier complex.
The building (left) had a modern appearance from the outside and extensive office space.


Compro Corporation at Fotomat - Software Engineer.
Tampa and St. Petersburg FL. Jan/1989-May/1989.
Here I devised software in 8088 assembler for a distributed point-of-sale terminal system and developed a new credit-checking system in a VAX/VMS environment. Initiation into the problem involved integrating a huge number of old assembly language patches into the original system software and straightening out its listing and internal documentation. The patches had accumulated over years of constant upgrading and adaptation of the system to a changing environment.

Left: Fotomat Building, Spring, 1989. Right: St.Pete Dock on Tampa Bay.

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 packet-switched network communications and a Tektronix telecommunications analyzer, in addition to the convenient 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.

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1st Wichita Period (1978-1982)Mycro-Tek | Kreonite
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2nd Tampa Expedition (1987-1989)Honeywell DCPD | Compro at Fotomat
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