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Nov 14
2015

Halt and Catch Norman :: A Brief History of the Computer


NormBy April Cole Worley

“I have always been into technology,” says TekTegrity Senior MST Norman Bard. And he has. In fact, to talk to Norm about his life with technology is to take a crash course in the advent of technology as we have come to know it today.

It was 1981 when Norm first fell in love with technology and learned to speak it’s language, which at that time was BASIC, a top-level group of programming languages developed in 1964 to enable users to develop their own custom software.

“After learning BASIC,” Norm tells me, “I would do just stupid little stuff, like print out the word HELLO on the dot matrix printer and play Hunt the Wumpus. Then,” he pauses and his eyes light up, “in 1983 I bought an Apple IIe and it was awesome!” This was just one year before the world famous 1984 Orwell-inspired Apple ad that premiered during the Super Bowl of that year. Think young blonde running with a sledgehammer – yeah, that’s the one.

“It was color….not just text!” he exclaims, “There were actual pictures! I mean these computers were bleeding edge.” Norm explains to me that prior to this moment, a computer had just been a terminal but the Macs were different than that. “They were so cool.”

Enter stage left, THE INTERNET.

“The internet was so slow back then, it was only text-based – just information, bulletin boards – because it would take a day to upload a picture,” Norm laughs. “I had a 28/8 modem that was so slow it inspired me to bind 2 modems.” And thus a techie was born and a fire ignited in Norm’s belly that started him out on the path that would ultimately be his career.

“I decided to go to DeVry University to study Electrical Engineering and after graduation in ’95 worked repairing POS systems.” But Norm’s technical education did not stop there; he continued to self-educate any chance he got. He was on fire and luckily for him technology was moving at the speed of light so there was always something new to get into.

Enter stage right, VIRUSES.

As the internet grew and became more popular in the early nineties, ‘Black Hat’ hackers started flaunting their skills by wreaking havoc on users. “At that time, the Black Hats were just proving they could do something,“ Norm tells me. Now, he sees viruses far more nefarious that transcend the comparatively childlike endgame goal of simple bragging rights.

A lot has changed over the years, and Norm has kept up with all of it. Which makes him uniquely situated to know exactly what new techs ought to keep in mind as they journey forth into the brave new world of IT. “Pay attention to detail,” he offers. “And always, always, always store it from the start.”

Sweat the small stuff and always have backup. Sounds like good advice, no matter what field you’re in.

//April studied Political Science at Cal Poly and earned a Master’s Degree with distinction while her young son mastered hula-hooping and surrealist crayon design at the Children’s Center on campus. With a professional background in analysis, reporting, and project management paired with a serious creative streak, April comes to TekTegrity with her eye on the prize: Communicating to the world how TekTegrity’s expertise paired with its people-centric mission provides real value to its clients. You may find April running in the early morning, drinking local Cabs, obsessively reading (shhh!), blogging or poorly throwing a Frisbee toward her son at the beach.



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