About

Astro_clearTralfaz was the original name of the lovable pet dog that the Jetson’s adopted.  One of my first pets was an Old English Mastiff who was named Astro in a tip of the hat to Astro Jetson.  When it was time to pick a domain name in 1998, Tralfaz was my choice, but sadly, the .com variant was already taken (and has remained off the market), so I picked Tralfaz.org.

Geoff Anderson, the site owner, has been a long time technology fan, starting with disassembling a calculator in the early 1970’s to see what made it tick (it was rather primitive, and I figured out what many of the discrete parts did (decade counters, and the such)).  I fell in with computers in 1979 or 1980.  We were a lucky school district that got an Apple ][ lab early.  I learned Basic programming, simple graphics, and how a computer worked.  Buying my own Apple was out of the question, as even with a paper route, I could never have come up with the $2700 that a base Apple ][+ system, with a disc drive and a monochrome monitor ran

My first computer was an expensive (for me) Atari 800.  It had a whopping 48K bytes of RAM, and a disc drive.  I had it connected to a TV, and I was in heaven.  I absorbed every piece of information that I could about it, programming in Basic, and dabbled with assembly language (how else was I to learn how to copy protected software?).  Ultimately I used that box to run a BBS, an early point to point communication system.  The one I used was FoReM (Friends of Ricky Moose), and was largely written in basic with some really cool machine code captured in special strings.  Over the years I added double sided, quad density disc drives, 8″ disc drives, and finally moved to an Atari 520 ST, my first flirtation with a 16bit processor.  I ran the BBS on that as well, and graduated to a whopping 20 megabyte hard disc drive.  I still pale when I think about how much that Seagate ST225 cost.

It was a fun time, hacking that system.  Eventually, I built an IBM PC Clone with a Mylex 386 motherboard, a 40megabyte HD, and 2 megs of ram.  I remember running QEMM386 to use all the memory, and the useless error messages it gave were amusing.

A mess of clones filled my life, until I bought my first Mac.  It was a Mac SE, the one with the 6″ monochrome monitor built in.  It got upgraded to an SE/30 with the “hot” motorola 68030 processor.  That got me through college, and even some contract work.

Then the Internet started happening, and I jumped on the Windows bandwagon.  3.11 WFW, then Windows 95, 2000, XP, Vista and now Win 7.  I also am a Mac user (typing this on my most recent box, a MacBook Pro, 15″ unibody.)

My career has been a bit convoluted as well.  I began in newspaper delivery, graduating to food service.  I gravitated to cooking, and cooked my way through college.  Unfortunately I graduated at a bad time, so I continued after college until I found an entry level position as a chemical technician at a wafer fab.  I quickly ascended the ladder and ended up as a process engineer, working weekends, and becoming savvy with instrumentation.  From there I moved to an applications engineer role and jumped to Product Management where I remain to this day.

I have worked in Semiconductor equipment (photo lithography, plating and wet etch), surface metrology, networking and communications, and most recently in telecommunications.

My education is BSc. Physics with a minor in mathematics, and I have completed the major coursework for a MSc. Physics, with a concentration in computational physics.

I have been fortunate to be able to travel extensively for work, spending time in Asia and Europe, as well as many parts of the US.

I currently live in San Jose, California with my wife, and two rescued Racing Greyhounds.  Astro lives on in my memory, and in the name of this site.