Tralfaz 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.