About Me

Let's talk about the Smith Family Cyber-Home first. I started this site when I realized that my husband and I had family spread all over the world. For a while, we were the ones far away. Now we're back in New York State, near all of our loved ones. Yet, this web site is still a nice way to show pictrures.

I first got acquainted with computers back in 1983, when I bought a Texas Instruments TI/99 and quickly outgrew it. I moved "up" to a Commodore 64 and things haven't been the same since. Since that time, I have done everything from data entry to programming. I have written articles on programming for several computer magazines, and have been technical editor on several programming books. Currently, I am working as a Technical Writer at a company called Medidata Solutions in New York City. I document their software, and do any other writing chores that come up. In the evenings, on the train, and on weekends, I work on my my own fiction.

When I first discovered the Internet, in 1995, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. I can't think of anyplace else where you can so easily share your thoughts with so many people. I have met many wonderful people through the Internet, and it's always the first place I go when I want information on just about anything. I have to confess that I'm one of those who is addicted to the medium and have spent as much as 18 hours straight surfing the 'net. I began designing web sites for the fun of it, and then started creating sites for friends. I don't consider myself an expert, and I don't suppose I ever will be, because there's always a new technology to learn and it doesn't look like that's going to stop in the near future.

In addition to programming, I enjoy making web graphics. I suppose I come by my fascination with graphics and graphic design honestly. My paternal grandfather was the Art Director of the Daily Mirror, in New York City, from its inception to his death early in the 50's. My parents were instrumental in designing the original look of the Times Herald Record, in Middletown, New York, and still run a printing business in Port Jervis, New York where they publish a weekly advertising journal called The Little Paper. I've enjoyed drawing, painting and various crafts since I was big enough to pick up a pencil, although I tend to be overly critical of my non-digital work and hardly ever show it to people.

My first brush with the world of computers happened way back in the late 60s when I went to New York City with the Girl Scouts and visited IBM. They had a computer exhibit and at the end of the tour, we were allowed to play "Twenty Questions" on a room full of teletype machines. I thought that was pretty cool, but I never thought I'd get to play with my very own computer whenever I wanted to. Believe it or not, I still get the same feeling of excitement from writing software, creating web sites and making graphics that I got from answering that computer's questions all those years ago. Where else could I ever hope to find a job that would be so much like play!

Not too long after I bought my Commodore 64, I started a typing word processing service. I was already running a typing service part-time while I worked in my parents' print shop, and upgrading it to a word processing service gave me the perfect excuse to buy a diskette drive and a printer. When I outgrew the C-64 and bought an IBM compatible computer, the fun really began. I joined the local computer club and was soon elected President. Not too bad, considering I was the only female member! I also had the distinction of being the first woman to write for Turbo Technix magazine, the programming magazine that used to be published by Borland. When Turbo Technix ceased publication and its editor started PC Techniques, I was one of the contributing editors. Through my work with the magazine, I learned a handful of programming languages and got to work with many exciting programmer's tools.

I am married, and the mother of an eleven year-old, named Matthew, who has been using computers since he was three. Thankfully, he still believes I know more about computers than he does. I imagine there will come a day when he catches up and passes me, but I hope it won't be too soon.

In addition to my son, I also have two grown step-children and three grandchildren (soon to be four), as well as about a dozen nieces and nephews and various aunts, uncles and cousins by marriage. My husband has a large family, you see. Quite a change for an only child. Unfortunately, I don't get to see the grandchildren anywhere near as often as I would like. My son, Mark, and his wife seem always to be working when I'm off or off when I'm working. My daughter, Anjanette, lives in Long Island, over three hours from our home, and we hardly ever get to see her.

Those of you who are interested in pursuing a career in computing may wonder what kind of educational background I have. To say the least, my education has been quite varied. I have changed my major more times than I care to think about and have studied everything from Anthropology to Nursing. After a truly miserable showing in college right after high school, I went back and finished my AA degree in 1993, with a concentration in Anthropology. Then I matriculated to a four-year school where I had time for one semester studying for a BA in Elementary Education before the money ran out.

So, where did I learn to program? Actually, I'm almost completely self-taught. I took a couple of computer courses in college, but I haven't found myself using anything I learned there. Of course, the fact that I took the courses back in 1985 and that they were concerned mostly with COBOL might have something to do with that. If you had told me back when I was in High School that I would end up programming computers, I would probably have laughed at you. Then again, at the risk of dating myself, my high school typing lab was switching from manual to electric typewriters back when I took typing. That doesn't really make me as old as you think it does! I graduated from high school in 1977 but the school district in my home town was a little bit behind the times when it came to office equipment. Speaking of high school, my major there was language! I had four years of French, only the minimum number of years of Math that I could get away with and still get a Regents Diploma, and a minor in business. You might need Math to get a degree in Computer Science, but you certainly don't need it to be a computer programmer. I actually find myself leaning on my writing skills more than my math skills when I'm programming.

Away from computers and the Internet, I also love to read (just about anything) and play role-playing games. If you're interested in role-playing games as well, check out Tales from the Purple Dragon. I don't get as much time for these activities as I used to because my husband and son take up most of the time I have left between working, maintaining multiple web sites and programming.


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