The World According to Jim
Welcome to Jim’s Internet Central. It is my central Internet location for a plethora of subject matter and a place for me to share a bit about myself. My background, is what I would describe as a compilation of a number of train tracks, with locomotives all headed in from different directions but all converging at the same arrival location. By the way, I do like trains.
Internet Marketing and Search Engine Optimization Services
The online business world reminds me of the story of The Little Engine That Could. The Internet is a very powerful sales and marketing tool available to all companies. Large business and small business alike, can take advantage of being able to target their marketing message to the right crowd and really make an impact for their company online.
As President of Professional Web Services, Inc., an Internet marketing services company, I am proud of the fact that our company has helped numerous business-to-business “B2B” and business-to-consumer “B2C” companies expand their market share online, which has significantly increased their market presence, leads, customers, and sales. Our services include: Internet marketing services, search engine optimization “SEO” services, online advertising campaign creation and management, web branding, ads copywriting and technical copywriting, eCommerce solutions, custom blog website creations, website customizations, quality link creation services, and a host of Web 2.0 technologies that will get businesses found online. The merging of technology, software and hardware computer systems, and the Internet world has made for an interesting and fascinating time that we live in. As I see it, the information age is just getting started on the world wide web, and the possibilities are endless for both B2B and B2C companies to stand out from the crowd.
A Blast From the Past
In addition to my background involving online marketing and SEO services, I also have a technical background in electronics and have quite a few years of experience with troubleshooting, engineering, and technical services. I have been involved in the circuit board industry as a service engineer for a number companies, working on circuit board drilling and routing machines, along with a host of other CNC and computer controlled equipment used in various manufacturing sectors.
Prior to my work in the PCB industry, I was involved for a time with BTI, Basic Timesharing, Inc., which was later renamed to BTI Computer Systems. The BTI 3000, BTI 4000, and BTI 5000 Computers were built around the HP CPUs. These computers were installed in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. The flagship, BTI 8000 computer system was in development in the days I worked for BTI, and was scheduled to be released in or around 1981. The early BTI computer systems were used for a variety of applications, including time-sharing services, general accounting, and inventory-control of automotive parts, which were installed in many of the car dealerships around the country in the late 70s. Read more about BTI History at www.btihistory.org.
While working at BTI, Inc., I wore a number of engineering hats when doing in-house engineering work, as did many of the other service engineers. We had the proverbial “queue” for all the field service engineers to abide by. This involved the engineers going out into the field, doing preventative maintenance and emergency service calls on a rotating basis. Some engineers wanted to be at the head of the queue, always in the field. Everyone would look to see where their name was on the queue at any given time so we could be prepared to go, sometimes at a moment’s notice when emergency repairs came up.
Traveling for business in the 70s and early 80s certainly had its pros and cons to contend with as it does today. I think there was a bit of jealousy, from some of the in-house folks at BTI that did not go out in the field, against the ones that seemed to always have a bunch of tall tales to tell, with most of these tales quite true. But, some guys and girls would have a hard time adjusting to the rotating service life. For me, it was the good life at the time. I was single and loved being able to see the world, even if there was only a small amount of off time, in far away places; I got the opportunity to go places where I had never been before. I was game for it all; even if that meant going to Wisconsin, in the middle of winter, where the temperature was –17 degrees Fahrenheit, or going to Fort Lauderdale Florida to spend a weekend at the beach. We would spend up to three weeks in the field at any one time, hopscotching all over the country, with some folks traveling to Canada and Europe, and then rotate back in-house for several weeks, spending the balance of this time back at the factory in Sunnyvale, California working on broken computer systems and disk drives for the most part.
While working at the BTI factory, I remember this particular model of disk drives called the “Falcon” disk drives; (I don’t recall the manufacturer) which had many issues to contend with. These early disk drives were always breaking down. At any given time, there seemed to be hundreds of these hard disk drives stacked up for repair. I also remember working on Ampex disk drives out in the field that were so big, you had to stick your head down into the disk drive platter basin in order to align the disk drive read/write heads. In fact, the alignment platter was a full size disk assembly that took a large suite case sized container in itself to transport it around the country. Another case included a full sized analog Tektronix oscilloscope that was required to perform the reader head alignments and reader head cleanings.
I’ll never forget the one day I was going to do a disk head alignment and head cleanings at an office building where one of these time-share computer systems was installed. When the company representative and I pulled up to the office building on a Saturday evening, you could hear this loud shrill screaming sound coming from inside the building. No one else was around and no it was not a person screaming, but it was an Ampex disk drive with all the platters and heads having crashed down to the aluminum platters, and the drive was still turning and grinding away. In fact, aluminum dust was throughout the whole room and coated the inside of the drive electronics. These Ampex drives had large absolute filters that were required to be changed on a regular basis. If they got contaminated, a catastrophic failure is what occurred.
BTI in those days had a contract with The Reynolds and Reynolds Company to supply computer hardware and computer support services for the automotive industry. Reynolds and Reynolds, still in business to this day, provides information technology, dealership software solutions, forms, and various support services for all aspects of automotive retailing. BTI Timesharing, Inc, and BTI Computer Systems history on the other hand is a bit of a epic tale, one that I was involved with for a small part of the life and times of BTI Computer Systems.
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
Traveling in those days was a blast. You wouldn’t be able to do this today, but I can remember traveling with 8 to 10 bags of luggage in tow and sometimes even more at one time. The airport porters made out like bandits, padding their pockets with some really nice tips. However, it was always a challenge to cover this in your weekly expense reports. As typically was the case, it looked like the tips line was way out of whack, and would be questioned by the boss. In those days, I remember being able to go from city to city around the United States, and take this huge stack of luggage in and out of the airports and all the airlines were willing to accept and take them along for the ride. Actually, it seemed to me, that the airline management tended to look the other way when the porters would help you at curbside, check you in and check your luggage in too. Though you had to be careful on how you did this, as to keep a low profile, but the porters were more than willing to work with you and get all your bags on board (without having to pay extra baggage fees) if the price was right. Airlines, for the most part, in the 70s and 80s really understood that it was the business folks that supported them and hence treated you very well. I would travel across the country side in the largest rental cars, and this too would be somewhat problematic on the expense reports. The Cadillac was a favorite for most of the field service engineers, including myself, having the trunks and the back seats piled up to the max with all those bags. The stories that I could tell. I remember on a number of occasions, that other travelers would look at me, removing bag after bag from the airport baggage carousel with this very strange look on their faces. I could hear the questions, “Why is he removing everyone’s bag from the carousel?” Sometimes I would just chuckle to myself, and other times I would say they were mine. However, it did put a lot of pressure on you to get out of the airport baggage claim area as quickly as possible. You didn’t want airport personal asking too many questions for fear that they were going to charge you going out the door. The images were right out of the movies, where you would see this person traveling with a dozen suite cases at a time stacked on a cart. It really did happen. “Those were the days, my friend, we thought they would never end.” Wow, I guess that certainly dates me a bit!
I’m sure there is more to tell on the tale from the past and certainly would love to hear from the folks with a blast from the past. Send me an email to say hello.