| Craig Richardson, owner of ABS Computer Services, of Redondo Beach, CA.
The life long adventure I've had with electronics, computers and people led me to opening ABS Computer Service in 1993, previously I owned and operated Craig's Custom Flooring for 15 years, leveraging the trade I learned from my Father.
Before I could barely talk I was taking apart flashlights, cameras, radios and phones, the adventure with complex electronics began when I was about 5 years old. Our neighborhood ham radio operator patiently let me watch him run his radio station and mess around a bit with the receiver. One day He was working on his transmitter, that is when I became fascinated with the variety of different
colorful parts inside, wondering what they did, their relations and how
they could be propelled by an "invisible" force. I was 8 years old when we moved to Torrance
and it turned out our new next door neighbor owned a large electronics
store in Los Angeles, Bell Electronics, and I started me dreaming of one day owning my own electronic corporation. I staked out an electronics fort underneath our new houses staircase, and christened the endeavor "Future Electronics Incorporated", but my Mom didn't want me playing under there any more after I made the mistake of telling them about one of my better shocks, where I saw "the light". During my teen I years began building and experimenting with electronics, ham radio and set up a CB station - Lic# KCX4592 with the handle of "The Lamplighter" - as well as learning to play and work on guitars, which has also became a life long passion. I studied analogue electronics at South High School in Torrance under Mr. Dean Shmidt, who also unexpectedly, touched on digital electronics and logic.
My real experience with PCs began in 1980,
leading to my decision to enroll in a full time technical course at
Computer Learning Center of Los Angeles in 1984. The initial interest I had in computers before high school was from a distance, I didn't really believe the average person would be able to afford or use one easily. In 1970 when Mr. Schmidt told us we were going to study digital electronics for the first time in public schools (as well as standard analogue electronics) I was kind of amazed. His affiliations with computer mainframe manufactures helped us by getting older discarded computer circuit boards, using discrete components i.e. capacitors, resistors, diodes, transistors, etc. including one of the earliest display devices, the NIXI display tube which we used on a few of our more advanced projects. It required an entire card about a foot long by half a foot wide to interpret and convert digital binary data into ONE DECIMAL DIGIT. He said there would come a time in perhaps less then 10 years when average people could own a real computer, not just a hand calculator, a complete truly programmable system! He taught us Boolean logic and how digital logic circuits worked, letting us know that these types of circuits were already being mass produced into Integrated circuits, smaller than the size of a postage stamp containing hundreds, or even thousands of transistors, etc. This was absolutely amazing to me, that they were able to "make" this circuits using micro photographic processes on layers of specialized silicon, that worked AND were relatively cheap too! I've also always loved music, art, photography, and of course working with graphics and had no idea of how beautifully they would all meld together under the umbrella of the modern PC. The predicted exponential growth of power, lower cost, functionality, etc has been far exceeded, here's one example, our cell phones have way more power now than the early Super Computers that required entire buildings!
My father gave me my first
personal computer back in about 1980 for Christmas, a Commodore 64,
using my 19" color TV as the monitor. It had 64K of memory and a floppy
drive, a weird keyboard and a joystick for the games. I really had fun and learned a lot, but the TV for a
monitor was very limiting, but you could sit across the room
from it and still see the big characters. I began
looking for other people who were into this "magnificently powerful
affordable computer", and almost instantly it was superseded by the
oncoming tidal wave of much more powerful, easier to use PCs. Within a
year I had a pretty good
understanding of what this could, and couldn't do, and was becoming
impatient with it's limitations. I wrote some little program in BASIC,
and that began changing my whole life and perception of creativity, and
to think this could be shared with anybody, anywhere (as long as a
floppy could be mailed to them and they had the same kind of
computer) EXACTLY as created. The "old" saying I learned later on in a
college computer course is "one is one is one is one....", solidified
my faith in how relatively easily something created digitally could be
reproduced, stored and distributed.
The insatiable quest for more
speed, and ability to do previously unimaginable feats really fired me
up! I saved up and bought a used Apple IIe, complete with its own
monitor, and some very impressive games, especially SARGON a serious
computer chess opponent, that beat me every time I had it set on a high
level, it was so amazing to have this much power at our fingertips. Then I moved up to an IBM PC with 1024K ram and a 20MB hardrive, there was no turning back! Now
days for me, it's audio and video recording and production, and the
evolving art of digital modeling of Classic vintage amplifiers and
effects. Still one of my greatest passions is working with and building
vacuum tube amplifiers, HiFi and Stereos. Today I get to use all these
tools and toys for crreating and playing music, both my live performances and
The public internet which hadn't even been thought of back then, is doing for idea/software development what the IC and stellar worldwide manufacturing techniques have done for hardware, and is having far greater impact for the individual and the world. The book "The World is Flat" by Thomas L. Friedman has been being updated since 2005 analyzes globalization, primarily in the early 21st century, as a direct result of how quickly information, voice and data can be exchanged and utilized almost anyplace in the world. Here is the wikipedia link to info about this book wikipedia.org/wiki/The_World_is_Flat I don't agree with some things and predictions in this book, and would need to do further research to validate and/or change my views on these profound subjects.
The information revolution has broadened my perspective on creativity, realizing that new ways of doing old things are paramount, especially in relation to how we think, I really understand thinking "out of the box" now This is the most fantastic ongoing adventure and journey, far beyond my wildest dreams, it just keeps expanding in every direction. As the man behind Apple/Macintosh, Steve Jobs said "The reward is in the journey" what a profound truth, who knows where the many paths are leading and if there are any final destinations! We are at a point in time now that if a person has a good idea for a way of getting things done more efficiently, and wants to share it with the world, a world of like minds easily found via the Web will collaborate and collectively build/morph/modify a software/hardware/virtual system in phenomenal time, that can be used by anyone with a modern PC, very often for FREE!
Thank You for reading, I will hopefully soon have a blog entry for YOUR story in the unfolding adventure of the Information Revolution, and add more to this later.
A B S Computer Service
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