Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Rainbow Connection Software

It sure can be fun to reminisce about the past, in an earlier blog article I had mentioned the business I had for the TI99/4a computer Kuhl Software, it just so happened that a relative of mine Wayne Diercks was doing something similar for the Radio Shack Color Computer. We worked together in some ways and converted programs to run on both the TI and Radio Shack computers plus the Commodore 64. We attended some trade shows for the Radio Shack computer in Chicago and Forth Worth.

MC10 Was Smaller Radio Shack Color Computer

One of Wayne’s claims to fame was his football prediction program “Pigskins Predictions”, the prediction was for picking the winning team for a game. I remember using it in a football pool I was in and darn if the first week I won the pool but the next week someone won the pool by picking the helmets of the team they found most attractive. Wayne had a couple of other programmers working on programs, I remember the one programmer was proficient in assembly language and ended up working for a company that made games for the Colleco Vision game system.

Floppy Disk Version

Cassette Tape Version of Several Games

Computers back in this era were very limited in the RAM memory and also external storage, some customers were purchasing programs that were stored on audio cassette tape, the floppy disks of the time stored very limited data also. Wayne had developed a clever data compression technique that traded a little computer processing for reduced storage requirements. I used this technique when I wrote the computer billing program for construction business and another programmer used it in an accounting program for credit unions.

Rainbow Connection Advertising

Thinking of this reminds me about how terrible I did in school when taking accounting, in fact received a failing grade one quarter. After I decided to return to college to finish a degree in computer science I had to take accounting again. This time working with numbers seemed so much more interesting and I remember getting A’s in two quarters. Amazing how getting to work with some practical application can increase your skill in that area.

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