One of the very early members of SAGE AU

I was originally advised of the existence of SAGE-AU by our business software supplier FGH Decision Support Systems back in SAGE-AU's infancy, claiming the 98th membership (Complete with the F prefix. ;-)

FGH is long gone, but my SAGE-AU membership continued right through to the transition over to ITPA and I will stay involved with the new organisation, a move I fully endorse.

An Instrument maker and repairer by trade, and Sysadmin by osmosis, I am actually still with the same company I started at over 39 years ago.

With electronics as a hobby since the age of 8, the move of measuring instrumentation into digital displays and data transfer capabilities gave me a good grounding in digital logic and Boolean math. I taught myself Z80 assembly language just for the fun of it back in the days of the TRS80.

When the company I was working for decided to move to a multi-user platform from their CPM-based system in the mid-1980s (complete with its 5.25", single-sided floppy disk backup of the 10Mb suitcase sized hard drive weighing seemingly several tons), I was the closest thing they had to a computer expert, so they offered me the sysadmin role. It led me into Unix and SQL and I haven't looked back since.

An Australian designed and manufactured "Osiris 1" with two 170Mb ESDI 5.25" Full-height drives, which was double the size required by the FGH "FICS" software, to ensure we'd never run out of space (cough), running AT&T Unix and the Unify database. Green screen Liberty Freedom1 serial terminals completed the setup. My mobile phone now carries immeasurably more power, but the lessons learned on that old Unix system are still valid even today.

And yes, I'm one of those that still dislikes the way Windows is so much of a black-box system with its complex and obscure registry, hiding things in a maze of cryptic random gibberish key names and binary configuration data. Give me configuration files that can be edited with vi, and plain text log files any day.

I'm even less a fan of how Exchange and Outlook break down mail and how they do so in ways that are not quite compliant. (html mode contextual quotation and treatment of inline mime text/plain as an attachment rather than just an extension of the text body are just two of the items that come to mind). The email you end up reading is a reconstruction rather than the original email source. I guess I'm too much of a control freak.)

SAGE-AU has been a valuable learning resource for me through its entire existence.

These days, however, I am now a widower with three grandchildren under the age of 10 and have more than enough hearing loss to make conference attendance pointless, as the presenters end up sounding like something from an old Charlie Brown cartoon (the teachers talking). So, this makes the discussions I can engage in on the SAGE-AU mailing lists even more important to me as a source of well informed, high quality information.

I greatly appreciate the work yourself and the other SAGE-AU committee members, past and present put in. By the by, I was the SAGE-VIC list chair for about 10 years myself.

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From The Fifth Estate - Editor's Blog (June 2017)

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