Baron Dave Romm (barondave) wrote,
Baron Dave Romm

A computer geek at 18

I just got off the phone with a very old friend of my parents, one of the few people left at the Middletown Times Herald-Record, where my father had been editor 1956-1974 (or something like that; his job changed near the end, and he was bumped up the corporate ladder). I wrote up my Woodstock v. Disneyland story, the first half of which is mainly my parents' story as they actually went to the festival. I submitted it to the Strib, but haven't heard back from them, so I called up the Record and talked to Barbara Bedell, one of the people who wrote an obituary for my father.

She remembered me as, "the kid who reprogrammed all our computers". Well, no, I demurred. "But you could have," she insisted. Probably not, but the legend lives.

The Record got a state-of-the-art text editing system circa 1974 or 1975. I came home from Freshman or Sophomore year after taking a few computer courses and thought the program was awful. For example, you couldn't page up. You could page down, but not go back. I offered to rewrite the code. I'm just as happy they didn't take me up on it, but I did help a few people (including my father) get used to using computerized systems. That probably established my reputation with the more traditional news hounds.

The Woodstock story is in several variants as I edited for length. At some point, I'll post the full version here, but the papers) want first publication.

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