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A Publication Featuring The Information Services Technology of Maine State Government
|Volume V, Issue 10||October 2002|
Hallowell and Augusta In September Richard Riley passed into retirement after a long and fulfilling career (1978-2002) at the Maine Department of Education (DOE).
He began his educational career in Maine in 1973 when he went to work for the Augusta schools helping run an educational cable TV station. He then worked with the State Library setting up their Instructional Video Library before coming to the Department full time in 1978.
As active member of the State Technical Coordinator group, he brought the first desktop PC - a TRS-80 Model I into DOE. The Management Information System (MIS) section had just upgraded from a Univac to a Burroughs mini, and computing was either done with 3270 terminals in Finance, or on Burroughs terminals throughout the department. All data entry was done via 024 punched card machines, and of course the language was COBOL.
Having the thrill of being able to use both upper AND lower case, the TRS-80 with Basic, Scripsit, VisiCalc, and Profile began sneaking in under the MIS fortress, and was soon joined by an Apple II and a Commodore Pet. Riley gave workshops in schools throughout the state and organized the first computer conference and displays four years later. Although he did have a Mac once (donated by Apple), he gave his full allegiance to the IBM and compatible machines in the mid 80s. He bought double disk PCs for an educational price of $990 (not capital), installed a $250 10 Meg hard drive, and created a non-standard machine that was about half the price!
When the rest of the state was going with Windows and IBM PS-2s, Riley insisted the DOE continue with rebuilt XTs (up to 486s), WordStar, Super Calc, and dBase III+. In the late 90s, Richard, kicking and screaming, joined the DOEs MIS, where he was no longer a loose cannon.
One of his more recent activities has been teaching "Write Your Own Obituary" and silversmithing classes at Hall Dale Adult Ed and at Wellness Conferences.
He is survived in retirement by his wife, Kathy who also retired this year, and his son Nicholas who is trying to rejoin the dot-com business in Boston. They are selling their Hallowell home and moving to Zephyrhills, FL to help with parents eldercare. He may be reached in perpetuity at email@example.com.