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A Publication Featuring The Information Services Technology of Maine State Government
|Volume VII, Issue 9||September 2004|
While a mother of two wonderful teenagers, I became hooked on computer programming in 1982 when I took a class in BASIC at the University of Maine at Augusta. I quickly discovered computers, unlike teenagers, would immediately do whatever I requested without complaint! Coding also taught me to pay attention to details, including what I said or wrote, so I communicated better with machines and people.
In 1985, when I came to the Bureau of Taxation, six staff shared two terminals (our supervisor had another). Working in groups, we wrote COBOL code, JCL and "debugged" programs. A common assignment was "go make these cards on the key punch machine". Computer people of the 1970-80s will remember machines which resembled factory equipment: DEC writers, dumb terminals, keypunch, card readers, greenbar print-outs, and round tapes. All are dinosaurs now. Gone for most of us are spaghetti code, "goTo", "goSub", superCal, DOS and several computer languages.
"Experienced" with personal computers (PC), in 1986 I got Taxations first -- a 256K ATT. Its memory was considered sufficient to perform all of the Bureaus word processing and "adding machine" needs. No one anticipated PCs could ever replace mainframes too little memory, too slow, too limited, too much data. There was no e-mail, internet, or intranet; we talked to others in person or via telephone. If we wanted to share data, floppy disks were hand carried or snailmailed. Technology has come a LONG way during the last 25 years!
An Augusta native, I now live in the same house where I grew up. However, armed with a BA in medical technology from Orono, in the mid 1960s I worked in pharmaceutical research in Detroit, Michigan. I met my husband, a history museum curator and, before returning to Maine in 1977, we lived in Michigan, New York, and Illinois, where he managed museums. While our children were young, I was active in 4-H, scouts, camping, etc. Now our son is a technical support person for IDX in Boston and is married to a graphic and multimedia designer, who specializes in developing ELearning courses. Our daughter is a sign language interpreter in the Winterport, Maine, school system.
Hobbies? I am a Ham radio operator, a church Certified Lay Speaker, and am active in diabetes support organizations, Landmark Education, Maine State Employees Combined Charitable Appeal and other community and civic causes for which I have been honored several times - including Augustas Spirit of America award.
Travel is one of my passions. I have explored 49 states and have tickets to the 50th, Hawaii. Since I retired last month, my husband and I are preparing for our dream trip even as you read this. While a friend house-sits, we will RV (recreational vehicle) across America, visiting friends, relatives, historic and natural wonders, and sites of interest. Naturally were using the Internet to plan our itinerary, and have reserved front row parking spots along Pasadenas New Years Day Rose Parade route! Afterwards well enjoy a weeks cruise around the Hawaiian Islands and another week in Honolulu. Then well RV to Belleview, Florida. Since we will use a laptop and digital camera to keep in touch via e-mail, and to share pictures with friends and family, technology will continue to be part of our lives.
I hope you also will be able to experience your dreams when you retire.