• Jan 1, 1934
    (b.) - ?

Bio/Description

A pioneer of the PC software industry, he grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and after a six year stint in New Hampshire, later moved to California. During his teenage years, he was a television repairman. After his military service he became a technical writer and continued his undergraduate studies at night. In 1964, he was given the opportunity to participate in the design and implementation of a classified system for identifying unknown vessels at sea by their sound fingerprint. Following his success with this and other related projects, he moved to New Hampshire to be put in charge of the computer software development for a line of IBM compatible programmable CRT terminals. As part of this assignment, he went to San Francisco. Two years later, he moved to the Bay Area and landed an assignment to implement a law office management system on a Varian Data Machines minicomputer. Following this, he formed the Systems Division of Prodata International Corporation which was subsequently acquired by Varian Data Machines. As a consequence, he temporarily moved to Zürich, Switzerland to utilize the technology he developed as part of a branch banking system for Credit Suisse. Upon his return to California, he visited the Byte Shop of San Rafael and began his love affair with the microcomputer. He founded MicroPro International Inc. in June, 1978 and subsequently made an arrangement with Robb Barnaby, a programmer he met at IMSAI. Barnaby wrote a screen editor which was called ‘NED.’ He had Barnaby totally rewrite NED into a new product called “WordMaster.” MicroPro was officially launched in September, 1978 using Barnaby’s first two programs, WordMaster and SuperSort. Feedback from the computer store dealers, who were MicroPro’s first customers, said they wanted a program with integrated printing. He developed the specifications for the new program including many innovations unavailable in commercial word processing at the time, such as showing page breaks, providing an integrated help system and a keyboard design specifically for touch typists. Barnaby did the initial foundation for MailMerge, which was finished by others. In mid-1979 the Wordstar word processor was born. A year and a half later, several IMSAI employees joined him at MicroPro, including Bruce Van Natta, Joe Killian, Dianne Hajicek, and Glen Ewing and in 1982, WordStar was ported to MS-DOS. In 1987 he became involved with a spreadsheet he called Surpass which was later sold to Borland International and renamed Quattro Pro. In 1992 he founded UDICO Holdings, a company which (using a "surveillance engine" licensed from a French company) sought to create an interactive context sensitive help engine which would intercept "F1" calls for help within Microsoft Word and direct users at that point to an interactive training session for the feature which they sought help with. Though this product (Developed by T. Lindgren and A. Bennedsen) was never released, the company did release a WinHelp authoring tool called W.Y.S.I. Help Composer. In 1995 he founded a company called Prompt Software to investigate document management, internet research, and worked with Garnet R. Chaney to patent a series of discoveries regarding Content Discovery. This software connected to multiple search sites and used complex word algorithms to refine searches.
  • Date of Birth:

    Jan 1, 1934
  • Gender:

    Male
  • Noted For:

    Directed or co-directed the development of the computer programs HelpDesk, Quattro Pro, and WebSleuth and WordStar, which was the first truly successful program for the personal computer (in a commercial sense) and gave reasonably priced access to word processing for the general population for the first time
  • Category of Achievement:

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