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Scott Robison

Hi, my name is Inigo Montoya...

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Posted (edited)

Wait, I mean, Scott Robison (but since I don't use a pseudonym or handle, you probably already read that). Looks like this forum hasn't been updated much for a while, and it seemed lonely, so I thought I'd give it some love.

I was born in Dallas, practically next door to 8BG. My family moved about 100 miles NE when I was 11, so still just a few hours away. I lived in Roxton TX (a tiny rural farm community in NE Texas) from 1979 to 1985 (where I graduated from high school in 1986), later still in Paris TX before moving to Utah for college and where I have remained ever since.

As a kid I was fascinated with arcade games and wanted to do something like that. My little country school bought Commodore PET computers in 1982 that went virtually unused until 1985 when we finally had a computer teacher, at which point I'd already been using them extensively and knew more than she did (which is not bragging; I didn't know nearly as much as I thought I did, and she only knew what the text books told her to teach). My father bought me a Timex Sinclair 1000, and I later saved my own money to buy a C64, 1541, MPS801, a Commodore brand daisy wheel printer, 1520 plotter, and eventually a C128D & 1581. I've lost most of it to time, moves, etc.

I went to college for computer science, where I was a poor student in classes that didn't interest me. All I wanted to do was program, so I ignored most classes that weren't related to programming, and left after 3.5 years having earned barely a years worth of credits. In 2016, after my children were grown and off living their own lives, I decided that if I was ever going to finish a degree, it has to be now, so I finally earned a BS in software engineering in December 2020. What I learned: college is a lot easier when you go after working in the field for 30+ years. It's still time consuming, but a few decades of maturity and life experience sure made a difference for me!

I've been working as a computer programmer / software engineer for about 33 years now, for a number of companies. Some highlights of my career have been working for a DOS hard drive utilities company (Gazelle Systems, makers of QDOS [not the basis of MSDOS], BackIt, and Optune), a bulletin board software company (Clark Development Company, makers of PCBoard, where I was the lead designer and engineer of the PCBoard Programming Language), video game companies (Sculptured Software [worked primarily on a game you've never heard of called Stratosphere] and Access Software [home of many 8-bit Commodore titles, though that was before my time; I worked on Links golf simulator in the late 90s]), and radio station software (music scheduling, show preparation, music research), along with digital media sales and delivery software, software disaster recovery / business continuity for Windows based systems, and currently I work for L3Harris on defense contracting of communications systems.

In addition to my software development experience, I've also worked in radio as a DJ and a talk show host on technology and politics / pop culture / general interst and have tried my hand at some YouTube videos, mainly before I went back to university and had a little more time. I have a home studio that is more geared toward audio production and voice over work, though I have done some videos. Mostly my videos have been a series titled "Messing with Scammers" where I take calls from scam callers and try to waste as much of their time as I can, working from the theory that the more of their time I can waste, the less time they are spending with others who are more likely to fall for their lies. My channel is CasaDeRobison if you are interested in seeing some of the stuff I've done. It is not nearly as compelling as RR or 8BG, probably, given the audience I'm addressing. Please note that the videos that include my face are less representative of me today, as I had gastric bypass surgery a few years ago and have gone from an all time high of about 450 lbs / 204 kg to my current weight of about 225 lbs / 102 kg (you might say I'm half the man I used to be). Some day I'll find some time to get back to YouTube, I just need to find my niche.

I am still in Utah, in a town called Herriman near Salt Lake City. I miss my 8-bit days, back when you could know the computer top to bottom and left to right and everything in between. One of my university classes was on introductory digital design. I bought an FPGA trainer hoping to one day re-create my beloved C128D, perhaps my favorite computer ever. Commander X16 inspires me though to maybe go a different direction with it, and create something new but similar to the computers of old that do not have to worry about 100% compatibility with an existing platform implementation.

Another idea I had about a year ago that I'd like to play with some time is to take a PC emulator, like PCem, and write a custom ROM BIOS for it that re-imagines the PC platform as a continuation of the PET / VIC-20 legacy. I think the name of this Frankensystem would be Kommodore K16 (the 16 representing the original 16 KB RAM available, of course). My thought is that it would have a fair amount of ROM for the X86 aspects of the system, plus maybe a 6502 emulator with "compatible" KERNAL / BASIC ROMS. The 6502 emulation would not try to be cycle exact, since there is no need to maintain 100% compatibility. This idea has no real utility other than curiosity and doing something unique with something ancient.

Edited by Scott Robison
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