Browsing all articles tagged with University of Arizona

The Complete Golf Handicapper for Windows was developed as an independent study project at the University of Arizona in 1991. It was my last semester in Computer Science, and I needed 1 more unit to complete my degree.

At the time in an academic setting, Windows was a very unknown, mysterious, and dismissed Operating System. I knew that Microsoft was on to something with Windows, and I knew it would be popular, so I taught myself how to develop for Windows with Charles Petzold‘s seminal book Programming Windows as my bible.

I hard-pitched my Computer Science Professor, Robert Drabek the idea of a native Windows GUI program where you could enter in your actual per-hole golf scores, compare them to the course certified par, and it would compute your handicap for that round, and keep history for all your rounds. It took some convincing – he wanted me to do it in Unix/X11, but I eventually talked him into letting me write it for Windows 3.0.

The only language back then to write Windows programs in was C.  I used Microsoft’s C 6.0 Compiler, which was like $600, so I “borrowed” a copy from a friend and coded away.

Original 3.5" Floppy Containing Source Code

I found this 3.5″ floppy disk in my garage the other day and thought it would be fun to see it, so I ordered a USB Floppy Drive from Amazon, and much to my pleasant surprise – 24 years later, the disk was still readable, and the code all there.

I post it to Github for historical significance under the “public domain” spirit, being how old it is. :blush:

It’s interesting to look at how low-level I had to write to get the simplest things done. Programming Languages and Application Frameworks have come a long way since 1991!

THE CODE!

 

Dear Mr. Drabek,

I first met you during my sophomore year as a Computer Science student at the University of Arizona in 1988, where I had my first class with you.  I’m writing you to let you know how much of a positive impact you had on me.  I’ve taken what you’ve taught me and built a career on the lessons I learned from you.

You were very strict, very serious, and I respected your skill, your style, and your knowledge.  I remember focusing on what you had to say more than any professor I had.  I didn’t want to miss a word.

I remember anticipating your class more than any other, eagerly wanting to learn all the cool things you knew.  I learned a lot from you and it’s stayed with me – always.

One way you influence me every day is simply – coding style.  You were very careful about teaching the “right” way to code and pointing out the wrong way to code.  Your style still influences every line of code I write.  I now use a code analysis tool, ReSharper, to validate my work and every time I look up at the indicator in the editor and see what it needs to fix, I’m always happy when I see it’s only one or two improvements.  I feel like you made my brain ReSharp code as I develop it.

I came to you my senior year with an Independent Study project to write a Golf Handicapping Program on Microsoft Windows 3.0.  The first thing you said to me was – “Everyone here thinks Windows is a toy and will never go anywhere”.  I replied back, “Well sir, it’s not, I think it’s going to grow really fast”.  Too bad I didn’t have any money to buy Microsoft stock back then, but you agreed with me and you let me do it.  I remember showing you an early version of my work and the code behind Windows events and you nodding how clever it was.  I remember seeking your approval so much so I was so nervous delivering the final version of the software, and after taking you through it, I finally got a smile from you.  Moments like that could have gone either way, and who knows where chaos theory would have taken me had you not believed in what I was doing.

My success in that project motivated me in such a way, that 2 years after I graduated, after I moved to Silicon Valley, I convinced my company to port all the software from Motif to Windows, and I led the way.

In 1998, I started my first company, ememories.com, a photo sharing web site co-founded with fellow UofA CS alum Carlos Blanco.  Once I got the company funded, I bought us an awesome new 8U server from Dell, and when giving it a hostname, of course, I chose to name it after you: DRABEK.  Throughout the company’s life, all server requests flowed through a machine with your moniker proudly labeled in our data center.

Thanks for the impression you made on me.  Thank you for the teachings you gave me.  I really appreciate it and will never forget it.  You’re a great man, sir.

Sincerely,

Brett Morrison, Class of 1991, University of Arizona

Brett Morrison – Official Site

The official web site of Brett Morrison, Self-Made Technology Entrepreneur.

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