Jim Clary

Student, Web Designer, Technology Teacher

Introduction

This website is my semester project for a “Beginning Web Programing” course at Collin College. Project requirements include:

• Homepage should catch the user’s attention.
• Each page must include content and that content must be either original or properly cited if taken from other sources.

After careful thought I decided that my project satisfying those requirements would be a website describing my technology life story. After the semester I will remove the course-specific materials from the site and use it as my GitHub homepage.

My web-editor was Visual Studio Code. I did not use any prebuild layouts. This webpage responds to different screen sizes and may be viewed from a small mobile screen to a full desktop screen. I like the new “dark mode” theme and selected it for this website. This theme meets the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) recommendation of at least a 4.5 to 1 contrast ratio for normal text.

Hopefully this homepage will capture your attention and that you will enjoy this description of my life journey through technology. (Please note that links to the other webpages are found on the left or at the top of this webpage.) Enjoy!




The Early Years

My dad was a Delta Airlines pilot. In the 1950s visitors were allow in the cockpit. I’d spend hours visiting the cockpit studying all those gauges, switches, and controls. The sound of those big radial engines was music to my ears!

One of my favorite toys as a kid was an Erector Set. Other favorites include crystal radios, a microscope (it came in a neat wooden box) and a chemistry set.

One favorite elementary school hobby was model airplanes and cars using small model engines. Multi-stage rockets powered by pressurized water were another favorite. Those rockets were great – free to launch as may time as you wanted as they only required water and muscle power for the pump to pressurize before launch.

I spent most of my teen years living on the banks of a lake. My buddies and I became “boat hot-roders” and experts at tearing down and rebuilding outboard motors. We were always on the look-out for side-shaft gasoline engines for home-built go-carts.




Education

I graduated from high school in 1967. I began pursuing a degree in meteorology at Florida State. Yes – I used a slide rule in my freshman and sophomore years. My junior year I began working as an undergraduate research assistant. That is where I “met” my first real computer - an IBM 1401. I remember programming in Autocoder . I developed a love/hate relationship with punched cards and computer tape.

I received my BS degree in meteorology in the spring of 1971 and started my graduate studies in meteorology at Florida State. I moved up in the world of computers to a Control Data 6600. I spent the next two years earning my master’s degree in meteorology and developing weather research tools and models using Fortran and COMPASS assembler. I received my master’s degree in 1973.





Professional Career

My strong experience in Fortran and Control Data computers was instrumental in getting a job at an environmental consulting firm. I spend several years developing software and computer models used in the licensing of nuclear power plants. The expansion of the Clean Air Act and the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency resulted in consulting opportunities permitting major stationary sources of air pollutants. Recognizing those opportunities, my employer assigned me to permitting power plants, petroleum refineries and chemical plants. At its core, this was no different from permitting nuclear plants. I moved from developing computer models that tracked the dispersion of nuclear materials to tracking air pollutants.

I retained my strong interest in computers and jumped at the opportunity to have my “own” computer. In 1978 a small consulting firm offered me a job. One of my first responsibilities was replacing time sharing on a mainframe computer to an in-house minicomputer. Our first computer was an Interdata 8/32. This was a great opportunity and I significantly expanded my knowledge of operating systems and working with limited computer resources. I enjoyed the freedom of being my own “boss” and no longer having to pay large timesharing bills.

The next big change in my career occurred with the introduction of the IBM Personal Computer (PC) in 1981. Like my move from mainframes to minicomputers I saw a tremendous opportunity of porting the EPA atmospheric dispersion models to the PC. My employer agreed to market the ported models, but he would not fund the model porting. He did approve of my porting the models on my own time.

I started my own company, purchased an expensive IBM PC and began porting the mainframe air dispersion models in my “free” time. This process was challenging, as the computer resources were extremely limited. I remember to this day the excitement of purchasing a Fortran compiler developed by Microsoft that supported the Intel 8087 floating-point processor. That gave the PC enough power to execute most model runs in a reasonable amount of time. I also developed data-entry programs that simplified the creation and maintenance of the model input files. I developed and started teaching the first computer labs using the software. I’d rent a large hotel room and IBM PCs for each student. I arrive at the site the afternoon before the lab began and install the 8087 chips in each rented PC. (Remember – there were no portable computers at that time.)

In 1984 my “second job” became larger than my day job. I resigned from my job and went to work full time for my firm Jim Clary and Associates (JCA). I worked for myself for the next 32 years before selling JCA to a large consulting firm in 2016.





Retirement

I retired in 2018. How was I going to spend my retirement years? I wasn’t interested in the more traditional retirement activities. I’d played a little golf when I was a teenager. I’ve done a little hunting, fishing and camping. While these activities were enjoyable, they didn’t rise to the level of “I want to do this for the rest of my life”. As described below, I decided to follow my two strong interests, teaching technology and computer programming:

• I’m pursuing the teaching interest by developing and maintaining a website a YouTube channel The Senior Geek. I plan on teaching at a senior citizen center or other venues in the future.

• I’ve gone back to college to learn web development. My plans are to assist nonprofits in the development and enhancement of their websites. School also keeps my mind active and allows me to enhance my programming skills.

As described earlier, I will keep updating this website. Hopefully, in the next year I will be able to report that I’m a certified front-end web developer.