|I have been
involved with microcomputers since the late seventies,
when I built my own 6502 CPU machine. It had 16K
of RAM, and persistence was achieved using an audio
cassette. I couldn't afford an Apple.
In 1981, I
thought it would be fun to build my own microcomputer
using the new 8080 chip that Intel was telling me about.
Those plans were thwarted, however, because soon
afterward IBM introduced their Personal Computer.
I just had to go out and buy one! I had saved all
of $10,000, of which $4,000 was paid to ComputerLand for
a printer and a machine that had two single sided floppy
drives and 64K of RAM. I was so eager that, to get
me off their backs,
ComputerLand took part of a shipment that was going to a
major corporation and sold it to me! Thus I became
one of the first owners of an IBM PC.
I sat right down and started writing a 3D CAD system
using Fortran I had written at Columbia University in
1973. As an Architecture/Engineering student I had
worked with Dr. Lou Katz and his wife Genevieve to start
a cross-departmental program aimed at educating
architecture students in the use of 3D graphics.
Dr. Katz was head of the Microbiology Department at the
time, and later became president of Siggraph. I
had the opportunity to use an IBM 360 and a specialized
custom high speed graphics machine, used to
model molecular structures, to create a small CAD system
in Fortran. The system could display a perspective
view of a wireframe model of a building.
So, after working as an architectural
designer/drafter for several years, in early 1983 I quit
my job as an associate in an architecture firm and
started Computer Aided Design of San Francisco, with the
first product MicroCAD, a 3D CAD system for the IBM PC.
It was the first CAD system on the IBM PC platform,
predating AutoCAD by one year. Autodesk was at
first my competitor, but later on I marketed MicroCAD as
the "true 3D" package for customers who wanted to be
able to generate perspective views but were unable to do
so using AutoCAD. The MicroCAD offering took off,
and within a year my new company Imagimedia
Technologies, Inc. was a great success. After
Autodesk went public I became an Autodesk-affiliated
In 1987 Osborne/McGraw-Hill published my first book,
'Advanced Graphics in C', which became a best seller and
was translated into several languages. The book
described and gave C code examples using the interrupt
structure of the EGA, the first IBM PC graphics adapter.
Included was the complete C language source for a
program named GRAPHIQ. The program used a unique
bulletproof integer-based Bresenham's algorithm to draw
lines. Until then, to the best of my knowledge, the algorithm was always done in
floating point. In 1994 a programmer from
Microsoft called me and said that I should be very
proud. My book was in the Microsoft programmer's
library, and it had been used as a reference in writing the
My bible was 'Fundamentals of Interactive Computer
Graphics' by Foley - Van Dam. It introduced me to
the exciting world of graphics programming, and I have
not looked back since!
These days I am an independent consultant working on
projects of all kinds, from enterprise development in
Java to web development in C# .NET, but nothing compares
to those early days when the core systems that are in
use today to make sophisticated 3D graphics images were in their infancy.