I used to have a paperweight sitting on my desk that read something like “Robert H. Lane, appointed President of Commodore Computers....” It was the sort of thing that they gave to executives. A brass plaque of their appointment as it appeared in the Wall Street Journal or the Globe and Mail.
Back in those days – the early 80s - I did not pay a lot of attention to who my dad worked for or what they did. He got up in the morning and went to work and I went to school (and later to boarding school, so I knew even less about who he worked for or what the company did). I would love to say that my dad was a kernel hacker, or developed the silicone chip that changed the industry, but that was not what he did. In some ways, what he did was just as important. He was in marketing, but he was the type of marketing wizard that most techs, even today, would respect. He is an early adopter and saw the value of computers long before most people (including Bill Gates and the late Judge Green). He was president of Commodore during its heydays of the Vic-20 and C-64. My sister and I each had one (and I am sure my mother has long since thrown both of them away) and I used the Commodore at school. Our school had a pair of the few luggable versions of the C-64; I would not be surprised if they were prototypes. They were similar to the Osbournes and were the first with full colour screens.
The Commodore 64 turns 30 this year, and my father, well, he is certainly much older, but still working with technology and technology companies, while I toil away with Fedora on my desktop and work with satellite technology, developed on Open Source platforms.
As we enter 2012, take a moment to look back at some of the accomplishments the early pioneers in this industry have made, and the sacrifices. And wonder what might have happened, if people had been a little less, or a little more aware of what they were holding in their hands.
Image from Commodore USA LLC which is not Commodore Business Machines of old.
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