About John Apperson..
My name is John Apperson, I was born in Missouri in the late 1950s and lived on a farm until I was five years old. The house I lived in as a child was built in 1830. Back in those days farms were low on Bell Telephones priority list, so we had a crank telephone. The other farms in the area were all wired together as a large party line. If you wanted to call a neighbor you might crank long-short-long.
Moving to Southern California in early 1960's was like moving into the future 30 years. One day we were driving on dirt roads and talking on crank telephones and the next we were driving on freeways and going to Disneyland where we could talk on experimental video phones.
Maybe these time warping experiences prepared me for other events in my life. In junior high school I took "high tech" classes like "Print Shop" (Yes we got to set type by hand). When I was in high school I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. It wasn't until I was in college and needed a job to support my young family that I finally found my career. A friend of mine called me and told me about a man who was training people to do "computer drafting". They weren't even teaching that at the university so I called the man and didn't give him a chance to say no.
In November of 1981 my friends and I waited in a dark parking lot in Pasadena California. Most of us had never met this man who claimed to be starting a CAD business. But he asked us to meet him at a company called Metrix at 11pm for CAD training so there we were. When he drove into the parking lot in an old Gremlin my heart sank. I needed a real job and this didn't look like a successful businessman.
By the next day most of the others had dropped out of the training program. I was fascinated by the system which in those days cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. I decided to stay and see if I could learn a few things even if our "trainer" didn't have a real business and was only leasing the systems at night to train and setup libraries.
I finally got a job working for Metrix. Since I had learned on their equipment they were happy to give me a job mapping cities on their CAD system. After working at Metrix for a while I met a programmer that consulted for them. One day he was telling me about some of his programs and I said that I would like to see a CAD program running on a micro-computer. He said "Why would anyone want to do CAD on a micro-computer". That's when I began making plans to create CadStd.
About this time I bought my first micro-computer from my good friend and mentor Les Kerrigan, I really
wanted it so I could begin my "CAD" programming project. It was a Byte-8, S-100 bus, Z80, 2Mhz,
CPM system. It had a whopping 64K of RAM. I bought my first programming tool, Borland's Turbo
Pascal 1.0 for CPM. Les let me read his old Byte magazines and I digested them cover to cover
(and I don't mean just one months issue, but every back issue he had for years). He was my landlord and
lived next door. He bought a new Zenith Z-100 system and let me use it to learn about it's new graphics
display. He really challenged me to become a better programmer. After working on a program, I would
show it to Les and he would say "great, now can you do it in half the lines of code" or "Wow, your
program could run faster if you learned how to read and write binary files".
That's where CadStd got it's start. In 1987 I had a DOS version of CadStd (It used to be called "CAD-STD"). There was a demo version on Compuserve. I even advertised it in Byte magazine. It was about that time that Microsoft started to introduce Windows and that caused me to become discouraged about the future of my CAD program. Microsoft introduced so many new, cryptic interfaces that it was overwhelming for little guys like myself. It wasn't until Borland came out with Delphi that I regained hope that I could start again. Of course by then there was a lot of micro-computer CAD competition. But I spent so many hours working on CadStd it seemed ashame to just throw it in the corner and forget about it.
So I decided to share it with you. It is built on the philosophy that was esposed by Tomas Payne in the pamphlet Common Sense: "the more simple any thing is, the less liable it is to be disordered, and the easier repaired when disordered". I hope you enjoy it.
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