Fashionably Late or Decades Ahead?
It all began in 1978 when Brian Hale was 12 years old and just starting Junior High School and was TARDY coming back from lunch period. The principal, Mr. Ron Green, assigned Brian some ‘typing’ on the school’s new TANDY / Radio Shack TRS-80 computer. Just fifteen minutes, then he could go home…
The material was from a primitive little spiral bound book with line numbers and codes on the pages. Brian was only supposed to stay for fifteen minutes. He was just too curious to quit. Some time later he finished and typed in RUN and viola… STAR WARS had begun!!
To err is human. To err is human, oh those famous words from Scotty! However, it got better and before you knew it Klingons were getting destroyed at warp speed. (Actual game shown above)
When he returned, Mr. Green joined in and they played, and played…. UNTIL the phone rang! Oh yeah, what time is it? It can’t be that late, can it? (Principal and kid look at each other nervously)
Those days were definitely different.
It was 9:30 pm and Brian’s mom was starting to get concerned. Small town, different time in life, indeed. But that’s where it all started with Brian and programming computers.
A Vision in 1978
Brian’s new parents, Howard and Pat Hale could see the obvious interest their newly adopted son had discovered. They also saw Brian’s focused passion and ability to program computers (when no one they knew owned one) inspired Howard to started looking some sort of computer system.
Personal computers were very scarce and expensive at the time. Brian and Howard still recall trips to Denver, Colorado in search of an affordable system before making their decision. A decision to buy local, despite lower selection and higher prices, but they say it was the best way to do business.
Minatare High School had the TRS-80, but the man Brian credits for his initial interest in computers, the infamous principal who had the vision and ability to get the school board to allow him to purchase it in 1977, actually recommended the Apple computer. The one big downfall was the lack of Apple software compared to ‘IBM’ based computers, but Mr. Green owned one himself and he recognized Brian’s abilities to create software so he recommended Apple to them.
You might even find it hard to believe, but an Apple IIe in 1978 brought $3,800 equipped with 64 Kilobytes of RAM and NO hard drive, a small monochrome (green and white) screen and no software. Programs ran via 5 1/4 inch floppy disks on the 64 Kilobytes of resident memory. Today, a single icon on your cell phone’s home screen uses that much memory or more.
Howard purchased the system from Harlan Trupp’s new Apple Store in downtown Gering, Nebraska. It was one of the best decisions he ever made.
Here are a few fun facts that demonstrate why you can trust Hale Multimedia, Brian’s parent company, to give you EXPERIENCED advice, if nothing else.
Brian Hale was programming computers two years before Microsoft released their first consumer-oriented software, Typing Tutor. It’s said that he subsequently spent many hours using that first program when it came out in 1980. But before that came out he had created a simple statistics tracking program, since his other passion in life was baseball.
Another benchmark in history comes in 1989 when Brian was awarded a Commendation Medal from two-star Major General Travis for his programming work during a war exercise called Wintex-Cimex 89 in Heidelberg, West Germany. The task was to create a way to sort messages coming in from internal leaders. The next year, AOL ‘invented’ and dubbed this process of messages as ’email’.