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Navigation Aids for Thinkers


Our staff has 28 years of experience in software development — and that's with just one guy.

Stephen Walton
Photo by Deborah Israel
Steve Walton is our principal consultant, developer and janitor. He has been a(n):

• published novelist
• newspaper reporter
• magazine editor
• programmer
• software support specialist
• author of shrinkwrap software
• editorial director for a startup
• pioneer in readable documentation
• freelance developer
• Wall Street programmer/analyst

Combining the most lovable traits of both codger and geek, Steve continues to seek new technical challenges in between naps. His passion for computers actually began in the 1950's, when he built a six-disk (Masonite), 1.5-v (single 'D' cell) Brainiac computer kit (equivalent to the more widely advertised Geniac) — and promptly reported a bug in one of the included programs to the manufacturer.  More sophisticated hardware was beyond his budget and, as an only child, he found it impossible to timeshare. Fast forward to 1975, when the first microprocessor-based computer kits appeared. Sadly, Steve knew that with his physical clumsiness he would probably strangle himself if he ever attempted wire wrapping; solder was entirely out of the question. He would have to wait a little longer.

Then, in 1977, the first microcomputers you could just plug in appeared. Steve bought what may have been the first TRS-80 delivered in New York City. From that time on, there was no stopping him. After a probationary year as a hobbyist programmer, he got a full-time job working in CBASIC for a startup in New Jersey (actually a spinoff from a madcap actuarial firm). Even the backward commute from Manhattan couldn't phase him; he used that to study Z80 assembler. On the job, he wrote illustration generators for novel life-insurance products and parts of systems for insurance application processing and for pension management (some companies still had pensions back then). At night, he was developing what would become his first commercial software product: Sketchmode, a vector-drawing and animation package ultimately published by Hayden Book Company.

The middling years

As the years went on, Steve's career was that of the typical coder-gypsy, though perpetually tinged with auctorial ambitions that made him sometimes seek fame when money would have made more sense. For details, you might as well look at the old personal page, résumé and list of publications that he put on the web during the mid-90's and has revised very little since. If you don't want to bother, we understand, but Steve wants to draw your attention to The Manual, about the only thing on the old Ideonautics site that ever generated inward links. It's a forgivable mangling of the Enchiridion (handbook, manual), the Cliff's Notes of Stocism as delivered by Epictetus and recorded by his student Arrian. Steve recommends it, and suggests you consult one of the straight translations if you don't like his "rendering."

Going forward

Steve expects to keep coding, though he wouldn't care to guess what programming language or platform he'll be spending most of his time with five years from now.

Ideonautics Corporation

11748 Route 22, Austerlitz, NY 12017 USA 518 392 3674
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