Projects Portfolio

What Mailing List?

In 1988 a mailing campaign was envisioned during a conversation with my good friend and colleague, Skip Taylor of Lancaster, California. The first draft of the software was completed in a few days. Skip thought it was so good that it should be marketed. I dubbed the software What Mailing List? because at that time I had more interest in sounding clever while being defiant than in marketing.

By 1991 I had the software placed on many bulletin boards (the predecessor to the Internet for computer geeks outside the government and universities). The time to compile it in Quicksilver was becoming a burden, so I converted it to Microsoft PDS, which stood for Professional Development System (if I recall correctly). It was Microsoft's high-end BASIC compiler, which was just what I needed at the time.

During the 1990s I added USPS bar code support, mouse support with drop-down menus (in MS-DOS text mode, mind you – not Windows), support for virtually every printer HP made and several other brands as well, and wrote an in-depth user's guide for it that I would print and bind myself with every $65 order that came in.

Software was still distributed on floppy disks then because not all computers had CD-ROM drives. I would pride myself on the efficiency of my code, sometimes spending days just seeing how much smaller I could make the code without removing any features. Throughout its life the software was able to run on any computer that could run MS-DOS, even the oldest, slowest computer you could find that only had a single 3.5-inch floppy disk drive.

I continued to sell the software even as Windows 95 started to become more common than MS-DOS and Windows 3.1, but I did not want to convert the software a third time so it remained a DOS package. By 2000 I had not had an order in about a year so I discontinued development.