Petrolia programmer hard at work
Author: Gladys Burritt
Date: March, 1988
Keywords: humboldt county phillip howard interview profile local
Text: Separated by mountain ridges and redwood forests from the hustle and bustle of urban centers, SMUG member Philip Howard works in his home in Petrolia, writing software for a municipal bond broker, for a book store, and for a bus company. He says his freelance "cottage industry" is really a result of suggestions he makes to people he meets (on airplanes, for example) who share with him their business situations. He says he is surprised at how some businesses haven't become computerized, like the accountant he met who has no spreadsheet program. Philip knew he wanted a Mac the first time he saw one, and has a Mac Plus which he acquired over a year ago. He is hoping to add a laser printer to his set-up, and says he also looks forward to having a Mac II some day. He's been using computers since the days of punch cards, when in 1974 he was a high school student taking some classes at Cal Tech. Later, computers were part of his work when he studied botany and biochemistry at U.C. Davis. He notes how comparatively easy it is now for his daughter to use a computer to produce a school project or paper. Other projects Philip does on his Mac Plus include writing poetry, and designing what he describes as a combination of "Etch-a-Sketch" and "Spiro-graph" pictures using a Hewlett-Packard plotter. He's also working on ideas for programs for commercial distribution, one having to do with plant family identification. He says his wife is considering distribution of a disk-catalog of her stained glass designs. So, if you walk into a bookstore in Sacramento someday and sit down at the Mac to consult Books in Print, you may be using Philip Howard's software. Or, if you're riding the bus in Reno, the schedule of the transit system may have been arranged not by yellow "Post-it" stickers all over a huge wall, but by a Mac as programmed by Philip Howard.
Copyright © march, 1988 by Gladys Burritt