Movers and Shakers – John Walker

From time to time I have managed to bump into some “Movers and Shakers”, people who make their make on the world around them.

When I was young I saw Dwight Eisenhower at the campus of Olivet College. In fact, my mother has a picture from the newspaper. You can clearly make out her, my older brother, and me in the picture. No idea where my dad was.

When I was in high school I got to shake Robert Kennedy’s hand. That has it’s own post.

John Walker

I was attending a Trade Show in LA in 83. I was doing demonstrations of my own CAD to CMM interface software. The first in the Industry, by the way, and a new Parametric Programming package we were also offering. “We” meant the General Electric Mechanical CAD System offering named CALMA DDM, for whom I was a developer and consultant.

Technical Jargon break:

CAD = Computer Aided Design
CMM = Coordinate Measuring Machine (in this case – computer controlled)
DDM = Design Drafting and Manufacturing

Suffice it to say that I was at my prime, in my field of Computer Aided Design.

On my lunch breaks I would walk around looking at other people’s booths. Watching presentations. Getting freebies. Versatec was showing off their new 16 color plotter. And even looking at some weird stuff, like this guy that was showing off HIS software at the show.

The booth attracted me because of the variety of PC hardware running the same software, a simple CAD package. The booth was just a basic U shaped booth made up of long tables covered with tablecloths. On the tables were various PC platforms. I stopped and checked out the software out of curiosity.

Our CAD software ran on massive mainframes, like everyone else’s. The minimum investment, for just one workstation, was $250,000. No CAD system ran on a “personal computer”.

Being a CAD consultant, I gave the system a brief workout. It wasn’t bad, but it had a distinctly different approach to CAD. A bit awkward to my taste. Then John came over and introduced himself. We shook hands and then talked for nearly a half hour, mostly about his software. I pointed out some features that I felt were missing and gave him some general advice about functionality, interface, and such. I bragged on my CAD-CMM interface too, being the hot shot that I was. hahahaha

Well, CALMA DDM is long gone and that CMM interface, though one of the best things I ever developed, is gone with it. Sometimes I look back and laugh. Sometimes I tell people that John did so well DUE to the excellent advice I gave him. John no longer sells that software either, but it is still for sale. Maybe you have heard of it, AutoCAD.

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