In every line of work, one will find the practical jokers, and the occasional wacky character.The technology industry though, seems to attract such characters like a moth to a light bulb, and indeed seems to be a breeding ground.There is a long, and established, history in this profession of brilliant, (and some not so brilliant) eccentric, individuals who would not be considered 'mainstream'.
I remember seeing a photograph of Nikola Tesla calmly sitting, reading a book, while bolts of electricity danced about, emanating from one of his high energy coils. His was a grand, and noble, vision, though. Tesla wanted via his coils, to transmit free electrical power to the masses, sans wires. The concept of radiating alternating current across the 'nether', would be taken to new heights, literally, by the father of modern radio, Edwin Armstrong. Armstrong, who actually understood how an 'electron valve' vacuum tube worked, built an oscillator based on his theory of regenerative amplifiers, (no more spark gaps for radio transmitters!) and designed the Superheterodyne circuit, was also the same man who liked to sit atop the high radio towers he built. He ended his brilliant career, and his life as well, when he jumped off one of those towers. (sans bungee!)
When I had graduated from DeVry in 1977, IBM was only making very large computers the size of today's typical townhouse unit. The then, relatively new film maker, George Lucas, had completed the first of his 'Star Wars' series of Giga-buck hit movies. I had learned of the inner workings of the Intel i8080 microprocessor. Wow!, a whole 8 bit central processing unit on a Silicon chip, that could ride on the back of a typical Cockroach. This first microprocessor had, as I recall, a 1 megahertz clock. Today's Intel microprocessors,have a 64 bit bus, up to 4 processor cores and a 2+ Giga-Hertz clock, two thousand times the clock speed of those original processors. It had been 8 years since I had done a science project on LASERS in High School, and I had yet to see the common, widespread use, in everyday life as today. And now with Verizon's FiOS (a long time ago THE PHONE COMPANY), that fiber optic technology is now available, in certain areas, to the average homeowner.
One may wonder about this gap between High School, and when I finally graduated from DeVry. I had originally attended DeVry Technical Institute (ever notice how most everyone in this profession is from an institute?) soon after High School, in 1971. I had been commuting to the Union New Jersey campus until my old Ford was indeed 'Found On Road Dead'. I had gotten a ride for a while and completed the Fall - Winter Trimester. I had taken off during the Spring - Summer Trimester with the intention of working to buy a new car. The US Government had other plans for my next 4 Summers though. (and Fall,Winter, and Spring as well) They made me an employment offer I could not legally refuse for a low paying job, with lots of travel, plenty of excitement, and adventure. To fulfill these legal obligations, I had enlisted voluntarily in the Navy.
In essence I had joined the Navy to avoid being drafted into the Army. I returned to DeVry in March of 1976, to complete my studies. I attained the honor of Dean's List, for my high overall grade point average, during the last Trimester. I received my Associate of Applied Science degree June, 1977.