The Nostradamus of Engineering Workstations
Re-inventing the world one engineering workstation at a time

Back in 1986, while most people were busy cranking up the volume on their boomboxes or rocking out to hair metal bands, I was revolutionising the tech world one workstation at a time. Now, before you picture me in a lab coat and safety goggles, let’s set the scene straight: I was an engineering workstation salesman, but with the vision of a tech oracle!

The First Sale: LISPing into the Future

Picture this: my first engineering workstation sale was to a professor developing in LISP (List Processing Language). Ah, LISP—a language so ancient that programmers today whisper its name like an incantation from a bygone era. If you’ve ever tried to read LISP code, you might feel like you’re deciphering an ancient scroll or trying to read a particularly aggressive IKEA instruction manual. But there was our hero, me, enthusiastically selling a workstation designed for this mystical language.

It’s 1986. Shoulder pads are in, the internet is but a twinkle in the DARPA’s eye, and I am already knee-deep in the world of AI development. Who knew that LISP, a language known for its parentheses (and more parentheses), would be a cornerstone of artificial intelligence research?

The Second Sale: A 3D Leap into the Abyss

Don's second big sale was a workstation equipped with a 3D solid modeling system, complete with GPUs for radiosity, ray tracing, and NURBS (Non-Uniform Relational B-Splines, or as I like to call them, "Not Usually Recognised By Salespeople"). For the uninitiated, these terms might sound like the names of obscure 80s techno bands, but in reality, they were cutting-edge technologies in computer graphics.

Imagine the scene: me, with a glint in my eye, explaining to a skeptical engineer how this workstation would render 3D models with unparalleled precision. “Radiosity will give you realistic lighting,” I’d say, “Ray tracing will make it look like Pixar (did they exist then?) had a hand in it, and NURBS… well, they’ll spline your B’s like nothing else!”

The Unforeseen Prophecy

Fast forward 30 years, and these technologies are the bedrock of generative AI. I, with my impeccable sales instincts, was essentially the Nostradamus of the engineering workstation world. Who could have predicted that the LISP-loving professor and the 3D modeling enthusiast would be the unwitting pioneers of the AI revolution?

Today’s generative AI systems owe a debt of gratitude to those early adopters who took a chance on the technology I was selling. It’s as if I was unknowingly planting the seeds of a tech revolution, one workstation at a time. If only I had known, I might have invested in some tech stocks instead of spending all his commission on mullet maintenance products!

A Retrospective Chuckle

In hindsight, it’s amusing to think about how those early workstations were like the clunky, brick-sized mobile phones of the computing world. But my sales prowess and visionary clients laid the groundwork for the sleek, AI-driven technologies we take for granted today.

So, here’s to me: the unsung hero of early engineering workstations, the man who inadvertently foresaw the future of AI, and the guy who still has a killer vinyl collection. If you ever need a workstation sold with the foresight of a tech prophet, you know who to call.

And remember, the next time you hear the term NURBS, don’t think of a tech acronym—think of me, with a sly grin, knowing I was just a few decades ahead of his time.



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