Jim and I have been together since 1986. But it was in 1983 that he first roared into my life and introduced me to Softalk magazine. I was a several year grad student in social network theory at UC, Irvine, cutting my techno-geek teeth on mainframes. Always short on money, I was tutoring high school kids, assistant teaching, and freelancing for Sociological Abstracts in San Diego.
Fellow grad, Jim Salmons, who worked at Softalk before coming to Irvine, was doing “desktop publishing” on a souped-up Mac – before there even was desktop publishing! With a Mac and a dot matrix printer on his dining room table, I spent many an hour next to Jim absorbing what I could from his font of tech ability and knowledge, and listening in awe to his excitement and enthusiasm for the technology that was on the way.
I was bitten, and smitten! The microcomputer “revolution” was an incredible magnet that I couldn’t resist. And, I had never met anyone like Jim!
I heard about Softalk from Jim. He had nearly a complete set of Softalk magazines and we carefully looked through them together. He talked about the Softrek articles and how he kludged together in his old BMW what was surely one of the very first mobile computing systems. When I saw the car in storage for myself, I was hooked.
I won’t say that Softalk brought us together, but it did help me to tell Jim in a very special way just how much I cared for him.
I found a box of slides with photos of the Softrek mobile with marine battery in the back, monitor under the dashboard, and acoustic coupler ready to connect and send – as mobile as you could get in those days. While cataloging Jim’s Softalk collection I also found a few duplicate issues; these were all I needed to complete my plan. I laid out what I wanted to use and headed to a great frame shop in Tustin. On Jim’s birthday in 1986, I gave him this collage….and as they say, the rest is history.