Member Biographies

From The Interface, newsletter of
the Fresno Commodore User Group

    

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Introduction

“Memory Lane,” our series of articles honoring former members, is now complete, so we move on to current members. Everyone was sent a list of questions, and we are creating a sort of biography of each person from their answers.

This material appeared in The Interface starting in 2016.

Questions and comments to our web address, info@dickestel.com, are welcome.

--Dick Estel

   

Dick Estel         Louis Mazzei          Greg Dodd          Vincent Mazzei

  

Dick Estel

The Interface: Please provide brief biographical data: Place of birth, family status, occupation, current place of residence.

Dick Estel : I was born in Merced CA in 1939, but was raised and lived in rural Mariposa County in the Sierra Nevada foothills. After graduation from Mariposa County High School in 1957 I attended Fresno State College, receiving a BA in radio and television broadcasting in 1962.

I worked for a few years at radio and television stations in Fresno, Coalinga, Tulare, Bakersfield and Salinas, mostly writing advertising copy. In 1976 I began a 26 year career at the Fresno County Department of Social Services. I retired as a Program Manager in 2002.

I got married in 1963, and divorced eight years later. I lived in central Fresno for 30 years, and in 2008 I moved to a condo in Clovis, a city of 100,000 northeast of Fresno.

My parents, who never used computers, passed away in 2005 and 2007. I have two daughters, two adult grandsons, and two great grandsons, all of them living nearby. All of them use various computers and devices, even 18-month old Jack, who can find the songs and games he likes on the iPad.

 

TI: Do you recall a time when computers were not a common fixture in most homes? Elaborate to your heart’s content.

DE: Since I am nearly 77 years old, the answer to this question is clearly YES. I don’t know when I first became aware of the existence of computers in general, but I know I wrote an essay about the value of computer knowledge when I was a senior in high school. This was in reference to using large scale computers for business, not a home product.

 

TI: What is your first memory of being aware of home computers (not necessarily using one; just any knowledge of their existence)?

DE: This is almost lost in the mists of history, but it was probably reading something about Radio Shack selling a home computer.

 

TI: What is your earliest memory of using (or trying to use) a computer – your own, a friend’s, at work, in a store.

DE: I looked at a computer in Radio Shack and tried to do something on it (maybe play blackjack; I’m not sure). I must not have looked like a likely buyer, since no one in the store offered any help, and I was unable to get anywhere with the machine, so I walked out. The price was also a barrier at that time.

 

TI: When did you get your first computer and what was it? When did you get your first Commodore computer and what was it?

DE: It was several years after my failed attempt at Radio Shack. I had been using computers to a limited extent at work (mainframe access), and knew that I wanted a computer some day. I saw an ad in the newspaper for a Commodore 64, loaded up my 3-year old grandson in the car, and drove the short distance to Sears. We came home with a Commodore 64 ($199) and a Blue Chip Disk Drive (about $150). The drive did not work; I went back and they exchanged it for a 1541 at no additional cost.

I was used to the many different ways in which client information could be viewed via the mainframe at work. My plan, which was in fact just a fantasy, was to catalog my collection of over a thousand 45 RPM vinyl records, several hundred albums, and a growing number of audio cassettes. I wanted to be able to enter a song title and immediately see a list of all versions; or an artist, and see all songs and albums by that person.

I soon realized that this task could be accomplished on a very limited basis with a data base program, but that it would take a lifetime to complete data entry, and information retrieval would be painfully slow. I found that I could create a well-designed list in a word processing program, and have the information I actually NEEDED, if not everything I WANTED.

 

TI: What computers have you owned?

DE: Several C64s and 128s; I owned an Amiga for about five minutes, which I bought to get the included 1084 monitor. I immediately sold the computer to Robert Bernardo. I have owned at least five or six Windows PCs, the first one being an Acer, and the current one a custom-made box from PC Workshop, a computer store that is now out of business. I also have a Dell laptop that I take with me on long trips, but seldom use otherwise.

 

TI: How often do you use a Commodore computer - daily, weekly, monthly, rarely?

DE: If I had answered this question 20 years ago it would have been “every day, till late at night.” Now the only time I use a Commodore is at FCUG meetings, and I don’t do much of that. Back in the day I used GEOS to produce the club newsletter, and also created a series of graphic disks with material scanned with the Commodore Handyscanner. Of course there were many other computer projects. I was never much interested in games; I got PacMan and Frogger, and still enjoy them once in a while, but that was about it.

 

TI: Did you ever use a Commodore of any kind at work or for work purposes?

DE: I’m not 100% sure but I think I may have used it at home to write some memos and other simple word processing items for work. I remember taking my SX64 to work one day, so I did something work-related but can’t remember what.


TI
: Do you use a computer at work, and if so what type. How do you use it or what do you use it for? (If retired, answer based on your final year or two of work).

DE: My first connection with computer use at work consisted of input documents that we filled in by hand. They then went to data entry clerks who entered the information via terminals into the mainframe. By the time I retired, every employee had a desktop computer which was used daily. The line staff was still entering the same type of data we had done by hand, but using the PC to enter it.

In my own specialized position, I mostly used word processing programs, but also did a significant amount of research via the Internet.

 

TI: What computer-type devices that are not specifically a laptop or desktop do you use (iPad or other tablet, smart phone, other). Have you used any in the past that you no longer have or use?

DE: I have an iPad and an Android smart phone which I use every day. When I travel, I use the iPad to access my email. I use the phone mainly for text messaging and phone calls; the screen is too small for satisfactory internet use.

 

TI: If you have a spouse or children, what is their computer use?

            Have their own computer or device

            Use your equipment

            Do not use it

Which person in your family uses a computer at home the most?

DE: When my grandsons were young they used my computers for games and later for various Internet activities. I live alone so there is no one in the house routinely using the computers other than myself.

 

TI: What Commodore magazines did you subscribe to or read, and which did you find most helpful?

DE: I subscribed to Run and Compute! Gazette, and to several short-lived publications produced by small-scale, semi-professional writer/publishers. These included Diehard, Commodore World, Commodore MaiLink, a couple of GEOS specific magazines, and a couple of others I can’t remember the names of. I also read Compute and .Info from time to time. I thought that Run was the most useful to me.

 

TI: What are your predictions or expectations for the future of Commodore brand computers?

DE: I am still amazed that Commodore has held on so long, especially considering that its final demise was being predicted in the mid-90s. I think a small group will continue to use them and develop for them as long as a machine still boots up.

 

TI: When did you join FCUG ?

DE: In 1988. After a year of struggling with various programs, a friend at work mentioned that there was a Commodore club in Fresno. I went to a meeting, joined the same day, and I’m still here.

 

TI: Any final thoughts?

DE: I will always be grateful that I got involved with computers, and to the guidance and social interaction I experience with FCUG. Computers have opened up a whole new world, in gathering information on the Internet, and in communicating via email with people to whom I would rarely or never write a letter.

    
Louis Mazzei

The Interface: Please provide brief biographical data: Place of birth, family status, occupation, current place of residence.

Louis Mazzei : I was born on 03/15/1973 at 3:28 p.m. in Santa Cruz , California (at the now defunct S.C. County General Hospital ) and am currently 43 years of age. I am married, have a teenage son and an adult daughter who has provided me with my first grandson. I currently reside in Farmersville , CA and in the triple-digit heat of the San Joaquin Valley summers, I sometimes miss the easy, breezy warmth of coastal living. I work in the printing and publishing industry and currently serve as a yearbook consultant, troubleshooter and provide production support.

 

TI: What is your first memory of being aware of home computers (not necessarily using one; just any knowledge of their existence)?

LM: I first became aware of home computers when I went to a friend's house and saw an Apple ][ Plus for the first time.

 

TI: Do you recall a time when computers were not a common fixture in most homes? Elaborate to your heart’s content.  

LM: Certainly! I didn't see that Apple ][ Plus until I was 9 or 10 years old. Before that, we had just graduated from Pong to an Atari 2600 and thought that only scientists and big business needed computers.

 

TI: What is your earliest memory of using (or trying to use) a computer – your own, a friend’s, at work, in a store.

LM: When I saw the Apple ][ Plus mentioned above, I played Choplifter for the first time and was in awe.

 

TI: When did you get your first computer and what was it? When did you get your first Commodore computer and what was it?

LM: My first home computer was the ECS add-on for my Intellivision; 2K RAM , 20 column display and the UGLIEST system text you can imagine. My second home computer was a very well-worn C-64 with a datasette. I used a 9" black and white TV for a monitor and later added a 1650 modem. That was my BBS machine and even though loading games from cassette was terrible, it's probably the machine I miss the most.

 

TI: What computers have you owned?

LM: I don't think you REALLY want me to list them all... ;)  I'll just list companies, because it'd take too long to list the models, but I'll say Commodore (including Amigas), Apple (including Macs and Newtons), Atari, Sun Microsystems, various PC's, Tandy, Raspberry Pi, the aforementioned Intellivision ECS, Texas Instruments, Coleco ADAM and I'm sure there are others I have am forgetting.

 

TI: How often do you use a Commodore computer - daily, weekly, monthly, rarely?

LM: Rarely, but I'm working on that... ;)

 

TI: Did you ever use a Commodore of any kind at work or for work purposes?

LM: No. By the time I started working around computers, the industry had been assimilated by the Borg (Microsoft), with the occasional Mac for supplement.

 

TI: Do you use a computer at work, and if so what type? How do you use it or what do you use it for? (If retired, answer based on your final year or two of work).

LM: I use both Macs and Windows PC's daily at my job. I work as support in the printing and publishing industry and computers are now the biggest part of it, not only for printing purposes, but for processing data as well.

 

TI: What computer-type devices that are not specifically a laptop or desktop do you use (iPad or other tablet, smart phone, other)? Have you used any in the past that you no longer have or use?

LM: I have both an iPhone and an iPad that I use daily, to the point where I actually don't have a modern computer on my desk at home. I'm currently building a Windows PC just to play Star Trek Online [drool].

 

TI: If you have a spouse or children, what is their computer use?

            Have their own computer or device

            Use your equipment

            Do not use it

LM: My wife, daughter and son all have laptops that I don't really touch, and my son has a modern gaming PC for simulators, a TI-99/4a, a brown (breadbin) C-64, an SX-64 and a really nice, vintage VIC-20 system. The VIC-20 is his favorite classic computer, but his PC sees the most use.

 

TI: Which person in your family uses a computer at home the most?

LM: My son, for sure. He loves simulators and open source game development. He's on a computer constantly when he's home.


TI: 11. What Commodore magazines did you subscribe to or read, and which did you find most helpful?

LM: I used to buy Ahoy!, A+, MacUser, RUN and Amiga World regularly, with the occasional Compute's Gazette. I miss them all, but I seem to remember enjoying Ahoy! and Amiga World the most (not sure why).

 

TI: What are your predictions or expectations for the future of Commodore brand computers?

LM: Care and support from the Commodore community worldwide! Keeping the classic platforms alive using modern innovation and sharing our knowledge base is of utmost importance.

 

TI: 14. When did you join FCUG ?

LM: Gosh, I must have joined in either March or April of 2011. I went to my first CommVEx that year and am hoping for many more!

 

TI: Any final thoughts?

LM: The ancient Egyptians believed that to speak of the dead was to make them live again in our hearts. Keeping that in mind, don't stop enjoying/supporting your computers just because they are considered old by today's standards, whatever you do. Classic computers may not be produced any longer, but they are certainly alive and well because of people like us.

 
Greg Dodd

The Interface: Please provide brief biographical data: Place of birth, family status, occupation, current place of residence.

Greg: I was born and raised in Long Beach , California . I am married to Krysta with two sons, Gregory, who used to be a member, and Kristopher. I reside in Patterson , CA where I have lived for the past 11 years. As of September 26, 2016 I became unemployed. I have recently been reminded however, that when God closes one door, he opens a better one. I hope to have “new business” information for our next meeting...

 

TI: What is your first memory of being aware of home computers (not necessarily using one; just any knowledge of their existence)?

Greg: I recall seeing them in movies and in the news. Later, I remember seeing the Atari 400 and 800 computers in the Sears Catalogs at Christmas Time. Side note: I have very fond memories of getting my hands on the Sears Christmas Catalog every year. I have found images of the electronics sections of these catalogs online and have compiled a booklet with these wonderful images. They bring back fond memories of the 70’s and early 80’s.

 

TI: Do you recall a time when computers were not a common fixture in most homes? Elaborate to your heart’s content.

Greg: Definitely! Growing up in the 70’s, I remember hearing how only companies and extremely wealthy individuals owned computers.


TI: What is your earliest memory of using (or trying to use) a computer – your own, a friend’s, at work, in a store.

Greg: I recall using the Radio Shack (Tandy) TRS-80 computers in school. Later, I recall using the Apple ][C computers in junior high. I even remember using an IBM 5150 in a CAD (computer-aided drafting) class, during the brief period my family spent in Albuquerque , NM .

 

TI: When did you get your first computer and what was it? When did you get your first Commodore computer and what was it?

Greg: Around 1983, I got my first computer...a Commodore 64!

 

TI: What computers have you owned?

Greg: (Get ready for a long answer) I had my C64, a C128, an Atari 520STfm, an IBM XT clone, a Mac Performa (I think it was a 66mhz) and I may have had an Aqaurius with my Intellivision II, but I can’t recall for sure. Unfortunately, all of these (along with ALL of my video game systems, games, etc.) were stolen after I moved out in 1998!

 

TI: How often do you use a Commodore computer - daily, weekly, monthly, rarely?

Greg: Now, rarely (usually at the FCUG Meetings). I would love to have time to mess around with them and I actually may, someday soon (when I am able to set up my “ Computer Museum ”).

 

TI: Did you ever use a Commodore of any kind at work or for work purposes?

Greg: Nope

 

TI: Do you use a computer at work, and if so what type. How do you use it or what do you use it for? (If retired/not working answer based on your final year or two of work).

Greg: On a daily basis, I used a Windows 7 Dell laptop. In the past I had also been able to use iMac (i5 processors) 27” computers for iBook documents and photo (Photoshop 6) and video (Premiere Pro 6) editing.

 

TI: What computer-type devices that are not specifically a laptop or desktop do you use (iPad or other tablet, smart phone, other). Have you used any in the past that you no longer have or use?

Greg: iPad, horrible LG G4 phone (soon to be replaced by an iPhone 7+) and Microsoft Surface. In the past, I had a Blackberry phone and somewhere I think we still have a Palm device. I recall using that for contraction timing, when my wife was pregnant with Gregory!

 

TI: If you have a spouse or children, what is their computer use? Do they have their own computer or device?

Greg: Yes, Gregory, Iphone 7+, Ipad Pro 15, Windows Laptop. Kris, Iphone 5. Both use their devices daily

 

TI: Which person in your family uses a computer at home the most?

Greg: Probably my mom, she’s on it quite frequently. When I was working in the bay area, I was constantly on my laptop throughout the day. Now I use mine occasionally, mainly for video editing.

 

TI: What Commodore magazines did you subscribe to or read, and which did you find most helpful?

Greg: I forget the name of it, but I do recall reading a Commodore magazine back in the early 80’s.

 

TI: What are your predictions or expectations for the future of Commodore brand computers?

Greg: Unfortunately, the future for most of the classic companies from the 80’s is quite bleak. Many namesakes (Commodore included) are now owned by LLC companies that license the name to whoever pays them for it.

 

TI: When did you join FCUG ?

Greg: About 3 years ago I met Rob ert Bernardo at the Maker Faire my son and I attended a few years ago. Rob ert told me about the club, and a few months later we ended up driving out to Fresno to check it out. The rest is history...

 

TI: Any final thoughts?

Greg: I am constantly adding to my collection of vintage computers, retro and modern gaming systems and of course arcade games and pinball machines. I am always looking for space around the house to have my collections out on display. Sadly, I don’t have nearly enough space, and a large percentage of my computers are now in storage. Some day, I still plan to set up a personal “museum” housing all of my computers, as well as my “retro” game systems and accessories. :)

I also have 2 Youtube Channels:

“My” primary channel: Arcade Dude 44

The new channel that Gregory, my friend and myself are putting together: Network of Gaming

   
Vincent Mazzei

COMING SOON

   
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Updated February 3, 2017