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A few projects which have kept me busy over the years
- I have always done massive studies for units of public government, including hueristic simulations of operation and costs of rail transit (the basis for Urban Mass Transit Agency funding of the rapid transit extension to O'Hare airport), analysis of the second largest bus system in the US (immediate multimilion dollar cost savings), estimates of future traffic and costs of Chicago regional transit operation (the basis for a Regional Transit Authority). I've done similar projects for a hospital (forms inventory reduction, analysis of labor and materials cost of a department).
The first analysis was done with punchcards from the Chicago Area Transportaion study, and run on IBM accounting machines (first run by a fellow employee named Gus). The next version was done also with punch-card input on a General Electric mainframe computer (card readers, one inch tape drives, 64 K CPU), and programmed in Fortran 4. I operated Chicago Transit Authority's mainframe to run my Fortran simulation when the accounting department wasn't using it.
The bus study was mostly presented as a catachistic text and analized data from my department's transfer counts which were done once a year. There were no questions by management. The study for the O'Hare Extension (Blue Line today) was mostly a graphical analysis, with the hueristics developed in Fortran. Eventually also run an the State of Illinois computer via a remote terminal.
I also did a CPM study for the construction of a laundry for St Luke's Presbyterian Hostpital, with bar graphs done on a PDP 11. That was fun. The CPM analysis immediately pointed up bottle-necks of some 30 days (involving the setting of concrete bases for the washers).
The study of transit traffic in the Chicago Metropolitan region was a massive hand-cranked job, involving projections into the future, which kept three people busy filling in boxes and doing column-to-column calculations. This was long before computer spread-sheets. This resulted in state funding for Chicago Transit Authority, the Regional Transit Authority, and some 20 suburban bus carriers (most of which went under anyway). The report was immediately supressed by the Govornor's office (Thompson), but leaked to the press by my bosses.
Independently as a contractor I performed a Present-worth analysis of the CTA Elevated System for the RTA founding committee. Plus some other analysis for a State of Illinois House of Reprentatives committee.
- I designed and built the first electrically operated turnstiles for Chicago Transit Authority both for agents and as coin-operated. I used a vending-machine mechanism, which, however, are very slow. I was ready to change to drop-shutes, for which I designed a solid-state binary adder, using some TO-5 RS flip-flops (the breadboard prototype is still in my possesion). Today the turnstiles operate with magnetic-stripe cards.
The design and design concept was picked up by Tiltman Langley of England, but produced by Duncan Industries in the US, who used a rotating coin sizer (very clever, very fast) and a bank of relays to count binary values of 5 cents. Relays will last 50 million operations. First used on the Dan Ryan extension.
- I designed and had installed various electric signing to direct passengers to the inner or outer loop stations of the Loop elevated (trains changed tracks between and after rush hours at that time), and at terminals. The signs were based on binary logic diagrams -- and operated by the agents as they went on- and off-duty. Signing at the (then) terminal for the Milwaukee line used relay flip-flops.
Developed completely disappearing electric signs consisting of silk-screened text on red plastic, behind translucent gray plastic. These were fitted in readily available "exit" sign boxes.
- Designed and built the firing system for a fast 'cone 11' gas-operated ceramic kiln for the Clay People of Chicago. Also designed and installed one for a high school in a suburb. The design used two blowers in tandum for each of the gas burners, a design with was quickly adopted by the School of the Art Institute, Columbia College, and Robbins Clay Studios. I used flow meters for the air and gas, so that settings could be adjusted hourly by numerically matching the temperature readouts from thermocouples. Made for idiots. The Clay People also sold a set of burners for an outfit in Michigan who was manufacturing ceramic bongs.
- Designed cameras and projection systems for others and for myself. Set standards and equipment requirements for 35mm filming for a railroad simulator. Got hired as the "consulting cinematographer" by IIT Research Institute after reading every available book on filming at the local library over a weekend. Did the cinematography (using a Michell Mark II) and the cuts (editing) for the conformer for ten years -- every summer for years, including a stint in India.
Built equipment to do the editing (35mm and 16mm) in my attic. At some point IITRI went to transpose the film to video disk. I showed the processor how to do that. That was the end of editing. Once IITRI figured out how to defeat interlacing (the simulator ran at variable speeds to zero frames per second) they changed to using a video camera. That was the end of filming. Also operated the simulator for some weeks as a relief operator.
- I have programmed in Fortran, Basic, and a half dozen scripting languages. While learning programming, I repeatedly blew core on the mainframe computer at Illinos Institute of Technology, with a program written to simulate an older accounting-machine type computer. I learned programming formally (a course by GE), and everything else by reading manuals, including DOS, PHP, Perl, Unix Shell, HTML, MySQL, and sed. Yes "sed" -- the most arcane and freaky scripting ever devised. Forgot any of the languages soon as it was no longer needed.
Wrote a set of 'listserv' scripts which are used for family and for classes. Four files run any number of small listservs (up to 80 or 90 names each), and create a web-based archive of the emails by month. Fairly secure, yet public for a small group. See Othergroup, below.
Wrote at one time a Perl program to grab, reorder, and relist the Gallery listings of the Chicago Reader. Was objected to by their CEO, but got permission to continue. Had to rewrite the program constantly as they made mistakes in their listings, referenced non-existant hard-drives, used the 27 non-standard (weird) MAC characters, changed format repeatedly, and finally started interspersing ads. Changed to 'sed,' and eventually gave up as the Reader went broke three times in a row, and reduced their output.
- Developed, with my son Kees, a listserv for use by galleries in Chicago to send exhibition announcements, [ChicagoArt.net]. Written in one week's time, while exchanging 700 emails. Uses a number of SQL databases, and very secure permission levels. Used still today by about 2000 'patrons' and 50 some galleries (300 have been users). Never promoted, but it has been running for 10 years with no problems.
I wrote a [calendar] page, which print to the screen of a browser the dates of the current month in box format, centered on a page. The current month, or the next, will be shown, with certain dates highlighted as anchors to specific announcements.
This and the foregoing is interesting in that almost none of the web page exists as actual texts, most of the information is formatted on-the-fly from PHP scripts and SQL queries.
- I was admitted to the graduate program in fine art at the School of the Art Institute on the basis of a portfolio of 15 visual books. I have since taught basic photography (lecture and darkroom), view camera, book binding, visual books, alternative photographic processes, all at Columbia College, Chicago, and film at the School of the Art Institute.
- I have been consulting editor for photography, Nit & Wit Literary Arts magazine; past Managing Editor for exposure magazine; past co-editor for Uturn magazine; editor and writer (under 12 different names) for Gravy Magazine.
- I have written 80 or so articles on art criticism, including two long expositions on Robert Frank, which have not only become landmark essays, but are still used today by others as course material. These were published in Afterimage, as an exhibition catalog in Spain, reprinted in exposure, and Creative Camera, (UK).
- I supported the "Uncomfortable Spaces" galleries (MWMW, Beret, Tough, and Ten in One) in Chicago with a website [Spaces.org], for almost a decade, until the galleries all went under -- at a time when the galleries didn't own a single computer. I collected reviews (176 reviews), images of artist's work, etc. Also did an occasional catalogue for Beret.
Started at about this time a series of capsule reviews of Chicago Art galleries, and carried this forward for about 4 years (1997 - 2001), which at one time was the national search page for Chicago Galleries from some Microsoft page. I started this because Chicago galleries would present links to the Louvre, but not a single local connection. It started with only 40 galleries, which grew to 125 sites by 2000, even though there are 200 galleries in Chicago. Initially most galleries had no clue on how to compose in HTML. There were some horrendously bad sites and pages. I developed a set of nasty moving icons to serve as visual comments.
- Also started Othergroup.net, which served as an on-line discussion site for various artists, writers, and curators (2000 - 2007). Dropped it to become a site for alternative catastrophic theories.
- Spent ten years writing up a theory of catastrophic history, originally as a compilation of the work of others. Eventually expanded to some 700,000 words.
- Raised 5 kids. Rehabbed 3 houses. Kept 7 cats, three dogs. Did valve grinding and ring replacement on 4 automobile engines. Reversed the polarity on a Jaguar Mk4 sedan.
I'll add some art and construction projects later.