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My name is Michael. I offer years of experience in both computers and music, having written the code, tunes and sounds for over 70 games, for arcades, desktop machines and game consoles. Creating hundreds of pieces of music and thousands of sounds, and the code to run them, written in dozens of computer languages, has let me focus on learning how to blend fun, art and technology.
I have planned and budgeted many business and technical efforts, then hired and managed the staff to deliver many successful projects.
All of this and my years in classrooms, have made clear to me that the way to achieve in any area, including education, is to center ones attention on the person who will be served, entertained or educated by any effort. Everyone is different, but everyone is interested in their own way, with their own abilities and their own values. Bringing order, focus, art, thought and fun together is my way not only of teaching and creating, but of everything I do.
Somehow all this came directly and easily to me by my having started playing piano at five, and composing tunes within a few years of that. Computer code, hardware, design and teaching are all as much a piece of music to me as any tune I've ever played or written.
Finding the music within anything anyone wants to learn, in whatever form that music takes for them, is my way to teach.
I have been composing, arranging and improvising in many styles since junior high. My high school jazz band and jazz quartet won Illinois' state championships 5 times with me at the piano for both. I have written over 350 tunes (with several variations of most of them) for published video games in countless styles, from baroque through pentatonic blues for Mafia mummy dancers, fairy and ogre events, inter-dimensional lounge bands, lots of rocks, and several dinosaur and tree pounding percussionists doing Latin tunes, to name a few. In Chicago, I wrote and played fusion jazz, rock, burlesque, and pop tunes for my pro club bands. I improvise in jazz, classical and rock and jazz with a current preference for new age-y pleasantries.
Computers have been my career. From Fortran and 'analog computers' in high school through all the years of development of the desktop computers, graphic interfaces and the web, I have been developing applications from energy management systems to games to system software for Apple.
My work has been with Omron, Bally/Midway, Apple, Electronic Arts, Acclaim and several startups. I have repaired and advised on the development of hardware, and have written embedded code, drivers and applications in many assembly, high-level and web languages. My application languages include VB (Visual Basic), SQL and Java.
I am very familiar with the entire Office suite and worked with Macromedia web tools.
Though I am a PC user today, designing new user interfaces and their cross-platform supporting architectures, I have long been a Mac supporter, even working as a member of its System Software group.
Microsoft Outlook has been my primary mail program for most of the last 17 years. The fine basic architecture, and the many add-ons it supports, are all my daily tools in communication.
I have enjoyed adapting Outlook and educating its users in many situations.
I've used Microsoft Project on virtually all my projects, perhaps as many as 100 or more! In fact, I installed Project's predecessor, Harvard Project Manager, in the offices of Bally/Midway engineering management some years before Microsoft Project even existed.
Whether I was scheduling only my own tasks, or coordinating departments of specialists, Project has been my choice for workflow monitoring and control.
Like many users I find that not all of its features are necessary in all situations. Adapting this fine tool to the complexities of real-world planning, communication and execution needs is, in the right hands with the right experience, both an art and a very productive process.
Long ago I came to use that process, fitting the Project tool to the teams project, to be a great way to organize, integrate and gain the trust of complex teams.
Even in our age of Agile project management, I continue to see the depth and flexible richness of Project as a very relevant, powerful resource.
I have been involved with the standard computer OSes since the 70s. At one point I was in the Apple system software group, where the then emerging Windows interface was of more academic than competitive interest to us. Nonetheless since 1992 I have worked in the Microsoft Windows environment, as an expert user, programmer and educator.
Having designed and managed Windows applications, based on Excel and Access VBA and on direct Windows programming languages, I can assure you I am an expert in its use, and in the problems non-expert users find in working with it.
I have been a Microsoft Word user on PC and Mac for decades. Among the countless documents I've used Word to generate are a novel, many short stories, thousands of personal pieces, and endless business documents from daily notes to team-edited user manuals for many Silicon Valley products. Though I cannot say I have used every feature in Word, and I suspect no one has, I have long been very confident that I can find the support I need through its excellent help services. It's just a great program.
My piano playing started at age 5, my composing started a few years later.
Through my school years I worked as the accompanist to stage productions, many competition soloists and groups, and the school jazz bands. After college I played in the Chicago area in a variety of club bands, many playing my original works.
Soon I was hired by Bally to write code and tunes for arcade games, which led to my career in games. Adapting my keyboard music to sound chips, then sampled music in games gave me a deep experience with synthesized music, with its limited tonality, but precise programmable control and flexibilities.
Piano has always been my refuge, and offering. From classical to improvised play, from rock to Bach, it all fascinates me. I love sharing it.
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