made my first post on the QBasic forum sometime on or before September
2001 and gradually became acquainted with Mac. I never had the
privilege of meeting him in person, but soon began to think of him as a
virtual friend. By December 2002, I had earned his trust well enough
for him to give me his address so that I could mail him two floppy
disks formatted with DOS 6.22. I never asked for payment, but he sent
me a $5 bill by return mail.
Recently, I searched my Yahoo email archives and extracted all the
messages I'd received from Mac that hadn't been deleted, and moved them
all to a separate folder. I would now like to share some of those
messages with you in this tribute.
On October 2003 (or thereabouts) I emailed Mac a brief bio of myself,
and in turn, he sent me his biography. Here is an excerpt of what he
"I am probably the senior guy on the Forum (also a grandparent). I was
born and raised in Texas and graduated summa cum laude in Mathematics
and Electrical Engineering in 1958 after serving 3 years in the US Army
"On graduation, I joined IBM as a programmer (lucky me) and worked on
super mainframes. One was literally three floors big, the top floor was
the air-conditioning. Computers were build with ordinary electronic
tubes (About an inch high and with little prongs that stuck into
holes.) These burned out from time to time, so I was hired to find a
way to predict when the tubes would fail so they could be replaced. But
I wound up instead in systems programming and developed assemblers and
"Unfortunately, from a financial point of view, I was happily buried in
mainframe computers and ignored early developments in mini-computers,
later to become the only computer the public knows about. So guys like
Bill Gates, who had no knowledge of mainframes came along and
re-invented the wheel and got rich.
"But I got a VIC-20 when it first came out, and was impressed with its
power. So when mainframes lost out, I got into the little computer
world and now work on WindowsNT with Oracle.
"My connection with QBasic is this: After leaving mainframes, I worked
with Unix. It has a very powerful command language that makes DOS look
pitiful and stupid. In Unix, I could code whole mini-applications on
one (long) line. Sorts piped into greps into edits. Super!
"But our customers prefer Windows, so I am stuck with DOS. However, I
use QBasic to extend DOS capabilities. The simple command QBASIC /RUN
XXX puts me into XXX.BAS where, with a little effort, I can do anything
Unix could do. Great!
"So I am retirement age, collecting Social Security, but after 44 years
of programming, I can't give it up and I still work and furthermore
write hobby programs at home.
"My main language now is VB, but I use QBasic a lot and they are similar at core.
On March of 2004, Mac added me to the R group, explaining how it works
and cautioning me not to change the title after five minutes. He also
told me about his userid:
"My userid is "iorr5t"!!! They didn't have any "Mac" available, so I
got mad. I now have another username, "Mac36", which I use when I don't
want to do forum owner stuff."
The following month, after witnessing a series of instructional posts
between myself and a new student user, he created a forum just for me
I named it "Solitaire's School" and continued my correspondence with my lone long-distance (British) student at that site.
On December 2004, Mac emailed a season's greeting message, which
reflected his philosophy. The message was repeated in a similar email
two years later. I suppose he sent this same message out to several
forum regulars, and probably also friends and family. Here it is:
"QBasic Mac sends seasonal greetings
"Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, our best wishes for
"1) an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress,
non-addictive, gender neutral celebration of the winter solstice
holiday practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious
persuasion or secular practices of your choice, practiced with due
respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of
others, including their choice not to practice religious or secular
traditions at all; and
"2) a fiscally successful,personally fulfilling, and medically
uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted
calendar year 2005, but not without impuning the validity of the
calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society
have helped make America great, (not to imply that America is
necessarily greater than any other country or is the only "AMERICA" in
the western hemisphere), and without regard to the race, creed, color,
age, physical ability, religious faith, choice of computer platform, or
sexual preference of the wishee."
On July 2005, Mac sent me his VB version of a SUDOKU puzzle solver. I
made some suggestions for improvement and he revised his program. He
created a new forum for the SUDOKU project, at:
The code is posted here:
He acknowledged that I appeared to be the sole user of his program.
Indeed, I still have it on my laptop computer, and will be reminded of
the gentleman who created it every time I use it.
About two or three years ago, just before Mac went on vacation to
Denmark, he was concerned about the forum being spammed or flooded in
his absence. He decided to give me partial admin rights to edit or
delete forum posts while he was gone. I expected it would be temporary,
but after Mac returned from vacation, he still allowed me to retain
those rights to this day.
Mac's memory will always remain in my heart and mind. He was such a
great guy and contributed much to this world while he was alive. His
presence on the forum helped enrich everyone who posted here. His work
will live on and the legacy he left behind will continue to inspire
those who seek his wisdom here in the forum pages for as long as it
exists, and beyond, as those who sought his wisdom will carry it on to
inspire future generations.
Mac's life was a life well lived, and we should rejoice for having been a small part of it.
Mac, if you are still able to read this somewhere in cyberspace, we love ya!
|This message has been edited by Solitaire1 from IP address 188.8.131.52 on Jul 5, 2008 4:48 PM|
This message has been edited by Solitaire1 from IP address 184.108.40.206 on Jun 23, 2008 8:40 PM
This message has been edited by Solitaire1 from IP address 220.127.116.11 on Jun 23, 2008 8:28 PM