The Author
The Author

Hello,

My name is Don Lashier and I am the author of NexDir. Here's a bit about my background and experience.

After receiving an AB in Mathematics from UCLA in 1968, I went to work as a programmer at McDonnell Douglas Astronautics where I was trained as both a Cobol programmer and Fortran progammer, and worked on the Spacelab design among other things. Within a few months I left this stifling environment for a job at System Development Corporation (SDC, an offshoot of the RAND Corporation) as an ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Agency of the Department of Defense) computer researcher. We were engaged in state of the art computer research and also developed operating systems, languages, and database systems for both military and commercial use.

While at SDC I worked on a number of interesting projects including the first graphics display program for a database system which employed what was possibly the first "point and click" graphical interface. I also wrote the world's first realtime animation system and assisted in the design of ARPANET, predecessor of the Internet.

After a few years I suffered burnout and took a 10 year hiatus working intermittently as an electrician or long-haul truck driver. In 1983 I returned to work as a mainframe programmer/analyst for the City of Eugene Oregon. After a few years I could again no longer suffer regular work hours so quit to become a computer communications consultant and independent software vendor (ISV).

For the next dozen years I made my living not only from consulting, but from products that I developed to aid my consulting practice:

  • DEL, or "Don's Everyday Language", was a programming development  language and flat-file database system I developed to overcome the limitations and performance issues of PC database systems available at the time (DBase etc). In addition to running under DOS, I ported it to a number of embedded system OS's and added multi-threading and real-time capabilities using it to write a robotics controller for a multi-drive CD-Rom changer for Plextor as well as the terminal server for the ISP business I started later.
  • MID, or "Multiline Interrupt Drive" was a low-level interrupt driver for multiple serial port interfaces on a PC. This driver was used by a number of major corporations and government agencies, and among other things was used to network the computers on the Space Shuttle and for the original White House / Moscow computer hotlink.
  • BARCOM was a serial/keyboard software wedge used for barcode reader input into standard PC applications. It was based on a single port version of MID and was resold by several major barcode reader manufacturers.
  • PAD, or "Packet Assembler/Disassembler", was a streaming packet oriented communications protocol similar to TCP/IP but much smaller and more efficient. It was used by United Parcel Service for wireless dispatch of trucks as well as my own multiline file transfer products.
  • ML, or "Multiline" was a multi-line file transfer application widely used by the timber industry.

In the mid 90's with the fall of the Iron Curtain, US Aid money migrated from Latin America to Eastern Europe. With no desire to go to former Soviet Republics, and tiring in any case of frequent flights to Latin America where most of my recent consulting assignments had been, I searched for a new business where I could stay at home. I made the decision in 1995 to become an Internet Service Provider (ISP), dubious in retrospect.

As an ISP I attempted to provide a "cover" site for our web hosting customers and quickly discovered the incredible amount of work involved in maintaining such a site, let alone the effort required to maintain customer sites. Hence the development of NexDir, the history of which can be read here.

- DL

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