So just who am I?
I am Robert Ricketts and here is my story.
At 19 years old, I got my first professional job while I was working at Radio Shack (RIP) in a smallish Texas town (Rosenberg) near Houston back in the day. I was writing a biorhythm program on the TRS-80 microcomputer (Radio Shack's first retail computer) when in walked an executive with Gulf Oil (before Chevron bought them in the mid 80s).
He saw the squiggly little sine waves on the screen and asked what program I was writing. I explained it was a biorhythm program and offered to run it for him. I suppose having seen the sine waves, he must have thought of how oil researchers evaluated sine waves when examining seismic plots. A seismic plot is an echogram revealing what's in the ground, helping researchers locate oil deposits.
He offered me a job on the spot and thus I had my first professional job programming Sperry*Univac 1100 series mainframe computers. These were huge computer systems occupying dozens of square feet of floor space. I learned FORTRAN and assembly language, among others, and wrote system utilities. I was in code-writing heaven.
Over the years after leaving Gulf Oil, I worked for Sperry*Univac (now Unisys), Shell Oil, and Panhandle Eastern Corp. Finally, in 2006, I had enough of corporate life so I left that world and have been an indie I.T. guy ever since. I love it.
I like inexpensive, simple, and effective. And yes, you can have all three. Don't rent a big flat-bed truck when a simple pick-up will do the job.
I am a fan of the Google Workspace (GW) ecosystem, their business-oriented version of Gmail, etc. for the "big three". That's email, contacts, and calendar. Something that everyone needs. GW is reliable and much easier to manage than most.
Regarding hardware, I like to keep things cheap, simple, but fast. For shared file storage and access, a workgroup solution is usually preferable over an expensive domain-based Microsoft Server installation. I often use services like OneDrive, Google Drive, and remote access for creative remote solutions.
In short, I want my clients to spend as little as possible on hardware, software, and infrastructure. In the I.T. world there's usually several good ways to do something. I try not to pick the most expensive way nor do I necessarily try to pick the cheapest.
Onsite rate is $100/hr with a one-hour minimum, billed in 30-minute increments after the hour.
Remote Help is $100/hr with a half-hour minimum, billed in 15-minute increments after the half-hour. But I'm pretty generous with my time -- not a clock-watcher.
Don't Geek Out
I think of- and position myself professionally as someone who sits at the intersection of the world of I.T. geeks and the normal world. I respect that my clients have their own professions and expertise, just as I have mine, and are fully capable of understanding what I am discussing if only a common language was used.
I can generally explain complex I.T. topics -- things a client may need to know -- using words and analogies that are accessible to everyone regardless of tech savvy.
Browse my articles (link up top) and see if you don't agree.
My Wonderful and Lovely Wife
My wife is Laura De Carli. She is a Professor of Mathematics at Florida International University (FIU) in Miami. She holds a Ph.D in Mathematics from the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of Roma "La Sapienza".
Her area of research is Harmonic Analysis. This branch of mathematics is concerned with how waves (radio, light, magnetic, etc.) combine and interfere with each other. Understanding this phenomena led to the invention of MRI machines and cellular phones, among other things.
She moved to the US from Italy in the early 90's and I met her in 2008. We married in 2011.
I am blessed beyond words.