Documentation the way it ought to be.
Andy Johnson-Laird is a forensic software analyst who analyzes computer based evidence and testifies about it in Federal and District Courts in the United States. He is also a self-launching sailplane pilot, Cinestar 8 builder and pilot, photographer, videographer, sound recordist, oenophile, and is just sinking his teeth into sous-vide cooking (well, more correctly, sinking his teeth into food cooked sous-vide).
From 2012 to 2017 Andy was a voting member of ASTM International's F38.02 subcommittee that has been requested by the FAA to develop unmanned aircraft best practices standards. He was the lead drafter of the best practice standards for
commercial flight operations of small unmanned aircraft over over people.
Andy flies an ALTA 8, ALTA 6, DJI Inspire 1, Inspire 2, and Mavic Pro, as well as a small fleet of fixed wing aircraft. Until 2016 he shot aerial video as a volunteer for Oregon Public Broadcasting's local productions such as Oregon Field Guide and the special Oregon Revealed. He has also produced and edited independent documentaries including Emma Unplugged (a documentary about 100 artists at The Emma Collaboration, 150 km north of Saskatoon, who were denied electrical power and challenged to collaborate and produce art), and the DVDs and videos you see on this site.
In 1963 he started his computing career in London, working as a mainframe computer operator, technical writer, systems programmer, and lecturer in computer science, teaching people how to program. In the early days of the microcomputer era he built and tested microcomputers from kits and wrote The Programmers' CP/M Handbook, published by Osborne McGraw-Hill in 1983. It had 22,000 lines of Andy's source code in it. Osborne McGraw were leery of selling the source code as a separate product or on a floppy diskette in the book so they let Andy do that. Where was the Internet when you needed it?
Andy wishes to express his gratitude to his colleagues at Johnson-Laird Inc. who smiled benignly when he became distracted by multi-rotor copters, and to his wife, Kay Kitagawa, without whom none of his accomplishments since 1975 would have been possible. She has never once asked him, "Why do you need another <x>?" where <x> could be a camera, a lens, or an unmanned aircraft. She too, smiles benignly, and with a radiant smile that still melts his heart.
Andy also wishes to thank Gerald H. Robinson, his immigration and business attorney who, back in the late 1970's, helped Kay and him go from illegal immigrants to U.S. citizens by way of suing the Immigration and Naturalization Service for "arbitrary and capricious" judgment, and the late G. Gervaise ("Gerry") Davis III Esq., and the late Stephen J. Davidson Esq. who helped Andy get started in the field of Forensic Software Analysis with countless invitations to speak at computer law conferences.
There is more about Andy on Wikipedia. Some of it is even true.
www.jli.com : Andy's day job,
www.bruisedpixels.com : Unconventional computational photography images,
www.brushoflight.com : Conventional photography,
www.turnedtreen.com : Woodturnings.
Andy, assembling a Cinestar 8 copter. (2012)
"Forensic Software Analysis" is a phrase Andy coined when he found that, in legal circles, "takes money from lawyers" was a distinctly suboptimal job description.
He also coined the phrase "Technoarcheology" to describe the forensic analysis of failed software development project.
Back in the Dim Times (1963)
The National Cash Register NCR-315 computer was the first mainframe Andy learned to operate. By working the night shift, after all the programmers' jobs had been run, Andy found that he had a room-sized personal computer available. So he did the only rational thing he could think of doing: learned to program it. This also demanded that he learn how to use an IBM 026 card punch and read countless manuals.
Having taught himself how to program the NCR 315 in NEAT (National's Electronic Autocoding Technique), Andy decided on a whim to write diagnostic software to help the hardware engineers diagnose faults with the NCR 315. This attracted NCR's management's attention and he was offered a promotion to become an instructor at NCR's Computer Education Department training NCR's customer's staff to become programmers.
From there, Andy was invited to become an NCR technical writer, preparing the documentation for the soon-to-be-announced NCR-Elliott 4100 series of mainframe computers. That led to a promotion to the somewhat unfortunately named Programming Information Services ("PIS") who were responsible for writing the 4100's operating system. Andy wrote the device drivers for the NCR CRAM (Card Random Access Memory (behind the lady in the image above)), thus allowing them to work with the 4100 (they were originally designed only for the NCR 315 series of machines).
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