Description of Computer Related Experience
by and Re. Tom Huppi <>
Last update: 06/05/97

The purpose of this document is to briefly describe some of the abilities I have developed for the benefit of those who may be interested in my services. It is a meant as a supplement to more formal material. Most of the material here is computer related, and the reader is advised that I have further skills not presented here. My resume hints at some of these.

Brief historical info and OS experience: I started out with a Commodore 64 circa 1983 and learned BASIC and a small amount of 6502 machine language. My interest subsided after around '85 and I did little with computers until around '93 when I got a 486 (PC.) I used predominately DOS with some win 3.11 at the time. I used this system for school projects and played around with many misc shareware programs. Later, I got a P-90 notebook with win95 and started writing more advances spreadsheets (in excel) as my lab courses became more challenging. Also with this system, I began to do more internet related research and developed skills in finding needed information and applications software. Near the end of '96, I needed a more powerful computer to run MicroStation (a CAD package) so I assembled the computer which I use today. Needless to say, I learned quite a bit about hardware in doing this project. I have recently purchased and installed win-NT4.0 workstation and am very pleased with it. I have much to learn about this OS.

General: I believe my biggest strength is in having the ability to pick up a new piece of software and to quickly understanding enough about it to make it useful. This ability is, I think, attributable in part to my having done so numerous times with miscellaneous software obtained largely through the internet. With a vast amount of experience doing this, I am able to appreciate certain standards that software designers often apply. I have also gained a certain level of technical understanding of what a given software package should be able to do so then the problem then becomes one of figuring out how to make it happen rather than one of "discovery." Having a high level of interest in given piece of software also contributes to my learning curve.

Excel 5.0: I consider my skills with excel to be probably the highest relative to the other software specifically mentioned here. Most of the work I have done has been for engineering lab reports which require visual feedback (graphs) as well as a fair amount of mathematical complexity. I learned early on that it often pays in the long run to write spreadsheets that require a minimal amount of input and rely on internal calculations for as much of the work as possible. I also take pleasure in carrying this principle as far as practical. Lately, I have been paying more attention to creating a decent looking and intuitive user interface partially because my familiarity with other tasks affords me the extra time. Probably my most advanced spreadsheet to date utilizes a "massively 3-D" architecture and careful use of mixed cell references to perform a technique for solving systems of non-linear equations called the Hardy-Cross method. In all honesty, a more traditional program would have been more suitable, but I wished to try my hand at systematic 3-D referencing.

Access 2.0: My main experience with access was in designing an inventory management system for my former employer who has a used lumber yard. There where some complexities in the nature of his inventory that required a relational database. During spring break in 1996, I went into a "total immersion" learning project and figured out enough to build a workable system, though the user interface could have used some more work. As it turned out, my boss fired the yard manager who was the only guy with a hope of maintaining the system, and it was never used. Other than that, I use access as a fancy address book, and little else. Recently I have begun to use it in conjunction with excel to analyze the log data from my web site.

Word 6.0: This is my main word processor so I know it fairly well. Specifically, I know how to deal with importing graphics and other objects. I have never had a need to use the more advanced business features, but I have little doubt that I could teach myself relatively quickly.

CAD in general: Both of the CAD programs with which I have some familiarity are very complex indeed. I can create drawings, or can sit down with a drawing in either and make changes without damaging things, but I in no way claim that my knowledge of either allows me the speed, or various management tasks that would be expected of a CAD professional.

AutoCAD R-12:
I took a basic AutoCAD course in '94 and learned the basics of CAD drafting. Since that time, I have used ACAD mostly to create illustrations for import into other documents.

MicroStation95: I purchased the academic suite which includes Modeler, PowerDraft, and Masterpiece in late '96. I have been deliberately working only with MicroStation95 until I feel that I have learned it sufficiently to move to Modeler even though I work mostly in 3-D. I personally prefer uStn95 to ACAD in all respects and generally consider myself much more capable with MicroStation already. I have been studying it fairly steadily for several months now. As a basic indication of my current understanding, I was recently able to go through the tutorial documentation (for the first time) with ease and make notes on the areas that contain either mistakes or information that may confuse a first time user.

Related to CAD: One of the requirements of a junior level structural analysis course I took was to use a finite element analysis program called STAAD-III. I took a particular interest in learning this program and gained a level of competence substantially above that of my peers (which is not saying much!). I look forward to further work along these lines in the future.

Communications: I have set up a number if dial-up PPP connections both for myself and others. Several months ago, I successfully set up the multiple mailbox and fax-back software that came with my modem, but this was mostly just for fun. I use the fax software that came with win-95 for personal use. With the aid of some information from the internet, I was able to configure winNT to communicate with my ISP in spite of the fact that AT&T's tech support staff claimed it was not possible.

General Internet: I have spent a great deal of time both using the internet, and studying it's structure. This has resulted in my understanding both it's major components (WWW, usenet, etc.) and how to use them effectively. It is my belief that in the future, "literacy" will include having the ability to find useful information on the internet, and this is becoming increasingly challenging as the internet grows. I have learned enough html (HyperText Markup Language) to create a fairly nice web site with a special navigation tool and other Java applets. I do know how to put it up, and who I will use as a virtual hosting service when the time comes.
Update: Since that time, I participated in AT&T's beta test program for personal web pages. My site managed to make AT&T's top 10 list and was there when AT&T went public with web hosting. During the first four days after this event, my site was receiving around 1000 hits per day. Also during this period, I gained administrative access to another site ( which has better service including a more robust CGI library and logging features. I arranged my AT&T site to pull one image from the abode site and thereby appear on the logs. The logs are provided in common log format and rather than using a log analyzer, I choose to write my own routines using excel and access for log analysis to get the experience. At this time, my main efforts have been directed at adding content and developing a satisfactory management system as my site is quite complex ("very advanced" to quote AT&T) by personal web site standards. Thought I have not yet employed any CGI applications or requested any search engine spiders, I anticipate it happening fairly soon.

What I don't know: Among the things with which I have no experience, networking is predominant. I am keenly interested in furthering my knowledge in this area as it is clearly a very important subject. I have virtually no experience with the Apple Macintosh. Also worth mention is the fact that I have only a very basic knowledge of UNIX which I have used briefly for one course and for several shell internet accounts. Again, I look forward to understanding any UNIX OS better. My lack of knowledge in these areas stem from my having had little or no exposure. Other than a small amount of Visual Basic needed for writing user defined functions in excel, I really don't know any other programming language having mostly forgotten my early experience with BASIC and FORTRAN 77. I have, however, attained a fairly high degree of skill with RPL (Reverse Polish Lisp) which is the programming language of my HP calculator.

Note: Example files of my work may be provided via e-mail attachment upon request.

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