July 14, 2005
San Francisco, CA, 94132
web since 1994
Home, Work and Play effected by the Internet.
10 years ago when I was making effort to get off of welfare and be employable
I used to read for the blind. A friend introduced me to Manny Lucero who had a
cable TV show called "Computer Hotlines". There he would showcase
different hardware and software and have the public in Silicon Valley call in
and give their opinions. He was going blind and needed a "Seeing Eye Girl" to
accompany him to Computer Fairs. He couldn't pay me so I asked for a computer
and for him to teach me what he could. He did and then he died.
From there I told my employment agent I only wanted to be interviewed by
companies who were involved with computers, R&D or high tech. My
employment agent didn't understand high tech and I had to explain to her what
the difference was between email, telex and fax. I convinced her to get a
website for her business and her life was changed. She rode the Dot.Com bubble
by opening a High Tech department.
I was hired by
AOL in San Francisco in 1995, before they reached a million members. I got the
job over other applicants who had longer work histories and had more education
because "Computer Hotlines" exposed me to Java, when it was being developed in
a run down strip Mall in San Jose. I knew what a Java Applet was and that got
me the job. I supported the Director of New Technologies. I was the only staff
member who was already an AOL member, paying over $300 a month in phone
charges to be online. Getting the job saved me money because AOL was over
$3.00 an hour in those days.
I was supporting the former employees of WAIS, (Wide Area Information Search),
the search engine that is used by the Library of Congress. The developers of
WAIS were the "grandfathers" of the internet, having convinced Grolliers
Encyclopedia to go online, one of the first to do so.
I was laid off 4 months before the last of my stock options were fully vested
in 1999. I had cashed out each stock options as they vested for my 500 shares
had split a number of times in the time I was employed. All of the money went
to buying computers for my family and friends. From Tech to Tech was my
intent. Those computers got people hired, got them off of Welfare and changed
their lives in a positive way.
It was when I got laid off from AOL in 1999, that I started experimenting with
polymer clay and I started running a Yahoo Group focused on teaching art for
This list was
the driving force for me to get a grip on my clay, learn how to use a digital
camera, work with PhotoShop, find online photo storage, start a website, learn
how to give live webcam demos through Yahoo Messenger, and continue to upgrade
Now I'm learning about video blogging to share tips and tricks about polymer
clay. My webcam demos done in Yahoo Chat were "snagged" by ClayMates in the
USA and over seas. Some are loaded on my site for those ClayMates who couldn't
attend the twice weekly demos.
this list I've met some of the most wonderful people in my whole life. People
who invited me into their homes, drove me around, fed and cared for me when I
went on Tour doing my "Johnny Appleseed" routine. All of whom I met online. I
had to tell them "Find the tiger stripe cowgirl hat and who ever is wearing
it, take her home with you."
http://profiles.yahoo.com/auntyalias That's a picture of me when I was on
Because of this list I've had the honor to work with the best team I've ever
known. Volunteers who in spite of their own financial and physical
difficulties still find it in their heart to be charitable with their time,
energy and resources.
I find my
sites being linked in Russia, France, Holland, Israel, Germany, just to name a
few. I find my pages being translated each month by those who have found my
goofy tutorials from across the world.
I find my Rambles being read month after month. Rambles about aging gracefully
and how to deal with death and raising self esteem. As my life has been
changed by this list in a role of a list leader, sharing what goes on for this
list on my sites has given outward to other countries, to other clayers and
crafts people. It ripples outward in a way that makes me catch my breath. But
it's a group effort, ya know? Without new clayers asking questions, artists
needing nurturing, folks enjoying good fellowship, sharing our lives in love
and trust, there wouldn't be any rambles or tutorials to share.
Today is the
anniversary of when my husband James and I met at a picnic 9 years ago. We met
through a BBS, connecting online through one of the earliest forms of text
based dial-up communities. It was a meeting of the minds before it was a face
to face meeting. He had never used a computer with Window before, since that
time he taught himself PERL and got a job with one of the first Anti-Spam
companies, BrightMail and now works a computer related job with the Academy of
So getting online has not only changed my life, my husband's life, the lives
of my friends and family who got their first computers with AOL stock option
money, but also the 1,427 list members who log on each day to read my rambles
and be nurtured.