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mike01

Mike Wilkinson – Otago Rail Trail 2013

There’s a way to do it better – find it – Thomas Edison

I have always been innovative and a little ahead of my time, where I have seen the potential of technology.
My journey has taken me down many paths where I have gained a wealth of experience, some of which you can read about below.

Computer SoftwareComputer HardwareWeb InvolvementSoftware SkillsPhotography

Accounting Software

I initially started out as an accountant in 1970 through to 1984.

The arrival of the IBM XT computer was to change the face of computing and the direction I would head in

The accounting industry relied on computer bureaus as the cost of owning a computer was initially prohibitive, plus the space required to house a mainframe.
As technology advanced the cost of computers decreased making it affordable for accountants to own a computer.
At a cost of $65,000 plus you could buy a DEC PDP-11/23 plus the cost of the software.
The market changed as accountants then became the Bureau for processing clients accounts receivables/payables plus payrolls.
It was during this time my involvement shifted from accounting to software development, as the software I was using needed some improvements.

My desire for a better accounting system led to my involvement as a contract software developer for a firm called ‘BCL’ who provided accounting software for most of the Chartered Accountants in New Zealand.
One of the projects I led was the development of a module for GST as New Zealand prepared for this new indirect method of collecting a tax.
Many years later I find that the software is still in use today.

bcl01

 

The arrival of the IBM XT computer was to change the face of computing and the direction I would head in
In these formative years of porting software from DEC PDP-11’s to the IBM DOS platform for accountants my direction would change.
Developing software was no easy task as a lot of the modules on the PDP-11 were written in MACRO assembler being a low-level language that I ported to a higher level language for portability.

PSI Computers

psi02
In the mid-1980s, IBM released desktop computer known as the XT based on a DOS operating system.

In 1996 PSI launched a PC clone onto the market for a cost of $5,500 slashing $9,500 off the IBM XT cost.

IBM never imagined this low-powered computer with twin floppy drives would compete with the hardware market.
At a cost of around $15,000 the IBM XT was destined for the home market. The advent of Software like Supercalc made it possible for accountants to use XTs effectively.
Then the cloning of the XT began an economic transformation in the computer industry shifting the market from accountants to the end user.

In 1996 PSI launched a PC clone onto the market for a cost of $5,500 slashing $9,500 off the IBM XT cost.

psi02

The price was a huge factor where the demand for these clones saw PSI grow at a very fast rate with sales exceeding $5M per year.
Instead of importing built-up units we assembled computers which meant carrying high stock volumes. The goal posts always changed with new computers released onto the market.

 

As people saw the opportunity for a quick dollar, the market became saturated.
The New Zealand market wasn’t large enough to sustain the volumes selling on price creating a big shake out in the market including PSI back in 1995.

 

The computer industry became a commodity market shifting to the whiteware market where it mainly remains today.
There is a lot of parallel importing happening within NZ as it’s cheaper to avoid the expensive middle man in NZ and buy directly from overseas suppliers.
The downside to parallel importing is often at the expense of support.

Compumedia

After PSI, I became interested in the fledgeling Internet industry at a time when people doubted the webs viability.

compume
There were only dial-up connections with connection costs ranging from $5.00 per hour or less.
Web hosting was not cheap costing $100.00 per month for 1MB of disk quota.

nzslogo

Simon Weller shared my same vision, so it wasn’t long before we formed NZServers to cater for this emerging market.

Computer Languages

  • High Level Languages
    Dibol, Cobol, Sibol, Pascal, Basic, PHP
  • Low Level Language
    Macro Assembler II
  • Operating Systems
    RT-11, TSX Plus, DOS, Windows, Linux, Android, IPAD IOS 7
  • Database – MYSQL, CTS300
  • CMS
    Fastpage, GetSimple CMS, WordPress
  • E-Commerce
    Oscommerce, OpenCart

I also have a broad range of skills with most Microsoft products, Corel Draw Products, versioning systems and numerous other products.

Mike Wilkinson Photographer

1975 – 1982

  • Part time business specialising in wedding photography.
  • Traded under the names ‘Mikonie Photographics’ , ‘Harrod and Chambers’ and ‘Mike Wilkinson Photographer’
  • Involved originally with large format cameras (6x6cm) Hasselblad Cameras.
  • Developed negatives including the printing of colour prints.
  • Embraced the new digital cameras when 2 mega pixels was seen as huge but I knew then this was the end of the negative film.
  • I am now involved with photography as a hobby with the new digital format cameras owning a Sony Digital SLR digital camera.