My name is Ben Margolis, and I’m one of the most experienced Microsoft
Access developers in the world.
In September 2012, Microsoft celebrated the 20th anniversary of the release of Microsoft Access 1.0, and so did I, because I was there in 1992 when Microsoft Access was released. “There” being my local software store. I knew it was coming and I was waiting for it. I was already a professional computer consultant and began using Access immediately on work for my clients. I don’t know how many people bought Access 1.0 on that first day, but you would have to be one of them (and have used it ever since) to have as much experience with it as I have.
Within 30 days I had signed my first custom Microsoft Access application project, an enterprise system for a chain of jewelry stores. I’ve written custom Access apps for doctors and lawyers, investors and mutual fund managers, even theater ticketing and management. I once wrote an app for an international company that sold amusement park rides; Ferris wheels, roller coasters, that kind of thing. It was a rewrite of an original program that was written in dBase, and in German. There I was, sitting at my computer, with a dBase language reference, and a German–English dictionary. That was fun.
But before I was a Database Programmer, I was a Freelance Commercial Artist.
Back in the late 1980’s, when “cut and paste” actually meant cut (with scissors) and paste (with paste!), I used to work in pen and ink, Xacto knife and rubber cement, non-photo blue pencils and rubylith, a stat camera and a photo enlarger. You know that strange boxy icon that represents cropping a picture in Photoshop? It’s called a cropping tool, and I had one. I went home every night with my hands reeking of photographic chemicals, and we liked it! (We did like it too, I was fresh out of school, working at the job I wanted to, I could tell by the smell of my hands.)
As computers made their way into the print shops and advertising agencies where I worked, I was the Kid, so I got to use them first. I used PageMaker 1.0 on an original Macintosh. I bought CorelDraw 1.0 when it was first released (and have been using it ever since). Then I started training other workers. I ended up automating and computerizing the typesetting and art departments of just about every company where I worked.
Finally I began teaching people to use computers in general. I discovered that there was far more demand for a Computer Consultant than there was for a Commercial Artist. A career in network administration and database programming began.
In 1996 the Internet happened. Well, actually, it was already happening, but that’s when it happened to me. My personal combination of computer programming and commercial arts skills were uniquely suited for the early web. With everyone investing in Internet companies investor clients/friends of mine told me that they would invest in an internet company if I would start one. So I started one. I thought it would be a good idea to sell web site development and multimedia production to all of the new “dot com” companies that were just starting up. I compared it to selling pick axes during the gold rush.
We did video production, CGI animation, all kinds of experimental multimedia. We put the largest local radio station online, with live streaming, in 1998. We had talking NewsBot online before Anna Nova (not that anyone cared). I wrote a Microsoft Access app that spat out entire finished web sites (three years before SharePoint). But, as we all know, the dot com bubble burst, and all of my customers went out of business.
As I returned to a career of Database Engineering, I also continued to keep up with CGI illustration, graphic arts and digital video production as a hobby.
In more recent years my database work has become more and more complex, venturing into artificial intelligence, which I have found especially fascinating. And I enjoy teaching others what I have learned over the years about computer graphics,
Currently I am the Chief Developer at Rocketship Technologies, and the Project Leader for PzDB, a Microsoft Access database application designed for CGI illustrators, that uses Artificial Intelligence. (Funny how it all comes together at the end.)
Well there, I hope that explains a little bit about me and perhaps why you’ll find such a strange, eclectic mix on this web site; half computer renderings of spaceships and half lectures about artificial intelligence … It’s who I am.
Or perhaps you’ll be more interested in Who I’m Not.