Re: What Tektronix means to me

 

Hi Jim,
The job offer letter from Tektronix is laminated on a plaque where it sits on my wall along side my diplomas. No. I never went to work at Tek. But in a way I got to become an honorary member of Tek.

I have been embraced by everyone I meet that is a current or ExTek employee. I have been included in their private mail reflector, I have been a member of the vintageTEK Museum since before it opened when Stan Griffiths first took me over to see the empty store front that would soon be its first home.

The biggest surprise was when Michael Dunn asked me to take over as moderator of TekScopes. Why me?

Usually 4 times a year I am in Beaverton visiting my Tek friends. Somehow one of the most famous design engineers at Tek heard about me several years ago and quite by accident I introduced myself to him at the museum. He replied "You're Dennis Tillman!" which stunned me. He is now one of my best friends. He is so highly regarded among ex-Tek employees that I will often call him to arrange a lunch with someone at Tek that was legendary. They never refuse. I have had many fascinating lunches with the people I might have known if I had become a Tek employee. We often met for lunch in the Tek cafeteria. Tek closed the cafeteria last month so I'm not sure where we will have those lunches next.

My favorite scope is the 7854. When I mentioned this to Deane Kidd at a swap meet one day he said the 7854 project manager was in the next room having a bite to eat and he introduced me to him. A few days later I asked him to autograph the cover of my 7854. He was puzzled why I would want his autograph.

Asking for autographs was something I had started to do when I was at Microsoft. For each Software Developer Conference I held I asked all the speakers to autograph their section of the conference notebooks. Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer's signatures are in them as are all the Windows developers and many of the famous software developers of the mid-1980s that attended the conferences.

By now that 7854 cover is so full of autographs of ex-Tek employees that I have had to switch to the other cover. When I'm all done with the covers I will give them to the 7854 Project Manager who is now a good friend of mine that I see every time I'm at a swap meet.

Dennis Tillman W7PF

-----Original Message-----
From: TekScopes@groups.io [mailto:TekScopes@groups.io] On Behalf Of Jim Ford
Sent: Thursday, January 16, 2020 6:48 AM
To: TekScopes@groups.io
Subject: Re: [TekScopes] What Tektronix means to me

Hey, don't keep us in suspense, Dennis! Did you ever get to work for Tek?Jim Ford Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone
-------- Original message --------From: Dennis Tillman W7PF <@Dennis_Tillman_W7pF> Date: 1/15/20 10:36 PM (GMT-08:00) To: TekScopes@groups.io Subject: Re: [TekScopes] What Tektronix means to me Hi Harvey,Yes, there is no simple solution to things being too far away but saying "I never expect to go there" (to the Tek Museum) is not the best way to start out if your goal is to get there. You never know what you ae capable of until you try. On more than one occasion I decided to hitch hike cross country from New Jersey to LA and up to San Francisco. Along the way I stopped at the St. Louis Gateway Arch, Grand Canyon, Mt Palomar to see the telescope, and the meteor crater in Arizona. On another trip down to the Keys I stopped at the new Disney World in Orlando. I've been to Mardi Gras three times.I had an offer to join Tek in 1968 when I was starting my junior year in college. But they recommended that I get my degree first and assured me that the job would still be there when I did. Life took me in a different direction by the time I got my BS E.E. degree. For the next 20 years I regretted that mistake. Instead I moved into a beach front apartment on the New Jersey shore and, to my surprise, I became a stained glass artist and beach comer and I went back to college, this time for a BA in Fine Arts. When I first heard it was possible to build a computer (a childhood dream of mine) I changed direction again and began building my own S-100 microcomputer. There were very few people doing that so I quickly found a job working on microcomputers. Eventually I became frustrated because I didn't understand software. That became my next challenge. Once I learned microcomputer programming I thought it would be smart to broaden my computer background with some mainframe experience. When I tried to do that I found out very few head hunters even knew what a microcomputer was. They were focused on filling the thousands of jobs available in the mainframe world. So I spent the next 6 months trying to get a mainframe job with no success. Eventually I was hired by an IBM 370 based time sharing company which saw there was an opportunity linking microcomputers to mainframes. That exposed me to IBM's premier operating system: Multiple Virtual Systems (MVS) and the many different IBM operating systems and applications that worked under MVS. Three years later someone recommended me for a job with Digital Research, the creator of CP/M (which I knew well), the industry standard 8-bit OS on microcomputers. Four years later that led to a job at Microsoft which I was desperate to get because it would finally bring me to the Pacific Northwest (Tektronix territory) where I would have been 20 years earlier if I had joined Tek. After 3 years at Microsoft it became clear I had the wrong background. They had their pick of graduating students with an MS in Computer Science or an MBA. So I went back to college a third time for an MS in Software Engineering. While I was getting that degree, Microsoft went from 500 people which was small enough that I knew almost everyone too many thousands of people. I don't like big companies and there were other opportunities for me now that I had an MS S.E.If you are on the other side of the earth and looking at a very small map it may appear that Microsoft (a few miles from Seattle), and Tektronix (a few miles from Portland) are right next to each other. It is a boring 3 1/2 hour trip to get there. Sphere Research is more than twice as far. On more than one occasion I decided to hitch hike cross country from New Jersey to LA and up to San Francisco. Along the way I stopped at the St. Louis Gateway Arch, Grand Canyon, Mt Palomar (to see the telescope), and the meteor crater in Arizona. On another trip down to the Keys and Key West I stopped at the new Disney World in Orlando. I've been to Mardi Gras three times. You shouldn't say things like I never expect to get there. It sounds like you really want to go. If you can make it to Seattle you have a place to stay with us. Portland is a train ride away. Beaverton is accesable by light rail from Portland. Dennis Tillman W7PF-----Original Message-----From: TekScopes@groups.io [mailto:TekScopes@groups.io] On Behalf Of Harvey WhiteSent: Wednesday, January 15, 2020 5:28 PMTo: TekScopes@...: Re: [TekScopes] What Tektronix means to meI understand what you say, parallel to an extent, not congruent experiences.The Tek museum is 3000 miles from me, and I never expect to go there.Might we have something on the east coast?(and yes, I'm annoyed that Sphere's "free" days are even further fromme.) Still would like to find a 214 vertical amplifier board because mine has a bad channel A attenuator, not that I've asked before.)HarveyOn 1/15/2020 5:15 PM, Dennis Tillman W7PF wrote:> Like everyone here I have created a problem my wife will have to deal with when I am no longer around. She has the phone number of the vintageTEK Museum on our refrigerator. Problem solved.>> Now that that's out of the way I'm not concerned with recyclers and what will come of my stuff. I plan on enjoying the afterlife with a Tek 214 portable dual-trace storage scope in my coffin. The Egyptians had the right idea. Take what you can with you when you go.>> Tektronix gives me a reason to get up every day. I can explore anything in electronics with the instruments they designed. I am the beneficiary of the legacy of Tektronix; the standard of excellence they strove for; and the support they provided for their products.>> IN 1967 I bought my first Tek scope, a 453, new for $2,000. What I learned in the next two years by using that scope every night propelled me to the top of my class. That was the best investment I ever made. Tektronix instruments were investments in my future. 10 years later I bought a 7704A / 7A26 / 7B80 / 7B85 and a pair of P6106 probes for $7,000. I went into debt to do this because I knew it would pay off for me just like my 453 had. Two years later I bought a 7D01 / DF2 / DL2 for another $4,000 to study microcomputers. I eagerly learned microcomputer assembly language to control the microcomputer hardware I was designing. The next 10 years I had a very rewarding career in microcomputers, mainframes, operating systems, and software marketing.>> Several totally unexpected things happened starting in the late 1990s that were to enrich my life yet again. EBay gave me a way to buy all of the Tektronix instruments I could never afford back in the 1970s. In 2000 Michael Dunn started TekScopes and I joined 2 years later. Suddenly I was not alone. I had a vast resource of expertise to help me fix all the Tek instruments I was buying on eBay. 10 years ago Stan Griffiths and Ed Sinclair started the vintageTEK Museum as a showcase for all the things Tektronix had made possible. The museum is preserving the Tek legacy for the benefit of all of us. Last but not least we have our own specialized Wikipedia. TekWiki has become THE professional repository of Tektronix documents thanks to the tireless work of Kurt Rosenfeld. Working long hours alone, into the night, feeding every Tek document he can find into scanners. He has single-handedly assembled those papers, manuals, photographs, and comments into a beautiful, easy to use, library at our finger tips. TekWiki is every bit that is the rival of Wikipedia.>> I'm too busy using my collection of Tek instruments to dwell on what will happen to it someday. Because of Tektronix, eBay, TekScopes, the vintageTEK museum, and TekWiki my life is never dull when a Tektronix scope is within arm's reach.>> Dennis Tillman W7PF>>>-- Dennis Tillman W7PFTekScopes Moderator





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Dennis Tillman W7PF
TekScopes Moderator

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