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Engineering Teachables: coming soon.

Q: "So, what is zws.com, how did it get its name, and what has it been used for?"

I originally registered zws.com on July 12, 1996. It represented my first real public presence on the Internet; you might have found me in various Usenet newsgroups as early as 1991 as lae@mullauna.cs.mu.oz.au, but in those days there was no World Wide Web of much consequence. At the time I opened shop on the Internet, my BBS "ZWSBBS" was at its peak; I had two 24-hour telephone lines (one 28.8k, subscribers only, and one 14.4k, free access) and one part-time line, all experiencing medium to heavy incoming call volumes. Back then, Fidonet was still alive and kicking vigorously (my Fidonet address was 3:634/396.0), but there was a definite wave of Internet fever in Australia and the mass exodus from direct dial-up services to general-purpose ISPs was clearly in progress.

I chose the name zws.com for the same historical reasons that led to my BBS being named ZWSBBS. Back in my demo-crew days on the Commodore Amiga, I worked under several noms de guerre, and the last of those names was ZWS. At the time, it stood for Zero Wait State. Today, it is no longer an acronym, and "ZWS" by itself means nothing.

In November of 1998, the president of Pragmatic Designs, Inc. in New York was browsing zws.com, and contacted me about possibly joining his team, working on exciting electronic toy design. So I spent my Christmas vacation that year in New York - my first voyage outside Australia - and in December I was excited to learn that the job was mine. Five months of visa paperwork later, on May 1, 1999, I arrived at the John F. Kennedy airport in New York to begin my new career.

Since hiring me, Pragmatic Designs changed its name to Digi-Frame Inc. and shifted its focus off toys and entirely towards making digital picture frames. Unfortunately, this project was really too capital-intensive for such a small company, so Digi-Frame went bankrupt and closed its doors in mid-2004. I moved on to a job with a Fortune 100 company, and at the current time I still work at that company.

In roughly June of 2000, I registered a separate domain, larwe.com, for my personal pages (musings, interesting pictures, etc). From that time onwards, zws.com has been strictly for business-related material.

(A secret revealed: Digi-Frame firmware Easter egg! It is a hidden photo-collage of myself, my then-fiancee, her parents' poodle, and a snow angel. For all you Digi-Frame DF-390 and DF-560 owners out there, turn the frame on and wait for it to start showing pictures, then click the wheel to get into the main menu. Keep turning the wheel clockwise until you hear a strange double chord sound. Then press the '>' button).