Stephen Williamson
Unit 1, 103 Kempsie Road
click here for link to OpenStreetMap
Upper Mount Gravatt Brisbane Queensland Australia 4122

Web Page
Personal - About me, music movies TV & books
Close Business Ties 1986 - 2008 Bruce and Gail Riddel today IT Integrity

Early morning thoughts just after 01:02:03 on 04/05/06 — Australian time

World view Timeline: End 6,024th yr Sep 23 2006
Two years later: End 6,026th yr Sep 30 2008
Recorded history: Free Will & Hidden design: 5,995 yrs of man, 31 yrs Son of God
Genesis 45: 9-11 "Come down to me, do not delay — for there are still 5 years of famine"

a word to Israel

End 6,027th yr approaching Mar 2010
= 2,513½yrs Eden→Exodus
+ 1,000yrs Exodus→Egypt
+ 2,513½yrs Egypt→Eden
at Garden City 6,027 yrs
This is Australia

2 Timothy 2:11-13 "A faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:
If we endure we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:
If we disbelieve yet he stays faithful: he cannot deny himself"

Steve's Business Background
Eric, father, was an NCR cash register and accounting machines sales account manager, systems analyst, employer & educator 1956-1981.
1968: Grade 12 at Brisbane State High. Studied languages and economics.
1969: Back Office Clerk / trainee accountant at Wallace Bishop Jewellers.
1970: Money Market Clerk / trainee accountant at Pioneer Sugar Mills Ltd (overseeing, boy, "millions" of dollars with wining/dining etc).

Computer Applications Programming from 1971, with 2015 closing off 44 years as a professional programmer. See one definition.

First 15 years included 7 versatile years of writing code for mainframes in COBOL, interspersed with some BASIC programming and dBASE II.


First an introduction
Early Computer(s)
click here for the ENIAC, operational 1945-1955, initially at the University of Pennsylvania before being transferred to Maryland for US Army use in 1947. It is often called the first computer with its coding capacity to conditionally "branch", as well as "loop", thus differentiating it from earlier adding machines and calculators. It was followed in England by the Manchester Baby in 1948, Cambridge University's EDSAC in 1949, and the US Army's EDVAC at Maryland first operational in 1952. They all followed mathematician John von Neumann's widely distributed paper in 1945 describing computer architecture, still used in almost all computers. IBM released its first computer also in 1952. In April 1957 following 3-4 years of development, IBM's "formulaic" software language compiler FORTRAN by John Backus was completed and ready for customer delivery.

COBOL, click here for those unfamiliar with its inventor, was a "business English" programming language which the US Department of Defence insisted that all computer manufacturers, if they wanted US Government contracts, had to be able to support. Launched in 1960, strongly supported by IBM after 1962, and the ICT/ICL 1900 series of business computers in England after 1964, by the year 1970 COBOL had become the most widely used programming language in the world.
Today it allegedly supports over 70% of business transaction processing worldwide, on IBM mainframes, including a vast number of Internet queries. In 2014 it was estimated that every second of the day there were 6,000 tweets sent, 30,000 Facebook "likes", 60,000 Google searches, and 1,100,000 IBM mainframe transactions processed worldwide.

Cobol is said to have 90% dominance in global financial transactions and is widespread through banks, supermarkets, governments, insurance and airlines. It's called a "third generation" (3GL) language. Standards are set by ISO / IEC, with 18 participating member countries and 27 observer member countries. The organization also provides oversight to five other (more formulaic) languages C,   C++,   Fortran, Ada and Prolog.

Click here for a brief summary of the meaning of 1, 2, 3 and 4GL languages. These early 3GLs contrast with later 3GLs (and 4GLs), now with run-time systems or "virtual machines" built using C and C++ compiled executables, e.g. Java now owned by the Oracle Corporation, and Javascript whose trademark is owned by Oracle, and standardized by Euro group ECMA International.
In Australia, click here for our Aussie banks IT systems (and some of the dramas at switching over to Java at NAB and Suncorp).

Click here and here for the level of demand for COBOL programmers worldwide in 2022. The estimated 800 billion lines of code in daily use, and $2 trillion said to have been invested over its 60 years via myriads of flowcharts and systems analysis, continues to play its part. While verbose, it is the most readable, understandable and self-documenting programming language available. Well written code is straightforward and robust — in a professional English-like way — explaining why financial institutions continue to depend on it. But the increasing dearth of experienced programmers will cause ongoing issues.
End of Intro

So, working at Pioneer Sugar's Brisbane office and under tutelage from Arthur Andersen & Co, wrote a Financial Modelling application in COBOL that produced 10 year management reports: Balance sheets, P & L, and Cash-flow analyses, using data on punched cards to serve as the input for the forecasting required. It was an early "spreadsheet" type of application, employing that "Kiss" principle (as much as possible), Keep it simple, stupid . It ran at local Brisbane computer bureaus for a number of years, initially on a Univac 1108, later a CDC 6600.

1974-1975Transfer to the North Qld offices and, liaising with Townsville software contractors, computerised the canepay and payroll office systems using Basic Plus when the company purchased a DEC PDP-11/40.
For input at the cane-receiving stations and the central pay office, the company purchased easy to use DECwriter Keyboard Terminals, similar to a teletype, based on new dot matrix printers. They provided great real-time audit trails.
Took a four year sabbatical from the computer world in 1976 see further details in Christian Retailer section below.
1980-1982Employed on NCR mini-computers and writing in COBOL, now in an interactive multiprogramming environment, adapted Property Rates, Cash Receipting and Debtors applications for various Local Government Councils. Trained Council staff throughout Qld & NSW.
1984-1986dBASE II: Transition. In April 1984, contracted to develop a database for Human Resource Management on a $10,000, single-user, IBM PC (hard disk) XT. At Christmas, contracted at Myers Indooroopilly to develop a multi-user customer database using Digital Research's Concurrent DOS for PCs. Also, wrote a Stock and Invoicing system for Southern Carpets in Logan. In 1985, now back on mainframes, upgraded Qld State Govt COBOL applications and trained staff on the ICL computer major upgrade at Dept of Main Roads. In April 1986, back on PCs, wrote a General Ledger and Debtors program for churches and aid organizations (Australia-wide), again in dBASE II.
End of the COBOL years. Now, PCs with Data Analysis & Database Management.
1986-2008 Using 16-bit DOS and 32-bit Windows, designed & built numerous systems, initially with dBASE III PLUS, an easy-to-read scripting language and database management platform that accessed Excel-friendly dBASE tables through its single-user data engine, written in C and marketed by its US developer Ashton-Tate. Click here for a summary of its language and syntax. The fact that it came as a database manager as well as having a 4GL language (click here for "What is 4GL") led to an almost universal acceptance by programmers. Click here for an early 1986 interview with its author. From dBASE, upgraded in 1992 to WordTech's multi-user Quicksilver compiler and its single-user dBXL data engine, as it provided a well-behaved, protected mode environment with windowing extensions for each application.
Working with Datacare (today IT Integrity) who supported each installation, Steve wrote feature-rich, integrated systems for hundreds of sites, involving thousands of employees. Full office systems were thus installed at: Qld Theatre Company & Northern Securities on Novell networks, then, working with Blue Nursing staff at Moorlands House (originally owned by the Mayne family - see Mayne Hall below) wrote Domiciliary software for 62 of 63 Blue Nursing (BlueCare) Centres in Queensland (Brisbane excepted).

In 1995, before the Samsung Galaxy and iPads iPhones iPods there was the Apple Newton PDA 
While its handwriting recognition famously lampooned in this Simpsons episode left much to be desired, the handheld device, together with its connection kit, enabled RN nurses in the field statewide access to client data including NANDA nursing and ICD medical data. First implemented in 1996, it was deployed for many years.

Also installed office systems at Anglican, Baptist, Beth-Eden (at the time AOG, now Brethren), Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Lutheran and Uniting Church Aged Care Homes, Bible Colleges and Christian wholesalers - see below.
With Windows XP Professional edition, stable multi-tasking finally arrived coupled with advanced networking features.
From 2001-2016 set up the web page for Jack Bradford's Brisbane Junior Theatre, and a family page for Dominic Power's family.

2000-2014 Microsoft SQL Server: Web-based Database Management in Active Server Pages scripts, combining server-side commands in SQL and VBScript with client-side commands in HTML and JavaScript to provide search pages for retail staff. Wholesalers upload their in-house database tables daily for retailer enquiry purposes and download orders subsequently placed.

In 2005 Care and Share Products invested in a Windows Mobile platform using Dexterra software that enabled their sales team to sync full copies of the customer stock and backorders database onto barcode scanning Symbol phone PDAs via cable, WiFi or at a pinch GPRS. It let them take (offline) and transmit (online) orders from almost anywhere in Australia.

In 2007 wrote a Stock Database program for CBAA.
This completed Steve's decentralized distribution database package: DEDICATION II DAD

Christian Retailer Background
1975-1976 Following a time of encouragement and prayer with a number of close brothers and sisters, started distributing Christian books and records to individuals and church prayer/youth groups through Ayr, Home Hill and Townsville.
In Townsville, struck up a deep friendship with Tony McLennan and lived with his family for several months. Working through Tony's church Calvary Temple, opened up an outreach building for daily ministry on Flinders Street (in the heart of the city) called "The Ark".
1977-1978 Inspired by their Bookshop in Brisbane, became Townsville secretary for the Full Gospel Businessmen Fellowship in Australia and opened the Bookshop in this main street of Townsville. Ran a number of concerts with overseas artists, an early one being an outdoor Larry Norman concert at the newly opened Dean Park Sound Shell, with Larry performing rock and ballads on high action classical guitar and grand piano, great acoustics and heart-felt message. Jamie Owens followed next in Bowen, then concerts with Barry McGuire, Honeytree, Chuck Girard, Randy Stonehill in Townsville, then - later in 1984 - a Phil Keaggy concert at UQ's Mayne Hall in Brisbane. Every concert included Australian artists in support.
Christian Wholesaler Background
1979. Warehouse manager for Rhema Records and Keystone Magazine. Travelled twice to U.S.A.
1982-1986 Business manager in Australia for DTS Records & David Smallbone Promotions Pennant Hills Sydney.
1987-1996 Royalty Systems / Stock & Debtors software at Alpha & Omega Records now Crossroad Distributors - Keith & Joyce Bray.
1990-2012 Stock & Debtors software at Harvest Christian Products (Christian Art Gifts) & until 2002 GPH in New Zealand.
1991-2001 Stock & Debtors software at Lighthouse Christian Distributors.
1993-2008 Stock & Debtors software at W A Buchanan & Co (Christian Literature Crusade Wholesale).
2003-2014 Stock & Debtors, Payroll, General Ledger & Creditors software at Care and Share Products.
2007-2009 Stock Database manager for Christian Bookselling Association Australia.

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