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About The Gadget Works
The Gadget Works is a company dedicated to providing innovative solutions for the amateur and professional photographer. We are a small company. In fact, we are me, Don French. I am the CEO, CFO, CTO, COO, CIO, president, and floor sweep. This is likely to change soon, but for now if you have any complaints, insults, derogatory remarks about our products or our support, or want to hurl rotten fruit at The Gadget Works, then I am the guy you will hit, and I stand ready to accept the worst. On the other hand, if you have any kind remarks, compliments, rave reviews, or simply wish to shower The Gadget Works with money, praise, or lavish gifts, then I will accept them too.

A little about me: I started programming professionally in 1967. I installed the first computer that Kalamazoo Container ever had. It was an IBM 1130, and I wrote about 200 programs for it over a period of two years, all in FORTRAN IV. My first project at Kalamazoo Container was to convert a payroll system from a punched card system. I was just out of college with a degree in Chemistry and knew nothing about business or IT practices, and damn little about programming. But I had been hired to be the manager of the IT department (actually, it was called the Data Processing department in those days and I was the DP manager). I was the only person in the department other than two key punch operators and a machine operator. In my blissful ignorance I wrote the incentive payroll package in two months time and put it up live with no backup and only cursory testing. I am happy to say that everyone got paid on time and to the best of my knowledge in the right amount. Thus began my career in programming.

My complete job history is too long and boring to include here, but there were a few highlights.

I started my second software company (the first never really got off the ground), French Silk, in 1982 with a produc that I believe holds the world's record for the smallest symbolic assembler ever written. It was called The Assembler for the VIC-20. It consumed 1639 bytes of memory, leaving 1944 bytes of the VIC-20's 3585 bytes for the source code. It had a surprising number of features packed into that tiny amount of space. Since most people reading this probabaly don't even know what a symbolic assembler is, I won't bore you with the details. I think there might be more information in Wikipedia if you are interested. One other interesting point: The Assembler was developed with a tool that was written by Bill Gates himself.

The other highlights of my not always illustious career include The Machine Shop for the Commodore 64, Dick Tracy, a Commodore 64 game I wrote for Disney, a fairly complex chess problem solver and chess position database manager called Problematic, and a Free Cell solver which I wrote to teach myself Java. I also worked as a software engineer and tech writer for a succession of Silicon Valley companies, most of which either went out of business or should have.

Photography has been a passion of mine for many years, as has designing and inventing. But I never brought an invention to life until now and it was photography that was responsible. I wanted to make high resolution panoramas but did not want to have to manually rotate and tilt the camera through hundreds of nodes. So I decided to see if I could build a computer controlled device to do it for me. Three years later, AutoMate 1.0 was the result. Except for the board design, which I contracted out, I taught myself everything I needed to create this device, including two new programming languages, microcontroller architecture, Bluetooth technology, and electronics. Thank you, world wide web and all the angels out there who are willing to answer a newbie's questions, no matter how dumb! What a fantastic resource the web is for personal growth and education and bringing an idea to fruition.

So, that's me. I hope that you didn't waste your time reading all this when what you really should be reading is the product description. I think that you will find it much more interesting than this page.