From Eli's Software Encyclopedia

Thank you for visiting my user page!

I have a lot of time and effort invested in this wiki, and certainly can use all of the help and feedback I can get!

You can find me at: Facebook, LinkedIn.

There are lots of ways you can help! This is a new project and I have a lot to learn. I encourage anyone to contribute new information to the wiki.

I would certainly love to hear from you if you have:

  • MediaWiki technical expertise.
  • An artistic interest and ability to improve the wiki theme.
  • Data I may be able to import.
  • An interest in helping to create documentation or even better- a Wizard, to help standardize conventions for data entry.
  • An interest in working on a good template for the 'People' category. 'Credits' data in the wiki is very weak, but it is an area that I really want to promote improvement for.
  • An interest in working on the Platform data. My database is currently very software oriented; but I realize the quality of this wiki would be greatly improved with more detailed information for the systems the software runs on. I realize this information is well documented on numerous existing web sites, but I believe there is some value to having at least brief articles here.
  • or a large collection of software you wish to share!

The first round of data was all imported after being converted from a Microsoft Access database, so inefficiencies in this process have created the opportunity for lots of cleanup among the existing data. I am aware that:

  • The heading 'Cheats or Easter Eggs' doesn't apply to many of the articles.
  • The heading 'Box Scans' can be improved for scans of jewel cases, folio packaging, album sleeves, etc.
  • The categorization of PhotoCD products and MPEG movies is inconsistent and generally a mess.

A brief history

I have always been a huge fan of the computer software business. I was the first generation of video game player, putting quarters into Space Invaders, Asteroids, Centipede and Tempest. I recall getting an Atari 2600 for Christmas and within a year or two saving all of my money for a ColecoVision and then an Atari 800. Within a few weeks of my 16th birthday I got a job working in a local computer store. This is when you could still buy software in plastic bags. I recall Infocom's flying saucer packaging for Starcross and the mask for Suspended; Sierra's ambitious 6-disk Time Zone for $99; the great games by Broderbund for the Apple II and by Epyx for the Commodore 64. I also remember VisiCalc, Lotus 1-2-3, PC Write, dBase. The runaway success of these applications and their respective software companies, coupled with the ever-increasing power of personal computers led to an explosion of entrepreneurial activity in pursuit of capitalistic riches.

My first computer was an Atari 800. As a programmer I wrote and marketed a couple of commercial software programs. Then, as a business person I licensed and sold a few others. Between the mid-1980's until the late 1990's I worked in almost every aspect of the business including programming, packaging, sales and marketing, distribution, and retail. Through this experience I gained an appreciation for the both the enormous amount of work others had devoted to this business and for the often unrecognized awesome and immense talent so many people in this industry have.

Hundreds of thousands of commercial software programs have been released to the public. This wiki is an effort to celebrate and document the people, companies, and products that have made the software industry one of the most creative, dynamic and innovative in the world.

More germane to the wiki, the Atari 800 also led me to experiment with DataPerfect by LJK Enterprises. I tried to catalog all of the commercial Atari 8-bit software. Later, on a PC (a 386!) I resurrected the project with RapidFile by Ashton-Tate. This data was later converted to Microsoft Access, and since about 1996 I have sworn I would get this data on the Internet. I failed a number of times... but Wikipedia and the MediaWiki software convinced me this was the right format for the database.

Again I struggled, but with some great data conversion help, the data is slowly becoming public!

Help make it better!

- Eli