Redwood City

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This article is part of
"Robin's Personal Memories Project"
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We were in two buildings in Redwood City, the first was on Spring Street and then we moved to Price Street.

We leased the Spring Street property from Diamond Shamrock for a year. It was an Architects Office, about 1,500 square feet. It was an 'L-shaped' building with small offices on one leg, and one large office in the other. Where the two met, there was a 12'X12' fire proof vault, complete with a bank-vault style door. It was completely fireproof, as well as sound proof.


When the lease was up we moved about a mile away to the building on Price Street. It was about 7,000 square feet, with one room that was 3,000 feet by itself. I installed a security system that was, well, it was spectacular. It was monitored by a Z-80 based computer that knew when each and every door and window was opened or closed. It was fun.

We installed an MP/M computer in this building with a large bank of modems. It was one of the very first privately-owned, multi-user computer systems. One of our users, Frank, was on line and apparently having problems. Being Sysop, I sent a message telling him that it wasn't possible to do what he was trying to do, and he logged off. Several weeks later, I was talking about the program he was using, and made a comment that he hadn't paid this month. "I have decided that I'm not going to use your service anymore!" -

"Why?" - "That damn computer of yours knows my name!" I didn't have the heart to tell him that it was me and not the computer.

Incidents that come to mind and bring smiles.

  • Redwood City is where I met Monique, Barbara and a lot of really great people.
  • KQED aired a "Special" on BDSM titled, SM: One Foot Out of the Closet produced by Phil Bronstein (who later married Sharon Stone). Jay Wiseman was one of the advisors for this film, and it contained a frank, open documentary about S&M
  • I designed a computer system to be installed aboard a factory ship in the Alaskan Ocean. Pam and I spent a week aboard the MV Northland in the Arctic Ocean near Naknek, Alaska. After a week of cramped quarters and no toilet paper, I finally get everything running and we decide to leave Northland. We flew to Anchorage and checked into the local hotel. "We only have one room left, but it ..." - "What's the price?" - "I can't rent it out because ..." - "I'll take it!" We get to the hotel and this place is a suite that sleeps, I'm not kidding, twenty to twenty-five people, and includes three bathrooms. Pam takes one bathroom, I take another. When she comes out she is unrolling toilet paper and running around the room, nearly nude, doing the dance of the seven veils.
  • I designed a sensor that monitored the AC power line. If it sensed that you were about to lose power, it would reset the computer to avoid the loss of data. IBM bought several hundred of the little devices, so we had several of the BackDrop Staff ladies doing sessions and making sensors for IBM.

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