About Me

Hi, my name is Brian Estes. Here are a few technical milestones from my life—in roughly chronological order.

brian.jpg

My Life, BC (Before Computers)
–Not much to say. I was just a kid.

Summer computer camp between 6th and 7th grade
–Learned BASIC on an Apple ][+.
–Discovered that I *loved* computers. I could try something, and if it didn’t work, I could just try again! It was so much different than school where each mistake was carefully tracked.
–This was also the only area in my life where my level of knowledge quickly approached (and often surpassed) that of teachers and those who wrote newspaper and magazine articles.

My first computer
— a Commodore VIC-20 with a 16K expansion module and a tape drive.
–Used it all the time.

Sold the VIC-20 and got an Apple //e with a128k Enhanced Graphics card, two disk drives, a green screen, an Okidata 320 printer…and an AppleCat modem.
–Learned some assembly language and how to use disk editors
–Discovered the modem opened up a vast new world
–Ran my own BBS for a year (with subscriptions and everything!)
–Wrote to the newly formed Electronic Arts offering to create a copy-protection scheme and *got a letter back*. Didn’t follow through (I was 15 and not ready to move to California yet).
–Discovered the game Wizardry from Sir-Tech. Spent 100’s of hours playing, planning or just thinking about this game.
–Belonged to the user group Call A.P.P.L.E. I was there for a presentation by guys in white T-shirts when the Macintosh was released.
–Explored The Source and CompuServe.
–Worked at a retail computer store selling Apple II series, Macintosh and IBM PCs.

Went to college
–Decided to try life without computers
–Took only a single computer class the whole time (Computer Science 101 — I got 100%! The only time ever in my academic life).
–Gave up on the no-computer thing as a Junior.
–Bought my first Mac (an SE/30)
–Had my first real exposure to UNIX and the Internet.
–Read newsgroups between classes with rn on a text-based terminal
–Started a computer consulting business (called Up and Running). Did things like upgrade RAM and hard drives, fix problems, create custom FileMaker Pro and 4D databases, etc. I never could generate sufficient business to make this into a real job.

Graduated from College
–Worked for a computer consulting company for about a year. Installed a district-wide email system using CE Software’s QuickMail with modem gateways and dedicated circuits between buildings.
–I found that trying to explain why computers, networks, file servers, email and databases were “a good thing” to people was not my forte.
–Decided it was time I moved to the Silicon Valley, where I belonged. It was either that or work for Microsoft. 😉
–Sold my Mac and moved

Tech Support for The Learning Company
–Solved problems with sound cards in DOS 5/6 and Windows 3.1
–Bought and built my first PC (a 486DX/33)
–Tried Linux for the first time (Yggedersil, version .9 or something)
–Finally got another Mac (a PowerMac 6100, which I immediately over-clocked)
–Searched for an IT job for an all-Mac company (this took a while!)

Worked at Raynet
–(was Raychem, then Ericsson-Raynet, Ericsson Fiber Access and Ericsson Data Services)
–Started out doing mostly Help Desk, then did Desktop Support, then did mostly servers
–This was my first introduction to Sun workstations
–Also learned how to manage and support a very large LAN, offices in many states, dedicated circuits across the world, many custom systems and everything else that goes in in a large company.
–When Ericsson took over, the switch from Mac to PC started
–I ended up as manager of the Desktop Support and Servers group, handling Microsoft Exchange and Windows NT file servers for the West Coast (except Hawaii, which the corporate group kept for some reason…).
–Survived a ISO 9000 audit
–Apple’s future looked bleak (this was the Performa era), so I decided to change to something new.

Palm Computing
–(later Palm, Inc., palmOne and now Palm, Inc. again)
–Started doing testing of NetSync for the Palm III as a contractor and found I really liked QA. It was like IT, but you actually had time to do the work!
–QA Lead for handhelds (IIIx, IIIe, VIIx and IIIc). Stressful and exciting.
–QA Manager. More stress, less excitement.
–During this time, I learned as much as I could about Software Testing and Software Quality Assurance.

Automation
–Started an Automation Group in a big way when a new QA Director came in and gave total support.
–First, I read all the books (there aren’t many!), did Internet research and talked to people.
–Built an automation group (5-8 internal and a high of 43 offshore programmers)
–The QA Director drove the creation of an Agent for Segue’s SilkTest on PalmOS.

This is where my real Test Automation education began
–Discovered many of the properties of test automation development and management.
–Carefully built a new team, infrastructure and systems.
–Added back an offshore team once the management infrastructure was in place.
–Achieved a fantastic team, set of processes and set of systems.

Deja-vu all over again
–Found myself spending most of my time trying to explain test automation to people.
–Switched to a job programming in my former automation group.

6 comments so far

  1. Nathan Kellner on

    Brian,

    I came across your page and found your background interesting. Are you the same Brian Estes that graduated from Purdue University in 2004?

  2. Brian Estes on

    Hi Nathan,

    No, I went to Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA.

    Thanks for reading!

    -Brian

  3. Brian Avery Estes on

    Well I must say, just for giggles I thought I would leave a comment.

  4. Brian Estes on

    It’s surprising how many there are. I actually had another Brian Estes in a class in college. He even had the same middle initial. Unfortunately, the police would call thinking I was him.

  5. Greg Lambert on

    We spent too many all-nighters playing Wizardry. What a delightful read. It brings back so many fun and fond memories. I hope things are going well.

  6. Will (Bill) Anderson on

    Hey Brian, miss you buddy – get on FaceBook and let us know what’s happening – Bill Anderson class of ’87


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