A life with computers
Doctor's at home and at work - with PC, software
By RICHARD DES RUISSEAUX
The Courier Journal
Monday November 29, 1999
CHECK and see where she " says Dr. George Stege III sliding
off a stool at the kitchen island and stepping over to the 21 inch
computer monitor atop a waist high counter.
is tucked away in a slide in drawer and the beige box networked
on a high-speed DSL (digital subscriber line) Internet connection
with several other computers sprinkled around the house is on the
floor, around the side, hidden in a cranny.
doesn't like the way it looks," Stege explains. She's also
not too fond of the 15 inch monitor and AMD 450-megahertz DSL router
in the den, next to the desk where her husband keeps his paper thin
Sony Vaio laptop, but such is the aesthetic price of technology.
mouseclicks on the American Pearl Web site (www.adept.net/americanpearl)
and an animated chart pops up. A succession of green dots shows
Louisvillian Tori Murden's hourly progress or lack of it as she
rows toward Guadaloupe and the completion of her solo trip across
that program in Russia," Stege says, emphasizing the worldwide
nature of the World Wide Web. “I was looking around for tools to
use on the page..” Click. He bought it online with a credit card.
Stege, 46, is
marking his roughly 30 year anniversary as a computer aficionado.
At 16, he built what a have been the first personal computer in
Louisville, creating it from surplus parts bought "for pennies
on the dollar" from a company in Cincinnati. It filled up the
basement of his parents' home, cost a little under $1,000 and made
the front page of The Courier Journal.
Stege can't even
recall what he did with the machine.
"It was just the
joy of making it more than what it would do afterward."
These days he and his
wife, oversee the Tori Murden site from home, working on
it an hour or two a day putting up letters from sup porters and
Murden's commentaries and handling other details.
Murden for several years, ever since she agreed to coach a newly
formed rowing team at Louisville Collegiate School. Their oldest
son, Chris, now attending Georgetown University In Washington, D.C.,
was one of the charter members.
his family medicine practice, Stege owns local Internet-service-provider-company
Adept Communications and is involved in three medically related
companies that wouldn’t exist without computers and the sophisticated
software programs he writes some that contain as many as 100,000
lines of code.
a far cry from the millions of lines of code in Windows 98 ... but
maybe not. As a
pursued oth-er science projects: He built a laser. He got to watch
the Apollo 12 launch in 1969 with President Richard Nixon after
winning an award at a NASA- sponsored Youth Science Congress.
father, also a doctor, didn't quite discourage his son's scientific
bent. 'You can do whatever you want to ... after you graduate from
medical school," he said.
went to Princeton University and pursued his medical degree, but
he also earned a master's degree in physiology and biophysics and
didn't abandon his interest in computers.
he was in college in the early 1970s, he began building his second
computer, using one of the first microprocessors, an 8008 chip.
But the hardware
was only half the adventure. "The other project I had going
was writing a Basic compiler for it," Stege said. An operating
system, if you will. A bit farther north, at Harvard University,
another Ivy League student, Bill Gates, was taking a similar tack.
from college and working in his father's office, Stege began developing
medical software that would simplify the business end of things
billing, staffing, payroll, taxes and so on a program at the heart
of MD Systems, a company he started in 1984.
"I did a
lot of programming on a PC Jr.," Stege said, recalling IBM's
ill fated "portable" computer that was introduced that
year and came with a reviled “chiclet” keyboard.
also has designed a program for a "just in time" hospital
staffing agency, HealthNet Inc. of Kentuckiana, that he runs with
partner Tim Teague. If a hospital needs a nurse with specific skills,
it calls the agency. The program searches a database for nurses
who meet the criteria then automatically pages them. The first to
call in gets the assignment.
the years, Stege has owned PCs running on every generation of Intel’s
microprocessors - from the Altair of the mid 1970s, which used an
8080 chip, to today's Pentium III processors. In 1996 he bought
the first dual processor Pentium machine manufactured by Dell Computer.
He has also owned a "Trash 80" Radio Shack's TRS
80 color computer that made it’s debut in 1980, running on a Zilog
Z80 chip and a couple of Macintoshes.
companies require a couple of dozen computers, and at home, besides
the laptop and the two 450-MHz PCs, there are two older Pentium 200 MHz desktop machines (one
for Alex, 16, and one for Elizabeth, 10). And when Chris is home
from Georgetown University, where he's studying music, he brings
home his laptop.
been on the bleeding edge," said Stage. "Now I try to
stay a generation behind" the latest, fastest processors. It
just makes good economic sense.
From time to
time he wonders what in lit have happened had he taken a different
path, but he has no regrets.
happy being me," he said.
are approximate except for the first entry.
machine: do-it-yourself, basement-size computer from surplus parts
Another do-it-yourselfer, based on an Intel 8008 microprocessor
- An Altair 8800, built from a kit and with an 8080 chip,
which, like the 8008, processed eight bits of information per clock
80," Radio Shack's TRS-80, using a Zilog Z-80 chip, which was compatible with the Intel 8080
- IBM XT, using an Intel 8088 chip, which enabled the
computer, to process eight or 16 bits of Information per clock cycle;
later XTs used an 8086 chip
- IBM AT, running on a 16/24-bit Intel 80286 chip and
with an "astounding" 10 megabyte hard drive
IBM PC Jr., which used the old 8088 chip
- ALR 386DX, 40 MHz (Intel 80386)
No name 486SX-25 Mhz processor
- Macintosh PowerPC, Motorola 604 microprocessor
Succession of desktop, laptop computers using ever faster
Pentium class microprocessors, including the first dual processor
Pentium by Dell Computer.