So just who am I?

I am Robert Ricketts and here is my story.

 

I got my first professional job while I was working at Radio Shack (RIP) in a small Texas town (Rosenberg) near Houston back in the late 70s. I was writing a biorhythm program on the TRS-80 microcomputer (Radio Shack's first retail computer) when in walked an executive with Gulf Oil (before Chevron bought them in the 80s).
 

He saw the squiggly little sine waves on the screen and asked what program I was writing. I explained it was a biorhythm program and offered to run it for him. I suppose having seen the sine waves, he must have thought of how oil researchers viewed sine waves when examining seismic plots. A seismic plot is an echogram revealing what's in the ground, helping researchers locate oil deposits.

He offered me a job on the spot and thus I had my first professional job programming Sperry*Univac 1100 series mainframe computers. These were huge computer systems occupying dozens of square feet of floor space. I learned FORTRAN and assembly language, among others, and wrote system utilities. I was in code-writing heaven.

Over the years after leaving Gulf Oil, I worked for Sperry*Univac (now Unisys), Shell Oil, and Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line (and its various incarnations due to endless M&As). Finally, in 2006, I had quite enough of corporate life so I quit my job, hung out my shingle, and have been an independent I.T. consultant ever since.

To quote a friend back in Texas, "I am absolutely unemployable now". After ten-plus years on my own, there's no way I'd ever go back to work as an employee for any company. It's funny because some of my friends and clients ask me how I like not having a boss. To which I reply "Well, in a way, everyone is my boss now". Meaning simply that I better do a good job, be likeable, and be fair, or one of my bosses may fire me.

So when you hire me, you're getting a bunch of years of know-how, figuring out new stuff, and a hyperactive attention to detail. I'm not new at this.

My M.O.

I like inexpensive, simple, and effective. And yes, you can have all three. Don't rent a big flat-bed truck when a simple pick-up will do the job.

I am a big fan of the G Suite ecosystem (Google's business offering for Gmail, etc.) for the "big three". That's email, contacts, and calendar. Something that nearly everyone needs. G Suite reliable and much easier to manage than Microsoft Exchange.

Regarding hardware, I like to keep things cheap, simple, but fast. For shared file storage and access, a workgroup solution is usually preferable over an expensive domain-based Microsoft Server installation. I often use services like Dropbox, Google Drive, and remote access for creative remote solutions.

In short, I want my clients to spend as little as possible on hardware, software, and infrastructure. In the I.T. world, there's usually several good ways to do something. 

 

Rates

Onsite rate is $75/hr with a one-hour minimum, billed in 30-minute increments after the hour.
Remote Help is $75/hr with a half-hour minimum, billed in 15-minute increments after the half-hour.
 

My Wonderful and Lovely Wife

My wife is Laura De Carli. She is a Professor of Mathematics and Chair of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Florida International University (FIU) in Miami. She holds a Ph.D in Mathematics from the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of Roma "La Sapienza". Her area of research is Harmonic Analysis.

She moved to the US from Italy in the early 90's and I met her in 2008. We married in 2010. I am blessed beyond words.