Eight years ago  I and my wife officially retired from active employment. Since then we have engaged in all of those other things we were going to do when retired including travel to Europe and more. Funny how planned retirements never really meet the dream. Life always throws a wrench in somewhere. Whether that be economic, geo political, domestic, physical mobility, or political, it just means making adjustments along the way. So you run as far as you can and then walk, and then rest. Here is a clue. When the “rest” requires more time than the run and walk, give up the running.
For the past 25 years I have been a FileMaker advocate and developer here in Louisiana. What started out as a software I needed to handle some accounting and project management [CheckFiles and ContractorTools] in my Engineering and Environmental Business soon tuned into helping others with their various database needs.
I started with computers in 1967 learning analog computing for basic instrumentation and data graphing. Started coding software [Basic] in 1968 on GE’s Time share basically crunching data from research chemistry and preliminary algebraic evaluations [averages, means, trends,] and other statistical analysis. I have the computer age dawn and grow from “Dip switch entry”, paper tty tape, to Cards, magnetic tape, floppy disk, Solid state drives, and eventually to the cloud data storage. The hardware change from a 4 Kb machine the size of a filing cabinet to a 128 Gb cell phone that can hold the library of congress, that fits in your pocket. Next year I will have been in this business for 50 years. Many opportunities have came and gone my way. In 1970 I had a choice to make Computers or Chemical Engineering. I chose Chemical Engineering. It was the right choice for the time and still is for me. But Computers became and are now an indispensable part of our lives. We are busier, wealthier, more world wide aware, more enlightened and information is as convenient as a Google search. In 1984 I bought my first Mac’s for my business. By 1988 I was all Mac. But I needed a database software that could run on a Mac. Another computer savvy user, whose name I have lost to time, recommended I look at his bootleg copy of a software called “FileMaker.” I did and I could see its potential even as a flat file. So I went searching for a non bootlegged version only to find that a company called Claris had bought it and would release a version soon. When I finally got a version, I found that it was “Sharable” over Apple Net and life got better. Version 2.0 to 2.1 the name changed to FileMaker Pro, among other things, and I could make anything I wanted with this new software. Everything from Parsing the King James Bible with notes and references to managing capital cost and expenditures and revenues from 4 apartment complexes with a total of more than 1000 units. The apartment software reported monthly and was gathered via modem and FMPro from 4 separate locations via 14.4 Kb modems. The report required 2 days for gathering, disbursements, and review. Prior to the FMPro database developed system it required 6 weeks to produce the monthly report in the same detail. That was 1990. It took [me in my spare time] 45 days to write [develop], debug, install, and test. This last year it took me a man week to develop a Service software that tracks projects, individual equipment and it’s repair history, and costs, makes work orders and invoices, has over 228 customers, 30 employees, 28,000+ parts and inventory, and 30 different Fee schedules. And is available via phone or internet to their FileMaker Server over their iPads. That growth of capabilities is incredible, and I have not tapped the depths of FMPro. I have seen many good technological companies both hardware and software come and go over the decades. But FMI and Apple have stayed the course and weathered the storms to succeed beyond the expectations of all of it’s detractors. To that end I am pleased to have been a small part in the gear works and have enjoyed the ride and the camaraderie of many like minded folk, too many to be named. I will miss the energy of DevCon, the humor of Jimmy Jones, the passion of Delfina Davies for the developers, the inventive nature of David Magee, and the kindnesses of Stephen Knight plus the friendships of so many and the open community of FMPro Developers.
In retirement FMPro has provided a welcomed income addition and a healthy stimulus mentally and physically. However, as a “one man shop” these days it has also handicapped my “Bucket List” activities. Sport Car Racing and Karaoke were not on my list originally, but they are front and center these days. Perhaps I will find some time to clean up some old projects for consumers. And then probably not. It has been my pleasure.
One can only imagine where the next 25 years will lead.
Charles [Chuck] Durrwachter, ChEng, FBA, FDS. 2006 FMI Humanitarian Award winner, [Fossil Racer] Age 70.
old_cedar, If you need a hand you know where I am.