Remember Mickey Mouse as the apprentice mage in the “Sorcerer’s Apprentice”? (If not, check it out: better than the 2010 live-action remake.) Great music, from Dukas, and a good lesson – based on a parable from Goethe. The superficial lesson: don’t try to practice magic until you know what you’re doing. The lesson for the rest of us: truly know what you’re doing before you try and practice your craft, or sell your services.

Because experience counts. And there’s no way to get experience but time and practice.

My professional life has been focused on the craft of communication – technical, business, science – by all available means. First by doing: a career in the U.S. Air Force in airborne ops; director of communications for global techno-businesses; regional environmentalist for the State of Oregon; researcher for and co-author of scientific articles on the environment. And then by teaching: head of technical training departments in the Air Force and in business; adjunct professor of business communication, technical communication, physical science, and environmental studies. I’m currently a partner in a health services consultancy, Paradigm Consultants, where we’re working on problems that matter to us all. Our tagline is “Where human and environmental health meet.”

I’ve learned it, I’ve done it, I’ve taught it. This site is a combination of memoirs of the journey, bullet points of accomplishments, and thoughts on the process. It’s an online resume┬┤ as well as a personal history of techno-life over the last fifty years. If you’d like guidance as to which pages might be of most interest to you, please check out the “About / Contact” page; it might save you some time.

My work life sure has been an interesting ride, and I think I’ve been lucky to have a favored place – at least in terms of technology. Hard to imagine that today in our cell phones we hold in our hands more computing power than the ground-breaking S.A.G.E. system had in three thousand square feet of multi-million-dollar fully duplexed Cold War air defense computer (my first USAF job). All that change in one working lifetime… with more to come.

What’s the next big thing? I think it’s robotics, from Roombas to UAVs to your personal Robbie – and Asimov’s Three Laws won’t be a player. Hopefully Skynet and Terminator won’t, either.

David Fenton

Out, standing in his field