20, 21 and 22 years ago (1987-1989)
Ok, at this point it should be blindingly obvious where this series is going :).
In early 1987 I was still working on MS-DOS 4.1, a custom version of DOS for ICL in the UK. I also got married to my wonderful wife Valorie in January. We returned from our honeymoon and I wandered into work after getting off the plane (I’d parked my car at work and took the shuttle to the airport from work). That was a HUGE mistake because I learned that the entire MS-DOS 4.1 team was going on a plane to the UK in 36 hours. These days, I’d never do what I did next: I left my bride of a week at home (with a car with a manual transmission that she didn’t really know how to drive) for a week while I flew to the UK and met with customers (these days, I’d have insisted that Valorie come with me to the UK so we’d at least be together in the evenings and weekend). I spent a huge amount of time in the UK that year finishing up MS-DOS 4.1.
Between 1988 and 1990 I spent most of the time working on the Lan Manager family of products, starting with Lan Manager 1.1 and continuing through Lan Manager 2.0 (I left the Lan Manager team for NT OS/2 after Lan Manager 2.1).
LanMan was a hoot – LanMan was when I first started working with Brian Valentine (and later for Brian Valentine). Brian was maybe the most inspirational manager I’ve ever worked for, working for him was always a blast. This was also where Danny Glasser gave me the nickname “DOS Vader” – at one point in the very late 1980s, I probably knew as much about the internals of MS-DOS than any other developer in the world.
In Lan Manager, I was the developer for the DOS version of the Lan Manager client. It’s also when I had the “8 F**ING BASICS” meeting with Bill Gates. I started with a version of the messenger service for MS-DOS and then moved onto the network client – eventually I’d added support for a fully asynchronous programming model running under MS-DOS which was pretty cool (there were some limitations but in general it worked great).