Richard Park on Network Engineering

Tech Explorations Podcast 5 - Richard Park, Network engineer and mentor

Richard Park has been teaching full time for twenty years. He currently teaches college-level Network Engineering and is creating an “IoT Explorations” course for the coming school year. 

Richard also taught Secondary Technology Education, concurrently, for eleven years. In these venues, the topics included coding, operating systems, electronics, and multimedia in addition to networking.

Prior to his full-time teaching career, Richard was a Cisco Systems Network Academy Area Manager, Apple Computer Systems Engineer, Texas Instruments Technical Instructor, and IBM Mainframe Systems Field Engineer. 

At Apple Computer, he designed and implemented the technology infrastructure for the Apple Market Center, a predecessor to today’s Apple Stores, and co-authored the “Apple ][ Primer”, Apple’s first classroom teacher training manual. 

Richard holds AAS, BS, and MS degrees in Electronics Technology, Radio and Television Journalism, and Education from Southern Illinois University, and Texas A&M University.

In my conversation with Richard, we touched on a wide array of topics drawing mostly from his vast experience. He worked at Apple Computer for 20 years, at a time where networks were open and unencrypted, and witnessed first hand Apple’s foray into education, and he wrote the Apple ][ Primer, one of the first programming guides for teachers. This discussion reminded me of my first computer, an Apple //e with 128KBytes of RAM.

Richard Park was one of the first users of Visicalc, one of the first visual spreadsheet programs for the Apple ][ and defined much of how modern spreadsheets work. This knowledge was very useful when he worked at Texas Instruments and essentially revolutionized job costing.  

We discussed Richard’s work at the CISCO Academy where he teaches Network Engineering and the course he is developing at the moment, on IOT Fundamentals. In this course that Richard is designing, he combines a Raspberry Pi and Arduino to teach IOT concepts by gradually building an IOT application. 

We also had a look at Richard’s adaptation of the Raspberry Pi Full Stack application, which is one of my favorite moments of the conversation. 

We talked about Radio Shack, Bill Nye the Science Guy, Mr. Wizard, breadboarding, and, so much more. 

I am sure you will enjoy this conversation.

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  • This was a great podcast. I thoroughly enjoyed it! I can relate in many ways to the conversations. I would not mind talking to Rich about getting a copy of his Mr. Wizard flash drive. I used to watch his shows all the time when I was a kid. Also the video on ESD. The best was the story at the end about connecting the Apple computers together and seeing other nodes from other countries show up and have access to other info that you probably shouldn’t. My dad has a very similar story about when the company he worked for began to introduce computers in the company. He was an electrical engineer and in addition to having access to engineering data he was also able to get into sensitive financial and payroll information. He kept calling the systems administrator to alert them about it and they thought it was a prank call and kept hanging up on him.

    • Hi Tim, very glad you enjoyed our conversation 🙂

      I agree, the part where we talk about the early networks and how open they were was also in my distant memory. When I started using networks and the Internet, security was not even an afterthought.

      Your dad’s story is spot-on: system administrators believed their role was to keep data flowing. Today their job is to do that only if you have the right credentials :-0

    • Thank you for the comments Tim,

      Don Herbert (Mr. Wizard) is one of my heros. Many times when he demonstrated something, I could actually make a working project as a result. He explained things. Much of his content is available at the Mr. Wizard Studios website http://www.mrwizardstudios.com/index.htm.

      The “Shocking Truth” video about Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) can be found on at https://youtu.be/N9zH8ag531o . It has a great introduction from Steve Wozniak and how ESD impacted the 6502 chip and the development of the Apple ][.

      Doing the corporate network connections, was pre-Internet and most people never gave a single thought to data security. Sharing everything was easy. I think Peter mentions a time existed when passwords were not used. Security concerns have changed greatly. That night left an impression of the great power of the connected world. To a greater extent, I realized that networks were nothing more than “Tinker Toys” waiting to be put together and not a “plaything” to be taken lightly.

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