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I wrote my first computer program in 1973 and have been a computer nerd ever since. I am currently, for the most part, retired.
After graduating from New York University in 1975 with minors in both computer science and mathematics, I spent over 20 years working in an IBM mainframe (MVS) environment. Initially, I was a programmer, developing applications in COBOL, Assembly Language, VSAM, CICS and the ever-present batch environment. Then, after a year working with the IDMS database, I spent nine years working with DB2 for MVS as a Database Administrator.
For the next four years (1995-1999) I worked in the Research and Development group of a large Wall Street financial company as they started the transition away from being an exclusively mainframe shop. Then I spent a couple years doing technical writing, producing manuals and the like for a mainframe software company.
For many years, I was an independent computer consultant and blogger. I worked mostly with small businesses and the self-employed, doing whatever needed doing: websites, networks, software upgrades, backup strategies, data recovery, tutoring, purchasing advice, etc. Every day was different.
Starting in 2002, I ran the web site for The Personal Computer Show on WBAI. For a few years I was also a regular on the show and, for five years, I worked on the web site for the radio station (here's another shot of me in the studio with Hank Kee). The show went off the air in 2018.
In January 2007 I started a blog at michaelhorowitz2.blogspot.com which was noticed by someone at CNET. From July 2007 through November 2008 I wrote the Defensive Computing blog as part of the CNET blog network. See one of my first postings. In January of 2009, I started blogging on Defensive Computing at Computerworld.com. The Computerworld blog lasted until October 2017. Since then, I blog here.
I came to focus on Defensive Computing when I first started working at home. Previously, my home computer was a toy, I made my living working with mainframes. But working at home, the computer became seriously important. Corrupted, lost or deleted files would now be a big deal and there was no way I could work if the machine wouldn't boot. Bringing a mainframe mindset to these issues became Defensive Computing. I also see it as educating the less technical computer users to know just enough to avoid the most obvious mistakes.
I have taught a number of classes, most with an underlying theme of Defensive Computing. I created all my classes (and hundreds of pages of handouts) from scratch. Defensive Computing was my first class, I also had a class on Backing Up Your Computer. The "So You Bought A New Computer, Now What?" class was about testing and configuring a new Windows XP computer to make sure you get off on the right foot Likewise the "Buying and Owning a Laptop Computer" class aimed to insure students buy the right laptop for their needs and keep it healthy and happy.
My first website, back in 1999 was ComputerGripes.com. It was a hobby and learning experience, but I stopped maintaining it once I started blogging in 2007.
My Java Tester web site grew out of frustration, while taking Java programming classes, in determining the installed version of Java on different computers. Java applets running a browser have since fallen off the computing radar screen, but the site was hugely popular in its day. From July 2008 to March 2018, the home page was viewed 8.1 million times and the page that did the actual Java testing was view 19.8 million times (an average of 5,600/day over 3,500 days). The site has now been retired, but it's still there.
My FlashTester.org site had a revision history for the Adobe Flash Player. It started, in 2003, as an easy to remember link to the official Adobe Flash tester page. It was retired, along with Flash itself, in December 2019.
My RouterSecurity.org site started in early 2015. It grew out of a talk I gave on Securing a Home Router at the HOPE conference in July 2014. An article about my talk appeared in Toms Guide. As of July 2022, the site has 8.5 million total page views and averages about 4,000 views per day. Pretty surprising for a dull, boring, nerdy topic.
My Defensive Computing Checklist site went live in March 2019. In August 2022, it averaged 1,560 page views/day. There are billions of websites on the Internet, but those focused on Defensive Computing are black swans (rare as heck). I update the website most every day. It started as a single page, but as it grew and grew I have had to break it up into smaller topics/pages.
As the license plate below implies, I live in New York.
See some of my trivial bouts of publicity.
I am not the father of Winona Ryder; that's a totally different Michael Horowitz. I am also not the Michael Horowitz who went to Harvard Law School and is now the Inspector General of the Department of Justice or the lawyer specializing in commercial leasing, or the CEO of Validation Cloud, or the photographer who published a book in November 2022, or the President and founder of TCS Education System, or the Director of the Emerging Capabilities Policy Office in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (who used to be a Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania). I am also not the Michael Horowitz who works for Le Beck International and writes articles for the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA). Clearly, the name gets around. Interestingly, the Wikipedia page for Winona Ryder's father (Michael D. Horowitz), which years back was the only listed Michael Horowitz, has since been removed.
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