Many people ask where the name ZELKOP comes from. Here, for the first time
on this site, the secret is revealed.|
As a child, I was very fortunate to have siblings much older than myself. They always
encouraged me, taught me, and I learned a lot from them. Before I reached
junior high, my brother Gerry was employed as a professional programmer. He
would bring home books and manuals from work, and teach me how to program.|
In those days, it was quite unusual for children to have access to computers.
I would write my programs, then trace through them line-by-line, pretending to be the computer,
using paper and pencil for memory. This eventually led to my Zen-like understanding of
computers. But having learned three programming languages, I still had never touched a computer.|
Then, one evening after supper, Gerry announced he was returning to his office to do some work,
and suggested I could come along. I was thrilled. He sat me in front of a Teletype,
cranked up a BASIC interpreter, and let me loose.|
The first thing the computer did was ask for a file name. I had no idea what a file was.
After all, my paper and pencil computer had no disk operating system. So I called across
the room to my brother, "Whatís a file name?" He told me "Any six characters",
and returned to his work. So I just hit six keys at random. The file name I selected was:|
Throughout my career I always remembered my first file name. Whenever
I needed a scratch name for a variable declaration I would always use it. Of course, most
programming languages and operating systems donít like names with semicolons, so I used "L"
instead, being adjacent to ";" on the standard QWERTY keyboard.|
Years later when I decided to start my own software consulting company, I decided to
use XELKOP. Since itís an invented word, it has the advantage of having no prior
connotations in the mind of any potential client. I discovered, though, there was some
confusion as to how the word should be pronounced. I had always pronounced
it ex-el-kop, but many wanted to say zel-kop. I decided to spell
it with a Z and eliminate the confusion.|
And so ZELKOP was born.
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