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Rating Today's Computer Makers

Stocks in this article: AAPL DELL HPQ IBM INTC LNVGY MSFT

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- My graduating class at Georgia Tech was the last of the slide rule era, as the class of 1966 did not have any class work that involved the use of a computer. As soon as I joined Grumman Aerospace after graduation I knew that computers would be important throughout my business career.

While at Grumman I attended the Farmingdale campus of Brooklyn Poly to get my masters degree including learning programming and the use of computers. I taught myself Fortran which is considered the Latin of programming languages in today's world.

The first computers I used were the IBM 1030 and the mainframe IBM 360. I was fortunate that both Grumman and Brooklyn Poly had IBM 360s and both granted me computer time to hone my skills. As a Grummanite for five years, I worked on projects related to the Lunar Module and my scheduling computer program written in Fortran was used in the preparation for the contract that awarded Grumman the F14 Tomcat fighter program. The Lunar Module put man on the moon in 1969. The deployment of the F-14 began in 1974, and this fighter plane was used into September 2006.

My first job as a Wall Street bond trader was in 1972, and the back office functions of that primary dealer were performed on an IBM 1030 and was written in Fortran. I made a simple change in the software that eliminated the overtime that was used in month-end processing.

It took many years before computers took over the trading desks, but in 1984 I began to develop my proprietary analytics on an Apple 2E. I also used this PC to learn how to type, which came in handy as I transformed my career from trading to research.

At the end of 1988 I formed Global Market Consultant and converted a bedroom at home to my office and computer center. The graphics package I used ran on a Sun Sparc workstation. My word documents and spreadsheets were run on two Compaq PCs.

Over the years the graphs package migrated to PCs and to laptops, which are my platforms of choice today.

My first laptops were IBM Think Pads, and today this platform is now owned by Lenovo. I still use the laptop I purchased in 2007, which still runs using Microsoft's Window XP.

As I profile seven computer-related stocks I will describe my personal experiences with products from each company.

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