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Doug Hood founded PMA Consulting in January of 1988 with the motto TeleCommunications Solutions for Small Business because he'd been reading too much Science Fiction and cruising around too many Bulletin Boards. Doug not only thought that the day would arrive when home/office computers would replace Mainframe systems, but telephone, fax, the Postal Service, television, the Movie industry, Shopping Malls and Schools. He was quite roundly denounced as a kook in those days because he made the mistake of telling people in his semi-not-so-regular electronic publication the "CocoNut Wireless". Samples of which we'll get around to posting here "any day now" (to quote the Software Company we all love to hate).
The company remained a sole proprietorship for only about a year before it absorbed Maggie Weber and became a 50% partnership. It has always evolved along with the stated needs of its client base which was primarily small Doctor's and Legal offices, as well as a good mix of personal home computer users during its formative years. Local Area Networking became a stated need in the early '90s and the company embraced Artisoft's LANtastic network operating system (NOS) as its NOS of choice. LANtastic gave the proper mix of powerful features and ease-of-use necessary for a small office to properly support a large base of network clients without a lot of on-site hand-holding and PMAco began consulting Architects, Engineers and Designers on running AutoCAD in a networked environment.
The Approved Hardware List is one of the fundamental principles upon which our practice is built. Our client's cannot keep a finger on the pulse of our industry because it is a full time job and they already have a full time job keeping abreast of all the changes in their industries. Cheaply produced (usually spelled 'inadequate quality check standards', but sometimes just bad engineering) computer components are the bane of our existence as consultants. We don't look good when we endorse poor products or condone such and we won't be in business very long if we don't look good since the only thing we have to sell is our reputation. Our Approved Hardware List is one of the tools we use to keep our clients up and running longest while still keeping an eye on their computer budget. For this reason, the List is a very dynamic tool, with constant updates and revisions, but the rules for the List are quite static. Strong manufacturer commitment to their particular market niche, high quality control standards (measured in low failure rate in the field by percentage), excellent customer satisfaction in the case of a faulty part (everyone gets bad parts, not everyone bends over backwards to ensure happy customers in that eventuality) and finally a fair price. The above list of criteria is in order of importance, you might notice where pricing falls on that list. This is only one of the factors that differentiates us from SalesPeople, we're consultants.
In 1997, with no small trepidation we jumped into the "Smoke&Mirrors" of the Internet. Paving the way for our clients to get registered Domains and local internet e-mail on their networks was quite probably the most brutal learning curve we've ascended in the last decade. Pasting a Website on the aether only seems simple and easy when you're reading the advertisements for Web Authoring software. The reality (as usual) is a whole 'nother story! Finding an Internet Service Provider with an adequate Unix/Windows server ratio to give stable service at a fair price and then ensuring they had multiple redundant connections to the different Backbone providers was an early hurdle that when cleared showed up proper security from hackers and spammers as the next. To exacerbate this problem we had to make all this work on a particularly frail Operating System fraught not only with the normal bugs that Microsoft can't get properly killed in any of their releases (else they wouldn't even be able to release every FOUR years, leave alone every one year:); but also the outright sabotage they built in to exterminate their competition. Somehow, we got through that one too.
Now that Y2K (Year 2000) is behind us and we've got a "Micro$lop friendly" (purchased?) administration in the White House, I'm sure we can anticipate even more new "challenges" to be tackled. PMA Consulting will continue to fend off the alligators while still keeping the sump pump running. Today our goal is "To help arrest the enforced entropy of neighborly standards stopping the proper evolution of TheNET". We're using a whole variety of tools to make that an eventuality. The Portland PC Users Group /**/ is one of the most powerful of those tools, and the RainCoast Regional Conference of User Group Leaders /**/ is another one. Helping to sponsor these activities and keeping the Nebeaux Nerdinski Bulletin Board Service /**/ are major campagns along this road. Promoting the Electronic Frontier Foundation /**/; the AnyBrowser /**/ campaign; the Internet Engineering Task /**/ Force; and vociferously condemning actions and attitudes contrary to these standards is also part of the job. And finally, we're developing a whole array of Linux based solutions to further combat the Microsoft "you can't get there from here" syndrome.
We're working very hard to insulate you from the ancient Chinese curse:

May you live in interesting times

Thank you for letting us work for you. PMAco975seSandyBv


Douglas J Hood
Senior Partner and President


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