About me

I'm the author of these pages: software engineer, playwright, founder of the Amalgamated Press, lookout for the Haggis Early Warning Network, and former host for WINO meetings.

I was born in the midwest in 1957, but grew up in Helena, Montana. I got my Computer Science degree from Montana State University. My resume is also on-line. Intel hired me in 1979, and became a resident of Silicon Valley.

I helped create one of the first laptop computer systems at Gavilan, worked for Answer Software, got into multimedia at Kaleida Labs and followed that project to Apple Computer after the Labs were shut down by Apple and IBM. At Apple, I was managing two great projects, Cocoa (aka KidSim) and Biscotti. Apple didn't understand how neat they were and canceled them both. I went on to co-found Stagecast Software with others from the Cocoa/KidSim project, notably Larry Tesler, Dave Smith, and Allen Cypher.

Apple belatedly discovered how useful some of this technology was, and subsequently restarted the Biscotti project, and shipped it as Quicktime for Java. Meanwhile, our other work became the focus of a brand new company: Stagecast Software. Stagecast Creator is a programming/multimedia authoring tool that can be used by children as young as 5 years old. It's written in Java and runs on Mac OS, Windows, and Linux/Unix systems.

I spent a few years at IBM's Almaden Research Center working on a web-scale data mining project called WebFountain, and developed some search quality analysis tools for their enterprise search product. Later, overcome by a mad-scientist desire for world domination, I joined Google, working first on the Google Calendar project, then Google+.

In 2012, after several years of working with Playground and the Pear Avenue Theatre, I decided to sharpen my playwriting skills by getting an MFA, so I move to New Orleans, and studied at the Creative Writing Workshop at UNO. My plays are described at my other site.

In addition to dramatic writing. I've written two technical books: Microsoft's 80386/80486 Programming Guide and Running Visual Basic for Windows; co-authored two others: Extending DOS and The Microsoft Press Computer Dictionary; and wrote for BYTE (back when they printed a magazine on real paper) and Dr. Dobb's Journal.

Since late 2002, I've been writing for theatre.  My dramatic writing is under my full name, Ross Peter Nelson, to avoid confusion with another Ross Nelson in the bay area who is also involved with the stage.

When I'm not in front of a computer, I enjoy wine tasting, cycling, and largely unsuccessful attempts to learn to play musical instruments like the piano or harmonica, and non-musical instruments like the bagpipe. None of these experiments seem to last very long, possibly because other people object to the results. I have also been seen fencing, tap dancing, and playing the tuba, though never all at the same time, and none of those very recently.  Now I'm more into photography and occasional forays into brewing beer and hard cider.

I have cats!