Every now and again I am asked how in the world did you get started in all this.. I have been asked also to type this up more than once.. so I finally decided before the brain goes feeble to document everything for prosperity.. so here goes..
We have to take this all the way back to my sophomore year in high school.. many years ago.. 1970-71. I was an average student working after school and weekends at my father’s business having a grand time of it all, but I hated school. As a matter of fact now 16 – legal age to drop out without my parents permission – I announced one day to my mother that was exactly what I was going to do. Why did I need trig and biology to work in a bicycle store?? Well this idea went over like a lead balloon in my house.
Why you ask??
Because I was going quit school and my Mother was NONE to pleased about that especially since she was the president of the Parent Teachers Association 🙂
I was sent for all kinds of aptitude tests – which bored the **** out of me! – and was then called in .. with mom of course.. for the results. The tests showed I had an aptitude for computers.. yea whatever as long as I don’t have to sit thru trig and history. Keep in mind this is 1970 and who knew even what a computer was! They explained that I would continue only the base classes at my regular school, English history and such, and then go to a trade school for 1/2 the day.. every day.. to learn computers.. Fine I said.. as long as I get out of here and don’t need to take those stupid classes!
In 11th grade I spent 1/2 my school day at Nassau BOCES in Syosset, and really liked it. I met kids from all over the area.. AND I found something that challenged my brain -computer programming in COBOL ! Sometime in April (our school year ends the end of June) I finished the years work and they were not quite sure what to do with me. I was assigned with 2 other girls to write a program write a program to play tic-tac-toe, we did that also with time to spare before the school year was done… so they let us help the others who were struggling along.
In my senior year, the BOCES program made some changes. They moved all the computer and banking classes from 5 locations into the Westbury campus in this huge communal classroom setup.. HUGE mistake!! By the end of November I had my own car and hooked up with Debbie P. from a neighboring town. Together we performed many magic tricks on our assignments.. By April we both had seen more time in the principals office then the classroom, and still managed by June to get A’s in our computer classes! We got into TONS of trouble.. nothing really bad.. drinking in the girls room, cutting.. cheating.. I mean we didn’t rob pillage or plunder :-).. but we did corrupt 2 11th grade boys 🙂 totally corrupted them 🙂
Senior year is the time to make college choices.. my guidance counselor and my mother decided I needed to go to a state university about 4 hours away.. fine with me.. heart of ski country, I could take my car.. I applied and was accepted in early November for the following year. In early December I drove my brand new Gremlin up state in a raging blizzard, Beatles blaring, following a snow plow, to check out the school. Mom was reluctant to let me drive almost 5 hours upstate alone, but Dad said go. I had a friend who went to the same school and he found me a bed to sleep in in the girls dorms for the weekend.. GREAT!! right?? Wrong.. well in retrospect anyway it was not good.. I spent 4 days (the blizzard was so bad the state closed the thruway and I had to stay an extra 2 days) being a college party animal! I loved it.. On the way home tho I had 4+ hours to think. When I walked in my house I told my mother, forget it.. don’t send any money I’m not going! No way would I get any work done.. heck I didn’t see anyone go to class, never saw anyone crack a book.. and spent way too much time drinking!! Mom’s response.. “OK”.. that’s it.. just OK.. so I never went. I guess she had enough of me by then – I wasn’t a bad kid.. just very head strong!
And that was about it for college for me for the most part..
I’ve always said if I could go back to one moment in my life and change things., this would have been the moment..
I moved into my own apartment after graduation and I spent the following year working full time for my dad, selling bicycles and lawn mowers, doing all the bookkeeping and hanging with the guys at work and some of my high schools friends. I listened to them – all going to the community college – talking about what a grand ole’ time they were having at the local community college. I guess I decided I was missing out on something so I registered for the 74-75 fall semester. Unfortunately back then there were no life knowledge tests, and I had to start at the bottom.. Computers 101 and Business 101. Both bored me to tears and I don’t think I went to more than 3 classes before I just stopped going. Heck I had been doing payroll for 50 people for over a year, accounts payables, receivables, reconciling 4 checkbooks and 2 cash registers.. and I got some dorky professor telling me how to be in business, I don’t think so..
So after 3 classes full of me doodling and writing letters to my grandmother who just moved to Florida, I stopped going, just stopped.. I had my own apartment and a brand new car that was fully paid for at that point from working full time, what did I need college for?
Fast forward 6 years to 1981. Married in 1977, I was now divorced, with a young son, still working for my father. I bought one of those new fangled computers, Timex Sinclair with the touch keyboard (a royal ***** with nails I will tell you) and the programs on cassette tape. It ran at a whopping 3.5 MHz (as compared to the 1gHtz speeds today). If you ran the programs and the batteries in the tape player were low.. it crashed. I bought MS Flight simulator and realized I could access the code and changed some things to my liking, and did just that, meanwhile teaching myself another language, BASIC. I fiddled with every program I bought and wrote a few simple ones.
Over the next four years I did go back to college, took several accounting classes and that computer 101 again 🙂 But this time the professor understood that people knew this stuff and just needed the “seat time”. He offered myself and 2 gentleman the opportunity to hand in the assignments and we only needed to come to class if he was covering a process we needed help in.
By 1984 the Timex Sinclair was gone and replaced with a shiny new Apple IIc, more programs for me to hack and tweak yippee!!! I discovered the wonderful world of online back then.. what was called BBS (Bulletin Board System), sorta kinda like AOL but very local. We had chat, games and email, but only with/to others on the same BBS. My computer knowledge expanded nicely during that time, as most of the people I hung out with online were computer nerds also.
Life proceed along nicely with work, some college, dating, and my Apple IIc. Until I met my husband Dave in 1985. My son and I moved in 1989 and I changed jobs, office work, which was challenging in some aspects, but boring for the most part, and I realized I didn’t do “corporate world” very well.
In 1990 I went to nail school. I had moved way to far from my father’s store to stay there, I was very bored in the corporate world, and my hair dresser saw my nails and kept insisting I learn to do acrylics.. so I did 🙂
In 1992 I decided one day that it was time to move to PC’s because I could see thats where the business world was going. I was shopping with my mother in Price Club one day and see this HUGE ass DOS manual (that’s the OLD OLD operating system., great grandfather of Windows), I pick it up, mom says, “put that down”. I said, “I’m buying it”. “for what?” she asked. I said ” I’m going to read it”.
Yes I bought it, read it cover to cover 🙂
Tell me I can’t… right.. NOT!!!
I had never even touched or sat in front of a PC but I read the whole manual, cover to cover!
Mom was working near me and they brought computers into her office.. she was frantic over it. I’m all read up on DOS (an expert right??). I tell her one day when her boss is out of town I’m coming in to play, and I did, I did all her work and poked and fiddled on her boss’s PC. Went over to her office every chance I could and played some more.
I bought my 1st PC in July 1993 – I still have the bill! A custom built one of course, nothing out of the box for me :-). Dave was frantic that I would not buy an “IBM” computer and it took me a long time to convince him it was the components inside that were important not the name on the box!
I wanted to get online real bad with the new computer and bought the modem with it, but they didn’t install it. The whole mess comes UPS and I crank open the case before I even plug it in the first time! Hooked up the modem and heard those tones, I was in heaven!
So now I’m a real happy camper, got a zippity-doo-dah PC, I’m online at night with friends, doing nails in my home based salon, BUT, NY was not licensed in 1990. I took a 36 hour class and was lucky the lady taught us technique not theory.. and I evidently had the aptitude for that also.. sculpted right from day 1, BUT, I had questions and goodness knows that no way I would think of asking at the supply house when they point to the back corner and whisper.. nail stuff?? back there..
Next came AOL and I’m by now reading 3 or 4 computer magazines a month like a sponge, this stuff just falls into my head if I read it. More heaven, all those chat rooms, message boards pretty pictures and all that.. WOW. I searched the AOL member base one night and found several techs and started to email them. (wish I could recall who they were today) We tried an old fashioned round robin via email, but that sucked big time 🙂
After a short time I figured out how to start a message board on AOL (I’m still reading 2 or 3 computer magazines a month but they got more technical in nature now). The board got some traffic from techs other than us 3 or 4 girls and started to have some great activity. One of the techs suggested we chat.. and we started that on Sunday nights in an AOL chat room.
This was great I thought, more people should join in! I wrote to NAILS and Nailpro Magazines in Sept. 1994) and they both published my letters in the letters to the editor sections!
As if I thought life could not get any better, I get an email from a man in Berlin Germany, my very first email from someone outside the US. With all my reading I realized immediately the email address was from another country and looked up where .de was – Germany! You could have heard me whopping and hollering 3 towns over!
Lev’s English was good, he said his wife owned 2 nail salons in Berlin and asked how could he join in on the chat or message boards on AOL her behalf?? He was a computer programmer so we had lots to chat about besides nails 🙂 But he didn’t have AOL in Germany, so I used to copy and paste all the message board posts for him off AOL and email them to him.
We got very friendly by email we wrote back and forth several times a week. One day he tells me I need a web site, “OK, but what’s that?? Why?? How?”, I ask. “You need it”, he says. And I promise him I will. I have no idea how or why I need to do this, but Lev said I should and it involved computers and programming I guess so I’m on it!
I’m still on the BBS (Bulletin Board System) and AOL now. The BBS people had recently announced they were offering internet access, both LYNX (text only no images.. kind of like an old DOS computer..) or “graphical” (what we see today with color and images). BUT the graphical was WAY more money and the LYNX was just a few $ more than I was paying, why did I need to go for the extra $$?? I just could not see spending money to look at pictures. I am cheap too 🙂
I signed up for LYNX access and sat that first night, signed on. It took some major finesse to navigate around a lynx browser :-), Humm… now what.. I don’t know where to go, what to look at, but there was a search choice, OK lets try that! But now the next question in life is what does one search for? hum.. humm.. I typed in Richard Petty (we watched the car races on Sunday afternoons in this house). Lo and behold I find a whole article about RP and another about his son doing this cross country motorcycle ride for charity. How cool is that I think to myself!
I’m paying by the minute here, so now way am I going to waste time printing all that for my husband to read tomorrow, so I save it, found another article for hubby, saved that and a 3rd also saved for later. My time is up for the night, I sign off and try to open these files I saved to print, but, gee whizzers, what is all that stuff there??? All that crazy looking code?? Huh??
OK no problem I think, I am the queen of global search and replace, I was seeing some of it over and over. I’ll just delete all that code and then print it. I start to see a pattern to this weird coding in the document and realize it is some sort of programming code..
Actually HTML is not a programming language not technically anyway, it’s true definition is a “mark-up” code.
I go back on line and I search again for a tutorial on writing this code, find it and take the time to print it up while online so I can read it easier.
I called the BBS guy and asked if I make a page how do I get it online. He explained it all to me and said he would give me space to put it up. I hand wrote, pen & paper method, a web page, typed it all in to the computer, then uploaded it to the BBS space. I programmed images and colors and all in the page but *I* could not see it, I could only see the text and no color (’cause remember I was too cheap to go the extra bucks for the graphical connection). The page was for nail techs and about the board and chat on AOL. I emailed my new friend Lev in Berlin and tell him to go look at the web page, he was so proud of me and said the pictures were great!
AOL at that point did not offer any net access, but they said it was coming (I called and asked SEVERAL times). At that time every person you signed up for AOL, you got something like 5 hours credit. I signed up EVERYONE I knew! In no time at all I had upwards of 100 hours credit stored up. But I never ever went over my allotted monthly hours, oh no! I was going save them puppies up for when they allowed full net access, yup thats what *I* was going to do with those saved up hours!
I signed on to AOL one night and bingo there it was, “DOWNLOAD NOW”. Yup I’m on it like a fly on a horse. I was the 4th person to download the new system 🙂 I installed it and I stayed up till 6am. surfing and finally saw my own web pages 🙂 – oh by now I had PAGES not a single page.
Sometime during this time period Lev in Berlin starts in on me again, “You need a mailing list or news group”. HUH?? Whats that and why? He explained that people who did not have AOL could join in if I did this. “Kewl”, I thought and called my BBS guy again
The BBS guy says sure we can do that for you, $50 a month and $50 per 50 names, yea OK lets do it! But now I have to figure out how to make someone else pay 🙂
A few educators found the chats the AOL board and the new list, so I thought, “humm.. what if I got companies to sponsor”. Yea.. that’s the ticket! I draft up some intro letters and send them to all the companies that I use their products.
Hanging out one night, me, hubby, his son, my son, playing monopoly, getting quite loud here the phone rings. The man on the other end said his name was Tony Cuccio, the president of Star Nails. I about messed my pants! (I know better now hahahaaaa) I run into my computer room and slam the door.. and start talking.. he knows NOTHING about computers, but was intrigued. The real reason he decided to call was, get this, his sister lives not just in my town, but on my street!
We talked for a long time that night, me explaining, answering al his questions. He was going to “back me” 100% but even though I chased him some, but he’s so busy and this didn’t seem all that high on the priority list, we never followed through.
One day I’m like crying to hubby, what do I do, do you need him or anyone else to expand this on your own? NO. “Then go for it”. So I did. That’s when BeautyTech really started, summer 1995.
I registered beautytech.com 9/12/95, I’ve got 70 nail clients, and I leased serious server space from the BBS guy and paid thru the nose for it. About a year later I found another place to lease the space from and saved a ton but I had to learn to remotely administer the site using UNIX operating system, similar to DOS of old times. I had to learn it NOW, no time to waste. So what do I do? I bought a book, “Learn UNIX in a week”.
Yup I did! I read it cover to cover. OK so I’m lying a little bit, it took me a month to read that book. I was busy you know??
I learned myself or asked my online friends or the guys at the hosting place and read tons more magazines and message boards on how to get the programs on the site to do things like the quizzes and the salon locator and all that.
I started to design sites for the companies that were sponsoring the list and sublet them space on the new server. Then about 1998, I was sub leasing so many sites in and out of the industry that the hosting people said I should get my own server, all mine, BUT I would need to know MORE about the UNIX system, no more tech support guys to cry help to! The tech guys all said, “oh yea.. you can do it”. It had gotten to a point that I would call the tech guys there and tell THEM how to fix what I needed fixed 🙂
After much hemming and hawing I finally said OK lets do it. The night the site went live was horrible.
NOTHING worked. The pages did not come up. I had to global search and replace thru every file on the server to add www. in (the old one did not need it, the new one did). That included the ton of messages on the message boards!! I had to (dialup maybe 24k at that point) upload the entire site something like 3 times! I was frantic!
I crawled into bed that night (morning) at 4.55AM. My husband gets up at 5AM, so he rolls over sees the clock and goes to get up, I said I got 5 minutes with you get back here! I got back up at 7AM and went back at it, checking every page in the site which had grown quite a bit in 1 year. That 2nd night I collapsed at 4am into the bed, literally into bed, smacked my head on the headboard so hard it woke my husband with the WHOMP of my head connecting with wood.
But it worked.. it all worked finally everything was back in place. I switched hosting companies one more time and had to move the whole site again. It was not as painful but just as stressful!
Now I design and or host for over 70 websites. mostly beauty companies.. some personal and some not in the beauty industry. I have 3 nail clients left, they wont go away 🙂
Me-> “Listen KC.. I can’t do your nails anymore I just don’t have time.”
KC-> “OK sweetie buh bye see you in 2 weeks.”
My greatest joy is teaching the nail technicians how to use their computers, whether it is copy/paste or downloading AIM and getting into chat
So that’s my story and I’m sticking to it 🙂
I hope you enjoyed reading it, I’m glad I finally got this done!
June 20, 2003