A Hard Drive

Gordon Ulrickson wants to open a computer museum, but he doesn't have the storage.

In the Air Force, he served as a munitions disposal specialist, loading weapons onto aircraft, as an explosive ordinance technician in charge of taking care of bombs and missiles, and as an escort for nuclear weapons. While he was in the military, he also took some computer classes. Ulrickson left the military in the early 1980s and opened his own business, later branching out into computer programming.

Around that same time, companies like Apple and IBM were beginning to mass-produce computers small enough to use at home. Eventually, IBM developed user-friendly business applications and started an aggressive ad campaign that featured a Charlie Chaplin clone who ran his various bumbling business ventures on an IBM computer. Apple marketed its computers as creative tools that could help unlock IBM's grip on personal computing.

Computers are now the most powerful tool in the business world and one of the most useful tools in the private sector. Because of that, Ulrickson wants to show people who are unaware of the computer's history how these machines have become such a prevalent force in our culture.

Ulrickson works for the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park as the director of information systems, but the museum is still a priority. He has created a Web site for it (www.museumcomputer.org), and his board of directors now has a person with experience in grant writing and fundraising.

"It would be nice to get an exhibit in a science and technology museum," he reasons. But what really lights his face up is the mention of Ocean Journey. "I'm amazed at the lines to get into the aquarium," he exclaims. He figures that if he can garner the kind of corporate support that Ocean Journey did, he could put together a first-class museum.

What does he give his chances?

"It's possible," he says. Just like anything else related to computers these days.

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