Rich Pinkall Pollei's over 40 year interest in computer hardware and software began in high school with Ohio Scientific's release of the first kit-built computers in the early 1970s. Later, he progressed to other systems, learning all he could of both the underlying hardware and software architectures, eventually working as a consulting programmer on some of the early time-sharing systems, first at the college he attended, and later when he worked as a Psychiatric Social Worker for the Tri-County Human Services Center in Reedsburg, Wisconsin.
Eventually, he decided to move into Information Technology as a permanent profession. He started as the Assistant Manager of Data Entry for Wisconsin Dairy Herd Improvement Cooperative at a time when such departments were common. He stayed with that company in various positions involving systems programming and analysis, and continued to learn. He was an official Beta Tester for Windows 3.0. Later, he set up the company's first Internet e-mail system using a discarded computer and modem, and the free version of Red Hat Linux. Total cost, not counting the dial-up account and his time, was $0, demonstrating that: "We who have done so much with so little for so long are now prepared to do absolutely anything with nothing".
Eventually, Wisconsin DHIA became AgSource Cooperative Services, which soon combined with other dairy industry-related cooperatives under a holding cooperative known as Cooperative Resources International (CRI). Rich continued to study and learn as computers and networking grew to greater importance in both our personal and business lives. For a number of years, he served as an official on the Unite Conference Planning committee (Unite is an independent, Unisys User Group).
Today, his official position is as a Security Analyst and Systems Engineer in the Infrastructure department of Information Technology for CRI, and he is approaching his 35th year with the company (or its predecessors). As such, he administers a number of Debian Linux servers, manages the official Internet infrastructure (he has one of the oldest individual handles still in use by an original registrant at ARIN), and consults on hardware issues, software internals, networking problems, and system and network security. He is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and has contributed code to several free software projects, including the Linux kernel, Blender, Vega Strike, and the Novell Core Protocol
Filesystem utilities for Linux.
When not playing with computers, he is a science geek, plays chess, writes and arranges music, sings and plays saxophone and percussion in a local music group, collects old-fashioned books and board games, and is a licensed pilot.