Sara Schurr Now is all there is
Sara Schurr WebmasterI'm a self-taught web developer who started creating web pages with FrontPage and then after a few year learned how to write code and design using CSS to convert my sites to Expression Web.

I not only created sites for clients, I managed their presence on the web to assure that the sites were up and running all the time.

In 2017, I retired and gave up most of my clients. I still look out for a few friends' sites
So how does a psychologist and former channel become a webmaster? Ah, great mysteries of life! The short version is that I learned to use FrontPage to create a website for my channeling practice which I then updated with each new version of FrontPage. Then I started helping friends create their own sites. The next thing I knew, they were paying me to do it since they didn't have the time to do it themselves and the rest is history.

The whole story is of course more complicated than that. It all starts back when I was an undergraduate at Pitzer College in Claremont, CA.

Pitzer got a new DEC PDP 10 computer in the basement of the Administration building when I was a Junior in 1971. Along with it they got a grant from the NSF (National Science Foundation) to expose social science majors to computer programming.

I participated in that program and as a result learned to program in Basic on a time-share system using clackety old computer terminals with rolls of yellow paper. The biggest benefit that I got from the program was that I learned to be comfortable with terminals (we did eventually get some CRT terminals before I graduated) and the computers they were attached to.

That same year, I became a research assistant to Leah Light, a psychologist who did research in Learning and Memory. I helped run her experiments but more importantly I crunched the data from those experiments for her. For some things I could use a huge semi-programmable calculating machine (it isn't fair to call it a computer since you really couldn't write programs on it) that could do up to 2-way analysis of variance. For anything more complicated than that, I got to make punch cards for the data and take them down to the large mainframe at Pomona College. By doing this I learned the ins and outs of punch cards, mainframes and dealing with the techies who ran them.

Fast forward to Grad School where I now felt comfortable in using a massive multidimensional scaling program on MIT's computer system for my dissertation. I had to punch cards for all my data and then send the data via card reader and massive cable from Harvard down to MIT. It would spit out the mistakes, I would re-punch my cards and repeat the process until the program finally ran. By 1976, Harvard also had a marvelous time-share system that you could rent time on for data analysis. I used that to do the statistical analysis for my dissertation.

All this means is that by the time I was done with graduate school not only was I not afraid of computers I was very comfortable with them.

When I started working in marketing jobs in 1977, I was the one always lobbying for more funds for computer time on University systems or to buy desktop computers to analyze data. In my last marketing job in 1982 we actually had an Apple II with 64k of memory (huge at the time) with Visicalc, the first spreadsheet program for desktop computers. I used it to do 'what-if' analyses for the President's presentations to the Venture Capitalists. In other words, I was the resident computer wonk along with being the Marketing Manager.

We've had a home computer (PC) since 1985. I self-taught myself to use Word, Excel, PageMaker, Publisher, Access, Quicken and various graphics programs long gone to create materials for and to manage my channeling business.

When the internet came along it seemed only natural that I should have a website. I got a copy of FrontPage by doing a usability test for Microsoft and figured out how to at least use the templates they provided to do a website. The next version came along and I learned how to create a design of my own rather than using the templates.

By this point, I was retired from channeling but still known amongst my friends as the one to ask when they had a computer question. I offered to help one friend set up up her website and the next thing I knew she was paying me because she had absolutely no interest in learning how to use FrontPage.

I picked up my next client when he simply got too busy to edit and rewrite the copy for his website. Then he hired me to optimize it for search engines--which was a lot of fun to learn. Then slowly but surely I began managing both his websites. These folks both started calling me a webmaster and after a while I had to admit I seemed to have become one.

Each time a client came up with a cool new idea that they would like to have on their website I set to work learning how to do it. It kept me out of trouble and kept my busy little mind happy with puzzles to solve.

However, once we hit the road full-time RVing it became much harder to find the time, desire and internet connection to keep my life as a webmaster going. So when I reached age 66, I happily retired!