... don't confuse what you do ... with what you do to survive...   Modern Rock Singer
Actually, I really do like accounting.  It involves a lot of things that personally appeal to me,
like computing, statistics and business.  But like anyone, I have other current and past
interests that help make me what I am.  I think... maybe... you might find them interesting
too, so I am including them here, in a separate page of my family website.  I hope you
enjoy!  
Ben Allweiss
Science and Electronics - my  High School and
College Years.

Almost as early as I can remember, I was very
interested in science and electronics.  I remember
having great interest in an Atlas that my parents
bought me, that had a picture of the solar system
and the Milky Way.  Back then, I thought that the
Milky Way was basically the entire universe!  Ah, if I
only had the pictures of the universe that the kids
have now of billions of galaxies, from the Hubble
Telescope!  I also remember making a project on
nuclear fission that everyone was rather impressed
with.

The space program and model rocketry was also a
great interest of mine since 6th grade as I
remember, and I built and launched many model
rockets for many years, with my friends and brother
Jack.

Radio and electronics were also great interests of
mine up to, and past my early college years.  At
Southfield High School in Michigan, I was the chief
engineer of the radio station, and even got my first
class radiotelephone licence from the FCC while
still in high school.  This allowed me to get a job as
engineer for 3 summers at WWJ Radio in Detroit.  It
was a lot of fun to work with some Detroit celebrities
at this landmark radio station.

I had taken a lot of chemistry, math and biology in  
high school, and I decided in College to major in
biological science.  I decided on Microbiology
because it was a field in biology that had a lot of
practical application (i.e. you can get jobs in it).  I
also was very interested in computers, and took a
lot of course work  on the subject.

I wanted to do some original research, so I signed
up in a microbiology lab that was doing some
research in microbial ecology of the gut.  I had a
great experience in Dr. Rolf Freter's lab at the
University of Michigan, and the story about it can be
found
here
Computer Interests:

Computing has been a real interest to me for many
years.  It seems to me that whenever there is a
problem to solve, or job to be done, I always have
tried to find a way to computerize it.

My earliest experience actually in programming
were some exercises I was given by an algebra and
trig teacher in Southfield High named Roger Soucie.
We were given the task of programming an Ollivetti
Programma 101 calculator.  I'm not so sure how
successful I was with it, but I did enjoy it.

I guess the reason computing appeals to me is that
I believe there is an order to things.  In
programming you are applying this concept, so I
enjoy it.

One of the next things I applied my computer
knowledge to was data storage and analysis of the
data from my experiments Rolf Freter's Microbiology
lab at MIchigan.  I used programs called MIDAS and
TAXIR to store and do statistics on the data,
respectively.  I also wrote software in FORTRAN to
make it easier to enter data in these systems.  All
this work was done on the University's AMDAHL
Mainframe.  Dr. Freter also bought the lab an HP95
programmable calculator which I programmed to do
statistics.

I also wrote a paper for a class that discussed the
use of systems analysis in interpreting the work in
Dr. Freter's lab.

All in all, this work, with the computer, data analysis,
and systems analysis, fit in a field which would
today be called Bioinformatics.  Dr. Freter was very
encouraging of this kind of work, and called it the
"future of biology", but many others were not.  
Today, there are many researchers applying these
techniques.

After that time, and some years after changing
course and going into accounting, my computing
"radar" focused on writing a specialized computer
program.  My father was owner of an auto repair
shop my whole life, and even when they first came
out with the Apple II I was figuring out whether these
early machines had the power to manage the
information in the office of an auto shop.

It turned out you would need a micro computer with
storage of at lease 60 megabytes, the power of a
386 micro processor and a multi user operating
system like UNIX.  A system like this would not be
available until around 1988.  We bought one for
close to $10,000 and I started a business to
program a system for auto shop management.  The
system was called ASIS - The Auto Service
Information System, and it is still in use today.

The next program I have written over many years is
called BusinessPULSE.  It produces general ledger
graphs, as well as financial statements.  If was the
first GUI program I wrote, and is geared mostly
towards accountants.

I converted ASIS to a general purpose accounting
program called PBAS.  All in all I have three
accounting programs developed and improved over
the past 18 or so years.  I have found that it is hard
to make a lot of money on software, even if it is
good.  But I have also found out I could do it, and
that has been a great positive in itself.  Now I would
like to convert at lease some of these programs to
the more modern programming languages,  though
I doubt the excitement in doing so won't be as good
as the first time around!

Computer Simulation:

My work in Microbiology centered around a
phenomenon call Chemotaxis.  It happens that
bacteria that swim can do so towards certain
chemicals.  Hence the name 'chemotaxis'.

There is a certain mechanism that occurs that
results in this behavior.  I thought for a long time
that it could be simulated on the computer.  I found
some papers on it over the years, and recently
decided to program it myself.  The papers I found
did not show that the mechanism actually resulted
in chemotaxis, but mine does.

So I would invite you to take the lesson I wrote on
chemotaxis, and see if you enjoy it!  Download the
lesson  
here

Short Stories:

I also enjoy writing short stories.  Come back soon
as they will be posted here...