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[Last updated February 01, 2004]

Megan B Gentry

Member of Technical Staff
SavaJe Technologies, Inc.

Interests :

Computers (software and hardware); Retrocomputing ; Science Fiction ; Flying ; Martial Arts ; Theatre ; Video Production ; Music ; Mystery Science Theater 3000 ; Magic ; Ranma 1/2 ; Mensa


Work Address:

Megan B Gentry
Member of Technical Staff
SavaJe Technologies, Inc.
100 Apollo Dr.
Chelmsford, MA 01824

(978) 256 6521

"One scythe fits all..."

Personal Information

My first exposure to a computer was an IBM 1401 at Culver Academy in Culver, Indiana. On this machine, using punched cards for input and line printer for output, I learned FORTRAN.

While in junior high school in North Haven, Connecticut, I obtained access to an IBM-1620 on which I continued working in FORTRAN, but also got some exposure to my first machine language, SPS.

In my sophomore year at Lawrence Academy, the school purchased a PDP-8/I, on which I learned FOCAL, BASIC and pdp-8 machine language. Since the machine had only an ASR33 teletype, it took too long to load the editor and assembler, so we coded by hand and toggled programs in via the front panel. We then debugged the programs by using single-step at the console.

After graduation from Lawrence Academy, I attended Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where I encountered my first mainframe, a DECSystem KA-10 running TOPS-10 (I think it was the 5.03 monitor). I learned MACRO-10 as well as LISP, ALGOL, TECO, AID and APL. The college also had a Spectra-70/90 on which I learned, and then tutored people in, Basic Assembly Language (BAL).

In my sophomore year, the WPI CS (Computer Science) department purchased a pdp-11/10 and the ME (Mechanical Engineering) department purchased a GT44 (a laboratory system consisting of a DEC pdp-11/40 with a VT11 vector graphics display processor, and an LPS Laboratory Peripheral System). Even though I was a CS student, I began working as a computer programmer and operator for the ME department and either wrote or advised on programs for lab experiments. On occasion, I also assisted with the pdp-11 systems in use in the Chem lab (a pdp-11/20) and in the school's Reactor Facility (a pdp-11/10).

At one point I was asked to develop a program for the ME department which would use the LPS to monitor and control a 25-ton press in the basement of the building. The purpose of the program was to demonstrate a closed-control system which did not require any human intervention while gathering data to be able to graph the stresses in the sample, using Young's Modulus.

(I'll admit to a brief stint as a programmer on a PR1ME system, but it wasn't pleasant).

There was a large community of hackers at WPI during the 70s, partially because WPI was a Beta test site for the TOPS-10 monitor, and some computer jargon which is in common use now was first coined at WPI. If you follow this link, you will find a listing of members of that community, along with some tidbits about what it meant to hack and some especially fun humor (somewhat dated and jargonized) of the time. You may need to refer to the jargon file to understand.

During my last two years at WPI, I began working at Digital Equipment Corporation as a DECsystem-10 operator. I was responsible for two KL-10 systems and helped out on a dual-KL SMP machine as well as a few KI-10s. Since I was working third shift, there was some free time during which I had a chance to hack on some of the pdp-11s which were also there.

One of the machines I worked on had a hardware problem which occasionally prevented the computer's "front-end", a pdp-11/40, from communicating properly with the "back-end", the -10 portion of the machine. On a few occasions I took the opportunity to boot RT-11 (an operating system for pdp-11s) on the machine's "front-end" 11/40 so that I could do some hacking, while TOPS-10 happily continued to run.

From operator, I joined the FMS V1.0 development group where I worked until I was selected to join the RT-11 Development Team. I was involved in the development and maintenance of RT-11 from late in the V3B effort until the final DEC release, V5.6. This spanned the years 1978 to 1992. During that time, I was privileged to attend a number of DECUS symposia where I gave presentations on various aspects of the RT-11 operating system.

At one DECUS (in 1985), we celebrated the fifteenth anniversary of the PDP-11 by unveiling a game modelled after the game trivial pursuit. It contained questions on PDP-11 Hardware and Software as well as questions on the history of Digital. I have entered the questions and the published answers.

I continue to be involved with pdp-11s and RT-11 through contact with Mentec (which now owns the pdp11 software) as well as via various pdp-11 related newsgroups. I'm always ready to help out on RT-11 or pdp-11 related questions or problems. I continue to do hardware and software hacking at home on various types of systems which you can read about by clicking here.

Since 1995 I have been pursuing the dream I had *before* being seduced to the dark side (computers). I have been taking courses in a pre-med program at Massachusetts Bay Community College with the hopes of someday actually getting into the medical field. I finally graduated in Spring of 2001 (May 24th to be exact), with highest honors and as a member of two honor societies -- Phi Theta Kappa and Psi Beta. So, I finally have a piece of paper I can put up on the wall which at least says I am educable.

I was layed-off from HP (after 25 years with DEC/Compaq/HP) in december. Having seen a number of co-workers be layed-off and unable to find a job after more than a year, I didn't expect my chances to be any better in finding another job in the high-tech field. I figured that there were precious few jobs which would not be outsourced, so I decided to take my degree in life sciences and get into a certificate program to become a Surgical Technician.

Well, I didn't expect to find something in high-tech, but something found me. The HR person from SavaJe Technologies contacted me and asked for my resume. After several phone interviews and one long face-to-face interview, I got an offer. I was also assured that I would be able to finish my Surg Tech training (40hrs/week at SavaJe plus 24hrs/week working in the OR - I'm going to have no life for awhile)

I've now been with SavaJe for almost a year, AND, I have finally completed my clinical training as a Surgical Tech. I'll be looking for something in that field sufficient to keep up my skills, though SavaJe is my primary job.

A segment on NPR in 2000 talked about how the G8 nations were going to work on bringing the developing nations into the information age by getting them internet access, which reminded me of:
"Give a man a fish and he eats for a day.
Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime."
and the thought which logically followed as a result of the NPR segment:
"Give a man internet access and he will forget he's hungry."

Interests Index

Some of this material is stored at other sites; there is no guarantee that remotely stored material will remain available. Please let me know if any of the information becomes 'stale'.

Computers (software and hardware)


Science Fiction

I have been interested in science fiction for as long as I can remember reading. I got involved with Science Fiction conventions sometime in the early 70's as an attendee, and as staff or committee since the mid 70's. I am a member of TechnoFandom (tf), a strange and wonderful collection of individuals who volunteer their time and technical expertise at conventions (some do so for science fiction conventions while others do so for professional technical symposia), working many hours to make large events at conventions (like the masquerade) the best possible experience for those who attend.

I was named the Tech Guest of Honor (TGoH) for the 1996 Arisia convention. At the TechnoFandom wrap party, I named John "Fuzzface" McMahon . to be the TGoH for the 1997 convention.


I got my license (ASEL) in 1986, after having trained in the following: a Cessna 150, a Cessna 152 and a Grumman Tiger II (AA5-B). The latter plane was owned in a partnership. I have also received some training in rotor-wing and hope to get my license in that someday.

Martial Arts

I have training in TaeKwonDo, Judo, Aikido, Kendo, Iaido and Tai Chi.


I was the technical director for the boston cast of the Rocky Horror Picture Show for two and a half years. I have also been the technical director for community theatre productions of The King and I, The Man of LaMancha, Little Shop of Horrors, The Trial of the Catonsville Nine and A Walk in the Woods.

Video Production

I was the technical director for a monthly television show airing on my home-town's local access cable channel. I have also directed various other shows and have done in-studio camera work as well as location shots around town.


Although I prefer classical, I love all kinds of music. I have played, in various bands, trombone, baritone horn, trumpet, sousaphone and drums. I have played in brass quartets, marching bands, orchestras and dance bands. I was an improvisational trumpet soloist in one dance band many years ago.

Mystery Science Theater 3000

"Push the button, frank."

Amateur Radio

[April, 2000]
After (too) many years of thinking about getting an Amateur License, I was finally presented with the opportunity to take the written exam for a technician license, which I passed. I am licensed as KB1FCA.

Seeing as I had been fooling around with electronics and radios for years, and Feeling a little sure of myself, I decided to take the extra step, the same day, of taking the written exam for a general license, which I also passed. The only thing preventing me from being able to exercise the rights of a general class licensee was the fact I had not taken the code test -- the one thing which had for years been preventing me from even trying for any amateur class license.

[March 2001]
Well, with one month remaining before the expiration of the certificate showing I had passed the general written test, I began really preparing for the code test. When it came time (April 2001), I passed.

"That's not random, it's asynchronous." - mbg
"RT-11 Developer... some *Assembler* required." - mbg

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