My name is Erik Knepfler, Principal of HaveAByte.com. I'm 34 years old and live in Orange County, CA.
My first exposure to computers was from my father. The first few computers (a TRS-80, a VIC 20 and a Commodore 64) didn't catch my interest until we got an 8086 IBM PC compatible. This whet my appetite and I learned some basics, but I went full speed in my teenage years when we got a 16 MHz 386 capable of running higher versions of DOS. At the time, Windows was still not terribly popular or known in my circles, and while I had some exposure to it, most of my focus was on DOS starting at around 3.0 on this 386 computer. For a few years on this venerable system, I learned BIOS trickery, disk capacity doubling through compression, memory optimization, QEMM, and even ran a successful BBS from a 2400 baud modem. I enjoyed learning how the system worked from the bottom up. I actually gave a modem as a gift to a female friend, only to receive quite the eyebrow - she eventually met her husband through a local BBS she connected to with that modem.
I officially started my career in 1993 when I was just 17 years old at StarPak, an outsource technical support firm in Colorado. When the phone would ring, it would display a different company's name every time who we were representing. Most problems could be resolved by troubleshooting the same set of core problems, usually associated with DOS memory management - tinkering with that (especially with QEMM) was one of my favorite hobbies so this job was easier for me than some others. I took one of the first phone calls for the venerable video game "DOOM" and supported hundreds of titles from games to encyclopedias and printing/plotting software. Before I was 19, I was training groups of new technical support agents, some of them more than twice my age.
I was soon recruited away by one of StarPak's clients, Syncronys in Los Angeles, CA, which made software utilities. Like a Beverly Hillbilly, I was transplanted from a small Colorado town right into the heart of Los Angeles. Once I got here, I knew I would probably never leave. Syncronys' most famous work was SoftRAM, the infamous memory doubling software for Windows 3.1 and 95. Using revenues from this, they partnered with development firms and helped to design and market various utility and gadget software. There, I ran internal IT, had my first experiences with website development and Perl coding, managed QA and created automated QA tests, contributed to user interface design of new software, and acted as a liaison and translator between the development and executive staff. It was here that I started also taking on my first side-work clients, some of which are still HaveAByte customers to this day, exceeding 13 years. Eventually I left when their ability to do business was crippled after losing a class action suit claiming that their first successful software project didn't work - a situation I was not aware of until I joined them. A friend called, and I took a position at a printer driver software development firm, Zenographics, and moved to Orange County.
Zenographics created a unique printing software solution that was licensed to HP and other printer OEMs. At Zenographics, I learned a lot more about a wide array of technology and had many opportunities to really put my skills to work, grow and expand a lot, and work with brilliant people. I became a Perl guru and began learning about PHP there. I implemented dozens of Microsoft server applications to solve internal IT problems and found I had the right mindset for server configuration and management, and created many web-based solutions to various workflow problems such as test data tracking, build management and bug tracking. I wrote a lot of code here, creating and managing defect tracking and configuration management applications that were in use for over a decade. I created a QA test automation system from the ground up called "Zeus" because the commercial software we were using (costing thousands of dollars) wasn't up to the task. I operated over 8 servers at one point, one of them running Microsoft Exchange and another running Great Plains accounting software. I had many opportunities to experiment with a variety of software systems while continuing to run IT, keeping me connected to the core computing and networking systems. My passion about operating systems and Windows grew here and I learned a lot about Windows server management and workstation troubleshooting - having the low-level DOS beginnings helped a lot. I was fortunate enough to learn a lot about business here as well, contributing to sales support and business development efforts, even touring our clients in Japan a few times. Zenographics was later acquired by Marvell Semiconductor where I continued my work for a time, but after the transition my services were no longer required. I exited Marvell and formed HaveAByte (and also took up brazilian jiu-jitsu. :))
HaveAByte started as a continuation of basic web hosting and consulting service to existing clients I had developed over the years, but when it became a full-time endeavor, it quickly expanded into providing web application hosting services, custom development, website building, Joomla and Wordpress expertise, high-end troubleshooting, and server configuration and management services. While HaveAByte has formally only existed for around 2 years, I feel HaveAByte has been around for more than 13 years, back when I accepted my first consulting side work troubleshooting PC issues for a friend and started developing loyal clients. My deep knowledge of the underlying structures of operating systems and servers, combined with my exposure to high end software development projects has given me the unique power to build just about any solution imaginable, and troubleshoot the really tough problems that trip up folks who haven't been in the game as long as HaveAByte.
In my free time, I train and coach brazilian jiu-jitsu and learn new ways to solve problems on the web. HaveAByte is equal parts passion and an intense desire to make my clients happy.