My first undergraduate degree was in fine arts. I couldn't have guessed it then, but eventually I used my training in visual composition to design user interfaces for Windows programs, and to create visually pleasing Web sites. My fine arts training also informs the newsletters and brochures I create.
I went on to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees in psychology, with a special interest in helping women with compulsive eating problems. The "normal eating" support group I started at the NYU Counseling Center is still going over 20 years later. I also returned to this work myself after a digression in other areas, converting a popular Yahoo Groups list into a fee-based resource and support group called "Normal Eating".
I became interested in statistics while working on a doctorate in Social/Personality Psychology, and wrote my first computer program as an assignment for a statistics class. I was instantly hooked, and became a fixture in the Graduate Center Computer Facility. The university eventually created fellowship position for me to work as a consultant helping graduate students and faculty with their statistical programs. During this time I wrote a set of software manuals that was used throughout the CUNY system, and began teaching statistics and computer science at Baruch College.
My interest in programming and statistics, plus weariness with a student's penniless lifestyle, prompted me to leave graduate school for the corporate world. I started off as a statistician doing market and credit analyses for banks and ad agencies. When I rose to management positions I missed programming, so I started a software business. My product, an astrology program, scandalized my science-minded friends, but sold well. Versions of this program for Windows and the Web are currently in development.
I initially started freelancing for PC Magazine as back-up for my software business. As a speaker, writer, and editor, my specialty was in demystifying computer technology to make it interesting and accessible to a wide audience.
When the magazine offered me full-time employment, I accepted with the understanding that after a year I'd go back to freelancing. A year later I became a Contributing Editor, and also editor of PC Magazine's Utilities column, which I edited as a freelancer for the next 10 years. The Utilities column became extremely popular during my tenure as editor, constituting the single biggest draw to PC Magazine's Web site. When the Utilities column changed due to budget cuts in December 2002, I went off on my own to start various online businesses, notably Normal Eating.