Michael Masumoto's Personal Space
Sanitized for Your Protection

General Information

This is a legacy website, so I don't update it very frequently. However, I'm part of the early history of the Web, so I keep as much of my old stuff available as possible. Enjoy this new essay! --Michael

My name is Michael Masumoto. I live on the Russian River in Sonoma County, California. My husband is Kai Herd, and we own a small house in a redwood canyon by a creek.

I was a member of the very first generation of nerd kids to grow up with a personal computer. My father, a dentist, was one of the first in Fresno to bring a UNIX-based computer system into his dental office. My sister and I did all the data entry to transfer my father's records into that UNIX system; it took about 3 minutes per record, so I got a lot of reading done! Those early UNIX boxes were miserably slow to digest text information; pictures or graphics of any kind were beyond their capability. I grew up playing a text-based computer game called ADVENTURE. When PONG was released for the first Atari home video game system, we were dazzled! Digital ping-pong... OMG!

When I was 14, my school got one of the first personal computers, Radio Shack's infamous TRS-80. You could write simple programs to create black-and-white graphics out of blocks about the size of a Tic Tac. When one of my classmates programmed an image of a Star Wars Tie Fighter out of those big white rectangles and made it flash, we went ballistic with excitement. But my school made the mistake of putting the grades for all the students on the computer; the only way to back up the system was on an audio cassette, which took hours. Those old machines had no hard drives; one power flicker and anything not programmed in the computer's ROM was toast. As one of the three acknowledged computer experts, I was called in to handle a problem with the data entry... and promptly lost the grades for the entire school! My poor Math teacher had to stay up all night, re-entering the grades. But that experience taught me the importance of backing up data in a way I'll never forget.

My first job out of University was working with the team responsible for part of the original implementation of PowerPoint. We also developed and taught Macintosh programming classes for Apple.

A few years later, I was working at Adobe when they first connected to the Internet. I can't tell you how exciting it was to visit Paramount's first website and see pictures from Star Trek: The Next Generation! Two years later, I was teaching Web Programming and Design at San Francisco State University, helping to produce and develop the first online classes. With a small team of volunteers, I produced, wrote and programmed the very first interactive talking children's book for the Web, "Boogers and Boogeymen." When we were awarded Yahoo's prestigious "Site of the Day," the ensuing demand for all that streaming audio nearly crashed the University's internet connection, a single T1 line! So, I've been a computer geek my entire life.

My husband, Kai, and I have been together for a long time, too; we met in 1986! I've been on the web so long, the following pictures of us were current when this website was new:

Michael Masumoto

Michael Masumoto (1996)

Kai Herd

Kai Herd and his Mom, Virginia (1999)

Now, watch us decay before your very eyes... Here we are at my Aunt Evelyn and Uncle Harry's house last Christmas:

Kai Herd and Michael Masumoto, Christmas 2015

Kai Herd and Michael Masumoto (2015)

Talk about an unflattering photo of me! But it's a great picture of my beloved Kai, who is camera shy. That's one of the only good photos we have of him! Here's a more flattering image of me:

Michael Masumoto - Self Portrait 2015

Michael Masumoto - Self Portrait c. 2015

This is a digital painting I made from a selfie. Not bad!

You can find out more about me and Kai and our creative work at our current website: http://www.masumotoherd.com/. I also have a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/glofau. You can find me at YouTube as well: http://www.youtube.com/glofau/. There's more coming soon...

Last Updated: June 21, 2016