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Paul Gillingwater
Technosys founder, CTO, Pegasus software engineer.

Many years ago (in 1981), I was one of a small group of people in New Zealand who were part of the first wave of computer entrepreneurship, and defying logic and common sense, felt that we could compete by designing and building our own personal computer.

I'd met the late Stewart Holmes at Auckland University, where he was studying for his PhD in digital microelectronics. I was working part time at the then Auckland Technical Institute, with a focus on digital circuits and electrotechnology, although my speciality was software. Together with the Irishman Ernest Halliday, we three formed a company, which I named "Technosys" (combining "Technology" with "Gnosis", or deep esoteric knowledge.) I also designed the logo, but the core idea of making a personal computer (and therefore the credit for the pioneering vision) came from Stewart.

Ernie Halliday was a fascinating fellow, full of stories from his years serving with the British SAS regiment in Northern Ireland and Borneo. Who knows, some of them might have even been true. I have no idea whether he is still alive, but after the injuries he reported (botched HALO drops), I suspect he might not be. Whatever his fate, he was a great salesman, and had the vision to put the company together, and find a market when few business people even knew the potential of computers.

Paul’s personal blog can be found here:

Nigel Keam

Pegasus software developer.

I started working on Pegasus while still in 7th form having been introduced to Stewart Holmes (then an MSc student) by my father who is a physics assoc prof.

My first computer job, therefore, involved being part of a very small group which in a few short months designed and built hardware, wrote an "Operating System", ported/wrote a bunch of languages, assembler, word processor, and a collection of games – all before the IBM PC was out.

I have particularly fond memories of the first time I got Tank (a fun piece of 2.5D graphics) working. Paul Gillingwater and I played it essentially all night. It was quite an art to drive since two people huddled around a single keyboard operating seven buttons each:

Forward left track. Backward left track, forward right track, backward right track, Fire, Bullet left, and bullet right. You could control the bullets once fired to achieve some complicated round-the-corner(s) shots.

The company, Technosys Research, was officially formed in late 1980 / early 1981, then after the DFC (we nicknamed it the "disappearing finance company") pulled the financial rug from under us, the company was sold and renamed Computer Machinery Ltd which ran for a brief time building and selling Pegasus before collapsing late in 1981.

Stewart, Ernie, and I formed a partnership and built a new 6809-based computer, the Unicorn, which was designed to run Flex - the same operating system as the SWTPC machines we used for development. Some more business failures later and Stewart and I split off to build what I believe was the first ever 2D barcode system - which was –ahem- miraculously identical to the system SoftStrip came up with.

After a brief stint at Southern Software, I finished my bachelors and went to work for Auckland Coin & Bullion which went public as Goldcorp ... as you can see, I was attracted to only the most successful companies :-)

In January 1995, I joined Microsoft and have had a series of interesting jobs - graphics for Interactive Television, Windows CE 2.0 display driver subsystem, 3D Display driver for Sega's Dreamcast, Game development system for PC and Xbox, and for the past four years, a development lead, then the architect for Microsoft Surface (yes, it has been in development for a long time).

Paul Carter
Pegasus software developer.

We had some real fun times at Technosys back then - For example, to demonstrate the Tiny Basic interpreter, I invented and wrote a version of snakes where the snake grows by eating a block - it was different from versions of snake/worms that existed back then, where you simply had to avoid obstacles. The growing version is the version that you can now find on cell-phones and all-round the net. I sent it to Paul Gillingwater and got a shock 2 days later when many of the folks at Technosys were crowded around a Pegasus and betting real money on snakes! To my delight, when snakes was installed on the demonstration Pegasus in the Byte Shop in down-town Auckland, people were queing to play snakes on the Pegasus and were ignoring all the much more fancy games and computers.

I have very fond memories of those hectic and very fulfilling days at Technosys.