Pick Publications Database
Pick Pocket Guide, First Edition
Publisher: JES Publishing Co. for Pick Systems
Print run: 1000
In early 1982, Dick Pick saw a copy of the Reality Pocket Guide I had written and published the previous year. He tasked Ken All, their PR guy at the time to contact me and see if I would produce a custom version for Pick & Associates. I estimated that it would take about six weeks to produce, since I only had to search and replace certain bits. But that was before I met the legendary Henry Eggers, widely considered to be the principal architect of the system, who took a keen interest in the project and in so doing became my personal mentor on the depths and intricacies of the Pick System.
My six week estimate turned into six months of rewrites, long discussions with Henry (who also wrote, among other things, the Print Spooler, whose dozen or so commands ended up taking many dozens of pages to describe), and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work with the real heavyweights of the Pick industry at the height of their powers and the products' popularity.
This edition was produced in a 5 by 7 inch loose-leaf binder, which we called the "hard cover" version. Each copy in the first edition had a serial number, which precipitated the first real application at Pick Systems, to track the sales and owners of the copies. The database we began at that time became the basis of the now-legendary "entity" file that Dick Pick obsessed on for the remaining years of his life. It also might be of interest that it was during the writing of this book, we came up with the name "ACCESS" for the retrieval language and "Pick/BASIC" for the programming language. Up to that point, the people at Pick had called these "English" and "DATA/BASIC". It also precipitated another change at Pick, resulting in the renaming of the company from Pick and Associates to Pick Systems.
This book spawned a cottage industry for me. It went through a half-dozen editions, and about a half-dozen of the early Pick Licensees wanted custom versions for their implementations, which I also wrote.