Jim Warren

Jim Warren founded and chaired the first Computers, Freedom and Privacy Conference, held in 1991, which drew more than a hundred articles of press coverage, internationally. The CFP conferences have continued, under other leadership, for more than 15 years, consistently drawing national and international attention and attendance.

In 1993, he assisted Debra Bowen pro-bono, then a freshman member of the California State Assembly, in drafting Assembly Bill 1624 (AB 1624) and organized much of the statewide support that helped it pass four committee votes and three floor votes without a single dissenting vote. When AB 1624 took effect on Jan. 1, 1994, it made California the first state in the nation to open all of its computerized public legislative records, statutes, constitution and regulations, to fee-free access via the Internet.

Thereafter, numerous other states modeled their own legislation after AB1624, as evidenced by their use of the same eccentric phrasing that Warren drafted in AB 1624, to describe the Internet, that was relatively unknown at the time - "the largest nonproprietary, nonprofit cooperative public computer network". This was necessary to silence naive politicians objecting that it would be "giving away" public records to the Internet "company".

In 1995-1996, Warren served on the Advisory Panel on Electronic Filings of the California Secretary of State. This Panel advised the Secretary on how-best to implement new mandates for computerizing political-campaign financial statements, and making them timely-available to the public in electronic form without excessive fees.

In 1996-1997, he served on the California Senate's Task Force on Electronic Access to Public Records, that produced recommendations regarding how to make computerized state and local public government records available to the public in electronic form. Warren was one of the minority who advocated online access without agency fees, and charging no more than the direct incremental cost of copying, when copies were requested in physical form. The majority of Task Force members were from city and county agencies, almost entirely advocating making the records available in electronic form, but only for fees far in excess of direct copying costs.

Before and during that period, Warren was the Futures columnist for Microtimes, writing a monthly "Realizable Fantasies" column (1988-1999); the Government Access columnist for Boardwatch magazine (1994-1996); and, the Public Access columnist for Government Technology magazine (1993-1996, 2000). He hosted PBS television's "Computer Chronicles" series for their first two seasons (originated at the College of San Mateo's KCSM-TV, Channel 60, 1981-1982). Warren also wrote the nontechnical "Coastside Curmudgeon" column for the Half Moon Bay Review, Half Moon Bay, CA (1994-1996), and created, published and edited the Peninsula Citizens' Advocate tabloid newspaper, addressing local rural political issues (very irregularly, 1984-1986).

From 1977 through 1983, Warren was one of the two founders of the West Coast Computer Faire which, for a half-dozen years, was the largest public microcomputer convention in the world. He was its self-titled "Faire Chaircreature," organizing eight conventions, when he sold it to Prentice-Hall, "for 100% down; nothin' to pay".

To promote the Computer Faires and circulate news and gossip about the then-infant microcomputer industry, he founded and edited the first free tabloid newspaper about microcomputing, the irregular Silicon Gulch Gazette (SGG), published from issue #0 in February, 1977, through issue #43, in January, 1986.

From 1990 through 1995, he was a member of the Board of Directors of Autodesk, Inc., the foremost publisher of computer-aided design (CAD) programs for microcomputers, with AutoCAD as its flagship product. At the time, it was one of the largest microcomputer software publishers, with a market cap sometimes near a billion dollars. In his tenure there, he chaired the Board's CEO Search Committee that found and selected Carol Bartz as its CEO.

Prior to the Computer Faires and SGG, Warren was the founding Editor of Dr. Dobb's Journal of Computer Calisthenics & Orthodontia, the first computer magazine to focus on microcomputer software, created and published by the nonprofit People's Computer Company.

Beginning in 1978, Warren created and published the Intelligent Machines Journal (IMJ, which is also pig-Latin for "Jim"), the first subscription news periodical about microcomputing, published as a tabloid newspaper, with Tom Williams as its founding Editor. Warren sold IMJ in late 1979, to Patrick McGovern, the founder of the International Data Group and numerous computer periodicals worldwide, notably including Computerworld. McGovern quickly renamed IMJ to be InfoWorld, as his first microcomputer periodical, later converting it to various glossy magazine formats.

Warren also founded and published the short-lived DataCast magazine, edited by Tony Bove and Cheryl Rhodes, focused on in-depth tutorials about specific microcomputer programs, and was the founder and producer of the equally ill-fated Video Initiative, providing similar self-paced videotape tutorials.

In the late 1960s, Warren was involved in the radical, utopian, alternative, hippie Midpeninsula Free University, including serving pro-bono as its elected General Secretary for three terms. In that time, he created and edited its irregular magazine, which he titled, The Free You.

From 1968 through the mid-1970s, prior to DDJ and microcomputers, Warren worked as a free-lance minicomputer (note "mini") programmer and computer consultant, operating under the name, Frelan Associates (for "free land"), creating assembler-level real-time data-acquisition and process-control programs for biomedical research at Stanford Medical Center, and control programs for various high-tech companies around Silicon Valley. In those years, he also chaired the Association for Computing Machinery's regional chapters of SIGPLAN, SIGMICRO and the San Francisco Peninsula ACM.


1957-1967, he was a mathematics teacher at secondary-school level, and professor at college and university levels, with his last full-time academic position being Chair of the Mathematics Department at Notre Dame de Namur University - Belmont, a small liberal arts college in Belmont, California. He later taught computer courses at Stanford University, San Jose State University and San Francisco State University.

He had his first full-time teaching contract, for an annual salary of $2,987, when he was 20 years old and had completed only three years of college. In the ensuing decade, he was also a National Science Foundation Guest Lecturer, was the founder and Director of Summer Mathematics Institutes at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas, and earned national recognition for innovative weekly enrichment programs he created for secondary school students, as well as in-service programs for elementary and secondary school teachers, all without cost, as Chair of the Alamo District [South Texas] Council of Teachers of Mathematics (1960-1962).


Warren holds an MS in Computer Engineering from Stanford (1977), an MS in Medical Information Science from the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center (1974), an MA in Mathematics & Statistics from the University of Texas at Austin (1964), and a BA in Mathematics & IA (1959) from what was then Southwest Texas State Teachers College in San Marcos, Texas. He completed all but his dissertation ("Ab. D") for a Ph.D. in EE-Computer Engineering from Stanford (advanced to candidacy, 1975).

Political career

  • Elected countywide, in a county of 700,000 population, to the Board of Trustees of the three-college San Mateo County Community College District, 1986-1989.
  • In 1986, knowing he did not have any chance of winning, he nonetheless ran unsuccessfully for San Mateo County Supervisor against then then-President of the County Board of Supervisors, Anna Eshoo, as a protest of her representation of the county's rural minority that composed much of her supervisorial district.



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