Profile: Sam Bellotto Jr.

The Association of Software Professionals started out back in 1987. Our members invented the software marketing model of try-before-you-buy, and changed the world forever. Now, we have everyone from assembly programmers to app developers benefiting from our private newsgroups, member discounts, and our shared experience on how to market software.
This is the first of a series of profiles of our members. All we asked was this: How did you get started?
Sam Bellotto Jr., of Crossdown, joined the ASP Feb 22, 1992, and is online at
Jerry Stern, Editor, ASPects

As far back as I can recall, I’ve been passionate about science and writing. All through high school I won numerous science fairs and gotten dozens of  rejections for my science fiction stories. When not blowing up the basement or blowing up imaginary planets, I enjoyed doing crossword puzzles. Naturally, my greatest ambition was to be a science writer.
For that, I went to Long Island University, which had a renowned Journalism Department (google Polk Awards), was located in New York City (a hotbed of science fiction), and nary a computer in sight, but an impressive science department nonetheless. During my final college years, in fact, I self-published and edited an amateur sci-fi magazine which drew eager contributions from many artists and writers who are big names today. I wanted the magazine to include a crossword.
Not being able to find someone to contribute a sci-fi puzzle for cheap, I constructed one myself. An issue of “Perihelion Science Fiction” has recently been listed on e-Bay for $500!
The fiction aspect never panned out. But I did find a modicum of success writing for and editing assorted trade publications. Because of my science background, I was the go-to guy for technical articles about calculators, copiers, computers and other office machines that did not begin with “c.” IBM and I were on a first name basis.
For relaxation, I got tired of solving crosswords. No challenge anymore. I took a stab at constructing them. And after several encouraging rejections from then New York Times’ Crossword Editor Eugene T. Maleska, he bought and published my first puzzle in the Times’ Sunday Magazine.
Then came the Great Convergence. Kaypro released an affordable personal computer. Trade magazines got heavily into compiling databases. The economy soured. I discovered I could make good money by maintaining these databases on computer with dBase. Fiddling around with my Kaypro-II, I also wrote several routines in Turbo Pascal that would help me with my puzzle endeavors. But I couldn’t do a lot with them commercially until MS-DOS emerged.
Fast forward to the present. I still write occasionally. I don’t do databases anymore. Crosswords and crossword software are way too much fun.