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RIP Jack Neilsen
I wonder if anybody remembers Jack Neilsen? I didn't recall that he had been
involved much with Delta, so I was quite surprised when I noticed that he
had an account on Delta in 1979 (201,2 "Jack Nielsen Non-priv programmer").
He was no programmer; professional con artist might have been a more
I think I first ran into Jack one day when he was loitering around Smith
Hall. He was in to electronics (I have since learned that he was a ham,
K3GUW). He had a portable frequency counter that I thought was really cool;
it had a nixie tube display! I wanted to play with it, so, much to my
surprise, Jack let me borrow it.
I later learned that his reason for being in Smith Hall was to hang around
looking official until the opportunity presented itself for him to steal
something of interest. I remember him once walking out with a box full of
new telco gear. He just sauntered on over and picked it up in full view of
the I/O window folks and everybody. He'd just appear to belong there like it
was nobody's business. I wonder now if that frequency counter wasn't hot,
In the summer of 79, Ernie and I (and maybe some others?) got a ride with
Jack to the big computer show that was being held at the Philadelphia
Convention Center. Jack was buying stuff left and right. I remember he
bought the then just introduced Heathkit H-11 computer. It was actually a
repackaged and kittized LSI-11/03. He picked up a fully loaded system with
the paper tape reader and the 8" floppy drives and a CRT. Paid for it all by
check. I think I figured out what was going on when Jack asked me to please
not call him by his real name!
I have recently learned from friends in the Delaware ham community that this
was not an isolated incident. Turns out that he had at least 7 different
licenses. He'd stop by the area of a big hamfest or computer show and get a
license in that state using a bogus address, then get a checking account at
a local bank and then buy thousands of dollars worth of equipment with the
rubber checks. And for this, he never got caught. I'm told at some point, he
assumed a new address as a "guest of the State" residing near Smyrna for
running a PCP kitchen in Wilmington. Maybe he should have stuck to bouncing
So, it is with deep regret that I inform you the Jack passed away this
February. The obituary from the News Journal read "Howard 'Jack' Neilsen
died on Feb 14, in Altoona (Pa) Hospital. [Is there a prison there?] Mr.
Neilsen was a self-employed truck driver for 25 years. Graveside services at
Silverbrook Cemetery, Lancaster Ave and DuPont Road."
Regards for now...