TitleSlater, Michael oral history
|Dennis, Eric, videographer|
|Fairbairn, Doug, interviewer|
|Katz, Jeff, interviewer|
|Slater, Michael, interviewee|
Computer History Museum
Mountain View, CA
DescriptionMichael was born in Los Angeles in 1955. Early in childhood, he developed an interest in electronics and computers, building several electronic kits and peppering his parents with electronics-related questions. He entered UC Berkeley in 1973, graduating with a BSEE in 1977. He had developed an interest in microprocessors – both from a hardware and software perspective.
After graduation, he joined Hewlett Packard, where he found himself writing instructional manuals for HP’s new microprocessor-based instruments. This work blossomed into teaching assignments at the University of Santa Clara and seminars for McGraw-Hill. After three years, he quit his job at HP and went freelance. He took on teaching assignments as well as electronics design projects.
Slater’s next step was to write on book, “Microprocessor Based Design”. Seeing that the material would quickly become obsolete, in late 1986 he decided to create a newsletter on the same topic to provide a vehicle for fresh material. That newsletter was Microprocessor Report and was aimed at engineers. From there he launched a conference, Microprocessor Forum., which was first held in 1988. That business was eventually sold, going through multiple owners. Microprocessor Report is now  published by the Linley Group. Slater left the firm in 1999.
He then spent two years exploring a tablet concept focused on images and photography, but eventually concluded it was not a viable venture. However, the software ideas was taken up by Adobe and became Photoshop Album. Slater was the product manager. As part of his work at Adobe, he developed the idea of a consumer-oriented photo sharing website, which Adobe decided not to pursue.
Upon leaving Adobe in 2006, Michael spent his time developing websites and other software infrastructure technologies as part of various consulting activities.
Michael passed away from cancer just a few months after sitting for this oral history.