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Star Thrower Educational Multimedia was first conceived in 1983 as the brain child of Dr. Bill Bushing. At that time its products focused largely on a new concept... publishing resource books about astronomy on computer disks. Dr. Bill's first publication was Not Quite the Whole Universe Catalogue, shamelessly named after Stewart Brand's very popular The Whole Earth Catalogue. This publication, like Stewart Brand's, catalogued manufacturers, distributors and other sources of astronomical telescopes, accessories, books and supplies. He followed this with AWEstronomy, a book of astronomical "facts" designed to give readers a sense of the wonder of the universe. This book was targeted towards educators and amateur astronomers who avoided it in droves.

Of course many people of that era possessed not only eyes but also the ability to read (a declining trait in the human population) what were then known as books, the primary medium for the input of non-spoken text into human minds. However, as always Dr. Bill was ahead of his time... and any potential market for his products since few people back then owned personal computers. Technical difficulties limited each volume to a mere 360K of text in IBM format and a whopping 390K in CP-M (Kaypro 4) format due to the media storage limitations of the then-popular 5¼" disks. Products at the time were entirely limited to text since common graphics formats and the ability to display them were in their infancy (as was Dr. Bill).

Sales were, shall we say, less than brisk. Dreams of a position in the Fortune 100,000 were dashed. Although electronic bulletin boards existed in this pre-World Wide Web era, without the reach of today's Internet Dr. Bill raked in a whopping $30 through three sales (counting the two purchased by him). Not to be defeated, he held strategic business meetings with himself and decided to abandon the business model of high volume sales to the mass market and concentrated instead on a consulting approach with selected clients. This new business model worked.

Star Thrower expanded to include educational video capabilities in the mid-1980's when Dr. Bill was asked by Jean-Michel Cousteau to videotape the reintroduction of a bald eagle on Catalina using a camcorder as part of "At The Edge of an Expanding Tide," a television documentary about the Channel Islands included in The Cousteau Society's "Rediscovery of the World" series for Turner Broadcasting.

In the late 1980's Bill added graphics capabilities to his disk-based products by learning computer programming languages (Pascal, BASIC) and using early GUI products (including Windows 1.0) and image editing software. These skills were refined during the early 1990's as computer operating systems and graphics software improved.

In 1990 development of geographic information systems (GIS) began, and shortly thereafter satellite remote sensing skills were acquired. These components were developed in conjunction with a Masters/Ph.D. program at the University of California Santa Barbara, world-recognized for its programs and research in GIS and remote sensing.

Web site and content development became a part of the STEM toolkit in 1994 when Dr. Bill created his first web site. Shortly thereafter this web site was introduced into court as evidence against Dr. Bill in a worker's comp case. The opposing lawyer was amazed when the judge rightly saw the web page content as humor rather than something serious! Our web development strategy is for high content and complimentary graphic elements that are pleasing but do not dominate the content. This allows for faster access to the information web browsers are looking for.

The interplay of this skills base allows for the inclusion of multimedia elements within any context desired. GIS interfaces may include photograph, video or Internet-based components. Videos produced may incorporate GIS visuals, still photographs, Internet content, etc. Distribution media include CD-ROM, videotape (VHS or mini DV) and via ours or the client's established Internet site.
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This document maintained by Dr. Bill Bushing.
Material Copyright © 2000 Star Thrower Educational Multimedia