Valued Support Online Professionals

You probably know that VSOP means “the good stuff.” It’s a sign of class, maturation, and superior quality. At least, it is in cognac, where it is the abbreviation for Very Special Old Pale. On the AumHa Forums, VSOP also means “the good stuff.”

Around here, the abbreviation stands for Valued Support Online Professionals, an award recognizing those who, freely giving their time to answer technical questions and make other significant contribution to this site, demonstrate technical skill, spirit of community, and generosity of contribution. Those designated “AumHa Contributors” are our “senior VSOPs.” A small gift accompanies the award. — Jim Eshelman, Webmaster

Webmaster & Primary Author
Jim Eshelman Jim Eshelman (MS-MVP, AumHa Webmaster/Proprietor)
California, USA. User Support Specialist for O’Melveney & Myers in Los Angeles. Jim is the only person listed here who has never been awarded the AH-VSOP Award. Despite this, he has exercised his unreasonable and monopolistic control to force his way onto this page. He used a PDP-11 at DePauw University in the early 1970s, just down the road from where Gary Woodruff was using the bigger model. Jim also managed to be born before Alex Nichol finished graduate school. He actually used to cold-boot an Interdata mainframe by loading binary machine code with toggle switches, and still believes email was meant to be a plaintext medium (kinda like Post-Its™). He has an honest-to-gods M.A. degree in Skeptical Theurgy which he doesn’t bother to put on his résumé. His musical tastes run from Gesualdo to Green Day. He hates spyware even more than Mow Green does, but Mow is meaner (and much taller).
Web site AumHa Forum Posts Pedigree
AumHa Authors/Contributors
Gary Woodruff Gary Woodruff (MS-MVP, AumHa Author/Contributor)
Indiana, USA. “District Manager for Grain Systems, a division of The GSI Group. Worked with a PDP-111 at Purdue University in the ’70s doing agricultural harvest simulation routines. After graduation I used Coleco Adam and Apple II computers to do simulation, pricing, and other business applications I wrote. Moving to Windows, I used the Microsoft newsgroups to train myself into the Microsoft world. I work long hours in my chosen agriculture field and computers are one of my best tools. Helping others make better use of this tool is my hobby. My oldest daughter graduated 3 years ago. Her 3 younger sisters are presently attending Purdue, which takes care of most of my money. Target shooting and local environmental improvement issues take up whatever time is left. :-)”
Writings/Web site AumHa Forum Posts
Alex Nichol Alex Nichol — 1935-2005 (AumHa Author/Contributor)
ENGLAND. “I started using computers as a postgrad student at Cambridge University — not quite before Bill Gates was born, but pretty near it. Among other things, I ran the Computer Service at Bath University in the ’70s. Until I damaged a leg a couple of years back, I did a lot of off-shore sailing across the English Channel, round into the Bay of Biscay. I got into helping in the newsgroups after early retirement ten years ago, and one thing led to another. In 2002-03 I apparently made 14,400 posts to the Microsoft newsgroups. Help! — where’s that life?”
Writings/Web site AumHa Forum Posts
AumHa VSOPs for 2006
Robear Dyer Robear Dyer aka PABear (MS-MVP, AH-VSOP)
Pennsylvania, USA. “I was dragged, kicking and screaming, into the online world in 1999 and haven’t looked back since. I soon discovered the MS newsgroups and forums like the ones here to be valuable learning tools. I was named a Microsoft MVP three years later and an AumHa VSOP in 2003. I’m sales director at a local Pennsylvania vineyard, a fine-dining and wine consultant, and sing professionally (classical bass) in the Philadelphia area, Maine, and the Spoleto (Italy) summer festival.” Robear was one of the two winners of the 2007 Smart Alex Award.
AumHa Forum Posts
Manny Carvalho Manny Carvalho (AH-VSOP, MS-MVP)
Georgia, USA. “When I was 9, my family emigrated to the USA from my native Portugal. So, yes, it’s true, I’m an alien with papers to prove it! As a chemist I learned about computers in graduate school. It’s been a learning experience ever since. Since we retired, computers have become a time consuming hobby. My other projects include finishing our new house and spoiling our two lovely grandchildren.” AumHa Forum Posts
Mow Green Steve Wechsler aka Mow Green (MS-MVP, AH-VSOP)
California, USA. “Better known by my nom de plume, MowGreen, I purchased a Compaq in December 1996 and instantly became a PC Tech. Of course that was never my intention, but to keep the beast up and running required more knowledge than I had at the time. Fortunately, I found the MS newsgroups and, with the help of MS-MVPs, I’ve managed to keep that system up and running to this present day. After helping out for a couple of years in the Windows Update newsgroup, MS granted MVP status to Mow in 2003 and 2004. At the present time I run a home-based tech support business which has evolved into a full-time job fighting parasites. So, in what little spare time I have available, Mow helps clean more parasite-afflicted systems. Did I mention that I HATE spyware?”
AumHa Forum Posts
Nirvana Terry Locke aka Nirvana (MS-MVP, AH-VSOP)
ENGLAND. “I bought my first computer in 1999 at the age of 37 knowing absolutely nothing about how it worked. After clicking on everything I ever encountered on the Internet I was soon introduced to the world of malware! After recieving help at the SpywareInfo website I joined their training program to better understand my PC and to try to help others. I was promoted to Helper and later to Trusted Advisor there. I came across AumHa after Googling someone’s problem on Christmas Day 2004 (sad, I know), and have been helping out here ever since. I was awarded MVP status in 2005 and AH-VSOP status in April 2006. I work as a technical operator at Coca~Cola Enterprises in Milton Keynes in the U.K. In my spare time I enjoy helping others to become more savvy about their computers. I also enjoy going to music festivals and gigs as often as time and money will allow.”
AumHa Forum Posts
Ramesh Ramesh Srinivasan (MS-MVP, AH-VSOP)
Chennai, INDIA. “I was awarded the ‘Microsoft MVP for Windows Networking’ (2003) for my work in the Experts-Exchange forum & in the MS Windows XP Newsgroup. Technical Support is my passion. You can see me answering in many forums and the MS newsgroups as well. After being a Team Leader for a Technical Support team for four years (Brigade Corp. India), I quit the job recently, to proceed towards learning more about Microsoft technologies. Proud to be an AH-VSOP and to get recognized by the good people around.”
Web site AumHa Forum Posts
Walter Clayton Walter Clayton (AH-VSOP, MS-MVP)
Kentucky, USA. “I’ve been an IT (DP as it was then) professional since ’78, primarily doing development on mulitple platforms in multiple languages and multiple environments with multiple data access methods. (How’s that for techno babble?) And I’m still slinging code although it’s been mostly SQL lately. I’m also running a one-person part time business doing computer training, repair, and crapware exorcism — unfortunately, too much of the latter (I really hate having to break the news to someone, especially in person, that their machine has been violated). Except for a brief lapse due to time constraints between job and business, I’ve been an MS-MVP since ’99. During that time I’ve avoided specialization and classification since I answer questions on a wide range of subjects and subject matters.”
AumHa Forum Posts
Bill Castner Bill Castner (MS-MVP, AH-VSOP)
Maryland, USA. “I am honored to be granted the VSOP award and to join this rogues’ gallery. My undergraduate degree is from St. John’s College, Annapolis, MD, the “Great Books” program school. I’m a complete autodidact in computers. In 1974, torn between using my St. John’s Math Prize money on a bicycle or an advertised “personal compute” from a garage group in Cupertino, CA, I bought the bike. But when the IBM PC was announced, I stood in the rain and sleet for hours to purchase #1672. I was finishing a dual-degree program at Columbia U. in NYC, and flying three times a week to Washington, DC. The harried-looking guy with the IBM PC Technical Reference writing assembler code on airplane napkins was me. I believe in users helping other users. You will find bcastner on several sites. The “magic” is that in helping others, I have gained more than I have given in the exchange.” Bill was one of the two winners of the 2007 Smart Alex Award.
AumHa Forum Posts
Sandi Hardmeier Sandi Hardmeier (MS-MVP, AH-VSOP)
AUSTRALIA. “I have been an MVP since 1999, specialising in Internet Explorer and Outlook Express. With two teenage children, and a less-than-computer-savvy husband, I have had plenty of opportunity to hone my knowledge about spyware, malware, and viruses. Lots of real life experience had led to my most popular sub-web (more than 570,000 unique visitors), devoted to the fight against malware and badly written programmes that cause problems for IE users.”
Web site AumHa Forum Posts
Glee Glen Ventura aka Glee (MS-MVP, AH-VSOP)
(bio pending)
AumHa Forum Posts
Don Varnau Don Varnau (MS-MVP, AH-VSOP)
Kansas, USA. “After resisting attempts by various people to get me interested in computers (starting in 1968), I finally became interested in personal computers around 1994. After working with Macs in an elementary school, I saw the light, and a Compaq running Windows 95 became my first PC. That started the learning process. Helping others with computer problems lets me feel that I’m paying back all of the people who have so freely shared information with me and contributed to my education. When not slouched in front of a computer, hobbies include motorcycling, bicycling, kayaking and photography. How can I make weekends longer?”
AumHa Forum Posts
Maurice Naggar Maurice Naggar (MS-MVP, AH-VSOP)
(bio pending)
AumHa Forum Posts
Bert Kinney Bert Kinney (MS-MVP, AH-VSOP)
Florida, USA. “I am a computer hobbyist who started with MS-DOS 5 and moved on to Win3.x to Win95. When the Win98 preview was released, I received a copy and found the MS Newsgroups. Being a career firefighter I find it natural to help others and the newsgroups were a great place to continue this service. In 1999 I was offered the MVP award which I graciously accepted. In August 2006 I was offered the AumHa VSOP award and the chance to moderate the then-new System Restore forum, which of course I accepted. The rest is history…”
Web site AumHa Forum Posts

The AumHa Valued Support Online Professional award comes with several valuable benefits to the recipient:

Awards are made in April of each year (the anniversary of starting the Forum). “Mid-year refresh” awards may be made in or near October in some cases.


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