About Frank Sconzo
My wife Jeannie and I have been friends since we met at the age of fourteen. In my opinion, a strong friendship is the underpinning to a great marriage, and we certainly have that. Jeannie supports me in so many ways, more than I’m probably aware. She is a Registered Nurse (RN) in the state of New Jersey and a professional actress, a fantastic wife and a wonderful mother. Please visit her acting website http://jeannie.sconzo.com.
Matthew and Peter are my pride and joy. They are growing up much faster than I would like, but there is little I can do to slow their growth. Because they are so close in age, they are brothers and friends. If you have children, I recommend having them as close in age as possible.
Peter loves to draw and has a special skill of constructing arts and crafts with just about anything laying around the house. He has also done some commercial work; you can find his picture at the NJ State Aquarium website, on the Shark Realm page.
I work for Dow Jones and Company as a software developer. I’ve been working in the technology divisions of Dow Jones for almost fifteen years.
I have worked on many different systems, including but not limited to back-end publishing systems, and WSJ.com.
Before my lateral move to WSJ.com during the summer of 2006, I spent nine years working for the Print Business Technology division (simply known as “Engineering Services” three or four re-orgs ago) of The Wall Street Journal. Various projects I worked on include the Satellite Page Delivery System (PDS), Market Stats Database (StatsDB), News Scheduling System (Global Sked), Electronic Advertising Tearsheets (E-Tearsheets), the Unisys Hermes pagination system and the WSJ 3.0 Redesign.
A few years ago, I began working on integrating the Methode publishing system here, to write, edit and publish content for both the newspaper and website, as well as Barron’s and MarketWatch.com.
I also earned the Internet Certificate with my degree which gave me a head start on internet technologies in the department where I used to work.
My interest in computers was born with my exposure to a small computer my father brought home from work when I was about eight. It was the Timex Sinclair 1000. One of his coworkers had placed it in a very large aluminum case along with a portable monochrome screen, thermal printer, portable tape recorder (tape drive), and several pounds of batteries. It was the first portable computer I had ever seen.
My interest grew when my grandmother purchased a Commodore Vic 20 for me. It came with four programming books leading me to type my first peek and poke operations. Soon after, my grandmother bought a used Commodore 64 for me, with 1541 5.25″ disk drive, color monitor, and lots of software. As a twelve-year old child, I didn’t play outside much in my East-Trenton NJ neighborhood, so I learned commodore basic on the 64k.
Next, I had an IBM PS/1 which came with a 3.5 inch floppy drive, monochrome screen, and a trial of the Prodigy service; it was my first x86. By the age of sixteen, I saved enough money to buy my first laptop: the Tandy 1500HD, which has (still works today) a huge 20MB hard drive and an operating system more reliable than Windows XP: DOS 3.3.
My next computer was a 386/DX33 from EPS Technologies. I remember spending weeks reviewing advertisements in computer magazines before making my selection. Tim Takacs and I both bought PCs at the same time (thanks for all your help Tim). I upgraded that 386 year after year, until the only remaining original components were the case, power supply, and some of the disk drive ribbon cables.
My flurry of computer purchases has continued unabated, but the pace has settled. Now I’m more interested in collecting technical skills. Collecting hardware has lost some of its allure with the advent of virtual machines.
About the time I was ten, my mother and grandmother determined I needed self-defense skills because I often encountered some “resistance” during my two mile walks to school. They saw an advertisement in the Trenton Times for a karate club on North Olden Avenue: Japan Karate Association of New Jersey. I don’t recall being apprehensive about starting my training, but that changed after I met Sensei Katsuya Kisaka for the first time and watched as he commanded a dojo full of adult karate students.
I recall vividly the smell of the new white cotton KI gi. Whenever I open a new gi these days, it brings me right back to my childhood when I fumbled with all those strings, wondering where each one attached. In any event, the instructors at the school instilled discipline in that lost ten year old boy. I’m glad they did too – because I would still be lost today without the principles they taught.
I trained regularly in the children’s class during my grammar school years, participated in Winter Special Training, attended Karate Summer Camp, and worked my way up to green belt. But when high school started, my training came to an end, and I don’t remember why. The reason was most likely because high school, extra-curricular activities, pre-college programs, and my job kept me very busy.
When I was twenty, I received a telephone call from Mary Jarosz at the dojo. She invited me to return to training by participating in Winter Special Training that Jaunary. The week of winter training was more difficult than I had remembered as a child; training as an adult was much more intense. The shirtless, barefoot outdoor run in the snow was a challenge for my out-of-shape body. I can remember Ron Coughlin, a yondan black belt at the time, yelling at us to hurry up and pushing me from behind. I really appreciate the time and effort of those who help me improve and grow.
For more than forty years, Sensei Katsuya Kisaka has been the chief instructor of the JKA NJ dojo. I continue to train under him. Shotokan Karate is a part of my life now. I draw my focus, determination, strength and spirit from my years of training with Sensei Kisaka and many of his students.
I taught in the computer science department at Mercer County Community College. I am grateful to Mary Hayes for giving me the opportunity and for Dave Scott who suggested the idea of teaching to me in the first place. Teaching is a wonderful experience. By teaching others, I help them progress, and I continue to learn too — it is a very rewarding experience.
I taught the course COS102: Computer Science 1 – Algorithms and Programming. This is the second of two introductory courses for computer science majors. It integrates algorithm design, abstraction of data types, experience with a high-level language, in this case C++, and an introduction to object oriented design. I used the text Problem Solving, Abstraction & Design Using C++ by Friedman and Koffman, in conjunction with my own class notes and my own lab assignments to teach the course for five semesters.
Teaching part-time supplemented my income as a full-time computer programmer at Dow Jones and Company. I decided to stop teaching so I could devote more time to my own professional development.
I have also taught the children’s shotokan karate class at JKA of New Jersey on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. I also occasionally teach, or help teach the adult classes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings. Teaching karate allows me to see an entirely different perspective of the art. My own understanding of technique and kata is enforced and evolves.
During the time I completed my undergraduate at Rutgers, I was working full-time. This schedule left me with almost no time to train, or eat right. I ballooned to almost 250 pounds. Fortunately, I began undoing the damage with intense karate training, triathlons, and running races. I also used the principles of the Zone diet to help get my eating under control.
Now, I am chasing after the Boston Qualification time of 3:10 for my age. I have done more than 10 marathons, and several sprint and olympic distance triathlons. I have my eye on a half-ironman and eventually the full ironman, after I’ve qualified for and run Boston.
I’ve also competed in several mud-runs, such as Warrior Dash, Beast of the East, Spartan Race, and Tough Mudder. I’ve also done some trail runs, such as the Reading Chilly Cheeks and Ugly Mudder, and the Freehold Turkey Swamp races. When I can make time to train for an ultra, I hope to complete a 50 miler, and ultimately a 100 miler.