Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Pizza Three

I was doing some more reminiscing about my old Alpha Software days (prompted by some of Doug's recent posts) and I googled some old friends to see if I could find some updates. Instead of finding anything new I stumbled on this old article written by a dear old friend and jogging buddy of mine, Francie Peake. This is funny because it's one of the few times someone else has talked about me on the internet.

There's another software program that was written at Alpha that few people know about, "Pizza Three". When I worked at Alpha, Friday was Pizza Day. Everyone would put in a couple of bucks and we'd order pizza. Some people started to complain that they never got their favorite topping. They suspected that the people who called in the order were simply ordering their personal favorite.

So that same programmer who walked to school in his bare feet, Pete Lyons, wrote "Pizza Three". He put in each person's "vote" for toppings and then every week Pizza Three would democratically select the toppings to order based on who was eating that week. It would select one pizza randomly to make sure that those who liked the less-popular toppings such as onion and anchovy would have a chance of getting theirs. Pizza Three was a terrific program from Alpha Software. I hear they're working on an upgrade, Pizza Five version 4.6 (not to be confused with Alpha Four version 6 or Alpha Five version 5).

Pizza Three (and the update Francie forgot to mention, Pizza Four), both were DOS based programs. Pizza Four was pretty modern for the time with a hand tooled multi-select scrolling list box for choosing the people who would be eating that day. Not only did it choose the toppings but it calculated the number of pies required and determined the individual pitch in cost, usually $3.00 or $4.00.

I think I spent a lazy Saturday writing Pizza Three after Rudy our warehouse guy complained that the only pizza left one Friday was green pepper and onion. Years later after the company had grown and shrunk and grown and shrunk a few times, another co-worker Ralph Francescone wrote Pizza Five but it never really caught on.

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