Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran with an interesting background. A Princeton and multiple University of Texas graduate, Ed started his academic career with undergraduate and graduate degrees in anthropology. Then, realizing the need for gainful employment, he moved into computer science, and has never looked back since starting his first programming job in 1981.
Ed spent his first six years in the industry writing code, primarily for database-related systems and applications, at companies such as Information Research Associates (now known as Scientific and Engineering Software, Inc.), Michael Leesley Consulting, and at Schlumberger’s Austin Research Center.
In 1986, Ed switched from staring at a CRT to the softer side of the business, moving into management and marketing. From 1988 to 1994, he was employed in a variety of positions at Novell, initially at Excelan (which was acquired by Novell in June 1989).
Starting as a Networking Consultant for Excelan, he became a “talking head” for Novell as a National Marketing Manager, in early 1990. During that job, he averaged over 200,000 air miles per year, briefing top Novell clients around the country on planned technologies and products. His final position at Novell, as Director of Technical Marketing, commenced in early 1993. In that position, Ed oversaw technical content for corporate strategies, publications, trade shows, and developer conferences, including curriculum planning for BrainShare in 1993 and 1994.
In May of 1994, with a dozen books under his belt, and prospects for several more in the offing, Ed decided that Novell’s decision to shut down their Austin operations was just the impetus he needed to go out on his own. Since then, he’s worked primarily as a freelance writer, trainer, and consultant working on a regular stream of Web and magazine articles, whitepapers and technical briefs for high-tech companies, and at least two or more books a year ever since.
In 1993, Ed hired Dawn Rader (now Davidson), who would later become his first full-time employee in 1997, to help him manage projects, edit his books and articles, and keep his side business humming along. In 1996, Ed started working with Michael Stewart, who later became his second employee, working on Internet research, computer gear, and the first of a long series of books they co-authored together.
In 1997, after his accountant informed him that he could benefit from starting a company, Ed incorporated LANWrights to change its status from a dba to a real corporation. That same year, Mary Burmeister (now Lemons) joined the team, and the group started digging into certification topics in a big way. That’s the same year the concept for Exam Cram was born as Ed and Michael dug their way through the monster tomes known as Study Guides that dominated the self-study offerings available at the time. Dr. Bill Brogden also joined the company that year, and quickly turned his programming wizardry to good use in the development of a Java-based test engine that he still uses and maintains to this day.
1998 through 2000 were heady years for LANWrights, as the Exam Cram series took off for the Windows NT 4.0 MCP exams, with sales of core books topping 10,000 copies a month for a blissfully extended period. This rush of success culminated in the sale of LANWrights to LeapIT.com (a Sylvan incubator company), after which it renamed itself to iLearning. During this period, ace project manager Kim Lindros also joined the team, and became an instrumental member of the group.
The period of 2000-2004 saw the former LANWrights group, then known as the “Austin Content Services Division” adapt to life as a corporate entity. It also witnessed a serious downturn in the certification business, which unfortunately hit the group’s bottom line hard. But the period also witnessed some real growth and development, primarily in creating several corporate book series and in relaunching the Exam Cram series as Exam Cram 2 under new management at Pearson’s Que Certification press. 2003 was also the year that witnessed the departures of Michael Stewart and Dr. Bill Brogden from the group, as both took up positions as freelance professionals. These days, Michael’s spending a lot of time teaching information security classes in Germany for the DoD, while Bill has advanced to semi-retired status as a kind of programmer emeritus.
In June of 2004, Ed bid farewell to his position at iLearning (by that point, the company had become a division of Capstar, a spin-off from ETS in Princeton, NJ) to return to working life as a solitary freelancer. But since then, he’s worked on several projects with his old colleagues at the Austin Content Division, including numerous Que Certification titles as well as numerous books for Wiley, including titles on TCP/IP and a variety of security technologies, as well as …For Dummies titles on HTML5 and CSS3.
Though the group no longer works for the same company, they continue to collaborate on the occasional project here and there. In May of 2005, Mary Lemons left what had by then become a division of Thomson/NETg to go to work for Powered, Inc., to help that company manage its burgeoning online training businesses. About six months later, Dawn joined Mary at Powered, while Kim started what has since become a thriving content creation business called Gracie Editorial. As of early August 2009, Dawn took up a position as the Editor for an in-house online magazine at a major computer manufacturer, where she’s thriving in that role.
Since 1987, Ed has been an active writer for the computer trade press. He has over 140 books to his credit, ranging from the best-selling Beginning Programming with HTML5 and CSS3, (the 14th edition of “HTML For Dummies,” which first appeared in 1995), co-authored with Chris Minnick (Wiley, September 2013); to the Exam Cram series, which he originated for The Coriolis Group (over 20 titles from LANWrights alumni in this series are available). Ed has written a variety of texts on XHTML, XML, Java, VRML, and CGI programming, and has also worked on more than a dozen different …For Dummies titles (all for Wiley). He has also written numerous textbooks for Course Technology, including networking, TCP/IP, and Windows operating system titles.
Currently, Ed writes occasionally but regularly for sites like TechTarget, CIO.com, and Tom’s IT Pro, and writes two or three short books a year for Dummies Custom Pubs. Ed writes white papers and tech brief for various corporate clients, including Earthlink, AiNET, Rapid7/LogEntries, and others. Since 2009, Ed has worked as an expert witness work on Web and Internet-related patent infringement cases for several IP firms, including The Webb Law Firm, Fish & Richardson, Bracewell Giuliani, and Latham and Watkins. His testimony and reports have resulted in the invalidation of several patents, most notably in cases involving Soverain Software and Alcatel-Lucent.
When Ed is not writing, editing, teaching, consulting, or scouring the Internet for new projects, he’s often chasing after his son, Gregory, who’s always trying to wangle his way into Dad’s home office to wreak havoc on the many computer hardware goodies strewn about therein. If not playing with his son, Ed likes to hang on to his lovely wife Dina. When the opportunity presents, Ed also likes to shoot pool, cook, and savor the occasional bottle of good red wine or quality micro-brew/imported beer (Belgian, especially). For more details on Ed’s professional activities and publications, you can download his Resume and Vita (List of Publications) from the EdFiles tab on any page of this Website (both are in PDF Format).