Ed Tittel is a 28-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 250,000 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 and at least 3 or more books a year ever since.
In 1993, Ed hired Dawn Rader, 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 warned him that he faced potential tax problems, Ed’s company LANWrights, incorporated and changed status from a dba to a real corporation. That same year, Mary Burmeister 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.
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” learning to 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, and Bill continues to crank out code for all kinds of corporate customers.
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 malware, Windows Media Center, and MythTV, as well as …For Dummies titles on Windows Server 2008 and HTML, XHTML, and CSS.
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 Burmeister 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 HTML, XHTML and CSS For Dummies, 7th edition; co-authored with Jeff Noble (Wiley, January 2011) 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 InformIT.com, TechTarget, and Tom’s Hardware (for whom he also translates articles from German into English), and writes and tech edits ebooks for Realtimepublishing.net. Ed also teaches online courses for Powered, and has recently run classes on all kinds of topics for the HP Learning Center. Ed also writes white papers for various corporate clients, and is doing some expert witness work on 1990s vintage Internet-related patent infringement cases for several law firms.
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).