Jeri Ellsworth

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Jeri Ellsworth
Born 1974
Yamhill, Oregon
Nationality American
Occupation Consultant
Known for Entrepreneur and self-taught computer chip designer

Jeri Ellsworth (born 1974) is an American entrepreneur and self-taught computer chip designer. She is best known for, in 2004, creating a Commodore 64 emulator within a joystick, called Commodore 30-in-1 Direct to TV. The "computer in a joystick" could run 30 video games from the early 1980s, and was very popular during the 2004 Christmas season, at peak selling over 70,000 units in a single day via the QVC shopping channel.[1]


[edit] Biography

Ellsworth was born in 1974 in Yamhill, Oregon, and grew up in the small town of Dallas, Oregon, where she was raised by her father, a local Mobil service station owner. At age 7, she persuaded her father to let her use a Commodore 64 computer which had been originally purchased for her brother. She taught herself to program by reading the C64's manuals.

In high school, she drove dirt-track race cars with her father, and then began designing new models in his workshop, eventually selling her own custom race cars. She made enough money that she dropped out of high school to continue the business for several years.

In 1995, at the age of 21, she decided that she wanted to get away from the race car business, and she and a friend started an early Intel 486-based PC business, assembling and selling computers. When she and her partner later had a disagreement, Ellsworth opened a new store in competition. This new business became a chain of stores, "Computers Made Easy", selling computer equipment in small towns in Oregon.[2] She ran the chain until selling it in 2000, at which point she moved to Walla Walla, Washington and attended Walla Walla College, studying circuit design for about a year, but dropped out because of a "cultural mismatch."

In 2000, Ellsworth attended her first Commodore expo, where she unveiled a prototype video expansion for the C64. This project later evolved to become the C-One and C64-DTV.

Ellsworth then began designing computer circuits that mimicked the behavior of her first computer, the Commodore 64. In this way, in 2002, she designed the chip used in the C-One, a board which was co-designed and manufactured by Jens Schönfeld,[3] as an enhanced Commodore 64 which could also emulate other home computers of the early 1980s, including the VIC-20 and Sinclair ZX80. She displayed the C-1 at a technology conference, and she and Schönfeld received enough business to sell a few hundred units. This also led to Ellsworth receiving a job offer from Mammoth Toys, a company which hired her to design the "computer in a chip" for the Commodore-emulating joystick. She began the project in June 2004, and had the project ready to ship by that Christmas. It sold over a half-million units.

Ellsworth currently makes her home in Oregon, and works as a consultant.

She is a pinball machine aficionado and owns many full sized pinball arcade games.[4][5]

[edit] Presentations

[edit] References

  1. ^ New York Times, December 20, 2004, "A Toy with a Story"
  2. ^ Statesman Journal, January 25, 2005, "Joy of electronics sticks"
  3. ^ C-One website
  4. ^ Personal linked in page talks about pinball interest
  5. ^ Interview[dead link] where Jeri Ellsworth lists some of the pinball machines she owns (at 7:37)

[edit] External links

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