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Dennis Polack

Photographer / Artist  
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Acronym   DENPO


Dennis Polack, the creator of FishWisePro, has always had a strong fascination and love for the sea. He first used a mask and fins (goggles and frog feet in those days) in the sea at the age of 14 and remained actively engaged in his four main interests: scuba diving, underwater photography, fish watching and databases till he was 75. Today he is retired but continues to develop and maintain his web site He is exceedingly fortunate to have a wife, Sally, who passionately shared his interests and has dived and taken underwater photographs all over the world with him. After each trip she was always actively engaged in sorting, identifying and registering pictures into FishWisePro.

The couple's interest in fish identification was initially sparked by friend and co-diver, John Dench. Having relied on his extensive knowledge to help them in identifying species for many years, In 1990 John gave them a fish book with pictures and descriptions of about 110 common species of the East coast of South Africa, imploring them to learn the names. Although grateful for the gift, Dennis and Sally maintain that it was an act of desperation on his part to stop them pestering him. On the long drive home from Sodwana to Johannesburg, they memorized the names and although Dennis had no idea at the time, this was the beginning of FishWisePro. When they had learnt the 110 names, Dennis and Sally purchased more books and learnt more names. At about 400 names they could no longer remember all the scientific names and needed a list.

The first list was created in dBase 2 and later upgraded to dBase 3. More names were added and when they got to the stage where they knew the names but could not remember what the fish looked like, it became obvious that they needed to link images to the names. To achieve this, Dennis moved on to another programming language called Clipper. Despite initial success with this program, the 22 seconds needed to display each image was completely unacceptable. Finally when Microsoft Access was released everything became possible. Pictures could load quickly and a fully relational database could be built.
At this point FishWisePro became a reality.

Today, FishWisePro has over 104 000 Scientific Names, more than 36 000 pictures and more than 100 Albums in the Galleries.

Designed & Developed by Rebin Infotech