3 thoughts on “How I became a computer geek

  1. Hey Chris,

    It's very uncanny how similar your experience was to mine. There are a few minor details that are different, but overall what was important was the same:

    I was introduced to computers by Mr. MacDonald, the A/V guy (who happened to be a very close friend's step dad) at our elementary school. I was so fascinated and excited by what he was able to do with computers, my parents went out and bought a Commodore 64-SX Portable, which I still have (most of, anyway). I remember spending hours writing BASIC programs that would scroll my name across the screen in different patterns, and bringing it to my 3rd grade class to play games, forever cementing my reputation as a nerd.

    Then it was on to the Apple IIe, the 8086 MS-DOS PC with the Turbo button (very fancy) and learning Pascal in school... the on to the 486-33 that I used to play Doom with my friends over the 10-base-2 coaxial network... to joining the local BBS and coordinating movie nights over chat ... to even starting our own BBS -- with aspirations of starting an actual ISP to connect up all of Cape Cod -- and registering our first domain in 1994 (ascension.com) ... then going off to Earlham and being even more inspired when I saw computers directly connected to the Internet. The rest is kind of history.

    I think your 'ingredients' are exactly correct and I couldn't offer any better advice to anyone trying to "get into" computers. We have two little kids now and it will be very interesting to see what their "Commodore 64s" and "BBSs" will be. I hope we can recognize those things when they come. I'm sure they will look much different.

    Thanks for writing this. It was really fun to visit these memories.

  2. Oh the memories. My first peek at a computer was a bit before your time. It was this huge box like thing that they brought to our Jr. High School back in the 70's. I was in a group of kids that were enrolled in MGM (mentally gifted minors) way back before being a geek was even remotely cool. I was fascinated by everything having to do with it.

    I made the mistake of getting married way too young and gave up a lot of dreams to assist my ex-husband with his. But back in the 80's as a young wife I managed to get him to buy my Atari 800 and spent many, many hours flipping through computer magazines and entering basic programs from them. I actually loved having errors because I loved the process of finding where I (or they) had made mistakes.

    Over the years I have always found a way of updating my computer and rarely have I gone without one. Kids and life kept me from persuing programming but I admire all those that devote their time to making our lives easier with their programs.

    I passed on my love of technology to my kids and although only one works for a software company (Blizzard) they all have computers and cell phones and keep me updated on their comings and goings.

    Thanks to all of this technology I am considered a "cool" grandma because I play MMO's and share with the "kids" so many things via the internet.

    Thank you for this peek into your perspective.

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