Sunday, July 24, 2005

Computers: A Life in Silicon

This great article got me thinking about my life vis a vis computing.
Year Event
1972 The Patridge Famiy loses their lights. The culprit: a billing computer went awry. I was exposed to computers for the first time.
1973 I started watching Star Trek. They have computers all over the place. They talk to you. You talk to them. That's what they're all about.
1975 In Grade 2, I read this SF story about a guy who works from home. He communicates with people around the world via computer. Just Crazy
1978 UVic has an open house. In the bowels of one of the buildings, they have a computer playing tic-tac-toe. It beat me. Grrr...
1979 On a trip to Seattle, we go to Science World. They have a PET computer on display. You can type on it. I can type on it!
1981 This should be called the First Year of Computers:
  • Our high school has computers! Three Apple ][s in a little room used only by the elites.
  • I befriend a classmate, Galan Akin. His dad is a Computer Science teacher at UVic. Wow. He even has a computer at home!
1982 The Second Year of Computers:
  • I got into a computer science class! A room of Apple ][s. The ratio was three students to one computer, so we had to do lots of theory and a little coding. I spent so much time helping others code, I rarely handed stuff in.
  • Galan's dad gives us access to the UVic computer lab. We spent endless hours playing Galactic Empires, writing "Terra-3": an SF RPG, and programming.
1983
  • The UVic lab upgrades from Apple to IBM. We kick into overdrive with the RPG and work on a game of Galan's design: Stompin' Jo. He was doing the graphics. I did the programming. Think Mario's World but a super cool version.
  • My buddy Tim, gets an Apple ][//c (the computer case is still under my couch as I write this). Later in the year, I cajole my family into getting me a computer: an Apco. I take off programming.
1984-1988
I took high School by correspondence so that I can stay at home, write and program.
1992
  • I move from the Apco to a 386.
  • For Christmas I got a modem. 2400 baud. Woo! I got online. Wild. Crazy. $60/mo. for a super crappy connection into CompuServe.
  • I got a C++ compiler. I started programming. I did a very simple game with joystick controls and moving graphics. A friend of mine from a CompSci program, scoffed and said I couldn't do that.
1993
  • My friends and I started to work on a magazine called "Legends." One idea was to distribute an electronic copy. We couldn't find a workable format. Options: via newsgroup, via email or post it on a bulletin board for download. I guess there was a way to reach the wide world, but hadn't figured that out yet.
1995 Victoria Freenet started to offer access to the Internet. You could surf for an hour at a time, go anywhere via Lynx and it's where my Internet usage really took off.
1996
  • I started to tinker with HTML. I had heard so much about it, it seemed easy enough to pick up.
  • The previous CompSci twerp was in a crunch to get some projects done. He gives me the work in a fit of desperation. I started working as a web designer who quickly morphed into a web programmer. From then until now, I earned a living from home. I communicate with people around the world via computer.

No comments: