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Yesterday I received a phone call from a prospective employer.  Now, this might seem like something that I would expect to get all the time as a currently unemployed individual, but it’s not.  Resumes tend to go into some strange job-seeking equivalent of a black hole, not even cover letters can escape.  So, an honest to goodness call was exciting.  As I chatted with the recruiter she asked me a question I had never been asked by anyone in an employment seeking capacity.  How did I get interested in computers and the like?

It’s amazing how that one question was able to get my mind racing through a myriad of nostalgic images.

There I was sitting in front of an old Texas Instruments TI-99/4A.  The monitor was an old TV, the media were cartridges and cassette tapes.  And there I am, sitting with a book about programming in BASIC trying to teach the machine to play the card game War with me.

Or, I’m sitting in an old computer lab packed with Apple II’s and IIE’s.  I’m awestruck because I’m just an elementary school kid and here I am in the high school computer lab for a summer computer camp of sorts.  During that week I learned how to use LOGO and Turtle Graphics.  I played games of Rocky’s Boots.  And I solidified I love for those clunky old boxes, the Apple II series will always hold a place in my heart.

Then there’s me waiting with bated breath as my Dad sets up our first IBM machine.  The machine is an all-in-one unit with a brand new technology: a 3.5″ floppy drive.  In fact the drives are so new that my Dad was compelled to buy an external 5.25″ drive since so little software was available on 3.5″ at the time.  This was the machine that would teach me what every gamer of that day learned.  I would learn to manipulate DOS, I would learn about IRQ’s and DMA Channels.  It would be the beginning of my ventures into troubleshooting.

Then there was my graduation present of an old Packard Bell with Windows 3.1.  My introduction to the Windows system, and the machine that would see me through many years.  It might not have been a speedster, but it was the first computer that was mine and mine alone.

And, of course, my brother and I learning the art of hardware installation with our first CD-ROM.  My Dad opened the door to see his sons sitting among the spread out parts of the family computer.  He didn’t say a word, he just backed out of the room.  He trusted we could work it out, and we did.

There are many other stories ranging from my first machine I built myself to the day I received my MCSE.  But, the truth is that I have nurtured a fascination with computers, and anything related, ever since that day my Dad unveiled that old TI.  They have affected the way I think, the way I see the world and technology, even the way I cope with stress.  I’m thankful that I found something that I truly enjoy, and am hopeful that when I return to the workplace I will continue to learn and expand my abilities.

Life just seems to make more sense with a keyboard and mouse at the ready.


One Comment

  1. Well I am glad to hear that someone is getting job potential. It is funny I have the same memories of a TI 99/4a, as that was my start. However my dad got a custom build Beltron Turbo IBM clone. It was a great machine with a whopping 4MHz processor. I got a Packard Bell 626 when I went to college. Remember BBSs and connecting at 2400 baud? I also worked with Apple II/(e)s. It is amazing how similar our computer growth is/was.

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