All my early computing memories are in monochrome green. There are, as I search back in my Internet-addled memories, two threads: at home and elsewhere.
At home, my mother was an early adopter of computers, and so my family spent far too much money on an IBM PC. Two floppy drives, a monochrome monitor and no modem. Still, I spent hours fiddling around with it, writing BASIC programs like this:
10 SCREEN 1:CLS:KEY OFF
30 DRAW BOX$
out of this book (yes, it's still on my bookshelf):
That's not me on the cover, but it might as well have been.
For me, to the detriment of my handwriting, the greatest power of that computer was storing things that I wrote. I immediately appreciated the superiority of the digital storage medium. As a result, I have most of what I've ever written since I was ten years old. This is, as far as I can tell, the oldest piece:
84-09-13 ADULTS Darren
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Adults are very different from children.One reason is that the average adult doesn't have
as big an imagination as that of most children. Another reason is that most adults are wiser
than children,though children gain wisdom through adversity.
Some of the things that I like about adults are:that they're usually there when you need
them,they are very helpful and gullible.Some of the things I dislike about adults are:they
sometimes don't understand you,they are sometimes agravating and sometimes they can get a
little too wild.
Some adults wish they were kids again,some don't.Some adults act like kids,some don't.Some
adults are weird,some aren't.So all and all,what I'm trying to say is that all adults are
different, as are children.
I'd say there's a lifetime of therapy in that phrase 'a little too wild'. This essay could be a book (that no one would care to read), but another important home computing touchstone was my discovery of text-based games. Read more about that here.
Outside the home, my first computer experience was at Glenmore Elementary School, playing around with an early Apple computer in some broom closet. I endlessly played this silly spelling program that was set up as a fishing game. I also remember messing around with a BBS called 'The Fission Boat'. It was set up by my brother's friend, Matt Ackleberg (sp?). I have recollection of what we did on it.
Fast forward then, to high school, and endless hours wasted with games like Ultima and Captain Goodnight. I remember sitting in Albert Kaan's massive basement, with his computer hooked up to a massive television set, spending six hours cracking the final dungeon, the Stygian Abyss. For the latter, we spent hours creating animated videos based on Captain Goodnight and his exploits. We were constantly confronted with memory problems.
From there, it was onto Rogue (I was a late adopter), Bard's Tale and (presumably) sterility because of nearly two decades in front of a monitor.
This essay was prompted by the meme du jour: Newly Digital. Now, let's try this newfangled TrackBack thing.