I've been working with computers since I was in seventh grade. I actually convinced a
friend to let me "baby sit" his computer while he was away on vacation. A year
later, I bought one... a TRS-80 Color Computer with 32K of RAM! It's one for the
museums now. I used it to write my own version of Pac-man in BASIC and enter the local
science fair. I went on to the state fair. That was 1982. After that, I learned to use DEC
VAX/VMS computers and became a system administrator. I worked with IBM PCs back in the
days when two floppy drives were standard. I also learned Unix and administered an 11/730
running BSD. By the time I graduated from college, I had a lot of experience. Then it was
off to graduate school at the University of Maryland, working with Suns and DEC Alphas.
There I learned to play NeTrek! I even worked on the encryption scheme for verifying
communication between clients and servers. I didn't buy another computer for myself until
1998 when I bought a laptop so I could do schoolwork. I don't remember when I retired my
TRS-80, but for a number of years I always used school accounts for email and such.
In my time I saw the blossoming of the Internet. When I was an undergraduate, we were
connected to the world via the BITNet (Because It's Time Network). They hooked up to the
Internet after I was an admin there. In graduate school, I remember Bill Regli touting the
wonders of Mosaic and the World Wide Web. I thought it would never catch on. I guess I was
mistaken in that particular case... I've learned not to judge new technology too quickly.