Computing: A Personal Timeline

I was probably a preschooler when I first started using computer. My first computer was a clunky Windows machine with a CRT monitor. I was obsesed. I’d click around aimlessly just looking for things to do. And I had a blast, even though I had no idea what I was doing. Nowadays I kinda sorta know what I’m doing and still having fun. This post highlights some experiences along the journey from then to now.

Early Years

Between the late 90s and early 2000s, I remember using Windows 95 or Windows 98 on my home computer. I toyed with MS Paint. And I’d play games like Prince of Persia, Claw, and even Minesweeper every so often. In school, I learned my first programming language Logo to draw simple shapes. It was all very exciting!

a simple shape
a simple shape

The Internet

At some point my Dad set up Dial-Up and I started using the Internet. I’ll never forget pre-requisite intro music I needed each session. Using MSN Messenger to chat about nothing was a fun after-school activity. And I surfed the web from one hyperlink to another for hours on end. The bandwidth was abysmal, but still worthwhile. I also discovered "free" media via LimeWire, BitTorrent etc. and learned how to rip/burn CDs with Nero.

Homebrew Hacking

I have very fond memories of using consoles for their unintended purpose. My parents thought I spent too much time console gaming (I did) and decided to stop buying any more games. I went looking to the internet for "free games", and stumbled onto the world of Homebrew software. Thanks to Dark_AleX I learned all about custom firmware and hacking PSPs. And thanks to Team TwiizersTwilight Hack, I learned I could do so much more with my Wii. All the time I spent here fuelled my curiosity into software.

a gateway drug
a gateway drug

IB Computer Science

My first taste of computer science came in high school. I learned about algorithms and data structures in Java with BlueJ. Even though I wasn't super excited about Java, my teacher was engaging and supportive. So I stuck with the class. I even wrote a research paper as part of the class about how mobile computing will take over the world. My core arguments were weak, and I used iPhone/iPad sale trends as superficial evidence. I still like to think I was "right".


At this point, it was a no-brainer to pick Computer Science as my college major. I always found the hands-on coding assignments to be more fun than the academic aspects. But I've now come to see the complementary value of both.