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.
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!
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.
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 Twiizers’ Twilight Hack, I learned I could do so much more with my Wii. All the time I spent here fuelled my curiosity into software.
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.