fluidmind
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Computers

Yes, I was a high school computer geek. I got my first computer in eighth grade (1983)—a Commodore 64! Got it shortly after it hit the market. It cost almost $600 just for the C=64, nothing else (no monitor, disk or tape drive—nothing). I immediately began learning Commodore BASIC, and the following year got my hands on an Assembler and began learning MOS Technology's 6502 assembly language. Freshman year in high school I got my own account on the school's PDP-11 minicomputer running the RSTS/E operating system. I then began sifting through all the huge binders of manuals, learning it's version of BASIC and PDP-11 assembly language. By the end of Sophomore year I had written a Bulletin Board System under RSTS/E which was then used on a commercial service called Digital Information Systems of Kentucky (D.I.S.K.), for which I did some other system programming. Junior year we got a C compiler for RSTS/E and I began writing programs with it.

I used to stay up all night long in high school, experimenting with programs, going through the C=64 operating system byte-by-byte (it was small enough to do that) and spending long hours connected to the University of Louisville's DECsystem-10 (at 300 baud) running the TOPS-10 operating system. I learned a lot about programming on that system, both by experimenting with its many languages and having discussions with computer science majors in the "Forum" (an IRC-like program).

Right after high school I went straight to a two-year electronics school and learned things like how to align floppy drive heads, troubleshoot and repair motherboards, and build radios. I sold my trusty C=64, got an obscure Motorola 68000-based computer called the SinclairQL and wrote a terminal program for it in 68000 assembly language. That experience led to my first job after school with a small company designing and building a 68000-based computer. I wrote low-level device control routines in 68000 assembly language, assembled them with a cross-assembler on an Intel-based PC, and burned them onto EPROMs.

I still own a few of those old personal computers (Apple IIe, Commodore 128), but these days I mainly use Mac's and PCs running Linux and Windows. My main, day-to-day computer is a 13" MacBook Pro with 16 gig of RAM and a 512 gig SSD drive. I prefer Macs for one reason: the operating system. Mac OS X is the best of both worlds: a complete Unix with the best graphical interface. I only use Windows these days to check my applications in IE and administrate MS SQL Server. My main server is a Dell PowerEdge 2950 with 32 gig of ram, six 2-terabyte drives in a RAID-6, running the VMware ESXi virtual environment.

My main programming languages are PHP, JavaScript and Perl, and I've done a fair amount of Java and C programming over the years (and, sadly, VBScript, the absolute worst programming language ever devised—Microsoft should be ashamed). The databases I most often work with are PostgreSQL, MySQL, and MS SQL Server, and I've worked a lot with Oracle in the past.