I like hearing stories about how people got into computers and programming. Perhaps if I blog my story, you’ll share yours. — Thanks to @scottha for his getting started on computers post and inspiring this post.
My Dad was constantly working on creating new electronics gizmos as a side job. He had a classic IBM PC XT he’s use to program his microcontrollers. Well one day when I was about 6 yrs old he upgraded to a 286 and put the XT in the common room. I was curious and poked around at the games on it like Castle Adventure, Sopwith, Paratrooper, Bouncing Babies, and Digger. The games just didn’t hold my interest so our local librarian handed me a really simple Learn BASIC book and I was hooked.
Writing apps was awesome! While friends were playing games or making little apps with graphics I was more interested in disk I/O and databases. From there moved on to using QuickBASIC (Microsoft’s ‘professional basic’) and eventually Visual Basic for DOS (VBDOS, yes, it existed). My early days involved writing and selling some shareware apps, entering assembly from PC magazines to create new DOS utilities, running a RemoteAccess BBS, creating ASCII graphics w TheDraw, and I won a TX state programming competition and wrote serial port interface apps for my Dad’s electronics.
In the end I think it was just the un-engaging nature (at least for me) of those first DOS games that sparked the interest in doing more with the computer. To this day I try new games every few months, but rarely do they hold more than a few hours interest before I turn back to coding. (p.s. there were some later exceptions, a few games that got me hooked, Startflight 2 being the first, gosh I loved that game)
Thanks to Dad for giving me the hand me downs, keeping me updated with better IDEs, and engaging me on his projects. And thanks to our dear librarian for handing me an awesome book on programming.
What’s your story?