20 GOTO 10

I was hooked.

10 PRINT "HELLO CAFFGEEK! "
20 GOTO 10

I don’t remember how young I was (under five), but the first time I saw that repeated over and over on the screen, with my name, and nobody repeatedly typing it, a seed was planted. I spent countless hours typing in programs from magazines, and computer books. And countless more hounding my parents to type it for me as they were faster. Games like Face Painter only watered that seed. But it was dormant for a while.

Atari 800XL
Atari 800XL

After the Atari 800XL was no longer a viable computer and had been packed away, I made do without a computer for many years. Unimaginable now. Pretty common in the 80’s. Then, when I was in junior high, fertilizer was added. My parents were able to afford a 286 computer. My dad liked to take things apart and see how they work. So learning hardware and how to upgrade them quickly followed. I built my own computer from spare parts. Shortly after a friend introduced me to Turbo Pascal.
Turbo Pascal
Turbo Pascal 5.0

I spent time writing all kinds of things, little paint programs. Terrain tile models for games that I never built. Small little games, reminiscent of those I played on the Atari as a kid. Even writing my own 3d routines to draw, rotate, and shade objects. Some of these I recently uncovered on some 3.5″ diskettes. Maybe I’ll find a drive and see if I can view my first forays into programming (scary they may be). From then on, there was little doubt about what I would eventually do for a living. And here I am today. Still playing. Still learning. Still amazed.

Where were you? What’s your story?

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  • Man this is a bit before my time, but a great read. I wish I got into programming earlier than I did. Would’ve made the present a lot easier lol.

  • Yeah, we can always look at the past and think about how we could have done some things differnetly and been in a different situation today. I know looking back at my career, had I pursued learning more in the first few years and learned then, what I’ve learned in the last few, I’d be farther ahead. However, I’m still far far ahead of the curve considering how shockingly bad most developers are.