The first family computer we had was a 50MHz Gateway 2000. I remember waiting for it every day after school hoping the huge cow shipping boxes had arrived.
I copied the Lion King album and nearly filled the harddisk! This was around the time when Napster came out, which I was a fan of, but didn’t really know how to use it. I would play around on AOL, and download punters to see what those did.
My friend Brett and I would play Comanche: Maximum Overkill, Microsoft Golf 2.0 (“It’s in the rough!”), Tempest, TIM The Incredible Machine, Tyrian, The Dig and finally Starcraft.
My first computer was a 166MHz AMD K6 desktop from Computer City my parents bought for me in the 6th or 7th grade.
At some point the thing kept crashing giving me the BSoD. Turns out the Fan had died and the processor was slowly cooking itself! I still remember pulling it out of the case and seeing the chared edged of the processor.
I first got into computers building html websites on Geocities. I remember thinking how cool it was to build visual projects that anyone could login to and see! Some of my earliest idols were sites like sclegacy.com, wastedyouth.org, 2advanced studios, and many of the artists on Deviant Art. I would spend hours following Photoshop tutorials trying to recreate the effects I found online. Inititlaly I was more interested in the design/ui aspect.
My Sophomore year in High School I took an elective in Desktop Publishing, where we were introduced to different publishing software for print products. The next year I enrolled in a Web Development course, where our class was in charge of building the School Website. This was where I started to get introduced to PHP, HTML and table layouts!
After that year, my teach recommended my for a Digital Art class at the Art Institute in Houston, TX over the summer. For a week or so that summer, my parents drove me downtown to take that class and we learned how to use Photoshop and Flash.
My Senior year I enrolled in AP Computer Science which was a complete failure, literally. The class was very abstract and taught in C++. However, at some point, the UIL changed the cirriculm over to Java, which I was able to grasp a bit better. Around that time I picked up a copy of Java 2 Complete by Sybex and I remember it explained Object Oriented Programming in terms of an airport and airplanes. I still remember that aha moment! Another book that I remember paging through at the library was O’Reilly’s Building Internet Firewalls. I remember it had an explanation of “bastion hosts” which I thought was interesting.
Linux Baby Steps
At some point in High School I stumbled across Linux. Not knowing anything I went to Best Buy and bought SuSE Professional for $69.99! Initially I didn’t have any idea what to do with it, but it was fun to play with. were lots of strangely specific program that were way over my head. Slowly I became familiar with the command line, partitioning, dual booting, IRC. I had a brief affair with Slackware, but finally ended up on Gentoo Linux and the Forums. I attribute most of my computing success and education to Gentoo! (18 hour compiles of OpenOffice were the worst!)
I enrolled at TCU in the summer of 2004. There I played a lot of lacrosse, and went to class a few times, graduating in 2008 with a BS in Computer Information Technology.
My first time in a datacenter was late at night my Freshmen year. I was becoming close friends with Ryan Gibbons who had some servers in a data center in Dallas. Late one night, it must have been like 11pm, we were working on a lab and decided to make a trip to visit his servers that he needed to work on. Badging into that facility and walking through the hallways to his locker was a trip!