Tue 8 May 2007
My parents recently found this photo, taken when I was 10. This is me…
It’s the morning of December 25, 1981, and I’d just gotten my first computer, a TI 99/4A. It was fresh out of the box when this picture was taken. Soon after, I hooked up my black and white TV to it, and later that afternoon I connected a cassette recorder to save my work to tapes. Of all the defining moments in my life, the one captured in this photo easily ranks in the top ten… I wrote my first program that day.
Back then things were pretty simple. I had TI BASIC and that was the only language I was ever going to have on that machine. It didn’t take me too long to get through the samples in the programming guide. Then there was the subscription to Compute! magazine, where I found lots of game source code listings by other hobbyists. Hunt the Wumpus, Hammurabi, Towers of Hannoi… I tried them all. You had to type them in by hand, and that’s how I learned programming. After one year with the TI, I knew it in a very deep way. It was followed a few years later by an 8088 PC and then up the chain of x86’s, but the TI was the one that started it all for me. I guess I’m lucky, I’ve always known what I wanted to be when I grew up.