Ok so I was born in Wales on the 5th Feb 1985. My parents bought the first family computer back around 1990 or so, a Commodore 64! I remember my Dad spending the whole day coding an Air Ballon (a sprite) to simply bounce around the screen. No-one in the family had a clue about computers but my Dad had achieved this, it was pretty awesome to say the least. Unfortunately we didn’t have a hard drive or floppy drive. All we had was a tape drive and we didnt have a clue on how to save the work to it. Power off…. the Air Ballon was no more. I wish only back then I had paid more attention in how my father had done this, it’s something I wish I could have picked up back then, my programming skills are pretty non existant to say the least!
A few years on, the Christmas of 1995 if I remember correctly, my sister and I were presented with a large box covered in cow spots. What on earth was it? We didn’t have a clue, my Dad certainly did, it must have cost him an absolute fortune! It was a Gateway 2000 Desktop computer with Windows 95. The machine was a Pentium 133MHz, had a dedicated graphics chip on the motherboard and was lightening fast. So here I was, it was Christmas day and I had a brand new, very fast, very expensive PC to share with my sister and the family. What to do, what to do? Inside the cowspot covered boxes were a few included extras, one of them was Virtual Fighter, an arcade style fighting game. My Dad explicitly told me that this computer was not for Games, more for homework and learning. Bah, what the hell! I took the disk out of the packet, wedged it in the drive and started to install the game. Install complete, reboot required.
Sitting excitingly for the machine to start felt like an eternity, it was, nothing appeared on the screen. Oh shit! I’d foobar’d the brand spanking new computer. I told my Dad and he was less than pleased, especially considering I’d gone against his word and broke the PC installing a game, whoops! Fotunately Gateway2000 was a fantastic company and had Tech support open on Christmas day! As it was me who broke it my Father saw it only fit that it was me who fixed it, a long call and an hour later of following instructions the machine was back up and running. Basically the included version of Direct X on the game CD would not communicate correctly with the GFX drivers. Well I kind of understood what went wrong, a Driver controlled the hardware, the direct X told the game how to speak to the driver?
Now the next point is what I feel is the most crucial part in my intrest in Computing. No more than a few hours after fixing the PC on xmas day did I pluck up the courage to install the game again in order to understand what went wrong. Once again the game installed fine but so did the DirectX software. I had remembered all of the steps indicated by the tech support so went through them all again to fix the PC. I felt like a PC guru! Not only had I managed to break the PC, I could also fix the PC, and better yet; now play Virtual Fighter!
Years on it was me who was constantly breaking the family PC so it was me who also had to fix it, all this breaking and fixing led me to understand more and more about computers. It made me the family PC expert. Finally at such a young age I felt that I had been able to be good at something. I guess computing was just “my thing”.
And finally, should you need to securely email me please use my GPG public key, phillips321 at gmail dot com