“Computers are incredibly fast, accurate and stupid; humans are incredible slow, inaccurate and brilliant; together they are powerful beyond imagination.” – Albert Einstein
I remember when I first discovered computers. I was a late bloomer – it was my junior year of high school and I had signed up for my first computer course. There was a Radio Shack Model II in the classroom and I sat down one day to write my first program. It went like this:
10 INPUT “WHAT IS YOUR NAME?”, NAME$
20 PRINT NAME$; “, YOU ARE AN IDIOT!”
Yes. I’m not kidding. That was what got me into programming. I thought… wow, the sky’s the limit – I can do pranks on the computer for the rest of my life! So, I put my plans to be a writer/journalist on hold to pursue a career in tomfoolery using bits and bytes. My mom and stepdad bought me a TRS-80 Color Computer 2 for Christmas that year and my destiny was set.
Using that computer, I wrote my first “serious” program. It was a game called Lloydwar and it was supposed to be making me millions of dollars once I had it perfected. It was like “Battleship” adapted for computer usage. Back then, hard drives were not affordable – and neither were floppy drives – so I had to use a cassette recorder to store/retrieve programs. Imagine, to my horror, after hundreds of hours of programming, you see your cassette with the revolutionary “Lloydwar” on it and it has the following writing written over Lloydwar:
REO SPEEDWAGON – HIGH INFIDELITY
Yes, my sister Sheryl had recorded an album over my precious Lloydwar program. Thankfully I had printed the program out on thermal paper and all I had to do was simply re-type it. That never happened. I saved that stupid roll of paper for about 10 years before I realized Lloydwar wasn’t to be and threw it out. Oh well. I still managed to have a successful career despite my initial failure to launch what I believed to be the best game of all time.
As of 2018, I had amassed 30 years of computer experience under my belt. I had managed to be a successful developer and eventually manager for all my life up until now. Now, instead of moving up the ladder, I find myself in a position where I have actually downgraded. I’m back to doing software development after being in pure managerial roles for the last 10 years.
So, what am I working on? Well, I’m keeping busy working for a company named Valley Ag Software (vas.com). We write software for the dairy industry. It may not sound exciting to you, but believe me, farming is high tech these days. The industry has come a long way since my farming days on my grandfather’s farm in Canada. And, for those who know about my time on that farm, the fact that I work with cows these days is pure irony, considering I have a bit of fear of cows. More on that at a different date. I also still have my consulting business and periodically do software development and data entry for Pearson.
Are you a nerd? What types of nerdery are you involved in? Write me and let me know!