Thinking about my first experience with technology

I am currently working on my Masters degree in Educational Technology and as part of my current course we are to create an e-folio for keeping track of our observation. 

Wang PC 240One of our first assignments was to reflect upon an early experience in our lives when we were exposed to or used technology, and discuss how and why we remember the experience.  Most people talked about early computer games or their earliest computers, I chose to talk about my first computer, a hand-me-down Wang.

My father gave me this computer when he bought his new computer, which if I recall correctly was an IBM portable computer.  The cool thing about it was that it came with a BASIC programming interface and an interpreter, so it was also the first computer that I did any programming on.  I had a reference book on BASIC my father had bought, and so I could look up functions and programming structures.  My dad was programming in BASIC at the time as well, so I’m sure I asked him for help once in a while.

What I loved about programming was the ability to make the computer do things (which is still what I love) like manipulating text, graphing graphics from text characters, etc…  I seem to remember constructing fun shapes using ASCII characters like Ascii 200 and Ascii 204.  You could create mazes, etc… and if I recall correctly there was very little space (or no space) between the characters so that the mazes looked seemless.

Over the years I worked on many mini-projects, my favourite being a computer game which I used as my science fair project in 10th grade (I got a C+, apparently you need to do a write-up even if what you’ve done is really cool).  I also remember programming a simplistic word processor, which included a simple word wrap algorithm and the ability to load and save files.  Think Notepad for DOS.

When I went to university, for some reason I set computers aside as a thing to be used as a tool, and used them more for recreation.  Had I paid more attention to them in school, I might have been able to start in this WWW craze much sooner.  Who knows what would have happened?

Anyway this early experience has definitely led me along a life-long path as an early adopter of technology and has helped me become an avid web design enthusiast.  My most recent project, creating desktop applications with Adobe AIR has been quite interesting, and I’m sure I’m not done now.

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