From Interlock Rochester Wiki
I like the space so much that I want to make sure people, especially new members anxious to try out their codes and keys, can get there
My earliest geek memory is from elementary school. Our school building was divided into two wings--the "primary wing" consisting of K through 3rd or so, and the "secondary" wing, consisting of 4th through 6th, plus the library and music classrooms. At some point, I was asked by some adult (teacher, administrator, visiting researcher?) to go down to the secondary wing. There, this . . . thing . . . was revealed behind a curtain in an alcove right off the hallway. Only in hindsight have a recognized it as maybe a Teletype machine with green bar paper and acoustic coupler. I think we were asked questions and our responses were typed in by the operator. I have no idea what it was all about, I just remember seeing this hulking big machine behind the curtain, like when Dorothy discovers who the Wizard is, and bringing home some of the greenbar.
Anyway, that memory is a bit like the Vikings having "discovered" Greenland--sure, it probably happened, but it's not like they made a big impression by establishing a sustained and continuous presence.
For that, it would have to be in middle school, seeing a TRS-80 in a Radio Shack and playing around with it, and then seeing a Macintosh in a Computerland down the street. Wasn't long after that that I was checking out books from the public library to teach myself BASIC and writing programs (FOR loops, really) with pencil and paper.
We had a couple of game consoles before I got my first "real" computer. My dad had a Magnavox Odyssey system back in the day--it was a Pong-style game, with the game field being a translucent sheet of plastic actually taped onto the TV! We also got a Simon, and later an Atari 2600. But probably the electronic game that had the biggest influence on me was my very own Merlin handheld.
The TI-994/A was a transition device for us--I thought of it a bit more like a game console that happened to have a keyboard. Things really took off for me though when I decided to buy a used ZX-81 from a newspaper ad. It had been a ZX-80 kit that someone had upgraded to a ZX-81. We tried to buy a memory expansion module for it, but none of that worked, as it happened. So, my dad took pity on me and bought a new Timex-Sinclair 1000. I spent a lot of time with that thing, deciding at one point that what I really needed to do was write my own assembler for it (never finished). I still have the Rodnay Zaks "Programming the Z-80" (Sybex) from those days--at least I learned binary and hex from the whole exercise, and a hatred for membrane keyboards.
Hi. It's too bad the term "fiddler" means what it does, because I "fiddle" with things more than deeply hack them.
Here is an outdated list of skills from an old CV:
Computer skills include Perl, Unix shell, HTML and some C coding; Windows 95/98/2000/XP, MacOS, webserver, fileserver and general Linux/Unix system administration skills (Apache, Samba/Windows Networking, ssh/SSL, rsync, netatalk, Linux, IRIX, SunOS). Major GNU/Linux experience with Debian, Ubuntu, RedHat, Mandrake and Slackware. Minor NetBSD experience.
Laboratory skills include organic and inorganic synthesis; solid-phase peptide synthesis and purification; multinuclear multidimensional FT-NMR spectroscopy; FT-IR and Raman spectroscopies; UV-visible, fluorescent emission, and fluorescent excitation spectroscopies; pulsed and CW-ESR spectroscopy; X-ray diffraction structural methods; HPLC; GC-MS.
You can see the form for the first web application I ever wrote courtesy the Wayback Machine:
Sort of buried in there, and stuff I found sort of cool to do, were work with cryogens, from pumped liquid Helium on up, and work in vaccum and inert atmosphere environments. (Vacuum and low-temperature cryogenics go hand-in-hand--hard to maintain low temperatures without vacuum insulation, and if one does get within the ballpark, so long as one has a good seal and not too much helium floating around the insulative spaces, cryopumping happens in any case).
I've shot film, and developed B&W film and done B&W enlarger work.
I cook a little bit, and enjoy making at least a few foods that involve fermentation.
I drive a vehicle powered by a Diesel motor.
I am not a ham, but don't hold it against me.
This is how one version of this discussion went early on during some IRC discussions:
13:46 <@deejoe> I'm a glorified sysadmin currently. 13:46 <@deejoe> I like to read about programming languages. 13:46 <@deejoe> I've got a strong intellectual freedom streak. 13:47 <@deejoe> a la EFF, freedom to hack, freedom to read. 13:47 <@deejoe> freedom to tear your own stuff apart to see how it works 13:48 <@deejoe> which I did as a kid. 13:48 <@deejoe> worked on cars a bit with my dad. 13:48 <@deejoe> then got a graduate degree in science that took a lot of hands-on work.
With the exception of content on this my Interlock Rochester wiki user page, I license my Interlock Rochester wiki contributions under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license version 3.0 (CC-BY-SA-3.0).