Honestly, I struggle to know what to write here. I am torn between various versions of myself. There is the me that is proud of my family and background, so more than glad to share. There is the nerd me that loves talking tech, so again, glad to share. There is paranoid me who thinks about security, so always cautious about what to reveal online. And there is the me who loathes all the narcissistic elements of modern social media. I mean honestly, who cares what I have to say? So for now, will keep this simple. May add more in the future.
I have been using computers since I was 12 years old. The very first computer I touched was an amber text Nova Systems terminal on which I played the Original Adventure. This was the system used at my father's shipping company. The sysadmin, a classic gray beard (and son of the president of the company), set me up in front of the terminal, gave me a quick intro, and let me loose. I got lost in that text-based game for hours each time I went to my father's office. It was glorious. And I still remember certain things from that game, including the magic code
The first computer we had at home was a Commodore PET 1000. Many years later the story my father told me was that he had seen a full page ad about it in one of those inflight magazines like SkyMall or something. And when he got back to his office, he ordered one with the intention of using it to calculate loads on bulk cargo ships. Though as a kid I did not grasp this, my father was an early user of HP calculators and used one at his office to do such calculations. That calculator was an order of magnitude faster than doing things by hand, and my father saw the Commodore as a chance to do things even quicker. He taught himself enough Commodore BASIC to do exactly what he intended. (He later rewrote his program in Atari BASIC.)
But when the shipping company he worked for shuttered (an interesting story in its own right), he was basically "the last man standing" on the East Coast and closed up their last office there. And he was told to keep whatever he wanted and to throw out the rest. This is how we had a home computer at a time when almost no one else around us did.
That computer was my introduction to programming. I taught myself Commodore BASIC and did simple things like drawing Saturn V rocket ships in ASCII characters and making them fly up the screen. But it was the beginning.
I still remember the specs of that Commodore PET. 8KB RAM. Built-in audio cassette drive (for storage). Chiclet keyboard. And once in awhile it would flake out due to dust inside. The first time it happened my father took it to a repair shop. But after being charged a decent bit and seeing that all the guy did was flip the computer open like the hood of a car, take a can of compressed air, and blow out the dust, after that he simply did that himself. (We are Dutch after all.)
In my middle/high school, they eventually had a "computer lab". It was just a classroom that had folding tables in the center and around the sides, and sitting on the ones in the center were Radio Shack TRS-80s while along the outside wall they had Commodore PETs and two (2) Commodore 64s, the only color computers in the room. The class was taught by Mr. Ivins, a math teacher in our school who taught the more advanced classes like trigonometry, analytic geometry, and calculus. Admittedly, I think I annoyed him a little, more than likely because I was ahead of what he was teaching. I remember one time writing a loop on the PET that simply used the Commodore BASIC peek and poke commands to make sounds, and he yelled from across the room that whoever was doing that should stop it! :-) And another time I was working on a program to organize your collection of music/etc., I had asked him if there was a way to print multiple columns on the printer. He said no. But I went back and thought through how to possibly do it (calculating what to print across any line on the printer ahead of time) and actually did it. But I still had a lot of fun in that class.
And yes, that is a younger me in the photo, sitting in front of the computer I used through the end of high school and into my first year in college. (Bonus points for those who can identify it.) My one (technical) regret is that I sold that entire computer setup (for very little as I remember it) during my freshman year after I got an Atari 520ST for Christmas. More specifically my regret is that I sold the floppy disks, including those which had all my files on them (I THINK I erased them, but honestly, I can't remember.) Point being I lost all the digital work I did in high school. But so goes life. Lesson learned. To this day I still have my Atari ST floppies, along with some Iomega ZIP disks, though I do my best to migrate my data files over time to new media so that they remain relevant... or at least accessible.
For something less dated on me, there are the links in the top right of this site.
This site is rather spartan in design (at least as I type this). That is, to some extent, by choice. My philosophy/approach is to avoid, as much as possible, any external references. That is, when you visit this site, the idea is that your browser will only need to be able to reach this site to load content. It will load an HTML page, which in turn provides links back to only this site for images, etc. No need to go to other websites to pull in content to load within a webpage.
The technical reasons for this is in hopes to lead to
But just as important, if not more so, this is to respect people's privacy. If you visit here, you did not intend for some ad company or other to be tracking you. And so I am trying as best I can to avoid using things which might do so. So no DoubleClick, Google AdSense, etc.
As I write this, I have not implemented any commenting system. Part of this is that I will only do so if I can implement something which avoids the usual spamming that tends to occur (who needs to see ads with links in comments?), without suddenly finding myself having to burn a lot of time dealing with that (e.g., constantly having to moderate/delete inappropriate comments/etc.). And the only quick/"easy" fix is using a Captcha. But if I use a Captcha, I realize that could lead to such a thing as being tracked by the outfit providing the Captcha service. I could use something like Disqus, but there again you're suddenly exposed to another site that can track you across sites. So this is how things will be until I have a simple/clean solution or my brain can come to terms with using an external commenting system.
The only external links/references on this site are those which take you to those external sites. So a link to GitHub takes your browser to GitHub. No mystery there.
This may change over time, and if I'm missing anything, I'll do my best to correct it. To the best of my knowledge, the only information this site has at this point is whatever is stored in stock *nix process logs such as NGINX.
For those who might be curious, this site was built using the following:
Unless stated otherwise, other than having to get the webserver up with PHP support, everything regarding the site was done via the browser using the Grav Admin panel. That is, I did not "go under the hood" to manually edit files, etc.
There is method in my madness. I will write up an explanation at some point.
This site does not represent the opinions of its creator.
Just kidding. It totally does.
If you wish to contact me, simply look at this website's FQDN/name and replace the period after my first name with the 'at' symbol. Easy, right?