My world of Computers

I work with computers since 1982. At that time there were no PCs as we know them today. I started in school with the (in)famous Tandy Radioshack TRS 80. Later my father bought a Sharp MZ80K for me, at that time a dream machine with 48kb of memory and semi graphics, and it even could be programmed to play music. The nice thing about the MZ80K was the fact, that it did not have an operating system in ROM but only a boot loader. The features allowed many different operating systems and programming languages to be loaded from cassette. I had BASIC, enhanced BASIC and FORTH and I programmed in all three of them and while my peers had their Commodore C64s with loads of games, I had to program games myself, sometimes I hated my father for not buying a C64 for me, but meanwhile I am very thankful for that, because without the necessity to write my own games and other programs I would not have come to love programming.

When I joined the army in 1985 I took my Sharp to the barracks because as an armorer I had to keep record of all the weapons. So I wrote a little database application which made it easier to keep track of the whereabouts of all the guns, MPs etc. - big success, as it was the first computer in our division! I think the Sharp still lives somewhere in the attic of my sister's house. One of there days I have to revive this nice little machine !

1987 I made first contact with an IBM XT computer, and I found it weird that this expensive machine could do so much less than the Commodore C64, AMIGA and Atari, especially the latter ones had nice graphical user interfaces whereas the PC hat the clumsy DOS command prompt. However I got stuck with the Intel based computers for quite a while, at the beginning with DOS, then OS/2 and later unfortunately I also had to fiddle around with Windows which I still consider the worst operating system - if it can be called an OS at all - on the planet.

For about a year I worked with a completely different kind of computers, the so called Micro-Controllers which are used to tell large machinery or industrial robots what to do. Working in these kinds of environments makes you have the utmost respect of the machines you are supposed to breathe life into by programming them... one wrong command and a huge industrial robot weighing several tons might seriously act up, hurting you or others. So double checking code and going through the logic several times in my mind before even starting a program for the first time went straight into my blood.

1999 I started to look into Linux as an alternative to Windows and the slowly dying OS/2 which at that time I still used at work and at home. So after convincing my wife that with Linux she could do the same as with OS/2 I installed SuSE Linux 6 on our PC at home. At the same time my company sent me to a Linux administration course - a perfect fit ! After some fiddling around I made Linux work and I found that with every version it became better and better regarding the user interface. I stopped upgrading the Linux box at home with version 8.2 of SuSE Linux and that is the current state... because since 2002 I became a total Apple and Mac OS X fan... but that is another story.