The Path to Now

Maui pal Peter Liu shared a fun post over on his Kaiscapes blog asking folks to chime in on their computer history. It was a fun read, and after leaving my own story, I thought I’d repost it here, too. Enjoy.

My Computer History (the brief version)

I don’t remember the specifics of my first PC, but I know it was around the fifth grade. My grandfather had a setup in his basement that I used a few times, and our family inherited on of his older machines during an upgrade. We also had Apple IIe machines in grade school, too, and I remember Number Munchers, Oregon Trail, Odell Lake, and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiago. 🙂

Back to that first PC, it was DOS based and wasn’t strong enough to run Windows 3.1 at the time. Most of my time was spent learning Q-BASIC, and I wrote a problem that cataloged my entire CD collection at the time. I came up with a concept of storing album titles in one file and then the song titles for each album in a second file (which I later learned was a basic relational database premise). I also spent most of 8 grade honors math writing programs on my TI-81 graphing calculator, including a slot machine, solitaire, and a crude Mandelbrot generator.

I then took a summer school class prior to freshman year of high school to learn HyperCard, and then took more programming classes the rest of high school. Pascal was the trend at the time.

I scored my first laptop senior year and it was 333MHz running Windows 98 (2nd edition, I believe). That’s when I really started getting used to a PC with a GUI and started discovering the Internet and all it’s joys at the time. I started college (DeVry) just 3 weeks after high school graduation, which began with a year of COBOL (snore). Year two featured Visual Basic 5, MS Access, and C++, before taking a course of Java my last course of my 3 year term. It was actually extra credit for making my Java apps to run as applets in web pages that got me working with HTML for the first time, and after doing our senior project in Front Page 2000, I was on my way.

Even then, I know Front Page was awful, and started working on just around graduation from college in 2001. I started a website for my former high school hockey team in 2002, installed the old version of the PHP community forum software my web host at the time and started teaching myself PHP and MySQL. In parallel, I landed a support programmer job in November of 2001 and transferred my separate VB and JSP knowledge to learning ASP and MS SQL. 4 years later I was leading team of developers building eCommerce sites with ASP.NET for some of the largest software publishers in the world. Nice!

My PHP and MySQL work continued as a hobby, and while taking my first formal web design class in 2007 and preparing for a 2nd trip to Maui, I created my first Maui website, and well, the rest has been a giant wave of Aloha and staying on top of the latest tech (which is almost a full time job these days).

About Kris

Programming since age 14, professional software engineer Kris Nelson practices his life motto of "Never stop learning" by developing websites and Apps around his passions, while staying current with trends in technology and social media.