My interest in computers began long before I decided to major in Computer Science at Messiah College.  Over the years I have had much experience with various computers from the Apple IIc to the latest Pentium-based machines.

The first computer I ever used was an Apple IIc.  I used this primitive machine in elementary school to practice keyboarding skills.  In addition to typing lessons, I used a program called Logo Writer to write my first computer program.  Logo is a computer language used to command the cursor on the screen to draw figures.

By the time I made it to Middle School I was using Apple IIe's and eventually Macintosh computers. In seventh grade, I became acquainted with an IBM PC and the world of DOS. Mr. Joseph Reid first introduced to me to a PC in 1993. Mr. Reid was a seventh and eighth grade science teacher at Chatham Middle School.  Mr. Reid taught me how to use DOS and when I became proficient at it, he lent me a PC to use at home! It was an IBM 5150 and here are the specifications and price in today's dollars:

1981 IBM PC 5150

Price with inflation: $5,700

After a while, my parents bought me a computer for $100 at a library sale. It was similar to the computer Mr. Reid lent me except that it had a color monitor, a CGA graphics card, and a 286 processor.  I used DOS and DOS Shell to execute programs.  In 1995, I got a mouse for my computer which allowed me to do things easier.  During my eighth grade year I began to learn what makes my computer work and what hardware there was inside.  My first real hardware upgrade that involved opening up the computer was when I upgraded my 360KB 5.25" floppy drive to a 720KB 5.25" floppy drive.  Wow!

During freshman year in High School, my grandfather generously gave me is old Leading Edge computer because he was getting a new system with a Pentium chip in it.  Here are the specifications for my new computer:

1991 Leading Edge Fortiva 4000

Price with inflation: $2,000

I thought my "new" Leading Edge computer was the greatest thing in the world at the time.  I was thrilled to have a GUI operating system, namely Windows 3.11.  I could play CD's on my computer and everything! 

Through the beginning of High School, I continued to learn about the guts of a computer, while persistently learning how to program.  I taught myself QuickBASIC and wrote a few simple games and utilities.

I upgraded the Leading Edge as much as I could.  I eventually installed Windows 95 which I found to be quite an improvement from Windows 3.11.  I added 16 megabytes of RAM to total 32MB.  I got an Epson 600 color printer to replace my IBM ProPrinter III XL dot-matrix printer.  Later I got a Zip 100 drive since I was quickly running out of hard drive space, even with compression.

In 1997, I learned more about the Internet.  I wrote my first HTML document and completed my first web site.  It wasn't pretty, but it was a web site.  It was hosted on Angelfire.com for a few years.

My junior year in High School, I took Introduction to C++.  I got to write, compile, and run more advanced programs as well as learn more about what Computer Science is.  Senior year I took AP Computer Science and decided that I would like to major in CS.

As a graduation present for completing high school, I got a new computer!  My parents agreed that I could get one because I'd be majoring in CS and would need a good computer.  I spent the six months prior to graduation researching computers and reading everything I could find about them.  I decided to order a custom built one over the Internet.  I chose to buy from Quantex.  Here are the specs for that computer:

1999 Quantex PC

Price: $1299

The days before the computer arrived via FedEx were long and tedious.  I couldn't wait to get my new system and set it up.  When it arrived, it was everything I expected it would be and more.  I spent many hours configuring it and playing games and watching DVD's.

I kept upgrading when I could to try to keep it from becoming obsolete :-).  In 2000, I added another Maxtor 10GB 7200RPM hard drive and upgraded to 320MB SDRAM.  Later, I added a 8x4x32 HP 9100-series CD-RW.  I bought an APC 300VA UPS so my system would keep going even when the power cuts out.  After I got fed up with Windows 98, I moved to Windows ME, and finally Windows 2000.  Then I tried Windows XP for a little while but didn't like it so much, so I switched back to Windows 2000.  Before delving into the world of Linux, I set up Microsoft Internet Information Services 5.1 on my machine so I could run this website and FTP server off of my computer.

During my junior year of college, I got into case modding, which is explained in the "My Computers" section of this page.  I also built two more computers using my Quantex system and parts acquired at computer shows.

On the programming front, I have learned a lot in my time at Messiah.  I am well versed in HTML and JavaScript.  I work with Java and C++, and find the assembly language MIPS intriguing.  I have experience with Perl, ASP, PHP, and SQL.  I have been introduced to Prolog, and Lisp. I am proficient with Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000, and XP.  I continue to learn the Linux operating system.  I am familiar with Macromedia products, especially Flash MX. I have administered Access and MySQL databases.

For two years while at Messiah, I was the webmaster of the Messiah College Career Center.  It was a fun job for the most part.  I enjoy not only the programming aspect, but the freedom to be very creative.  The job was good real-world experience.

In May 2003 I began working at Residential Warranty Corporation in Harrisburg.  I am part of their 6-man IT department.  It is a great job and I really enjoy it so far!

I got a year-long subscription to BrainBench.com which is "the world's most respected online skills measurement authority. I took the tests more for fun than to advance my career.  I have taken a bunch of tests so far and have gotten certifications in the following areas: