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
- 8088 processor at 4.77 MHz
- 64KB RAM
- 160k 5.25" floppy drive
- monochrome monitor
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
- 40MHz 486 processor
- 8MB RAM (upgraded from 4MB)
- 400MB hard drive
- VGA ISA video card
- 2x CD-ROM
- 5.25" floppy drive
- 3.5" floppy drive
- Windows 3.11
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
- Pentium III 450MHz processor
- 10.2GB hard drive
- 4.8X DVD-ROM / 40X CD-ROM
- 128MB PC100 SDRAM
- VooDoo3 3000 16MB AGP graphics card
- 17" SVGA .24mm OSD monitor
- 128-bit PC wavetable sound
- Windows 98
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.
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: