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My Computer History

April 8, 2009
Different operating systems of different roles in my life. These roles have grown and evolved throughout my life.

Elementary school (early 90’s) is where it all started with . My dad bought a Gateway computer that my brothers and I would play simple learning games on. I can remember my dad up at night staring at a blue screen with his hands on his head. Even with the troubles he persisted and learned how to use and get along with the computer.

Then came middle school (mid to late 90’s) and my first experience with Apple, a search engine, and a new computer at home. Our middle school was just refinished and received a lab of iMac G3s. This was a colorful computer with all the components in the monitor with a convenient handle on the back running Mac OS 8. This computer was used primarily for library research and taught me the search engine (yahoo! was it) and the web browser (Netscape).

My dad bought a new computer which could run the hight tech games of the time such as Command and Conquer. My brother and I would stay up into the early nights of the morning drinking sweet tea and switching who got to be the commander every level. This was when I really got into computers and the wonderful times that could be had.

Late middle school and early high school (late 90’s) meant two things for young computer users: typing papers for school and using an instant messenger and/or chat room to talk to people around the world. I can remember doing both for hours.

Late high school (early 2000’s) brought my first programming experiance using Visual BASIC .NET on a Windows XP machine to create simple desktop GUI applications. This is what started me in my career path.

Early college was a buffer period of change. It stared with programming on Windows XP using Visual Studio .NET as an IDE to create C++ applications. Then came the C language on Windows XP using gnu/gcc for a compiler and emacs as my editor. Using the compiler and emacs was the beginning of the turning point in my programming career. I realized how fun and empowering it is to user the command line to create a subtle but complex application.

Late college was the time of the TUX. Linux came to my life in a big way. First all my programming courses from this point were Linux based and I became the System Administrator of the Linux Labs for the Math / Computer Science Department at Salisbury University. I had no choice but to emerse myself in Linux. I loved working as the System Administrator. When someone had a problem they came to me (even some of the teachers) it was very fulfilling and I learned a tremendous amount how computers really work.

Early Career (current) reinforced my feelings of Linux being the OS for developers. Developers like have control and Linux allows that to happen. There are only two recurring events that require me to use Windows.

  1. Test web applications in Internet Explorer.
  2. Use a web application that only works in Internet Explorer. This application is the front end to our cost tracking database.

Windows: Use only when necessary.
Mac: A decent alternative to Windows and decent development platform.
Linux: If you need to get stuff done, use Linux.


From → geek

  1. Any preference to a certain Linux distribution? We used OpenSUSE at SU, Mason uses Fedora but a lot of the students here have Ubuntu installed on their laptops. Since Vista wiped out my Linux partition I was thinking of getting rid of it and installing Ubuntu. I figured I’d ask you since I know you’ve worked with OpenSUSE, Gentoo and probably a few others.

  2. Wow…great question. Of course the answer is “It depends”. My favorite distribution so far is Gentoo, however, currently I am using Ubuntu at work. I am really enjoying the Ubuntu experience.Also, I hate OpenSUSE with a passion. I would ALMOST prefer windows over OpenUSE…almost.My next blog post will be a more in depth discussion of this topic.Thanks Israa and again great question.

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