I've always been fascinated by technology. In second or third grade, I wrote a fake advertisement (as part of a classroom exercise) for a "miniature TV that you could fit in the palm of your hand." Of course, such a thing didn't exist then, but I could envision it - because it was the most interesting technology that I had ever seen, and I could understand why people would want to walk around and still be able to watch their televisions.
When I was about 5, my dad brought home the original Pong game. It obviously left a lasting impression on me: when Asteroids and Space Invaders appeared down the street from my house, I started spending all of my extra time and money playing them. Then Pac-Man. Then Donkey Kong. And so on. Every new game that came out saw more and more of my quarters. (My absolute favorite video game, to this day, is probably Time Pilot.)
In sixth grade, my school had a computer for the so-called "gifted" students. Fortunately, I fell in to this category, so I got to play with the Apple II+ whenever I didn't have anything else to do. In seventh grade, my friends started getting Commodore 64s, and we took a computer literacy class on Commodore PETs (yes, in the industrial steel cases). Also that year, I got a TRS-80 Model I (4k of RAM, and I managed to exhaust it all writing games!) Between 7th and 8th grade, my grandfather bought me an Apple IIe and sent me to a computer literacy class for "advanced" computer users; I spent the summer programming a Hero-1 robot in assembly. One of my friends had an original Mac, and another had a TI-99/4A. I've programmed for all of them, and was fascinated by the differences in programming each.
So it's not unusual that I wound up working with computers for a living. Starting in 1990 with optical storage media, I've followed various technological developments - waiting for them to become available, like my miniature television had (which, by the way, I never intended to own one of due to lack of interest, but eventually wound up with an Icom IC-R3, which works as a TV). My annual bike trip has become a test of how far I can push the most recently available technology (or at least the technology which has recently become dispensible enough to me that I can justify the risk of biking hundreds of miles with it). So I've decided to write a little about the various technologies that I've played with, in order to spread the knowledge.
- portable computing
- cellular and wireless data
- Bike Trip technology
- Microcontrollers and electronics
- amateur (ham) radio
- optical storage
- Magneto-optical (MO)
- 68HC11 microcontrollers