As “techies,” we embrace the ability to understand the technology behind how
and why things work, to a point beyond most other people’s interest. Usually
what drives our interest is curiosity, a curiosity very similar to that which we
experienced in childhood.
Curiosity comes in different shapes and sizes for children. I remember kids in
my neighborhood wanting things like baseball gloves, model planes, or even
chemistry sets. Each of these toys was a unique facilitator for the individual’s
curiosity. My curiosity began around fourth grade with my introduction to a
Commodore Vic 20.
My best friend and I whipped through the pages of our “Introduction to
BASIC” texts. First, we learned the fundamentals of BASIC, such as PRINT, IF,
and GOTO. Before you know it, we were writing real programs. One summer
we decided to use the “all-powerful” computing device to make our own
Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book. Silly as it sounds now, those books were
very cool to us.
The point is, BASIC allowed us to make our own interactive version of a
book. Computers enabled our creativity and curiosity. Eventually the
Commodore 64 came out and I was introduced to the concept of the modem
(and the concept of getting yelled at for making long-distance calls). Even though
it was only 300 baud, the modem represented a new beginning for us; it was a
connection to a new world of possibilities.