It's a passion I can't explain, but there it is. I'm fascinated by them... vintage ones, new, fast, slow, it doesn't matter. The mere mention of hauling an old mac to the dump makes me want to save it, take it home or find one for it. My first computer experience was with the Apple II, when I was in Junior High School. Back then a computer class consisted of learning to operate it, and then learning how to program it. My parents never were interested enough to let me have one at the time, but maybe it's just as well, as I might not have gone into music then. On the other hand I might have been making a good living by now. Arrgh! Well.. we makes our choices and reaps the results.
I encountered computers again in sweden, around 1990, in the shape of the Commodore Amiga (a rather advanced system at the time, great game system, hugely popular in Europe), and later in the guise of the Macintosh. Finally purchased my own in '95, a Mac Powerbook 520 which serves me well still. On the road to learning more I played with Windows -- I was beginning to have clients to help, and figured I better bone up on *that other* operating system. Somewhere during all this I got clued in to Silicon Graphics UNIX systems. Very cool, great graphics, neat looking boxes, and running that cryptic UNIX, an os that requires definite wizardry to get around. Seeing a posting for a used SGI system for sale nearby I meet David Case, dealer in used Sun systems. The SGI turned out to be horrendously old, and the size of a small refrigerator, but those little sun boxes he was selling.... mmm.
So currently my favorite system is my little Sun Sparcstation IPX @ a whopping 40MHz! I still prefer it to the homebuilt 300MHz Windows/Linux/BeOS PC for sheer cuteness, style and the nice monitor & keyboard I have hooked up to it. Countless hours have been spent by it, learning UNIX, and figuring out how to get Solaris to do what I want. In the meantime I also picked up an old Apple IIe, ran a few of my Junior High school programs on it for nostalgic reasons, and played a few games, too. Remember Robotron? or Aztec? :-)
The Jargon File, also maintained by Eric Raymond.
slashdot.org News for Nerds, stuff that matters.
the Buying an SGI System FAQ, by David Dennis - part of what got me interested in UNIX.
amazing.com, also David Dennis - lots of good computer resources, and other fun writings.
Some programs I've written, in perl:
My Mahjong scorekeeping program (the real game, not the "shanghai solitaire").
Easily browse a directory of gifs or jpegs on your system with images.pl.
Same program as above, but rewritten in python, and better: images.py.
A log of activities... here's how it happened, in reverse.
OK, so I don't ever update this anymore. Now I'm working as unix admin at got.net, the Internet Connection, where I manage a variety of unix/linux systems. The Tycho office was shut down in August of 2001, and I was darned lucky to find another job, in the current IT climate.
Oops, it's been a while again. In september 1999 I got a job at Tycho Networks (Now owned by DSL.net). No more consulting house-calls for me. After 6 months of part-time tech support, they now have me doing IT/UNIX sysadmin work. Yaay!. I've learned a whole lot about FreeBSD, my current favorite UNIX-flavor, and a whole lot of other fun stuff. My website now runs on my own server, kind of my mini-web and email service.
Purchased parts (used and new) and assembled an Intel box, to get myself a little up to date on the hardware side. 300MHz - whee! Installed Win95 in order to play a few games, added Solaris 7 x86, on another partition. A few weeks later I tried out BeOS (very nice), and spent the rest of the hard drive on Red Hat Linux 6.0. Still a few glitches to work out, like why the Solaris x86 lost touch with the ethernet card... but that's how you learn. The consulting business has been good this year; I've made about as much money off of it as I have teaching flute, which is a vast improvement over last year. Still dabbling with programming, as time allows. More perl, and some c/c++ as well.
Perl and more perl... need I say more? Great language.
Still doing unix, still doing mac and windows. Consulting business is picking up. Got my
Sparcstation connected to my ISP with ppp. Getting Solaris ppp working is *not* trivial.
Stuff like that. Compiled and installed KDE on the Sparc.. nice desktop environment.
Spending too much time reading Slashdot.
Finished my classes at Cabrillo College; networks and PC hardware. Learned a lot there. I now have the PC and the Sun networked, and can telnet and ftp from the PC to the Sun, allowing me to download software for the Sun from the internet through the PC, which has the fast modem. On the Sun I installed a whole bunch of GNU software, plus Netscape and the GIMP, a photoshop-like image manipulation program for UNIX systems. Next project is to get the Apache web server up and running. In the meantime, I'm getting quite a few calls for my little computer help service. Mostly home users at this point.
Bought an old 486 with Windows95. Bought a Sun IPC that runs Solaris, so I can learn UNIX. Learning about networks and PC hardware now at the local Junior College. Keeping busy.
Just got back from Saudi Arabia where I spent the holidays with family.
Had time to study the Learn Java in 21 Days book, with better success this
time. Even wrote my first program, since Junior High Basic. I'm also
buying a monitor, finally, so I can work in color.
The Apple II is mostly just sitting there taking up deskspace. I'm
pondering buying a PC so I can learn Windows, and maybe make some money
helping people with their systems, the way I'm now beginning to do with
Macs. What I really want, though is an SGI Indy, or something like it; an
exotic UNIX box to play with. Learning Java is definitely on the back
burner for now, until I have more time to devote to it. Been doing a bit
of web authoring lately, for
Santa Cruz Baroque
Festival (update: I no longer maintain it, so the design has changed completely), and
Santa Cruz Community Music School.
I've been messing around with an old Apple ][e lately, reliving my Junior High School days when I hung out at Computerland and probably annoyed the salespeople there to no end, playing games on their machines. My main computer is a little Mac Powerbook, which is just great. Can't wait to get a PowerPC one in a year or so.
Currently I'm taking a stab at learning a programming language: Java.
The ULTIMATE Macintosh page.
A really good Apple ][ History by Steven Weyhrich.
Apple ][ emulators, for Macintosh.
Pretty Apple-centric. Someday I may have some other OS's up my sleeve too.