Sunday, March 1, 2009

When did my geeky-ness begin?

My name's Dave, and this blog is my first.

I've been interested in computers since my days in middle school and high school. Dad introduced me to the Sinclair Z-86 back in middle school. He got me a Commodore 64 when those came out, and I got an IBM-PC a short time later. We had Commodore PET-20's in high school, and a teletype terminal with a modem--the kind with the rubber cups to grip the telephone handset securely--that connected with the nearby university's IBM mainframe. Some early Macs were great fun as well.

I did (and do) appreciate the design and user-friendliness of the Mac, and other Apple products, but I ended up sticking with PCs, for their open architecture. I appreciated the easy availablity of hardware and software to play with.

I've taught myself most of what I know about operating systems and command line interfaces and disk partitions and terminate-stay-resident programs and databases and desktop publishing and web publishing and digital image manipulation and component system assembly and wireless networking ... you get the idea.

I learned about personal computers by first learning the DOS operating system, and swore I'd never use Microsoft Windows when I saw Win 2.x, then Win 3.0...the CLI (command-line interface) was where the real power was--that's how you really got things done! Then Windows 3.1 came out, and an office job that required me to us PageMaker forced me into the GUI (graphic user interface
; say "gooey" ) world. But my start in the command-line world has stood me in good stead. If any arcane system configuration is required, you have to adapt to the appropriate computer language or syntax for the situation to be able to troubleshoot it, learn what's required to fix the problem, and successfully implement the solution. That's true in msWindows, no matter how hard they try to "kill the command line", and all the distros (distributions, or "flavors" or variations) of GNU/Linux I've ever used.
At least Linux doesn't make bones about it. Most of the recent distros that have a windowing user environment offer gui ways of adjusting most settings; they also don't hide the fact that most of those settings can also be manipulated by simply editing the appropriate text document and that anyone willing to put in the time learning which document needs to be changed and how, can do it. Unlike some nasty bloatware from Redmond I could mention. :)

So, this is me.
If you have an opinion, I'd love to hear it.
If you have a question or problem, bounce it off me--if I don't have the answer,
I can probably point you in the right direction, or at least a likely direction.


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