My IT story

published : 2013-04-19 changed: 2020-03-03

category: global

tags: about

Because of a death in the family one quickly comes to think ... where do I come from, how did I become the one who I am now. And at least the becoming-a-geek-story is an interesting one (I think).

Well, how do I start there ... Because it is about the Geek or nerd in me, probably the first computer.

I got it when I was just around 9 years old. It was a C64 of the first design - brand new, just presented. I know exactly that I was super fascinated by the thing right from the start . And, unfortunately, also really ignorant.

I remember well my first very miserable attempts to communicate with the C64 and make him do something. After all, I had already seen "Star Trek", can not be too difficult ...

This I thought at least, but as the breadbox on my, tediously typed in the two-finger circle-and-seek system Hello Computer (ignore case, on the C64 you only had capital letters) only with a lapidary Syntax Error answered .... I knew I should read the manual - a profoundly hated activity. Even back than. (By the way, the attempt to use the English form Hello instead of the hello did not bring the desired success.)

Luckily there were other nerds in the area and somehow I had the first games loaded via my datasette (also such a great word - actually it was only a cassette tape drive. For the younger one among you: it once stored music, the predecessor The CD, so to speak). So cool, what suddenly suddenly flickered across the screen ... Super .... From then on I was busy with play computer games! Fortunately (I felt different then, but in the retrospective it was good) the loading times were long enough to be able to do homework. emoji people:smirk And the loading times were even with the so-called "FastLoader" still unbelieably long in todays terms (about 100kb in 10 minutes - slower than Edge on the phone).

But the very best thing about the datasette was that it has stored the programs on normal cassettes - empty cassettes could be bought quite cheap in a lot of shops and then save your programms on it ... or even the programs of a buddy.

You could also buy the cassettes - there were tools games or something else on it. It was only bad, if you wanted to listen to such a cassette by mistake - so many speakers broke because of that.

In the middle of the late 80s double cassette decals appeared. These were originally intended to be e.g. From buying audio cassettes single songs together (mix-tapes!). But you could also copy data tapes - you had to fiddle with it a little.

The datasette reads the data analogously from the magnetic tape of the cassette. And then the quality is important. And if you had a cheap double cassette deck, you had to screw a little at the position of the takers of the datasette, so that the copied games could be loaded (which also happened when you got a tape from one of your mates).

All in all, the loading times were really bad .. you sat there really several minutes (felt hours) until such a program was loaded.

Somehow, the eternal gambling was too stupid, I wanted to know how these graphics come to the screen .... And learned BASIC - from the manual! That was still pretty much the beginning, no idea how I did it, I also know that there was a lot of errors in the manual, which of course I corrected in my copy.

After a few weeks of intense learning I finally had my first sprite on the screen. The biggest hurdle turned out to be the binary system, which was an intellectural challenge for me as a 10 or 11 year old. But some day it worked. The sprite was there. And should actually go from left to right across the screen. It did so, but needed about 1 minute. emoji people:frowning

That was a joke, how can games show liquid graphics and animations and the sprite moves here only extremely slowly ... Even if I had increased the step size it was still much too long. And then it also did not look like a smooth animation... just a "jumping" sprite.

A little research with my Geek-friends at the time brought to light that there is also still "Assembler". A programming language, which one must learn for something like that. Ok, so I started to write C64 Assembler .... But that was not so easy, in the area where we were living, there were not so many geeks who could help me (or to whom I was friends with). That changed only after the move to Bavaria.

The datasette was terribly lame and impractical. Fortunately, my father had a similar opinion, and hardly a year later I got a floppy drive (the nerds amongst you will know what a 1541 was, right? emoji people:smirk ) - the loading times were still quite high, but much better than with the stupid tape thing called datasette. And the biggest innovation was that there was now a table of contents, and you could choose the file you wanted to load. Yes yes, that was theoretically also possible with the Datasette: meter reading, and then correspondingly fast forward and backward. Not really fast, convenient or easy (especially if the counters from Datasette to Datasette differ and one could not use the numbers from a datasette of a buddy when using the exact same tape in your drive). But such a floppy had already something ... Wow .... These were innovations ... After all, the 1541 had the same processor and the same Ram equipment as the C64 itself - was actually only missing a TV-out and it would have bin the first game console ever ... but ok ... my sister was still lucky as she had an NES (or as that was called) - but she had much less games than I did ... well ...

Only when I built a so-called parallel cable to the C64, the loading times were fast. This went so fast that my grades had suffered genuinely in school. Even when copying floppy disks, you had to wait a few minutes ... the best opportunity to do some homework tasks. With the parallel cable these few minutes shrunk to a few seconds - in the time I had hardly the right side in the book opened, let alone made something. And after copying was just before gambling, is clear.

Coding became more and more interesting to me, especially 8-bit assembler was really fun. At the new school there were also a few as crazy as me, with whom I then met after school to do some coding. That went so far quite well, magazines such as "C64" and "Happy Computer" have also helped. In particular, the programs printed in it, which were then typed with a lot of effort. Later even some hexdumps with checksums - we had really too much time, there were only 3 programs on the TV emoji people:smirk

We were standing in the story every month (and later every 2 weeks), to get the currentedition of the C64 or Happy Computer! We used our pocket money for those ... most of the others were there on kicker or so ... well. .. we were / are geeks.

That was a great time, you knew every bit by the first name, played with all possible stiff and even used soldering iron. I learned a lot more about computers and how they functioned in the course of their studies - but we still get to that. And my C64 looked towards end of this time as if was from Star Trek - An additional button here, a button there, a display there ... that was great!

Sure, you have also played the moste current games, partly still needing to bypass the copy protection and possibly add my own demo.Then you proudly showed this to your mates. At that time that was not yet punishable ....

Not at all, if you had it at home, you had no internet and something to distribute. And the BBS systems and so-called "mailboxes" came so slowly into fashion ... and with the 300 Baud Akkustikkoppler on the C64, the downloading was not really much fun ... that started actually when the PC was popular.

Sure, everyone who had a C64 at that time had pirated software like games or utilities. At first this was still legal (or not criminal), and one did not even worry about it. Then the law was changed and all of a sudden we were forbidden. The whole games could not have been afforded by his pocket money - and honestly, do not want to afford it - there was an enormous amount of scrap. Some have then added a so-called PLK - post card, something similar to a locker. It was thought that the secret of the letter would protect one .... But it did not, some of my buddies then were caught when these creeping copyrights became illegal. But no one had received any punishment, only an admonition. But it was enough - all in my close acquaintance have ceased to use ne PLK ;-) robbery copies were, of course, still in the schoolyard in circulation, but it became less ... if not much less.

I was really interested in coding ... I started writing software for all sorts of things: Vocabulary trainer (every time I had a bad grade in Latin, I wrote one, the old one was stupid anyway - so I created really a lot of them, games, sound experiments, graphic effects, demos, demos, demos and demos.

Coding Demos was Fun - simply only testing a new effect, like a scrolling text, sound, Sprites .... Whatever. The things did not make any sense at all, but they were fun ... it was also great to look at the code of others and learn from it. The highlight was a plasma effect, which has managed to change color all 4 pixels - I've only managed all 8 pixels with out logic or syncing. When I looked at the code, and found that the developer had initially packed a lot of "go away" warnings into the code and declared that he used illegal opcodes (ie, invalid Assember commands), that do "random" two things at the same time .... he found that with the help of an oscillograph - it was clear to me - now is the end of the flagpole reached (for me).

And then came the Amiga 500 - God, what a great thing. 16 bit CPU and a half megabyte of RAM (yes, dear kids - MEGAByte ...). It also had its own processor (Copper) for the graphics and one for copying data in the memory (Big / Fat Angus). This was a leap forward. My Amiga 500 was felt for a long time much faster than the PCs that my father used. So a 268er had no chance at all against the Amiga, only from the 386er onwards with an additional CoProzessor the thing was interesting ....

But I digress - on the basis of my experience with the C64, I am at the Amiga of course, immediately began to program assembler. This was already something else as on the C64. 16Bit addressing, 68000 CISC processor with alone several hundred possibilities of memory addressing (relative, absolute, absolute, with offset, absolute with offset in register, absolute with offset in memory address, etc.).

As fiddling with Assembler has a lot of fun, you could get much better sound (16 bit wow - even if I was never the real musician - I still hear from time to time some good old mods), much nicer graphics (There were porn slide shows to be recognized real - on the C64 were the only undefninierbare pixel clouds). The Amiga was really a really great device, was really fun to work with. Again, I was concerned with the included Basic - there was much more possible than with the C64.

Although the Amiga was the better and cooler computer - my C64 was still on my desk - actually always - until I mothed both the Amiga and the C64. At the time, we did a lot with both computers in the clique. So I wanted to flash a new kickstart ROM for the Amiga, which I had of course on diskette Amiga ... the eprom flasher unfortunately only on the C64 (at that time came often to use). The data had to be transferred somehow. The Amiga had a 3.5" drive, the C64 it was 5" ... There were synonymous 5" drives for the Amiga (I even had one), but that saved the data in a much higher density, so the C64 could not read the data (and vice versa)

In one of the usual night-coding-sessions a cable was then soldered, which connected the Amiga midi port and the user port of the C64, and we (a friend helped me) have developed a simple data transfer protocol in Assembler. So we could transfer the data then ... and get the Amiga a new kickstart ROM ... (even if the ROM does not fit completely into the C64 memory, so we had to transfer it into snaps and flash it - I believe 4x or so).

Wow, what would I have given, if it had already given Google then ... then we might have really invented something awesome. So, I just happened to come across the same solution as others. So I have created BubbleSort for one of my vocabulary trainer ... and of course the network protocol ... synonymous with encryption, 3D graphics or data maintenance concerns, I've come up with things that already existed .... Well ...

My dads computer was also exciting (and since I am supposed to be knowing "that stuff", I was also responsible for the thing to work), but the Amiga was at that time really much more powerful than the stupid 8086 and later even than The 286er ... And the first screens / grafix cards (EGA eg) were still monochrome - even the C64 was better ... but it was just a no "professional tool".

The hottest thing was "TURBO" button on the PCs - so you could change the clock frequency. It did not make sense, as you usually wanted as much speed as possible. And later it did not give any benefit, because even the "slow" setting, still too fastthat it would not help for debugging or so. I had a game, some jump'n'run written for the 286er. On the later 486 it was not playable, the monsters fell within a fraction of seconds over the game figure. So: turbo switch off - and look there - you have survived 0.25 sec - These buttons were completely for the A ...

The big advantage that the PCs had then were the hard drives ... I remember when I bought the first with my dad - the salesman said literally: "That's 20 MEGA byte - as whole libraries fit on it - that's enough Certainly for the next 10 years ". He was so wrong - that was not even 1 year ... but ok - who knew it better then ...?

At some point, I even built a 512kb memory extension together with a small 8086er in my Amiga - then the thing was even a PC (with dual boot) ... cool ... then I did not always have to scare off my father if I wanted to do sometthings on the PC.

But for the programming I found the PC quite boring - sound output was - except for the beeping sound - not so easy possible. Graphics output was much more complex than the Amiga - at least from Assembler. And the addressing types of the x86 were then with the 386er and the "Protected Mode" so much more complicated ... or even memory above 640kb appeal, was then not at all so easy ... (at least I found that at that time totally unnecessary ... And did not keep me busy, so it seemed so complicated to me)

For a long time, PCs were not for gaming and hence not really interesting... there were not many (good) games at first, but later the PC had really caught up. Probably also because Comodore then (unfortunately * sigh *) went bankrupt.

Even then, Windows has annoyed me. This was not possible to use it in the version 3.11 and before actually even worse. DOS was there much better and even more clearly and the good old MS Word 6.0 (in the text mode!) Was really great! Compared to the things that came after ...

If you believe it or not, there was also a time before Windows. There were so surfaces we called "GeoWorks" and consortia. This was significantly better than Windows - but unfortunately sold separately. We've been working with it for quite a while and I'm still crying for a little tear * sigh * Microsoft has won ...

But I was fortunate enough to get up-to-date hardware through my side job while studying. This was really cool and a lot of fun. And as it is with the computer scientists then it is now, one quickly becomes "independent" - one sets up computer for money. And so I could also play with hardware and software, which was otherwise too expensive for me.

With Linux, I came into contact because I was looking for a PC Unix - and the best suited for the small student money bag. The installation was - to say the least - adventurous - 32 disketteimages at the university download and carry with home (comparison: DOS two floppy disks, Windows derer 5 I believe). And it was always so that one of the last disks (so around disk 30 rum) was broken and again had to be played ....

I knew Unix yes from the Sun workstations, and so much I do not get soooo hard. Even if I have not done much with network ... that was about 1993 -> Linux version 0.99 or so.

Later I replaced in our dormitory the dingy Win95 server by linux - Windows is simply smeared all nose long and was so simply useless. I had luckily already had some experience with Linux and could expand that.

Since I had programmed all the time, I did not want to stop there either. I have a student version of Visual Studio worried (I believe it was called otherwise, Visual C ++ or so) and tries to go through it. C / C ++ was already known to me, but I was really frightened when I looked a bit behind the MFC (Microsoft Foundation Classes) ... that was really creepy, this mix of c and c ++ - and unfortunately little fault tolerant. Smallest errors led to total system crashes. A few experiments with "lost" pointers led to the source code as a filename on the disk - invalid under DOS / Windows ... no chance!

That was the moment when I decided to focus more on Linux and OS / 2. Unfortunately IBM had the better operating system, but Microsoft a huge advantage and above all the better marketing. OS / 2 died quite quickly again ... again * sigh *

It was very annoying at that time that you could not make any software for all systems, fortunately, Sun then released Java - that was great, if at first somewhat slow. I've been using Java since then, and even if the original idea of ​​"run everyhwere" is no longer really in the foreground, Java and the technology behind it certainly still has its own existence ...

Although I have then programmed more and more Java, I have actually run to work only Linux. My favorite distribution was "Gentoo" - easier than SPF but the operating system for Geeks ...

Thanks to my self-reliance, I was able to implement everything with customers, learning a lot and having a lot of fun ...

Of course, I've always looked "over the box" and looked at me a little C #. And I must say: Microsoft, good job! They have taken Java as the basis and copied what goes, but the errors, which Sun made in java eradicated. Annoying is that they wanted to be "different" at any price. The world writes methods small - Mircosoft writes them big! This is simply stupid and shows again from the attitude of Microsoft, even if there are already some - and often at any cost - but still: C # and .NET were not really even in V1.0 evil. And if Microsoft had made the runtime environment more open, it might have run out of position. I'm not sure if this is the case, but I'm not sure if this is the case.

But this is a gaaanz other chapter ;-)

Linux was a great bastelei, the desktop environments (even before KDE and Gnome) had always great new features (like the enlightenment - which was far ahead of its time ... and now it is a little behind, but still available) - but it Was always a bostel! You make an update, then the GraKa driver is no longer ... super ... one makes an update, the settings are lost or the KDE behaves differently or the Gnome spins or or or

If you want to use Linux on your desktop, you should either have a lot of fun on it, or simply leave the booth as it is and never change it again - even if the crafting is a lot of the fun of Linux / Was.

I have in the absence of other OS my Windows with Cygwin tuned, then at least the shell was to be used. Of course, if I have worked longer, the Linux partition was always started ... but I must also say Windows XP was so bad not at all. And who wanted to gamble, just needed Windows. All games came out for the PC and possibly still ne Playstation / XBox out. And on the PC stop only for Windows.

So I needed my Windows partition the same way I needed my Linux. This eternal back and forth booted me genuinely annoyed, also the access to the Linux partition from Windows went only so one way and I've me more than a time so my partitions shot. But OK....

I had in this time synonymous with Mac OS - At that time still the version 9, I believe - that was the hell, which had what of DOS - only graphically. Ok, it was easy to use, it did not crash - which was probably due to the lack of storage management. It may well not be that an OS end of the Neuziger still requires that before the start of an application determines how much memory the probably needs. And multitasking was a real foreign word ... I was allowed to download something on the Mac, so I thought, I look at me in the meantime the rest of the OS ... until I realized that all apps pause by default in the background - also the download! ARG ... there was Windows bessser ...

Luckily, Jobs then Apple "took over" again and took the thing in the hand .... but I was still from Apple harassed ...

"The things are designer stuff, way too expensive and little use" - "do not buy the scrap only" - "How can you be so stupid to buy an Apple computer" etc

These were phrases that I have said, or so similar, to Apple users - and dummerweise also so meant. Sure, somehow "OSX is really good" and so on - nevertheless, it did not want me in the head that an Apple so much more expensive than a PC off the shelf (although I should have known better: I have earned money by assembling PCs where the components are matched - and despite the slow speed of the clock, they were always able to keep up with the GHz (and then still Hz) cars from Mediamarkt & Co - unfortunately they were twice as well expensive).

Fortunately, Vista came. I have briefly Installed, me annoyed and again XP made on it. It was an impertinence, not to be used. XP ran with me super stable without problems, but Vista ... Have not tested the thing? But in hindsight - thanks Microsoft!

Vista and the anger about it was the reason that I ordered my first Mac - an iMac ... I even took a day vacation to set up the iMac and .... I only took just 15 minutes and everything went ... No driver installation, no dull deletion of default programs and advertising, no virus scanner needed ... and and and. The thing worked simply.

This was already a revelation. So I always wanted the computer to work - and on the Mac there is a command line that is really useful: The Bash !!!!! Super ... I was at home. A Unix with nice interface, easy operation but all the advantages of Linux / Unix ...

When I see these trolls today, which are so exciting about the Macs / Apple, I feel very reminded of my start times. Sure, Macs are expensive, but that saves you 100% and more. This is simply not to be despised. I am now for 5 years Apple user and had in the whole time probably 3 or 4 real system crashes - and because it was defective RAM (which I myself have installed - as an old PC screwdriver, you have to do so quasi ;-)) , That can not be denied! The things work ... And the processing quality looks the same! I took the trouble to compare the prices before 2 or 3 years ago between Sony, Apple and IBM / Lenovo. If you take similar equipment, Lenovo and Sony are usually equally expensive or even more expensive - only these things are mostly plastic bombs, while the MacBooks are made of aluminum and much more stable. (Rock me if you want - but that's how it was)

And software: There is everything, I thought first I install Bootcamp and Windows - but frankly, I would not know what for! I do not need any Windows only software. Sure, if someone needs such software, you can think again about a switch. But there is certainly an alternative ...

I have not regretted the switch, and anyone who has technical knowledge and comes with such stupid statements as "they are way too expensive" or so - either is not the subject or simply will not! This is synonymous ok, if the OS does not like, or you often times a BlueScreen looks. But I am from the subject, have more than 20 years of experience and can only tell you: Do not believe these trolls!

For some reason, these guys see the choice of the operating system as a religion and take it as a personal offense if one says something different.

Long live the variety - "Choose the tool that best suits your problem - do not adjust the problem to your tool". And if you need Windows, then it is ok! For what I'm doing (Java code, administering servers, checking databases, and remote access to different networks), a Mac is the best solution and I do not have to compromise! With someone else is certainly different.

Again: everyone should use the OS, that he wants - I do not care, as long as you do not equal the same).

How did it go on ... I've also tried to use Macs, if necessary my own. This has also worked extensively, because I was out of the "support" of its own IT out ... me right-bungled me not in between.

And of course I find iOS quite exciting. I've even worked with Objective-C and at least for me a few small applications for Iphone & Co or the Mac built. This is really good - is really easier, for example, pure C ++ .. and the GUI designers of XCode are really ok. So you can get something ...

Yes, and here we are ... let's see what's going to happen in the blog in the near future ...

So stay tuned ...

created Stephan Bösebeck (stephan)