Twin Cities, MN, USA
Specialties / Languages
BASIC, C, C++, Assembly, Lots of Programming stuff like that - Also into electronics - embedded systems, FPGAs, microcontrollers, etc.. (Check out www.rabbitsemiconductor.com
if you're into this stuff too - VERY cool products over there).
I have a theory about us computer geeks. You notice how alot of older grandpas out there are into cars? We're talking guys born in the early 1900s to about 1950 or so. They were born while the car was taking off and the latest/greatest thing for an individual to own. Well - our generation's 'car' is the computer. We're all going to be 70 years old someday sitting around in a coffee shop talking about how we souped up our computers etc, just like today's grandpas talk about cars.
Anyhow - with that said - I started out with a Timex Sinclair TS-1000 as a toddler. I just played games on that bad boy in all its cassette tape, black and white block graphics, no sound glory. 3 yrs old was a little young to start programming! The TI/99/4A was a huge step up. It had sound and a really cool speech synthesizer for its time. You could imagine my amazement playing a space shooter that actually said "Press fire to begin", "Warning - Alien Craft Approaching!" in a clear female voice in 1983. The mid 80s were that golden era of magazines like 3-2-1 Contact and Home Computing where readers sent in their BASIC programs. So I got my start spending hours typing in BASIC code with no idea what any of it does.. lol - boy was I pissed when the computer froze up. Saving to a cassette was pretty crazy too. Anyhow, once I finally got into GW-BASIC and/or Q-BASIC in MS-DOS a few years later, I was hooked and actually learned how to really program. Somehow I discovered a C compiler in a Computer Shopper magazine (remember those? They used to be 1000+ pages before the internet made them obsolete!) and convinced my dad to order it - I knew that it created executables that were faster than using a basic interpreter and that's what I wanted. Other than that I had no clue what C was but figured I'd learn. That was in 6th grade about 14 years ago. I've been hooked ever since.
Now I'm a degreed computer engineer - doing software, test & measurement integration, etc.. in industry but still enjoying a little game programming on the side. It was depressing for a few years to see the ease of programming state of the art games disappear for the individual. 3D acceleration and DirectX took off, but Q-Basic and simple assembly language programming fell behind. Finally everyone is getting the technology and we're hitting a plateau where everyone has access to it again. The people who know what is going on have produced programs like BlitzBasic/DarkBasic for the beginners and open source has made many good things accessible to everyone. It feels like another golden age of homebrewed games is here again finally. Libraries like Irrlicht sure make it easy! I've never had the desire to learn low level DirectX, etc.. and spend such a long period of time just to be able to get where Irrlicht has us all today. All hail Niko for inventing the wheel once for us all.
I also really enjoy hardware stuff. I made a streaming network MP3 player with video output from scratch in college. That included board layout, soldering fine pitch surface mount components to the board, and figuring out all the electronic interfaces from scratch. I basically hand-wired everything to a printed circuit board that I designed and it looked somewhat like a motherboard in the end. Very fun stuff. The ultimate fun would be to combine 3D programming with my hardware knowledge somehow. Maybe create some sort of robotic network controlled with an Irrlicht/sockets based interface. Why? Because I'm a geek that had a TS-1000 instead of a blanket or pacifier when I was 2.
Anyhow - I figured a scary number of you people could relate to all this geekdom so I figured it was worth a lengthy post.