About the author

Christine

I’m a geek with a love for all things tech. I’m also an online business consultant with expertise in SEO, SMM, and digital marketing strategies.

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15 Comments

  1. 1

    jaredrbyer

    I hate to nipick but I think you are probably a little off on one of your specs. In 1997 you did not have a 1.2 GHZ processor. Whatever processor it was would have been in the hundreds of megahertz. Probably between 300 and 500 MHz.

    For example the AMD Athlon was intrudeced in 1999 at 500MHz.

    Like I said, i hate to nitpick. I love everything you do.

  2. 2

    Gina Trapani

    You’re probably right; the one thing I remember about that PC is that I was sure I’d never need any more hard drive space ever again!! Thanks for the clarification.

  3. 3

    blog.jonadair.com/

    I was always amazed at the people that majored in Computer Science that didn’t A) own a computer and B) didn’t even think of touching one outside of class. Now I sort of admire them a bit. They’re probably the people that leave their laptops in their office at night and don’t touch any computer outside of work.

    I’ll spare the world another “my first computer” story, but way back when I was in school, I had a EE professor tell me that we’d never have processors running much faster than 100 MHz.

  4. 4

    Keith

    So this the Gina Trapani ‘Origin’ story…from mild-mannered school girl to life-hacking super-developer!

    On a personal note, I was very encouraged to hear that you were able to re-train yourself in CS even though it wasn’t your initial degree. After graduating from University in 2005, I am now working toward a new degree in CS as well. I’m curious how you felt about entering Graduate school with a CS minor rather that a major? This is the course I would like to take as well. Did you feel prepared enough at the time?

    And BTW, I’m not sure 1.2 GHz computers were around in 1997 yet. I went to college in 2000 with a mid-range 700 MHz P3 Compaq w/20GB HDD (~$1400). I think the top of the line then was just crossing the 1GHz threshold. At the time, the sales guy assured my parents it was “all the computer power anyone would ever need.” 🙂

  5. 5

    rrrrrichard

    My first computer (that I was able to play with for extended periods all by myself) was a Control Data 6600. This was in 1965 when a computer with a very tiny fraction of the memory of my current phone cost $3.5 million and needed a multi-ton air conditioner that sat outside. But it did have a 10MHz CPU, massively parallel architecture, and an early form of RISC design. Still the most elegantly designed hardware I’ve ever seen.

  6. 6

    Gina Trapani

    After graduating from University in 2005, I am now working toward a new degree in CS as well. I’m curious how you felt about entering Graduate school with a CS minor rather that a major? This is the course I would like to take as well. Did you feel prepared enough at the time?

    Congratulations on your degree!

    Excellent question about preparation. I did NOT feel prepared when I entered graduate school, and in fact had to do some wheeling and dealing to get accepted into the program at all. I had to catch up on some Math requirements I hadn’t fulfilled as an undergrad, and I was the only person in my program who didn’t have an undergrad math or science major. I’d never programmed in C before (everyone else had), so I had to do crash teach-myself courses when my operating systems class assignments had to be programmed in C under the assumption students already knew C.

    Truthfully, it was a difficult time for me academically. I felt like a total phony, like I didn’t belong, like I was faking it. The only upside: I was the best writer/communicator in some of my classes, so that was a bigger edge than I realized at the time. In the end I had to just work a bit harder outside classes to catch up, and embrace being a a novelty the rest of the time. (“English major? so you like, wrote poems?”)

    You can, too–good luck!

  7. 7

    Chris

    My family’s first computer was also an IBM PC Jr.. also bought in 1985 (I was about 7 at the time). It lasted us until around 1992 when my dad finally needed to have a PC at home for work purposes, so he spent something like $4000 for a 16MHz 386SX with 4MB RAM and a 120MB hard drive.

    I also started programming with BASIC on the PC Jr. (though I didn’t get very far), played King’s Quest, some kind of scuba diver game (on a cartridge rather than a floppy) and eventually MS Flight Simulator.

    However, my first job in high school was working at a computer store as a technician, so I learned how to build and repair PCs and built my own before I left home for college.

    The really funny part is that I was talking to a friend earlier today about classes in high school and I mentioned that I took personal keyboarding and that that was easily the only class I took in high school that had a major impact on my career. I can’t imagine trying to program without being able to touch type and I cringe whenever I see a software developer who can’t. 🙂

  8. 8

    Brian Hanifin

    I was also born in 1976 in San Diego. My dad took was the head electronics/machine repairman at the large photo processing plant in town. He saw very early how important computers were going to be in our lives and he made sure my sister and I had computers in front of us at a very early age.

    Our first family computer was a Vic 20, and I remember plugging tapes into it and typing very strange commands to play a game. At Christmas, 1985 my dad traded it in for an Atari ST (a poor man’s Amiga). He would bring home Byte Magazines which had an article in every issue which gave you printouts of BASIC code which created a game. At 9 years old I loved creating a game of reversi. I think I enjoyed debugging my code as much as playing the games.

    I turned out to be a well rounded computer person. My primary job was as a web developer, but I could fill in as the Systems Administrator, and build/repair computers.

    Now I am a stay-at-home dad who repairs pinball machines and most other types of electronics around the house, who is determined to teach my boys about electronics, computer programming, and if they show an interested I may learn to create electronics projects using things like Arduino boards.

  9. 9

    Paige Adams

    So… one of my favorite Djikstra quotes seems appropriate here:

    “Computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes.”

    Anyway, I learned to program BASIC on a TRS-80 Model III in the early 80s and got my BS in CS in 2000 and my MS in 2008. I still consider myself despite a competent programmer (despite another Djikstra gem: “It is practically impossible to teach good programming to students that have had a prior exposure to BASIC: as potential programmers they are mentally mutilated beyond hope of regeneration.”).

  10. 10

    Don Schwartz

    DEC PDP 11 for work in the 70s. Started selling retail in 81. First home PC was an Apple //e, Then a succession of Macs. 512, Mac SE etc. Haven’t owned an Apple product since 89.

    Not sure what this has to do with the op just how ancient you make me feel.

    I listen to Twig for your insights Gina.

  11. 11

    Don Schwartz

    Just noticed the post times. I’m sure we’re only 3 hours apart, not 4. I’m posting this at 7:04.

  12. 12

    Meggin

    Kings Quest takes me back, way back to the days when you had to go to the book store to buy a hint-book. Those feelings of temptation and guilt all mixed together.

    Object-orientated fairy tales – picking up every rock in sight, smelling it, tasting it, talking to it. Remember the troll? It took me forever to cross that bridge.

  13. 13

    Robert Bigelow

    Your new blog theme looks *great* \o/ Gina.

    Two of THE BEST things I’ve ever learned: 1) How to “touch-type” (on a manual typewriter) and 2) The VI (now, VIM) text editor. Both required lots of patience, persistence and and practice but they are SO worth it. =)

  14. 14

    Richard

    Not that unusual for us old fogeys, of course. My CS work in the early 70s was at a small college where the mainframe had 8K of memory. I didn’t get a home computer until the early 80s — an Atari 800XL, followed by an Atari 520ST (which was superior to the IBM PC and as good as the Amiga, ThankYouVeryMuch Brian). The “520” meant it had a whopping 1/2M memory, and I opened it up to upgrade to 1M. I think I still have it in the basement somewhere.

  15. 15

    brent

    Hooray for Kings Quest!!

    …and “Mooo!” for Gateway PCs – LOL

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