It’s started in 1997 when I was still in elementary school. This is the first time, as I remembered, I used a personal computer for the first time. It’s one of my elementary school program: every child there should be introduced to a personal computer.
I still remember it very well. The PC had a huge monitor, a huge CPU, with a mouse and keyboard. Of course, no internet for us. We were divided into teams, each team had two members. Each team had access to one PC which means I shared the PC with my friend.
We’re being taught how to operate MS-DOS. Though later I know that MS-DOS is an underlying component for Windows 95.
There is nothing fancy. At first, we learned about which one is monitor, which one is a keyboard, which one is a mouse, which one is CPU. How each of them works to support the other ones, in a simple way by fourth-grader children.
The next thing we learned, is how to login to that DOS with some simple commands. Once we correctly inputted those commands, we’ll see the graphical interface of Windows 95. At this point, I still have no idea what is the meaning behind those commands. I only know if I follow the instructions and type those commands, I’ll get the Windows 95 screen.
Once we’re on Windows 95 screen, our teacher will ask us to open a game (yes, a game). But it was an educational game for a child which needs us to think. I also need to work together with my friend, whom I shared the PC, to solve the game on the given time (think of it as a pair programming nowadays, lol)
Fast forward to 2001, when I was in junior high school. Since the school belongs to the same foundation as my elementary school, I also got to attend the computer course during my junior high school.
Don’t think of it as a programming course. It’s just some basic techniques to learn about Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel, running on Windows 98 and Windows 2000. Though when learning the Excel, we do learn some formulas.
Continue to 2004, when my late father bought me a PC for myself. This time, I was in senior high school. The PC I got was powered by Pentium 4 processor from Intel with Gigabyte motherboard, along with CRT monitor, similar to this one.
The PC is pre-installed with Windows 98 through one or two years later, I decided to upgrade it to Windows XP.
This because Windows 98 was unable to read a USB disk. Google is not yet that popular like today and I had no internet access at home during this time.
I don’t do the upgrade by myself. I asked my father to call the technician from the shop he bought the PC to come, and do the upgrade.
Because of that PC, I got some interest in things related to a personal computer. I started to buy and install some popular PC games on that era: Battle Realms by Liquid Entertainment, Red Alerts and other CnC series by Westwood Studios, Need for Speed series by Electronic Arts, and others.
Still in the same year, 2004, my late father also bought me a mobile phone. The phone’s manufacturer is Siemens. It’s a Seimens M55.
It’s one the fanciest mobile phones on that year (lol). It has GPRS. Also, it has the capability to access the internet using a browser that only supports the WAP protocol. It also can send image and other multi-media files using MMS. It’s more sophisticated compared to the Nokia 3310, which is the most popular mobile phone during the time.
I still don’t have the chance to access the internet on a PC until 2006, when a close friend of mine asked me to accompany him to visit an internet cafe.
It’s nearly the last year at senior high school when I knew how:
- IRC works
- to use Yahoo! Messenger
- to access and set up a site on Yahoo! Geocities,
- getting online with AIM
- creating a blog on Blogspot
- to sign up an account on Friendster. (yes, Friendster)
- accessing the internet search engine: Yahoo!
- receiving an e-mail from this Yahoo! site.
- I create a presentation using Microsoft Powerpoint
The encounter with the internet cafe had raised my curiosity about the internet and the technology behind it. Especially about the HTML web page.
It’s the time that I decide to continue to take majoring in Computer Science at the university. Although it was not easy because my parents expect me to become a doctor, instead of a software developer (we called it “programmer” at that time).
This is very common because most the people had no idea what kind of jobs for those “programmer”. They’re even not sure if there’s such a job for the program, or you can make a living by working as a “programmer”.
Thanks to them, finally they understand and allow me to pursue my interest in software engineering by taking majoring in Computer Science.