I've always programmed computers for as long as I can remember, starting as a little kid in machine language on something my dad called "the JBUG" and a Sinclair running a Motorolla Z80 processor, soon moving up to assembly language (don't laugh it was a big step for me at the time!) on an Atari 800 and later an Atari ST. I still remember the hex codes of most of the 6502's instruction set -- talk about wasted brain cells! It wasn't till later that I finally branched out to learn more complex languages like BASIC, C, C++, Perl, Java, Tcl, Lisp, you name it. I keep trying to go into different fields -- math, physics, botany, writing -- but here I am tinkering with my website again. (It has a makefile: that should give you an idea of how obsessive I am...)
I'm a huge fan of Unix despite a very inauspicious introduction to a horrendous implementation of Xenix, that I had the misfortune of using at a summer job in highschool. I couldn't fathom what kind of twisted minds devised such torture devices as vi and shell scripts. Somewhere between then and now I experienced a religious conversion, as evidenced by the fact that I'm writing this using vim on a laptop running Linux. If a program can't be automated with full functionality from the command line, well, it just isn't worth running.
I have Phil Tull and Bruce Wahl to thank for critical but subtle training in my formative years at The Chesapeake Group (the "The" was important, because "Chesapeake Group" already existed!) fighting Xenix and writing buggy C code. (They were weeding out segmentation faults for years after I left for college... at least, so they diligently informed me.)
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