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The obligatory BIO page. Stuff about me.

I wonder if this will get long.   :)   My Father (now retired) was a refrigeration and heating engineer. He would always bring home unusable parts from things he fixed. I loved taking things apart when I was 8 or 9 years old. Thermostats were the most fun. When I was 11 I was always reading my Grandfathers Popular Mechanics magazine. One day my Grandfather brought a phone system home from the building he worked at. He was the superintendent of the Broad and Locust building in Philly. This phone system had a few circuit boards in it. I was fascinated by the little thingies on it.  So for my 12th birthday I asked my parents for a radio shack 100 in 1 project kit. And I got it. The year was 1973. The 100 in one kit had a new addition. There was a micro miniature thing called an integrated circuit chip. It was 1 inch square and it had 18 separate components on it. Transistors, resistors, diodes, and capacitors. All very tiny but you could still make them out because they were in a clear plastic. Who would  have thought there would be millions of those components on chips :) Well, I doubt if I made all 100 of the projects. Some of the logic switches just didn't seem like fun. But the radio projects and the ones that made noise or lights were cool. Especially the LED's They were kind of new. Almost like little Christmas lights. Anyway, I was turning into a teenager. I couldn't decide if I wanted to become a Priest or chase girls or go to a fancy academic school. So I transferred to a vocational school. Carpentry for the first year. Wanted to get into electrical shop at the vo-tec center. It was booked so I took painting and decorating only because it was right next to the electrical shop. While there I became friends with some guys in electronics and put in my application for senior year. Got lucky and a made it in. I was again fascinated with resistors and transistors. And I was so into it that I completed the whole three year course in the one year I was there. With a final grade of 97.5. Started college within a week of graduating high school working toward an electrical engineering degree but it wasn't teaching me the real stuff and there was also the matter of my oldest son being born ;) so I decided to get some computer training. Yes by this time it was 1982. I could not afford the 2000 dollars an Apple computer cost. I could not afford a HeathKit. I could not afford the Atari 800 or even the 400 or the Commodore VIC 20. But Mister Clive Sinclair introduced a computer that was only 200 dollars. And by the end of 1982 the cost of the ZX81 kit was only 99 dollars. So I had my first computer. Then Control Data Institute took my 2500.00 student loan and the extra 2500.00 dollars I got from my parents and in 9 months taught me all about mainframe computers. And a side helping of microprocessors. 4 months after graduating I had a job as a technical specialist with a computerized alarm company. Kastle Security systems. I did so much for my 13,200.00 dollar a year salary. Probably more than I had done till I was making 3 times that amount. It was also my first exposure to a lay off :) But 4 months after that I started my engineering career as a field service guy. But blah blah let me get this thread back to the electronic, video game idea. While working at Kastle I was able to buy my first video game system. A Coleco. Sure I didn't pay any bills that month. That was one of the few times I was able to buy something new for many years. I bought things used. Started finding video games at yard sales.  Got hungry for color computer power and in 1985 when the 8 bit home PC's got under 200 dollars my decision to buy Atari came because it was 20 dollars less than the Commodore. So my spending was structured around getting things cheap. My online experiences led me to the world of BBS's and more opportunities to get things. Starting with more Atari floppy drives. And finally while most people were still stuck with XT's I got a deal from a friend on a true blue IBM AT. So here was my start at always trying to make the most of what I had. Finding ways to upgrade. More RAM. Adding a 40 MB hard drive to the already existing 20MB one. And them buying parts from old IBM PC's to put together a second computer. Finding out how to get the ram above 256k. And how to max it out at 640k instead of 512k. This trend continues to this day. Anything I own that can possibly be upgraded I have upgraded.

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