Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Programmer





IT spells money. That's what I've been told while taking baby steps to climb my own career ladder. Lately it got me into thinking, what if I explored this science when it was just emerging?

My association with programmable machines is ancient and symbiotic. My first encounter with computers happened long before Microsoft came to these shores. The favorite aunt got me into this summer computer class held in a Chinese School. The next year, she then enrolled me in another summer program offering computer classes at La Salle Greenhills.


homage to the classic


In those days, hard disks and flash drives were unheard of. There was no Internet and Wordstar was still a couple of years away before it was introduced to me. Every file was stored in cumbersome floppy disks. The instructors even forbid to touch the film strip at the middle of the storage device.

"The files will be corrupted," they said.

We learned the inner workings of DOS. We changed its font colors and drew pictures using shapes and images inserted in a prehistoric software. We know nothing about the machine's direct application then. However, my creativity got a boost after drawing images of UFOs attacking a city.

A few years down the road and then I discovered the joys of video games. There was dig-dug and star raiders. It was also during this period when Wordstar and Lotus123 became the staple of computer classes. Slowly I was getting hooked. When a cousin showed me the wonders of playing Civilization I (a strategy game) and Police Quest (an RPG series), my loyalties started to shift from Nintendo to Pentium 486.

Thus began my steady and sustained exposure to computers.

In junior high school, I was already using Microsoft Word when everyone submits their papers produced from a typewriter or Wordstar. I wiled the afternoons away playing the strategy and simulation games I could find. Meanwhile, the kids at school played basketball or video arcade to pass time. When my penchant for visual arts was first stirred while tinkering a DOS program, it flourished under Bryce 3D.

I was ready to expand my horizons by taking up an IT-related major in college. But my mind aspired to learn the fine arts of Capitalism, while my soul would show its true colors when fate decreed that I should be put to arts and letters instead.

The last time I had close encounters with programming software was when Yusuke, my high school buddy, did his Turbo Pascal homework in my computer. I may not have produced my own program, but I did learn the keys to understanding the language.

A decade later, he rakes thousands of dollars in the Lion City.



I recall these memories not to feel bitter at what could have been. Instead, the legacy spanning fifteen years affirms the potentials are always there. The remembering happened by pure accident. Lately, Baabaa goes home very late at night. He makes a living conversing with machines using syntax and algorithms.

Since our early days, I sleep only when my partner tells me he has arrived home (or when I do, I set the alarm clock to buzz every hour.  It was my cue to text him and let him know I'm still around..)

It is when work leaves him sleepless for days that I resent turning my back on my heritage. A partner desires only what is best for his significant other, and much as I would like to spend the whole night cheering him up, learning the language he speaks might have eased his burden better.

IT spells money. That's what I've been told.  Looking back, perhaps, a door remains ajar for me to take a peek and explore.




10 comments:

Work-at-home mom said...

Aww, this brings me back to so long ago. Dig-Dug and Wordstar! It's been so long since I've heard those words. *basks in the fleeting feeling of being 12 again*

Okay, feeling gone. Back to the grind. Thanks for this, Mu[g]en.

Duke said...

I was in highschool when we had computer classes already.., mas solid ang casing ng disk, mas matindi dating.. pag puro dysan ang brand, mas maangas.. and of course, it was easier to slip pages of porn mag across the room.. hiding between the floppy disk in a classmate's disk case hehehe

Carabrant said...

Mamaya kakilala ko pala itong si Baabaa mo ah. At mamaya katrabaho ko pala. Hahaha!

hard2getxxx said...

love na love ko yung games dati like police quest, kings quest, leisure suit larry, quest for glory ng sierra games

nilalaro ko pa nga mga games na yan hanggang ngayon brings back memories



yup its true IT professionals earn a lot of money. and yung program na nacrecreate nila malaki bayad.

gusto ko sana mag IT eh pero wala ako talent sa programming

Désolé Boy said...

wow! i remember those huge floppy diskettes. saw my cuz burning them last year.

Sean said...

I loved Dig Dug as well and my fave RPG was Ultima.

It's never too late to do something that you like. Finding out what one exactly wants may be more difficult.

jon said...

hey, spaceman - so the rumors are true, you've found a new homeworld!

;)

red the mod said...

I remember during high school we were forced/ coerced/ tricked into believing that to be effective and productive science students it was imperative for us to learn programming paradigms, just like how we memorize the sordid menu of our cafeteria.

C+ and C++, Turbo Pascal, Sql, Java, Flash, etc. We were overwhelmed, really. Instead of developing an affinity with algorithms, we started detesting it as every quarter meant a different language we had to master. And for what? To develop our own games.

But, I wanted to play other games. And not create ones I could parade around.

It was 1997. My dad just bought us our first computer at home. A third-hand P486 he bought for 500 pesos. It was pathetic. How our personal computing machine at home could not even do the basics that our laboratories could.

That was my first encounter with the reality of our means. That no matter how directed and perseverant you are, if your parents could not provide for the things that would allow your potential to soar, then mediocrity becomes a painful consolation.

howie said...

huwag lang peek. pasukin mo na rin. wala namang age limit sa IT.

drew said...

Black sheep ba si Baabaa mo? :D