I think I first got interested in computers back in the early 1990's while I was at Saldhana Primary School. I remember taking out some books from the public library about programming the 'machines of the day' which would have been the BBC/Spectrum. Of course I had no computer of my own, nor access to one, so could not take it any further. My friend at the time, Thai Lucas, did some computer courses at school on DOS machines so I'd bug him for info on what it is they got up to.
Moving to Fish Hoek and going to Fish Hoek Middle School was great as they had a whole computer lab there (PC's of course). Before joining I was there with my parents and we were given a tour of the computer room. Most impressive since I'd never seen so many in one place before! Classes involved some Logo, Newsmaster and then in our own time I got started with QBasic there. At some stage we did get email (it was via UUCP with access from from http://www.wcape.school.za/ and the connection being over a 56k Sportster modem). My assigned email address was email@example.com, with the phiali being 'PHIllips, ALIstair'. Sort of stuck with me since then.
During Middle School I was given an Acorn Archimedes A310 computer from some computer teacher at another school. Not too sure how I organised that but it was not being used and someone responded to a post I put out on Usenet about wanting a computer. Now that was quite awesome, it had Arthur OS but managed to get the Risc OS 2.0 ROMS later on. I loved it, got a cool dot matrix printer for it and even found a DOS emulator.
Andrew Pullan, creator of !Webster, was my lifeline for all things Acorn and he'd send me programs (I had no Internet access then, only email) and at one stage even posted down the RISC OS Programmers Reference Manuals - all the way from London to Cape Town!
Then during high school (1997 - 1999) my grandmother was getting a new computer so she sent her old one down as Incredible Connection had managed to break it during an upgrade. It was a Intel 386SX25 with 1MB RAM, 30MB HDD and a CGA card (Amber monitor). Turned out the only thing wrong with it was that the stiffy drive (3.5") cable was the wrong way around. An easy fix indeed ;-) This received a few upgrades over the years from extra memory, VGA through to a bigger HDD. Internet access eventually came along with a 2400 baud modem that I (again) managed to receive somewhere along the line. The fun days of bulletin boards!
Later on my parents purchased our first 'real' computer Cyrix 686 machine which went from Windows 3.1/95/98. Quite an experience to move on up to this device which opened many new doors.
- Computer, a ZX Spectrum 48k which I managed to accquire from someone for free. Do recal it having keyboard issues though,
- Web server I used, Xitami on Windows NT,
- Server-side programming was in Perl for my high school computer science project (Beachman),
- Word processor, Word Perfect for DOS,
- mp3, Men in Black (got this from Brian Flexmore) and used Winamp 0.x to play it
- Mobile computer was a Compaq PC Companion CPC120 running Windows CE 1.0. I took this in lieu of payment for some Microsoft Access database design work that I did back in 2000 or so. I remember using it on the train to and from WS&L IT College.
It looks like the earliest post I did online was Using Linux with Win95 on 20 August 1997.
Haha and those were the days of Rock-Solid Designs too....