My childhood in da browser
Following up on an old blog post on Emacs in the browser, this post is a stroll down memory lane. In da browser…
My first computer was a ZX Spectrum. My father was an electronics mechanic, working as head of the sound department at the Royal Danish Theatre. He got a 16k Spectrum for me as a Christmas present in 1982 or 1983. Money was not free-flowing in my family, so he made the memory upgrade to 48k himself. And he also made joysticks out of industrial control parts and buttons, which were guaranteed to last for millions of clicks. Well there’s nothing a couple of teenage boys and the game Track & Field couldn’t do about that… J
After a couple of years my dad spotted that Commodore might be winning the microcomputer war, so he got me a good offer for a Commodore 64 and we sold the Spectrum to finance some of the expenses. My years with the Commodore 64 were good, I got myself a 1541 (and later a 1571) disc drive, which we (dad) modded with a turbo loader, to make that IO go super-duper fast… This was the time of computer magazines with source code printed, just ready to type in. And I remember that radio programme on Sundays, where they broadcasted games. The only thing you needed was to record them on tape, and then you could load them from your tape cassette. And me and a friend from school had a subscription with a hacker group in Germany, where we got 50-100 floppy disks mailed every month with the latest and greatest games. Wow.
In the mid eighties, my dad got serious with computer programming. He was using spreadsheets and databases at work, and fixed a switch for a Commodore 128, “because it could run CP/M”. I never really got the feeling for Lotus 1-2-3 or VisiCalc back then (hey, I was only 14), and my C-128 flirt was pretty short.
Getting an Amiga 500 in 1988 was amazing. It had a graphical OS, came with a mouse and the AWESOME Deluxe Paint II drawing program. For me, Deluxe Paint II was what Minecraft is for kids today. I spent hours and hours being creative in that universe, and I even did all the computer graphics, including a five-minute computer animated video for a show called “Fod på fremtiden” at the Royal Danish Theatre. Only using Deluxe Paint II. I also tried to learn assembler programming on this platform, but found it too hard (and I also studied Math, Physics and Chemestry for my A levels in high school, because I thought that I was going to be a chemistry engineer). The Amiga 500 was also the last microcomputer, I owned. After that it was i386, i486, Pentium, …