Apple IIc Plus: ~1988My first program was written in BASIC on an Apple IIe in Jr. High School, but it was the Apple IIc Plus that my dad brought home sometime around 1988 that resonated with me. There was some gaming/animation software I'd load up and create 8-bit blocked objects that would dance around the screen. I didn't go nuts with it, but I did rack my brain with it for awhile.
Civilization: 1991For the first time in my life I stayed up for more than 24 hours straight doing something; playing this game! Addiction at its finest. Still the best game of all time. I watched the computer take in countless variables and play against me in a way nothing ever had before. It felt like true Artificial Intelligence. It was around this time that I started a PC wholesale business. I'd source all the parts (body, motherboards, CPUs, memory, video cards, hard-drives, floppy drives, modems eventually), and build PCs-to-order for people around town. Of course, this gave me steeply discounted access to the fastest processors around which made playing games like Civ that much more fun.
There was actually one final moment that completely sealed the deal. It was probably around 1994. One of my CS professors had given us an assignment to write a simulation (CPP) of the Denver International Airport baggage control/delivery system, coincident with travelers de-planing. DEN had received national attention for how poor the baggage handling system worked. My professor wanted to see if we could do better. I spent days writing the simulation; lots of dead ends. The final deadline was looming. Midnight rolled around, then 1am, then 2am... I vividly remember *knowing* this last pass at a few routines was going to make it work. I hit "run," to fire off the final test of the simulation. I walked out my apartment door and started walking West down Alpine St in Boulder. The sun was rising as I walked, and the mountains picked up that beautiful pink/purple hue from the sunrise. I was exhausted. I'd been up for at least 36 hours. I was loving every minute of it. A huge smile appeared on my face. I was in heaven.
I gave the simulation the 60 minutes or so that it needed to run. Walked back into the apartment (best apt. I ever had by-the-way), straight over to the screen, and there was the successful output I'd been waiting for. I printed out the code and went to bed. A week later I received the code back; "C-." C-minus!?!?!?!? Bullshit; it worked didn't it!
I was hooked.