Chapter 2: Whats a computer?

Luckily, public schools had these wonder new toys call 'computers' I was instantly hooked! My 9th grade year was at Lyman High School in Longwood, Fl. They had TRS-80 Model III and IVs, while I had a TI-99/4a at home. The TI was *Color*, had *sound* and had *good* games, in these little boxes, just like the Atari 2600 did!. Not only could I play good games, it had BASIC built in! and I could write my own programs. WOW! If the boys in Texas only know what they helped start. So I sat in the back of the "computer science" classroom, on my own little private computer, doing what I wanted to. For once, (and only once) I was eager to go home and do "homework". This was not to happen again, ever. I jumped right into computers at a very early age (12) and annoyed the local 'experts' (read: drips under pressure) by asking oodles of questions and having my first major programing attempt to be conversion from a base 10 to base 16 and vise-versa program (read: hex to dec and dec to hex). Today this doesn't seem much of a project, but at that age, a base 16 system seems worse than the metric system! The TI computer, gave me my first entry into computer graphics design, wow, what I wouldnt give to have working copies of some of the things I had done. Hours spent drawing on eight by eight square graph paper, redefing the character set to make games, etc. I soon realized that the value of a machine was not its power, but the software available for it.
Quickly, I moved over to the Atari home computer, with it's advanced floppy drive (no more 10K tapes for me!, I'm running 90K floopies now pal!) shortly after the newness of millions of freebee games (from the arcade) Hours of mowing yards and raking leaves, and washing dishes at a local rest. so I could have the $ for a box of blank floppy disks. The more people I met, the more I learned. I decided a bbs was the place the cool kids were to be. I managed to secure an MPP 1000E external 300 buad modem. What a machine. It connected through the joystick port, and was capable of 300 baud, *or* in special situations, 450 baud with another MPP modem user. Along came my 15th birthday, and with it my own telephone line. Shortly after Bedrock BBS was born. One of the first, and quite possibly, the longest running (12 years) bbs' in Orlando. It also helped fuel what has become a Bedrock obsession has grown to another (just what I need) hobby. Bedrock BBS, which ran as "Ghost Town" for about a week in beta, Was run on an Atari 400, Atari 800Xl, C=64, and PC compat. Bedrock ST, an offshoot, ran on an Atari ST computer, for a VERY short time.

On to the next chapter...