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Gary
Vollink.com
10 June 2005
Updated: 20 November 2018

Self Study

Just before High School, a good friend of mine got an Amiga 500.  I played for a long time with "Perfect Sound" and some Music sequencer (I was taking piano lessons at the time). 

In High school, I was able to take a full year-computing elective.  Half a year on business applications (DOS stuff, Word Perfect, Lotus 1,2,3), and half a year learning BASIC.  I spent time on my friend's computer, playing with AmigaBASIC (which had a really cool speech engine built-in).  I was hooked.  I was determined to learn everything that I could about these machines. 

"Criminal" Computing

I spent the next year of High School without a computer class, or access to a computer.  So, I would go into the computer lab very early in the morning, when nobody was in, and I would work on BASIC programs saved directly onto floppy (these were IBM computers that had no hard drives or operating systems, they booted directly into a BASIC interpreter).  The desk also had all of the manuals that came with the computer in the original binders.  I practiced writing programs on this computer for several months.  I was able to learn so much by trying to create little programs. 

One day there was a note on the chair of the computer I used.  It said, "if you use this equipment, leave everything exactly as you found it."  The next day the note was still there (where I had carefully put it back the previous morning).  This time, I was feeling smug, and leaving everything else exactly in place, I discarded the note.  The computer lab was never left unlocked again.

The next time I got access to a computer, I was out of school.

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