About me??  What is there to say?  I was a pretty late bloomer as it relates to computer technology, but I was always fascinated with it.  I really have 2 separate lives, so maybe it’s more logical to give 2 different “About Mes?”  Okay, I’ll start with my “Computer” About Me.

The first computer I remember using (not a typewriter with a floppy disc or Atari 2600… of course I had those) was an Apple IIe.  I must have been in third grade (circa 1983) and was part of a small class that was allowed to use one of the 4 or 5 computers the school had in order to learn LOGO.  I was pretty good at it and thought that I was a genius for learning how to draw a star and a circle… lol.  Unfortunately, by the 4th grade, there wasn’t any more computer time, so I had my first 1 year hiatus.  (I’m just thinking how boring of a story this is. I don’t suppose anyone will read this, so I guess it’s more for myself and reminiscing on how I got to where I am.)  Okay, so i’ll skip fourth grade (actually twice because I was held back due to my maturity, not my 2.1 GPA) and go straight to the computer lab in the 5th grade.

One of my best friends (Ed) got an Apple IIc for Christmas, so a lot of the time we would play One on One: Dr. J vs. Larry Bird and Pitfall, but other than that, we didn’t use it much.  We wanted to go outside and play (i know… strange).  Luckily, we built a proper computer lab in my school (and by we, I mean the school staff) and yes, LOGO… again.  This time, however, they taught me how to go to the “Flipside” and write actual programs and blocks of code.  Up until this point, I was just typing commands and executing them.  With Flipside, I could actually write my program and save it to a floppy and build on it!!! Amazing!

There were many assignments and I think I was probably the top in my computer class (let’s not talk about any others).  I took on extra credit and by the time I was in 6th grade, I made a choose your own adventure game in LOGO.  I thought that was pretty impressive.  There were no computer classes in 7th and 8th grade, so most of my computer time was in the library playing the limited games they had or printing banners on the dot matrix printer from PrintShop.  I remember all my friends wanting me to print banners for them because they didn’t even know how to turn on a computer.

Once I graduated, I had a computer class in HS, but it was an IBM clone, so I didn’t know what was what.  I remember my friends sending me messages in class and it would just appear out of nowhere.  I had no idea what sorcery they were using, but I had to find out how they did it.  Finally one of the kids told me and I thought I was a hacker! My teacher had no idea we were chatting during class!  haha… what a dork…

Okay, so finally in about 1992, my parents were able to save the $2000 to buy a cheap computer.  It was an IBM clone, but it was a 486 DX 66 with 8MB RAM and a 40 MB HDD.  I was definitely just an end user.  I remember installing Word Perfect… all 26 floppies.  And when we went to the computer conventions, I would buy floppy discs of clip art (cheesy clip art).

One day my computer wouldn’t boot, so I asked a friend of mine to come over and help.  He booted the computer and went into editing the AutoExec.bat!  What the hecky???  I had no idea what that was or what it did, but he fixed my computer and I didn’t even lose any info.  That was amazing to me… so, I would go into the autoexec.bat and try things myself… and I would break my computer again… 🙁

I did this so many times that I can’t remember.  But… finally, my dad bought…. NETSCAPE!!!  and I never wanted to break my computer again.  Unfortunately, with the few games I had and Word Perfect, I realized how slow our computer was, so we installed another 8MB of memory (I think it cost about $300 at the time) and a 500MB HDD!  I also discovered email and chat rooms.  I was still only a pretty common user.  Another friend of mine that had AOL showed me the AOL warez tools and bots, so I did get a little into that stuff, but still… a user.

In about 1997, I started working at Power 106 in Los Angeles and met a guy there that was pretty geeky.  At this time, my computer (although I upgraded the modem, RAM, HDD and sound card) was about 5 years old.  So I was ready for a new one.  He was talking about over clocking and mentioned that he could actually build a computer!  So I went out and bought a Celeron chip with the motherboard that we can overclock and BAM!… I had a new computer.  I was still just an end user.  Maybe a power user, but still just a user.

Time goes by, I think at this time I had AOL like everyone else and would frequent the chat rooms and run my scripts to kick annoying people or TyPE LiKe A HaCkEr (so I thought).  Until about 1999…  I had the same girlfriend at this point for about 3 years and she was about to graduate college (something I almost forgot all about) and was hinting that she wasn’t fond of my other life (as a DJ) and that I maybe should look at taking school a little more serious.

At about the same time, my friends that I don’t see often, came down from the Valley and visited me to kill time.  It turned out that they were going to an open house near me for a new MCSE program they were starting. They asked if I wanted to go with them and I was like “okay guys, have fun.”  lol… They were like “what are you doing right now anyways??”  Well, I was going through some records and was gonna, maybe take a nap?? 🙂

So needless to say, they strung me along.  The presentation caught my attention.  Actually, it was so good that I applied for the school that night and had no idea how I would pay for it.  Come to think of it, I think I am still paying for it.

Another coincidence happened at the same time I was applying for school.  One of my good friend’s sister was promoted to director of customer support at a startup company in Pasadena (Free-PC) and she asked if I wanted to work as tech-support/customer service.  I guess the dots were getting connected, so I just went along with it.  It turned out that I did know a thing or 2 about computers.  I was definitely not a tech yet, but I knew a lot about how to troubleshoot and I learned pretty quickly.

School and work was a little tough, but I ended up doing pretty well at both.  Work during the day and school at night.  Luckily this was during the dot com days, so work was pretty awesome.  Good atmosphere, super smart people, free caffeine and pastries, a beanbag room, beer on Fridays (although I don’t drink)… those were the days!

After I graduated, my company was purchased by eMachines.  I was fortunate enough to be offered a position on the QA team, but 60 of my coworkers were let go.  eMachines also closed the Pasadena office, so we had to make the commute from Pasadena to Irvine.  I then moved into a helpdesk/sys admin role and soon after, more of my team was let go.  eMachines was then bought out by Gateway, and yes… more layoffs.  The transition from the dot com era was a little difficult to watch and experience.  I just kept my head down and was hired as a Sr. Systems Engineer at Gateway and spent about 9 years in total with them.  I managed about 700 servers and lead a huge P2V project before I left.  I think I started with VMWare 2.5 and luckily had the support of my management and peers at Gateway to help me through.

Now I am a manager and have my own team that I try and mentor and encourage learning as I know just how valuable knowledge is in this field and how often and quickly it can change.

Since my journey started, I now have a wife (yes the same one from 7 paragraphs ago) and 3 kids and try and balance it all.  I fail and succeed at times, but am happy to have my own little tribe at home to ground me.

Well, I don’t know what else to write, so I will end it here.  If you got this far, wow… that is pretty impressive and kind of sad… lol…  go outside!