Inter Connecting. Net Working... Just not internet yet.
Uploading and downloading back then was something that required, most importantly, a humongous amount of patience, for anyone except the owner/operator and sysop of the BBS with access to the storage (ie. ME) and needed phone lines to connect through.
As i was too young to be that customer with the funds and reason to have more than one phone line, i quickly learned things like ”front” and “Mule” so i could get my BBS to be reachable through 4 lines 24/7, and away from where i lived, and where my parents were still proud of their son, the computer whizzkid who played games and made funny beepedy boopedy pew pew music with his friends.
A week before the official launch my parents gave me the Commodore Amiga for my birthday, along with an ibm personal computer which they'd intended to stimulate me to persue other interests surrounding my addiction to computers than beating the record for number little pieces we could make a bouncing ball consist of.
I must regretfully inform you that eventually both endeavors ended in, what i never admit to, but did have to accept as, failure to achieve.
I never did break that particular record nor did i pursue other interests as a result of being given an ibm personal computer.
The Amiga was so radically different in every way that i could ever imagine would ever matter that it might as well have been beamed to us from an advanced alien civilisation or something.
The leap it represented from the c64 (ignoring the c128 and other even more obscure failures from Commodore business machines inc.) that i refused to believe the specs until i had my amiga, and i personally made it perform each awesome feat they claimed it could do. I believed it only as i saw it do it before my own eyes.
From 8 color graphics and sid chip synthesized beep generators (i know i have now hurt some peoples feeling and i apologize) being the bleeding edge and what we lived for…
We were released without supervision into the opulence of being able to show 4069 colors simultaneously on the screen from a palette of 16,4 million colors.
We no longer had sound but were immersed in 4 channel full stereo audio at rediculous frequencies like 41Khz. We were all captured and willingly enslaved by the all powerfull Motorola 68000 series cpu!
Disk drives with 3,5” disks on which, eventually, 720k could be stored!! (as opposed to 5,25” floppies who held 256Kb max.)
Harddrives existed, legend had it ($), which could store up to 50 megabytes of data!
It took some of years to accept that maybe one day there would come a time in which 50Mb of storage could be sensible to be used by any private person.
And ofcourse at first “the scene” was reluctant to migrate from a 64 scene to an Amiga scene which for some of meant that for too long there was no one else that had an Amiga like you did and forced to keep up their 'creds' and 'status' among the old 64 scene.
But eventually, and in my experience quite suddenly that ended and the Amiga exploded into hundreds of thousands of bedrooms, studio's and other places spreading like a virus.
Long before windows the Amiga's OS was basically a kernel loading a gui and made use of shared libraries (and it basically did everything that Windows would eventually be famous for and successful with.)
Again i was right there on the bleeding edge of the computer frontier, with my feet firmly into the “greats” of the days being part of or witnessing from the inner circle the development and creation of technology, techniques and inventions that now form the foundation of things we couldn't live our lives without.
I knew the people, and could have taken any one of a multitude of offers that would have made me rich enough to be in the quick-dial list of CEO’s, CTO’s or if not on their quick-dial i could be on their target lists of competitors.
I had or had the option of gaining the skills and the knowledge to easily thrive in whatever it was i'd be doing or required to do.
I just didn't. I was having to much fun to think about anything seriously and i had developed my 'scene' principles and values far enough into a philosophy to be able to realize…
Those who pirated software out of principle, defended the theft and distribution of intellectual properties as being part of their moral values which they identified themselves by did not get nice jobs. They didn’t get to work at the big corporations where money was to be made.
In hind sight i think that was the period in which i came to accept that coding wasn't actually something i was good at, but that the skills required to code 64kb through assembler were much much less impressive when faced with amounts of memory like 512kb or 1024kb and registers like the amiga offered.
By using snippets of code you memorized any idiot could fool himself into thinking he could code back on the c64, with a few kb and a couple of registers, but on the Amiga you'd actually had to learn how to develop and create code like a savant to get even a little noticed.
Either that or you needed to venture into the just barely sparking life of higher languages. Languages that would eventually become visual studio and other forms of IDE like development methods and industries.
And i quickly learned that i could do anything with a computer, any computer, except learn how to code at those levels and under those conditions. Sure i could do it, but i took three times as long as low skill kids half my age.
As i had never even consciously considered there might be reasons or circumstances that could possibly prevent me from becoming a highly payed and greatly respected software or game developer, that whole “not being able to learn how to code” thingy became more than a thingy. Which stopped me dead in my tracks carreer/ambition technically.
It just happened to be at a time at which i had just finished school and had to choose the path of my career, my education and my future. What’s worse, it was also the time when stumbled into something called the Gabber-scene.
Naive beyond comprehension knowing nothing about life except my inability to learn how to code despite everyone thinking i was a computer genius like nerd, i turned away from the scene and that “environment” before i lost the reputation i had in it.
I learned quickly that exactly that reputation was like having the plague in any other social setting. I was a lone, naive, cast-out nerd, and couldn’t find anything i could fit in in any way. I spent Saturday nights alone going to clubs, drinking alone, spending the ridiculous amounts of allowance my parents gave me when i was 16, and 17 years old.
Then i found that i did get somewhat accepted, at least not rejected, by one group, soon to become a subculture, and i grabbed onto that like it was the only thing keeping the universe from collapsing in on itsself. I completely and totally became part of, identified with and became, a Gabber.
The scene consisting of house-parties, xtc, and living life as one big party with sleep interruptions (to be kept at a minimum) and a strong belief in the power of not giving a fuck about anything as longs as it left us alone was not very conductive in terms of building a wealthy and productive future for the gabbers or squiring social skills that facilitated the acquisition of employment in jobs that could provide aforementioned wealthy and productive future by alternate means.
I vividly recall the confidence i had back then when i thought about career, future and sosciety that i was still young and there would be plenty of time for me to get that job working with computers and make that fat paycheck in a couple of years.
And for years it seemed to work even. As computer support became a thing in the industry and jobs like Helpdesk engineer, field service engineer got taken seriously that luck and opportunity thing i had earlier in life gave me one more chance which i took. All the time i was partying away my weekends, bouncing like an idiot on xtc and speed i had well payed jobs and eventually made a career as an IT Support Specialist! And all those years, until almost 12 years ago, i was sure that i’d eventually become a manager of an IT department at a middle to large corporation.
I don't remember the moment at which that confidence went away to make place for the realization that time had run out and that choosing my final path and succeed on it through sheer determination was no longer an option. That the easy road i'd coasted on “Until i got serious and go do what i wanted to do” had run out of exists. I guess i never did come to that realization until i was a single father of a toddler that lost his job, left with a huge debt that no longer could be payed off, and finally forced to live off welfare. From the moment i lost my job things never stopped going down the shits and they haven’t to this day./
I have lost custody of my kid, seeing him 7 hours every 14 days, i still have no job, i am in (court ordered) debt-counseling meaning i don’t have any control over my finances and have to live off an allowance for food and anything else i need to buy which is barely enough to survive on.
So there. There you have my small little article of warning. There’s my tale of caution and of roads no one should be taking.
Because i am lazy and pissed and sick of myself, not to mention depressed for dragging myself through those memories to this conclusion once again i am going to end this article here, with this, and a promise to get back some time soon to philosophize and expand more on what i meant with the things in the start of the article. To pin down the lessons for life, living or maybe even myself that can be learned from this, the pitiful tale of my miserable life. But not now. Now i am going to sleep, and let you the reader take away from this story what you will.
Of course any comments, appreciated or not, are welcome. Let me know what you think. Tell me what to do, or what i shouldn’t have done. I’ll take that into the next part of this series for which i have no name yet.