Computers, A Hobby To A Career

15 Aug

Computers started out as a hobby

srcNmacs

(I have always been a bit of a gadget freak)

It was a natural. In 1983 I got a Commodore 64 for my birthday and was hooked immediately. I ended up subscribing to all five of the C-64 magazines that were available at the time. Imagine that five magazines about the C-64! I do believe that to this day it is the single best selling computer ever sold. All that from a computer that is laughably underpowered for this day and age.

Every month the magazines arrived and I dutifully entered the programs by hand. Line after line of BASIC code all published in the magazines in minuscule type. Thanx to all of that data entry and fixing the bugs that my typos created I learned to program a bit in BASIC. A few years later I graduated to the C-64’s big brother, the C-128 and then to a Commodore Amiga.

About this time computers started showing up at the radio stations I worked at in sufficient numbers for me to get my grubby little paws on them. I was the first to show an interest, poking and prying: I was the in-house computer geek.

When I got sick of radio I bluffed my way into a 9-dollar-an-hour job as a telephone technical support representative at MacWarehouse (since bought up by (CDW).

The first few weeks were a bit rocky but I soon picked it up and was troubleshooting with the best of them.

Nine months later I was supervising the Tech Support department.

Learning to troubleshoot computers at a place like MacWarehouse is kind of like learning to swim by jumping off the stern of the Titanic as it sinks into the North Atlantic. Fortunately for me I actually had an aptitude for technical support and despite the cubicle hell that they kept us in I learned what I needed to move up an out of the place 4 1/2 years later.

About the only thing that I miss about that place was the employee purchase program. Imagine 5-percent over cost on anything that MacWarehouse carried. If I recall, shortly after I left a friend bought me a 4MB video RAM SIMM. List price was about $150.00. My cost, $37.50.

 

What is up with that shirt? Granted it was a gift but god how ugly!

What is up with that shirt?
Granted it was a gift but god how ugly!

 

About the time I was looking around for another job (IE really sick of the place) there was a quote floating around the Tech Support department at MacWarehouse (mostly due to yours truly). It was from the movie Clerks “This job would be great if it wasn’t for the fucking customers.” And if the truth be known, the aim was misdirected. Oh, just in case that page is down and you just gotta hear the clip:

 

MacWarehouse was a wonderful place for “OJT” but after 4 1/2 years it was getting a bit old, so I packed up and moved on up to a company called Entex (long since taken over by Siemens)

I worked as a contractor on the help desk for the R.W. Johnson Pharmaceutical Research Institute (A division of Johnson & Johnson). I provided support for the few scientists who managed to hold on to their Macs.

When the boneheads in the suits at PRI decided to standardize on Windows 95, I learned to appreciate that Windows based PC’s offer more than just an overly complicated system built on a house of cards. It offers job security!

 

 

Originally posted before I added WordPress to this site. Published date is approximate.

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