Chris Pietschmann

husband, father, hacker, entrepreneur, futurist, innovator, autodidact


My introduction to computers and programming...

My introduction to computers started when I was about 3 years old with an Apple IIe. We had a few games over the years: Ghost Busters, Alf, Spy Hunter, and a few others. If you ever think you can't trust a 3 year old with puting a DVD into the player, just think about a 3 year old being able to switch 5.25 inch floppy disks in an Apple IIe. We actually got the Apple IIe in like '84 or '85, it was used when we got it.

My first PC (when I was about 13) with Windows 3.1 was actually my dads. It was an IBM 486-SX 33Mhz with 4MB RAM and a 20MB Hard drive. We later got a Compaq 166Mhz Pentium w/ MMX with 48MB Ram (when I was about 16). There were a few things I did in those days:

  1. Those were the days of dialing in to the local BBS (Aarrgghh!! BBS run by Victor Loberger) and playing text based games, chating and sharing files over FidoNet
  2. QBasic, VB for DOS, VB3, VB4, VB6 and a little C/C++ programming.
  3. Exploring DOS and Windows (even acidentally hosing the system, so my Dad had to reinstall DOS and Win3.1, man he wasn't happy when I did that)
  4. Playing with web page design with HTML and JavaScript when it became more popular.

The first four programs I wrote (in order of creation):

  1. A text based Star Trek adventure game written in QBasic, with sounds and some really simple graphics.
  2. A Program Manager program for DOS in QBasic. It allowed you to use the mouse and was event driven (this was before I was introduced to VB and the event driven programming model it brings). It allowed you to setup keyboard shortcuts to start programs or you could click a button on the screen to run a program; the shortcuts were stored in a text file.
  3. The Unknown World written in QBasic, was a top down view, Zelda style, role playing game. It had colorfull graphics and used some pretty neat graphics tricks for a QBasic program.
  4. Tele-Chat written in VB for DOS, was a program that allowed two computers to call each other with a modem and the users could chat with each other using text. I even had a good start at implementing a file transfer feature.

In my early days of programming, I learned/used VB-DOS, VB3, VB4, VB6 and C/C++. I started with QBasic and VB becuase there was more documentation and help sites for those languages on the internet in the mid to late 90's. If there was more documentation and help sites on C/C++, Assembly and/or Java (I wish there was back then) I would have learned one or more of those languages instead of QBasic and VB.

Well, there you go, now you have a pretty good summary of my introduction to computers and programming. As you can see I have a strong background (from the beginning) with VB.

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