Welcome to my first blog! My name is Heath, and I love helping people leverage technology in such a way that it nurtures themselves, and their relationships with others. For my first blog, I’m going to share with you one of my origin stories about how my relationship with technology first began. So without further ado..
From around the time I was ten years old, I’ve always had a unique perspective and approach to using technology. I grew up the youngest of four siblings, in a very competitive household. We were all athletes with a thirst for winning. I like to think it was that competitiveness that drove me to improve my relationship with technology.
The very first gaming console I had growing up was a Nintendo Gameboy. As I recall a couple of the very first games I had were Tetris, and a USA Track & Field game. But there was one game I would receive later that changed everything–Pokemon.
Growing up with my oldest sibling in college athletics and grandparents in a neighboring state we drove a lot. My Gameboy quickly became my best friend to help pass what seemed like endless hours in the backseat of a car. I don’t remember who gave me my first Pokemon game, but playing that game changed my life. It was the first multiplayer game I played where I could build up my “team” inside the game and battle against other players with a similar setup.
The first ever system link cable.
To me, the Gameboy(R) system link cable was the original ethernet cable. This was during a time we had cell phones with a maximum two-hour battery and we paid by the minute to use it. This simple cable allowed two independent gaming devices to talk to each other. Knowing this, it was only logical that the more time I spent playing, the stronger the Pokemon on my game cartridge would be before heading into battle!
Fast forward about a year.
I read in Nintendo Power magazine that I could join an Internet chat room and chat with other expert trainers about Pokemon. So I typed the URL into my Gateway 2000 and blam! I had just joined my first online chat room.
The conversations I had in the chat were insightful. I learned about a few tips and tricks I hadn’t read about or found myself–like the Missingno’ hack. I also learned how to level my Pokemon up the right way without cheating.
A few weeks went by, and I noticed people announcing inside the chat room what song they were currently listening to.
A lover of music, and someone who was constantly burning CDs for friends, this greatly intrigued me. Ever since I can remember I have loved learning about new music people I know enjoy. If you’ve read this far, let me know what you’re listening to right now in the comments!
I was into the typical bands that were popular back then like the Backstreet Boys, Sugar Ray, Lenny Kravites and my all-time favorite, Eminem. And after joining the chat room I started learning about many other groups like The Cranberries, Good Charlotte and Skillet.
Eventually it got to the point I wanted to share what songs I was listening to as well. So I learned about a “script” or program you can download that allows you to play music from your computer, and automatically share the song you were listening to inside the chat room.
The script was built on top of an application called “mIRC.” This program allowed anyone to connect to an IRC “Internet Relay Chat” server and install and modify new/existing scripts that would execute commands for you. This made it easier for people in the chat to communicate and get to know each other, yes, but it also made using your computer easier. Through learning how to code I could now assign “Hotkeys” to execute commands and open applications for me at a single touch of a button on my Windows 95 operating system.
Most importantly this started my journey of building my first program, a custom-coded mp3 player. And for the next three years I self-taught myself how to code using the mIRC scripting language.
During that time I started my own #Scripting help channel on the MediaDriven IRC Network. And get this, I LIED ABOUT MY AGE! I didn’t think people would take my expertise seriously as an 11- or 12-year-old. So I told everyone I was 14 or 15. I served alongside my volunteer staff, which would help people who joined the chat room with their code and offer their advice in different areas of technical expertise. Their payment was earning the status of VOP (Voice Operator), AOP (Automatic Operator) and SOP (Super Automatic Operator), giving them the power to run the channel themselves when I was AFK (away from my keyboard). Not only that, the channel even had its very own scripting help website. Reflecting on this experience today, that was quite an undertaking for an 11 year old.
I share this story, because even at a young age I have always felt the call to help people make their lives easier by teaching them how to use technology more effectively. That is what I intend to do with this blog.
I invite you to subscribe to my next post, and let me know what questions you have I can answer in the comments!
Stay personable, Heath