TECHIE

When compared the wide and rapidly-changing world of technology, my ‘techie’ world is very limited. I have no formal training beyond what I have learned from books. More than anything I have learned by doing over more than 30 years.

When I sat back to think about how to define my area of focus (it would be stretching it to use the word specialty), I came up with the headings Programming, Website Design, and something else like Graphics/Design. The last one is hard to define since it includes things like photo editing, image creation, and even what used to be called desktop publishing (layout of newsletters and other forms of printed materials). This of course is now a disappearing aspect since most things are done electronically.

My Techie World

I bought my first personal computer in 1984–a Commodore 64 like the one shown here. Super primitive by today’s standards, but it was exciting to explore a world that few people were exploring at the time. I took my first plunge into programming on that machine, creating a simple ‘checkbook’ or personal finance program.

Old Commodore 64 personal computer

Learning and using software has been my thing. I have never delved into the hardware (equipment) side of things very much, and even less into setting up networks and such. What I know about the hardware aspect of computers I have learned from self-defense; I think that anyone who owns a computer must either roll up their sleeves and fix problems (to the degree they can figure it out) or just take their machine to a technician. My curiosity about all the different types of software has been so strong that I confess that at times I bought programs not because I actually needed them, but because I was curious about how they work.

The “Go to Guy.” My work career was in social work, and all my years were spent working in non-profit organizations. Such agencies don’t typically have funds to pay for staff to provide support for staff. More common is to hire someone from outside to install and configure equipment when needed, and sometimes provide training to personnel. This leave a void on the day-to-day, “in the trenches” level, such as when someone needs help to do something. This could be something like configuring a header at the top of their word processing document. I was often the guy that plugged these gaps–helping others with Microsoft Word, or Excel (WordPerfect in the old days). I actually enjoyed being able to help others, and though it was never officially part of my job description I know that my supervisors appreciated my willingness to help my co-workers.