When I was a kid, I would race home after school to watch M*A*S*H reruns on TV. One of my older brothers watched Star Trek reruns so I would sit through Star Trek waiting for M*A*S*H to start. It didn't take long before I became a Star Trek fan. Star Trek provided me with a view of the future. In that future all things were better. No one was poor, getting around was easy and just about any sickness seemed curable all in a 60 minute episode. Computers were an important element in Star Trek so for me, they became a way to touch the future.
I grew up near the University of California at Irvine. I would ride my bike there and hang out in the computer science lab. I bought punch cards, put them in a punch card machine and typed on them. I had no idea how to write programming code. I just mimicked what I saw others doing. I was probably 13 at the time and why no one chased me out of there still surprises me to this day.
My father spent his career as an electrical engineer mostly creating communications equipment for the military. One day he brought home a Texas Instruments portable terminal. It had no screen, just acoustic couplers that held the telephone handset for communication with the VAX mainframe at his work. A thermal printer was the only output device and of course when we would run out of the special thermal paper, that was a problem. My dad taught me to program in the original BASIC and we played the original text adventure game (called "Adventure") as well.
When the Apple II came along I wanted one but being in high school at the time, I certainly couldn't afford it. My dad was unwilling to pay extra for the Apple brand so instead purchased a Franklin ACE 1000, which was an Apple II Clone. The Franklin's motherboard failed several times, and I'll bet my dad ended up paying far more for it than he would have paid for an Apple II to begin with! He bought me a book that taught Applesoft BASIC and 6502 assembler. One look at the pages about assembler and I knew right away that I was going to stick with BASIC.
Programming for me became a terrific outlet where I could create anything I could imagine. That's what got me interested in programming.
What got you interested in programming? Share your story.