It was in the early eighties when I first had my encounter with Apple computers. My sister brought home a second-hand Apple IIe computer that she allowed me to use. Through the green monochrome monitor, I spent hours playing games such as Lode Runner, Ghostbusters, The Goonies, and Karateka. It also introduced me the joy of computer programming through my limited knowledge of BASIC – I learned it on my own through second-hand books that my sister brought home. So in a way, the old computer helped me with my English and allowed me to express myself through BASIC codes from a young age. It doesn’t sound special these days when children as young as three already playing with iPad and iPhone – but at that time, in a middle-class family in Bandung, Indonesia in the early 80’s – such an opportunity and experience were a rarity.
I also remember having a debate when I was in my Elementary School against some friends who used IBM PC for their gaming. I suppose the contest between Apple vs. Windows started with the Apple vs. IBM debates. When other children debated whether Superman would win against Batman, I chose to argue on which computer would be better to use. I did switch to the ‘dark side’ when my other sister bought an IBM PC variant later on – it allowed me to be technologically versatile from a younger age and explore the fantastic world of computing.
My exposure to programming from an early age allowed me to form my volition in life. When I finished high school, I contemplated on studying Biotechnology due to my love for biology and anything geeky. At the end, I picked Computer Science – a discipline that was relatively young at the time, before the onset of the Internet and the plethora of gadgets and gizmos.
So if I can squeeze the whole career experience and locate a single catalyst – it would be computers. Now equipped with a trusty old Macbook, a Windows 7 Dell desktop, and an iPhone 4 – computers and gadgets are around me every step of the way. Take away the fancy computers and gadgets and let’s return to the starting point. They say that you can’t forget your first love, your first experience, your first car, and so forth. I won’t forget my first computer. It was a humble Apple IIe that introduced me to the wonderful world of data and logic.
For that alone, I thank you, Steve Jobs.
Rest in Peace.