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Comment from E-mail:
There's probably not much I could say here that hasn't been said a million times. You're Da Man. You Rock. You pioneered something that's changed my life. You should be canonized (made a saint). But for the man who single-handedly charted much of the course of modern history, these all probably evoke a resounding "ho-hum".

It seems sacrilegious to send this using Outlook 2000 on a PC running Windows 98. If I send another email your way I'll have to power up my Apple IIe and use a nullmodem cable to hook it to my linux machine to serve as a terminal, and use pine or something. I'm too tired/lazy to do that at the moment, please forgive me.

When I was 10 years old, I had the honor of being chosen to go to a "special" class, for children the school system had decided were, to use their term, "gifted." The class was comprised of about 10 children of grades 2 through 6, from all over the county (Hamilton County, TN - Chattanooga is its county seat). In this class were three computers - a TRS-80 Model III, a TI/99a, and - an Apple IIe. The latter fascinated me. I could use it to crunch numbers, play educational games, type letters, and write programs. It had a Z80 card in it, so I learned CP/M - which later gave me a head start on learning MS-DOS.

I begged and begged my parents to get me a computer of my own. They couldn't afford an Apple, so they settled on a Commodore ViC-20. Many nights I stayed up, trying different things with it. It was my favorite "toy".

My teen years came along, and I promptly forgot computing while I chased women, smoked pot, went to heavy metal concerts, and generally tempted fate while burning off excess brain cells.

After a series of the worst decisions I've ever made (dropping out of high school ranks right up there), I rediscovered computing. I had gotten my GED and was attending college, and wanted something better than a typewriter to compose papers with. I wound up with a 3rd-hand IBM PC-AT. Two weeks later I had swapped out the motherboard, upgrading it to a 386DX-33. I was hooked like a trophy bass on a Sunday-afternoon TV show sponsored by Johnson Outboard Motors.

Finances intervened, and forced my early withdrawal from academic pursuits. To make a long story somewhat shorter, I'm now a computer technician and hobbyist. In my spare time, I hunker over my workbench with soldering iron and multimeter, building RAID enclosures out of old PC cases. I also tinker a *lot* with Linux and FreeBSD. And, of course, I surf the web, probably just a little more than is healthy.

My home contains no less than 5 functional computers at any one time, not counting the embedded systems in things like VCR's and microwave ovens. Computers tend to come and go around here, but one trophy will never be sold at any price: I finally got that Apple IIe that I wanted so badly back during Reagan's first term.

Thanks, Steve. One of the gadgets you invented in your spare time has shaped my life, and I owe you a debt I can never repay.


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