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I’d like to pretend my life began when I got my first computer. But that would be a lie. I was born in 1981 and had a rather uneventful childhood. Probably the most significant thing that happened was when I shared my Legos with another kid named Andrew, who then became my best friend.
Once I did get a family computer, I spent a lot of time playing Sierra games. They helped me to learn to type, grew my interest in computers, and helped me decide that I wanted to pursue some sort of creative computer career, perhaps game design.
I talked my family into getting AOL in 1994. You had to pay per minute back then, so I stayed in a free section called TechLive, and learned about helping answer people’s questions. AOL asked me to leave once I became better answering questions posed than the paid staff. So I stopped using AOL and got an ISP.
In 1996 Andrew sent me an e-mail about making money with banners. I figured it’d be a better job than delivering newspapers—and I knew I needed a car once I was 16! So I learned HTML overnight and put up an ad-supported site the next day.
Later in 1996, during the summer before 9th grade, I wrote the beginning chapters of HTML: An Interactive Tutorial for Beginners, which people found out about and enjoyed. So I put a link to it on my main page and more people came and enjoyed.
Sadly, in the beginning of 1997 I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease, a form of cancer. Not willing to give up on life, I took chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and a bone marrow transplant—and wrote a book about it, called The Crumpled Note: A Teenager’s Battle with Cancer. I’m fine now, whew!
I finished high school and pursued a college education after the dot-com bubble bursted. As a summer research project before my senior year, I co-designed one of the first computer games for cancer patients, “The Cancer Game,” in Macromedia Director. I felt it was a way to give back to the community.
Well, I ended up graduating from college, and am now trying to decide what career path I should take. One thing is for sure, after my childhood, my life was anything BUT uneventful.
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