I’d like to share my humble story about how I found my way to NJCU , and my love of electronics and communication. I don’t have a long history with hacking or even with programming. I suppose I can start way back when I was about 5 or 6, and my parents picked me up from school. I only have vague memories, images really, but I remember they said they had a surprise for me. When I got home, I remember seeing a really big brown box in the hallway. It had some sort of weird font all over it, and for whatever reason, I remember seeing a little black apple printed on each side. Baffled, I asked them what it was. My first reaction was it was a TV or new v
ideo game system. ( I was still hot of the heels of getting a Nintendo) They kept telling me it was a computer, but I had no idea what that was. Oh, how quickly that would change… My most vivid memory from that whole ordeal was the night they set it up. It was in our living room and I recall the entire room being dark except the pale glow of the screen. It seemed even then, the cyber world was beckoning . As I grew up I had learned the in’s and out’s of the machine. It was a Macintosh Performa I’d later come to realize. I had become proficient in its basic use. So much so that my first grade teacher often asked for my assistance with the class computer, whenever something went wrong. It soon spread around and I remember being called out of class a few times to help certain elderly teachers with their own class computers. Undoubltly I had an affinity with these strange devices, but up until then, I had just used them to play goofy child like games on them and sometimes, much to the surprise of my teachers, I did my reading and spelling assignments. (I was the first in the class with a printer) That changed when my parents decided to subscribe to a communication service called American Online. Now by this time, I gotten most of the computer down. I could open up files, load floppy disks, type stuff up on my own..but now this new program opened up a new dimension.
. When we first got the Macintosh, I remember seeing a white and gold icon for AOL, but my parents said never to open it. So when we finally did get the AOL service, I, with much curiosity and intrigue, opened the mysterious gold icon. After some great deal of reconnecting phone lines, and a lot of hassle and instruction reading,, I remember hearing the sound of the grainy 28k dial up modem. Its trademark dialing, and connecting would forever remind me of those early days.
I was soon sucked into a world of chatrooms, instant messages, email, websites, and the early Web Crawler search engine. While my parents forbade me from entering chat rooms, I sometimes snuck in anyway with burning curiosity. Back then AOL had a pay per minute plan, so my sister and I got 30 minutes each. It was like a door opened for 30 minutes a day, a portal to another world, then it’d promptly shut, in the form of my mother forcing me to get off. As I got older, my fascination with the electronic world simmered. By the time middle school hit, new things had taken up my time (pokemon?) We got a new computer, updated interface, speedier, and more memory, but it didn’t hold the same draw. Throughout high school, I drifted this way and that, never really knowing what I wanted to do. My grades plummeted and I just felt empty. Online gaming was just reving up then so I joined a few MMO’s and started spending a lot of time on the computer again. Unfortunately, this time, gaming had taken over my life really, and I had wrongly made the correlation that the computer was the root of my academic and life problems. I started believing that the computer was just a time waster, something that I had fallen in with but no good could really come of it…just more entertaining games. Fast forward a few years, I’m out of high school, have a job and in a small local community college. Overall still completely aimless. Now here’s the pinnacle of my long winded tale. My boss, who I didn’t really care for, let me borrow an anime series called Serial Experiments: Lain. Sitting in bed, I popped the anime into my mom’s laptop. I expected an emo anime about a high school girl who doesn’t fit in etc… What I got, was something that changed my life for the better. It was heavily steeped in computers, technology and the effects of human interaction with a digital world. The series, especially episode 9, which gives documentary style clips about the history of the internet, struck a major chord with me. It was as if all those early years of fascination with computers and the early AOL program was unlocked from my brains time capsule. After watching the anime forwards, backwards, inside and out, day in and day out, even falling asleep to the episodes, I started doing research into the field of mind-computer interaction and the relationship between computers and man. I dropped nearly 170 dollars at barnes and noble for books ranging from philosophy, to physics and string theory, quantum dynamics, and books on the Mind. One of the books I found was called “Cyberia” by Douglas Ruskoff, which incidently was referenced in the anime Lain. The book, which is a sort of expose on cyber culture, drugs, and hackers was the last key to the vault so to speak…From then on my life has been immersed in the idea of computers, and knowing about how they work, and the relationship between the human mind and electronic universe. I immediately set out to get back to school, so I can find out more about the digital domain, and and ultimately major in Computer Science.