The internal struggles of a tech writer

Life is full of struggles. Conflict is a part of what defines us. Some people, like myself, do everything to avoid conflict and confrontation. As a kid I used to stay after school learning how to program computers. I never had a computer at home growing up so I would spend as much time in the library, and later computer lab, as I could. I was born in the early 80’s at a time when our society was transitioning to being more centered on information technology. Yet I maintained my inner struggle throughout it all.

When I was 12 years old my parents got me one of those old typewriters. I know they did it as a way to placate my growing desire to have a personal computer in my life. Despite not having an actual computer I did have computer devices, a Nintendo and a Sega game console to be specific. A year later they would pick up an electronic digital word processor that allowed me to write my stories then transfer them to a computer using a floppy disk. During this time I continued to struggle with being torn in two very different directions. I didn’t really want to write stories nearly as much as I wanted to write computer code. Even a few years later when I got my first computer, an aging Commodore 64 that I used to continue learning the BASIC computer programming language. There was just one problem, I sucked at math. So much so that I had to attend special ed courses to learn how to pass my math classes.

Sometime after I discovered the internet after finally getting that computer I always wanted I realized I had been on the wrong path all a long. For me a computer was so much more than a tool. I saw it as an extension of myself. The things I could do with a computer went far beyond just being able to write stories in a word document or to draw terrible bitmaps using a lousy Paint program. I discovered I just enjoyed learning as much as I could about computers. I studied their history. I learned how they work and how to modify both the hardware and the software. In the computer circles modifying computers is called hacking. Outside of those circles, however, hacking refers to only one small aspect, the illegal stuff. I don’t really want to make this entirely about how much it bothers me that the word hackers has been turned into such a negative descriptor. Instead what I want to do is discuss my personal struggles with balancing my love of computer technology with my increasing desire to become a writer.

By the time I got into high school my plans had shifted. I wasn’t trying to limit myself to writing computer programs anymore. I was writing songs, poems, stories, works of fiction, even comic books in my art class. I discovered that what drew me to video game development in the first place was, at the core, my desire to tell stories. I noticed this when I realized my desire was to develop story-driven Role Playing Games. Specifically my desire was to combine elements from Western RPG’s with JRPG’s in a way that was both new and familiar. Ultimately when it came time to go to college I started down one path, diverted slightly before settling on where I am now. My love of technology and writing began to blend together. Now I try to write articles about technology from the perspective of a person who appreciates the technological advances.

I am the sort of person that owned a Beta Max and a RCA SelectaVision CED library of movies because I was fascinated by the technology. At the time I began collecting these formats, as well as LaserDisc and a few others too obscure to really discuss here, the rest of the world was trying to decide between HD-DVD, Blu-Ray or the budding digital streaming service Netflix was trying to launch. If you want to know which side I was on, put me down for neither. I jumped all in. I picked up an HD-DVD player, a Blu Ray Player and my first digital streaming device, a Western Digital WD media Player (followed by the doomed Google TV) all around the same time. You see, for me I never bet on one form of technology over another. Now my sister may remind me from time to time I was openly rooting for Blu Ray to fail, but that was more akin to my being a huge Nintendo fanboy at that time than it was actually believing in the merits of the rival format that it beat out. Still, despite being quite vocal about my position, I ended up buying stand alone Blu Ray player not long before I grabbed a PS3 for the gaming I realized I was missing out on.

Every once in a while I am reminded of my love of technology and how it has shaped me as a person. I know that writings articles for this blog in many ways gives me a way to sort that out. While I have begun making a career out of writing for a periodical publication, I still like to hold onto something that is entirely mine. I could say my dream has always been to write for a big tech blog. I can’t say that it has honestly always been that, but as with all things in life dreams change. I have had so many dreams I can’t really say that anything I do isn’t on that list somewhere along the lines. What I can say is that if my parents hadn’t allowed me the opportunity to discover the technologies I fell in love with for myself, I might not have been able to find a purpose in my life. The truth is, as a techie, nerd, geek, hacker, whatever label you wish to throw at me, at the end of the day all I really want is to provide a place of discourse with others who might share my passion for this wonderful technology that has developed over the years.

Not every article or entry in this blog is going to be a reflection of my own personal life. I just want to stay grounded in reality so I try to keep my true passions at the center of everything I do. If you want to call me a nerd because it makes you feel better then so be it. I have learned through the years that what other people think of me doesn’t matter. What does matter is what I think of myself. Right now, I want to share this with the world then get back to streaming Community, on Hulu, via my PS4 connected to my HDTV using my WIFI router. That’s what technology does for me.

 

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