I read a book briefly about 4 years ago. At that time, I had actually no idea of Unix, and any other Unix-like (*nix) operating systems. And of course, none of the points in that book made any sense to me. This book is The Unix Haters Handbook. I restarted to read this book now and found that it’s very interesting to follow. And I decided to write my own story of all my used machines, from my first self-assembled desktop to my new MacBook Pro.

My first computer was a self-assembled desktop. As much as I can recall, it got a CRT monitor (LCD back then is classified as product of a expansive, immature technology), a Intel Pentium 4 (single core 2.2 GHz?) processor, a 256MB RAM, a 60GB(or 80GB) hard disk and 3 cracked Windows operating system (sorry, Bill): a Windows 98, a Windows 2000 NT and finally a Windows XP. Yes, I’m not kidding, there are THREE Windows were sitting in that computer. As far as I can remember, all computers in school installed Windows 98, and I was told that I should use Windows 98 if I want to play any games. Plus, there is no internet, it’s too expansive back then. It’s nearly 13 years ago, computers were all self-assembled like some IKEA furniture. And frankly, I couldn’t care less if all software in my computer are written by human. They were just there, and still are. There aren’t any pictures existed before we trashed it about 3 or 4 years later. I never complained how slow the computer was (it is not) and I played tons of games. And I publicly told my teacher that I want to be a game story-writer in future (well, every kid has this or that). Soon after, I found that I’m bad at graphics, and even worse at story telling. I dropped my “game story-writer” dream quickly a year after and found a hacker’s magazine.

My second computer was a state-of-art machine at the time, and it was kind of a major purchase to my family. LCD monitor took in charge already (the quality is not bad, it’s still working). And it had a Pentium Dual-Core processor (rumors said it’s not a real dual core processor). Honestly, besides 2 beeps during booting, I couldn’t see any performance improvement. Still, it was pretty fast to me. That was a stage that I was quitting games and turning myself to hacking business. I started to understand that there is a thing in this world called programming. And this programming fellow can instruct computer to do good stuffs and evil stuffs. Everything I have to do is to write a script and send it to another nice fellow called compiler. I began a journey of writing codes.

Just like others, my first code is the famous Hello World in Pascal. Unlike most of people, I completed this mission without a human guidance. Well, you probably think, this is nothing. However, to a boy who didn’t know what is compiler or even format of code, this might be one of the most stressful events in his life. I used 7 hours on a machine of net bar. Well, this net bar is still running around the neighborhood. Therefore, to all programming newbies, if you beat my record of writing a Hello World in any language, you are practically smarter than me, so don’t give up.

Pascal is the first language that I learned. Before that, I knew a little bit about Visual Basic (designed a calculator by following instructions from a textbook). In my high school’s computer lab, it is the first time that I opened the famous IDE — Turbo Pascal. Apparently, it shocked me for good. I don’t even know where to start, it doesn’t have a cursor, how should I use the whole thing? I stared at the giant blue window for 30 minutes long and was afraid of damaging the machine by any of my move. After I got familiar with the environment, I realized that I need to put a lot efforts to destroy a machine completely.

Soon I found that I’m really comfortable of writing computer programs. Besides the system calls, I can almost do whatever I want by giving series instructions to computer. I started to feel that this can be my life job. At this stage, I fell in love with Windows XP. Windows XP is the first neat system I’ve ever played with.

I will update this post from now and then.