I’ve always wanted to write a lengthy piece about myself, so now’s my chance!
My name is Jason and well, this is a short story of my past in computers and technology…
I first got started with computers when I was about 10. Down the street and around the corner lived a girl. She had a mother and a father, and at that time I think I was more envious that she had both parents and I didn’t. Her mom was the coolest! She had kind welcoming heart and it was a touch of reality to me at such a young age. Her dad was a bit rough around the edges but definitely a family man. He was retired from armed services and had physical conditions that I never fully understood but I did understand that he was going to die young. He was heavy into computers! He had a desk that back in 1991 was to be jealous of! Three or four monitors going always, he was writing in long code and was maintaining a (“wild-cat” if my memory serves correct) server for people to login and download games. For his daughter, he had built a simple PC, for when she was “good”, we could play on. This to me was exciting, but with DOS there was a learning curve. In the early 90’s, point and click wasn’t found! This is where my love for games started. He had made a cheat sheet for her on what to type to get things running, but I wanted to remember it badly!
I had a Nintendo at that time, but to see higher than 8-bits of graphics and a STORY in these games was amazing! I was huge into racing games and I was introduced to Hot Rod. That game was amazing, and still today, I’ve never seen a game that can quite compare to it! But long end of the story I got to play a little each weekend when I got to visit. I really liked this girl though and I wanted us to be friends forever. So I felt that I had to start learning what I thought was in her world – Computers. Over the next few years I begged my dad to go with her dad to these “computer shows” at our local coliseum and fairgrounds. I recently found a receipt from 1992 that showed the purchase of a 1gb hard-drive for $299.99! Incredible as I just bought a 128gb USB3.0 flash drive that is flush with the port for $35 just a few days ago! In ’92 my dad purchased enough to get started and get me “gaming”. I quote it like that because the game I played back then are NOTHING by today’s standards: Halloween Harry, Jazz the Jackrabbit, Hot Rod I & II, Commander Keen, Blake Stone, Duke Nukem, Lemmings, 2042, Wolfenstein 3d, etc. The list went on and on.
Now I wasn’t a complete nerd back in the day. I really enjoyed bicycles! Man I had a few cool ones! I even mowed lawns during the summers to keep paying for parts for them! Me and this girl also had a huge fondness for MicroMachines! But for my 12th birthday back in 1993 I got a Sound Blaster sound card. This was amazing as it added so much to games! I later got a 2mb SVGA card and I was rocking the best game ever – DOOM. Now to configure these advanced pieces of hardware, it wasn’t simply plug and play! Learning what a config.sys and autoexec.bat was crucial – but above all that, understanding the “BASIC” language was, well, difficult. So I kept plugging away learning what I could to keep my system up and running. In ’94, in my 6th grade year, all the students of my class were pulled into the library for aptitude testing and were over the next week, we would choose a career path for middle and high school. I scored really high in the Science and Math area and the teacher tried pushing me to become a teacher – bahahaha…. But I knew at that time, computers were the wave of the future. My teachers didn’t’ understand! So in their books I found Xerox Machine Repairman. Man that pist them off! But in that day, it was the only thing close enough to do what I wanted. So starting from there I chose computer app classes.
Me and that girl only really hung out up into my 7th grade year as our fathers were both bull headed and got into fights. I also moved away and we went to different schools which there was a huge rivalry. But I still continued my goal of wanting to do PC repair. Little did I know that the problems of my life would never let that happen…
In high school, I attended computer applications 1-22. Yes, that’s right! I was the first person to have 21 & 22 added to my curriculum. However there wasn’t books for it, so the teacher made me test out and review beginner books for the next freshmen year and help grade. But I could and still can weave my way in and out of Office products like nobody’s business! I did attend a half school day in my Junior year to attend a career school for PC repair. The teacher was a joke! She was an English teacher who only took the job because it paid more. She didn’t know how to turn on ANY of the computers on in the lab on the first day. Later in the year, she installed a P2 Socket processor 180 (backwards) and we watched is SMOKE! But she did find me a internship at the local GE facility as part of the Y2K capital group. There is where they showed us the real problems of Y2K and we upgraded field systems to Pentium 2s and newer to get rid of the problems. Later in that school year we got the teacher fired as me and one other student were teaching the class and was even filling in her class curriculum books.
Now throughout my High School years I never wanted anybody to know that at home I was a nerd. I kept this a secret from 90% of the people I knew! Very few people were privy to my secret lifestyle and I pretended to be all about BMX and cars growing up. It was also to satisfy my father as he is a huge garage mechanic.
To have this life that I wanted in PC repair, I was convinced that I needed to go to college, so right after graduation, I got a job as a janitor at the local university. I got married at the young age of 20 and I was well set with my plans for life! At the university, the deal was that after 2 years of service, tuition was free and it was something like $25 per credit hour and a huge discount on books. The pay was decent and the benefits were absolutely amazing! On my 2 year date, the state did cutbacks and they were forced to go from 82 janitors to 12. I was in the cut list as I was the newest and youngest of them all. This was a HUGE crush to me as not only did I lose my path in life, but I also ended up losing my house and pride.
Over the next few years I had MANY temps jobs as I needed anything I could get my hands on! Olan Mills Church directory photo sales, factory work, nothing was below me as long as I could make some money. But, I eventually hit rock bottom. We (the wife and I) were forced to move back in with her parents. I even tried starting a custom programs company (which is where the domain NerdPowerd.com came from) where I wrote custom software for small companies! That was really rough time in my life and I eventually got a job working concession stands at the Coliseum. It was part time work and it got the bills paid. In my Sr year of high school summer school, I made a best friend. We got into much trouble over the years, but we were both huge nerds. Over the years we would get together and have gaming parties, swap hardware, and run theories and conversations past one another about technology. He knew of my struggles and he had a great job that I was envious of. After much dilemma, he decided to contact his aunt and vouch for me to get me a job.
This job, I generally just tell people that I worked for HP. It’s difficult to explain sometimes exactly what I did, but I never truly worked for HP, but I worked for a company who was a subcontractor of UPS who subcontracted from HP to store and ship all of their parts. This job was amazing and a breeze for me! We were a call center that spoke with HP field engineers who would need parts to fix computers and servers throughout the USA. We were the people to make that happen! The reason I thought the job was easy is that the main screens were telnet. Most people said it looked like DOS but to me, no… The email system was outlook and they used Excel documents for everything else! On man had I been training over 7 years for this job! I was only one a handful of people who even knew WHAT we were shipping! Or how the engineers did their jobs, etc! I quickly worked my way up the ranks! and I loved my job! – after 3 years this job came to an end. To put it simply and not bore you with the BS details, they moved everything to Costa Rica… We were the LAST USA based call center for HP.
Next job I took was at the Depot of Offices (mis doing the name for protection). I was in the lead for full time Tech Sales and I got to participate in building a new store! It was exciting until I lost the position grand opening day and got shifted to part time. I lost the position to the assistant manager’s cousin who and I will quote “has a college degree”. It only took one day to learn, his degree was in Roman History and he knew NOTHING of computers! It only shows how this world works… I had to help him every day… And the longer the store was open, the less hours each of us continually got. I picked up side work there fixing PCs on the side, writing programs, and creating websites. And that’s where I met the office manager for my next career path in life! Locksmithing!
I worked for a locksmith for about 3 years but the office manager was stealing from the owner, I caught her, he fired her, he re-hired her, I caught her stealing from me and we bumped heads until he had to let me go. He was being forced into bankruptcy… From there I started my own business as a Locksmith but starting out is tough! I felt forced to get a full time job and I finally found one at a local computer store where I was a sales associate! Involved with shipping & receiving, parts orders, system building, diagnosis, etc. For over 2 years I finally got to live out my dream of being where I always wanted to be… But I hated it! I came to the conclusion that the job is never done… It’s usually not the PC’s fault but more that people don’t want to learn, they just want it done for them… It’s great for business structure and repeat customers but horrible for my moral. The job made me grumpy and with the introduction to Obama care, I paid out more in Insurance than what I took home…
So I returned to locksmithing full time! It’s great to get a job completed and have a customer be happy with the work and it’s DONE! I now make a living and can afford the bigger things in life – motorcycles, color laser printers, cameras, etc…
I really have a passion for Locksmithing but I still have a understanding, love, and respect for all areas of technology… Which is where this site is going to come to hand – I want a site where I can review Tech which is the other side of my life!
Today I’m still married and going on 15 years! And well that childhood friend, I reconnected with her a few years ago and we’re friends. Her father died in the later years of her High School years. But she’s moved on with her life and she has a passion for cars… Well, ONLY Chevrolet… It’s funny how our lives were completely opposite I feel. My dad was a Mechanic and wanted me in cars, but I wanted computers. Her dad liked cars but had more computers… She uses me for computer work to this day!
I want this site to have some of my history on it, past computers, as well as new tech, reviews, videos, etc… We will see what this becomes or if it’s just simply a useless blog!