Technology Literacy Narrative: The Past

Two sets of glasses, scrubs, sunblock on his head, and if I had to guess hospital issued shoe covers. My father sported this outfit every day from sometime in the late 90’s until roughly three years ago. I am fairly certain that he owned other clothes, but there is no way to be sure. However, my dad’s choice of attire was fortunately not a fashion statement. This attire is what he wore to work, and for my father work was 24/7.

An image much like the one of my dad immediately comes to mind while looking back on my earliest experiences with technology. One of my first childhood recollections is sitting on the floor while installing a computer with Dad. I’m not sure of the year (probably somewhere between 1998 and 2000), but I remember the moment vividly. As a kid, I spent a minuscule amount of time with either of my parents due to their work schedules, which made me eager to get involved with them when they were home. For my father, that meant playing with new technology. We spent countless hours working on, playing with, and being aggravated by nearly anything technologically related. (I suppose that if I’m honest, not much has changed in that regard.) Always tinkering with these ‘toys’ not only made me better with technology but also developed in me a “Don’t worry! I’ll figure it out.” mentality.

My ability to use a computer leaped when I was seven. My father decided to upgrade the computer in his office, and I was allowed to keep the old computer in my room. In hind-site, this was probably a mistake. My parents made it very clear that I could solely use the computer for educational purposes, but as a seven-year-old boy with a knack for finding loopholes, education was the last thing on my list.

The second leap in my computing ability came in the 7th grade when my parents gave me my first laptop. It was on the laptop that I discovered I could download free music and movies from less than reputable sources. Not long after I made this discovery, I found something else: viruses. The martyr in my technological education, a black laptop that could have weighed no less than 2000 lbs, helped me develop a more rigid form of inquiring than my reckless curiosity.

During the next five years, I moved from device to device. I played with anything and everything while learning a little about a lot and a lot about nothing. It was during this time that I developed the breadth of my knowledge. I learned about social media and created a “super cool” MySpace that went quite nicely with my backward hat. When Facebook arose, I was one of the last of my friends to make the switch. Ashamedly, I was very fond of MySpace. Ever since MySpace finally faded away, I have been behind on the social media scene. I opened Twitter and Instagram accounts when I left for college because “it was the thing to do,” but I have only posted on either a handful of times.

During my senior year of high school, I began to dive deeper in my understanding of technology. Jumping into the complicated world of hardware, I decided to build a computer. This endeavor was incredibly ambitious for someone who didn’t know the names of all of the different parts of a computer. It took me roughly six months, but I was eventually able to succeed in building the computer I still use today. In fact, it is the computer that I am using this very moment. I discovered that the beauty of building your computer is that when something breaks you only have to replace the broken parts. The building and maintaining of my computer catapulted my knowledge of hardware. However, I still lacked a major piece of my education, software.

I will be the first to admit that my understanding of software is sub-par, but I am actively working to change that. Last year I began to learn Java. This undertaking was an entirely new experience for me. I started from the basic “Hello World” print statement like the one to the right and moved on to more complicated things like the two classes beneath (Book and Patron) that one might find in a library system. 
Currently, I am learning HTML and Python.  I found that I can learn them much quicker than Java, and I hope that whatever I learn next I will master more quickly than I do Html and Python!

I set goals for myself to become more active in social media in the next year and to have a comprehensive personal website that discusses both my professional and recreational activities. I hope to establish a web presence that I can use not only to discover new technologies but also to promote myself as a technologically literate member of society.

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