My Raw Beginnings In IT
My first exposure to computers and programming was in 1986 while I was studying electronic engineering at Technikon Natal (now known as Durban University of Technology). We used to write code on Apple II computers and store it on those huge floppy disks that you had to cut a notch into if you wanted to double your storage space.
We would also design logic for simple things like home alarm systems using training logic boards with giant AND/OR NAND gates drawn on them, similar to this one.
It was a fascinating experience for me and while I didn’t finish the engineering course, that exposure to information technology stayed with me for the next few years until a different opportunity to get into IT presented itself.
Getting IT Real
In 1989 I began working at the Natal Building Society (NBS) as an admin clerk. In those days the only “computers” our offices had were what the old timers called VDU’s (video display units), scattered around the offices. These were essentially dumb terminals to the company’s Unisys 2200 main frame computer. We’d use them to run inquiries on customers accounts. That was about all we could do with them. Except for me. I managed to freak out the IT department by saving files (or RIDS as Unisys called them) all over the place while trying to teach myself the Mapper Run Design programming language.
Fast forward a few years and I found myself working in the IT Division on a temporary basis, helping the real coders to build a mortgage document tracking system I had helped them design. Once the roll out of the system was over the manager I had been seconded to asked me to write a programming aptitude test. He sat me down in a meeting room on my own with this test and a pencil. I think I had 90 minutes to complete 11 questions (or something like that). Later that day he comes up to me and asks how I thought I did on the test. I said to him “I think I got them all right”. He looks at me with a poker face and says something like, “You did, we can’t believe it. Nobody in the company has ever scored that high!”.
And that was the beginning of my real IT career.
From there I ended up going on multiple courses as I made my way across a variety of IT related positions in the company. I learned how to write code in Mapper Run Design (the proper way), I learned OLAP tools in the form of COGNOS Powerplay & Impromptu, I also learned how to use MapInfo GIS, which was pretty cool, but somewhat intimidating to understand at first.
Then came the Internet
From the very first time I was exposed to it in 1997 I was hooked. For me the main attraction wasn’t so much the websites, it was the fact that we could communicate with the outside world using email and incredible things known as usenet newsgroups to discuss just about any topic under the sun with people from just about every corner of the world. I’ve never recovered because even now, over 20 years later, forums and online groups remain the main attraction to the ‘net for me. All that’s really changed is the interface we use to exchange information between one another.
Working IT For You
The first website I ever developed was in 2001 on a free website development platform called Tripod. The archives of that site can still be seen here: https://web.archive.org/web/20010220201111/http://nikonbroker.tripod.com:80/ and that totally blows me away! As you can see, back then I had already fallen prey to the dreaded photography GAS (gear acquisition syndrome).
From then on the desire to build websites grew. Early in the 2000’s I bought my first domain names and began developing real websites with proper hosting, using proper development tools, for myself and for other people. I’m still doing it today and that, I’m hoping, is what brings you to this page.
I have developed websites with raw HTML/CSS code using tools like Dreamweaver, but these days using the kind of content management tools we have in the form of WordPress and others is what I advocate and specialise in. Why code by hand when a machine can do it for you? I am very familiar with WordPress and if I am commissioned to build a website for you, that's most likely what I will use.
On this website you can also purchase hosting for your website, or a new domain name. The entire system here is automated, but if you are old school like me and prefer talking to a human, I'm almost always available to help you with anything related to your website.
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