In 1976, I found myself at the heart of an epoch-defining gathering – the Homebrew Computer Club at Stanford University. A motley crew of unkempt yet brilliant minds congregated within those hallowed halls, each driven by the shared dream of revolutionizing the world with personal computers.
One fateful day, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak unveiled their brainchild: a remarkable single-board computer dubbed the Apple 1. It may appear primitive by today’s standards, but at that moment, it captivated the audience with its ease of use, programmability, and creative potential. I, too, was ensnared by the promise of this technological marvel, feeling the irresistible pull of the rabbit hole that has since captivated generations of human beings – the insatiable desire to wield technology and reshape the world.
Embracing the future, I acquired an Apple 1 from Byte Shop, a brand new, unassuming store in San Rafael, California. Eager to put this magical device to use, I set about constructing a weather station to display wind, sun, and tide data on the computer’s screen. To my astonishment, the project exceeded my wildest expectations – a rarity in the world of invention.
Buoyed by the success of my previous three computer books, I embarked on a new literary endeavor: a book about computer graphics. My confidence was high, I felt I could write this book on my own. My publisher Howard Sams, was excited about the idea and agreed, that since it was about color graphics, it should have color pages. Then I immediately got caught in a whirlwind of Midwestern editorial scrutiny from Sams, now it was objections regarding my use of the word “Primer” in the title. Some argued it referred to paint undercoating, while others insisted it was the component that ignited bullets. This nitpicking was a stark reminder of the pedantry that can plague the editorial process, mainly based on what part of the country your publisher is based. In my case it was midwestern conservative values vs west coast liberalism. I was thus the liberal. Undeterred, I persevered, and Computer Graphics Primer skyrocketed to bestseller status, providing me to consider to abandoning my 40 hr/wk tech writer position, and fully embrace my newfound identity as a writer.
As my life continued to transform, I found myself yearning for a partner who wouldn’t begrudge my passion for computers – someone who could understand the love that had set me on this exhilarating journey…
Does such a woman exist?