A call to be cautious to the generation that follows ours.

Is it Beer O'Clock?

Ofcourse not! At least..... Not for you!

I've come to realize something over the course of my life which if i'd known it two and a half decade ago my life wouldn't have been as meaningless as it has been now. Regardless of whatever it was i realized i learned that the conclusion of that latter part of the first statement hurt me very deep inside somehow.

 

I hate selfpetty wallowing articles without any other purpose than to vent the “Woo is me” feelings of the author. Always have and always will. Though this article might look like one of those or is perceived by some as one, and i do not deny the appearance might be simular at places, it is defenately not! The purpose is to serve as a call for caution to the generation of “those who make things do stuff their creator/inventor had not intended it to do” and who asked “Why?” rather than “How?” when they were first graders. What i mean with calling for them to be cautious? Read the article, it's in there somewhere.

 

The people more like me would've asked another question entirely by now namely “Who the hell are you to think that generation should heed your calls anyway” and not only is it the far more important information to be curious about it is also one of the keys in being cautious on the internet, or indeed all of life.

 

I am, at this moment, nobody. This is not metaphorically meant or spiritually zen crap though it might sound like it. I am poor, unemployed, achievementless, ambitionless and haven't left anything significant behind in my life let alone made a lasting mark on the world or its people. If i hadn't existed the only loss the Earth and it's population would suffer would be my son never having been born. I grant that that might be the greatest loss humanity would have ever suffered through but at this particular point there is very little from which the world would be able to surmise my son's future irreplacable and profound role in human history.

 

And yet i have had so much opertunities, resources, support, contacts and everything else that might improve the odds for becoming legendary during my early life that i almost had to consciously willfully fuck shit up in my life to avoid them. But i never allowed any of them to just take me along the flow to success, fame or riches no matter how easy it would've been to do so.

 

I was born in 1974, into a life that wasn't that different from what mine would become at one point and didn't offer a very promising life. My single mother had no interest in being a mother at the time but was forced to have the baby by her parents (my grandparents) who couldn't bare the thought of my mother's second baby also being given up for adoption and never hear or see their grandchild ever again. Very soon after i was born it was obvious i was not enough to shock my mother into living a life in which being a good mother to a child was possible and my grandparents took me in and raised me as their own.

 

Now my grandparents were not rich by any definition i don't agree with but they had considerably more wealth than anyone else that lived in our neighbourhood or any of the kid's parents in school. So it felt like we were shitfaced filthy rich to me most of my youth. I was the first kid under 8 that had his own computer in the whole damned world and the only other person i knew had a computer was the 16 year old savant-ish guy who was my friend and was the reason i asked my parents to get me one of those things too. Nobody else had a computer in their household, never mind a kid getting one for himself.

 

The first one, as well as the second one, that my parents gave me had to be returned and swapped for a better, more powerfull one within 3 days, as i'd managed to convince my parents of the insufficientness of the computer they'd bought for me by conguring up the examples from the manual's last chapters. In the end it was a C64 that became my pride and joy, my reason for being, my slave, my master, my life and myself. The hurdle of every single bit of information available back then being in English which i (aged 6) didn't speak nor read was, still surprisingly even if only to myself, easily conquered somehow and in such a short time that i never managed to remember how short it was or what i did in that short time to achieve it i achieved to learn how the computer worked, how its os worked (if the term os even applied back then, which is another discussion entirely) and i even had Assembler coding down to an artfull science The first predesessors of the computer clubs that would soon spawn what would become an actual scene and maybe even a culture began to pop up at that time and ofcourse i had the fortunate opertunity to be able to attend the first meetings where crackers and computer freaks or computer enthousiasts came together bringing their computers with them and go do stuff together, preferably stuff that some say can't be done, or for which the hardware we used should be incapable to do.

 

It didn't even take an hour before i gravitated to the other guys that did want to try every single bit of software that came out but didn't want to ask their parents for ƒ50,-- to go buy it or have to find copies of in the US or Japan. The people who knew assembler and had fun taking up the challenge of removing any form of copyright protection from any new software that was realeased (even software we knew nothing about and certainly never would use) place a nifty little 'demo' or 'intro' in the 'executable' which would then go on to start the software proparly without it's copy protection engaged. In the computerclub meetings i attended the total attendance would be 5-10 and half of them being 'crackers' in the very very first few meetings but steadily rose with the fall of the purchase costs of the commodore 64 and its various models. Just before the Amiga was released the numbers had shifted to over 100 in attendance and 90 of them 'crackers' devolving the computer club meetings in to pirating/copyfests once a week where everybody copied the cracks from the first ones who'd managed to crack/demo a game or application and distributed their own cracks/demo-ed releases if one noticed that you were the first one to be able to offer it for copying.

 

You can probably imagine the likes with which i came into contact, befriended, allied with, allied agains, competed with and had “fitties” with as we'd call it today. TFS (The Final Solution, one of the first and certainly one of the best pioneers of the scene that would evolve later that now is mostly referred to as the “demoscene”) was the one who got me to want a computer, helped me get the basics and tought me how to code in assembler enough for me to enjoy the rivalry and competition that came with that emerging “shadowy” side of computers, gaming, hobbying which would become the internet.

 

By the time the modems became affordable for people (as in beneath the thousands and thousands that only a company would be able to pay) i was quick to bludgeon my parent's resistance to whining into non existence and get them to buy me one and had, though i have been told this claim is refuted by others, the first BBS running in my country which was not operated by a company. I had even managed to obtain sources inside computer shops and dev companies who'd provide me with copies of newly releasing software weeks or even months before the release dates uploading all of it onto my BBS. Uploading and downloading back then was something that required most importanly a humongous huge patience, besides being newtech so mindboggling and beyond comprehension for a staggering large group of “moons” which is what we called those who we perceived as orbitting the real sceners in hopes of being one of the first to get their hands on new releases from the cracking groups that had begun replacing the lone warriors that had built the foundation of the seen upon the countless hours, weeks and sometimes months they spent staring at decompiling code or dumped binary error codes scrolling across screens 16-20 hours a day on average.

 

A week before the official launch my parents gave me the Commodore Amiga for my birthday, along with an ibm personal computer which they'd intended to stimulate me to persue other interests surrounding my addiction to computers than beating the record for number polygons from which an animated bouncing ball was made up. I must regretfully inform you that eventually both endevours ended in what i never admit to but did have to accept as failure to achieve. I never did break that particular record nor did i persue other interests as a result of being given an ibm personal computer.

 

The Amiga was so radically different in every way that i could ever imagine would ever matter that it might as well have been beamed to us from an advanced alien civilisation or something. The leap it represented from the c64 (ignoring the c128 and other even more obscure failures from Commodore business machines inc.) that i refused to believe the specs until i had my amiga and i personally made it perform each awesome spec they claimed it could do and saw it happen before my own eyes. From 8 color graphics and sid chip sythesized beep generators (i know i have now hurt some peoples feeling and i apologize) being the bleeding edge we got to explore the limits of in 64kb we were released without supervision into an opulence of being able to show 4069 colors simultaniously on the screen from a palette of 16,4 million colors. We had 4 channel full stereo sound which could be sampled up to rediculous frequencies and the all powerfull Motorola 68000 series cpu! Disk drives with 3,5” disks on which, eventually, 720k could be stored!! Harddrives existed, legand had it, which could store up to 50 megabytes of data! It took some of years to accept that maybe one day there would come a time in which 50Mb of storage could be sensible to be used by any private person.

 

And ofcourse at first “the scene” was reluctant to migrate from a 64 scene to an Amiga scene which for some of meant that for too long there was no one else that had an Amiga like you did and forced to keep up their 'creds' and 'status' among the old 64 scene. But eventually, and in my eperience quite suddenly that ended and the Amiga exploded into hundreds of thousands of bedrooms, studio's and other places spreading like a virus. Long before windows the Amiga's OS was basically a kernel loading a gui and made use of shared liberaries (and it basically did everything that Windows would eventully be famous for and successful with.)

 

Again i was right there on the bleeding edge of the computer fronteer, with my feet firmly into the “greats” of the days being part of or witnessing from the inner circle the development and creation of technology, techniques and inventions that now form the foundation of things we couldn't live our lives without. I knew the people, and could have taken any one of a mutitude of offers that would have made me rich enough to be in the fortune ranking by now. \ even had the skills and the knowledge to easily thrive in whatever it was i'd be doing or required to do.

 

I just didn't. I was having to much fun to think about anything seriously and i had developed my 'scene' principles and values to far into a phylosophy to be able to realize that those who pirated software out of principle and defended the theft and distribution of intellectual proparties as part of the moral values you identified yourself by did not get nice jobs at the big incorperations who were making the money that was to be made.

 

In hind sight i think that was the period in which i came to accept that coding wasn't actually something i was good at, but that the skills required to code 64kb through assembler were much much less impressive when faced with amounts of memory like 512kb or 1024kb and registers like the amiga offered. By using snippets of code you memorized any idiot could fool himself into thinking he could code back on the c64kb but on the Amiga you'd actually had to learn how to develop and create code like a savant or venture into the just barely sparked into life area of higher languages that would eventually become visual studio and other forms of IDE like development forms. And i quickly learned that i could do anything with a computer, any computer, except learn how to code.

 

As i had never even consciously considered there might be reasons or circumstanses that could possibly prevent me from becoming a highly payed and greatly respected software or game developer that whole not being able to learn how to code thing kind of blew me away, ambition wise at a time at which i had just finished school and had to choose the path of my career, my education and also stumbled into something called the Gabber-scene. Naive beyond comprehension knowing nothing about life except my inability to learn how to code i let that last bit, the gabber-scene, overwhelm me, envelop me, and for all intents and purposes become me. The scene consisting of house-parties, xtc, and living life as one big party with sleep interruptions (to be kept at a minimum) and a strong belief in the power of not giving a fuck about anything as longs as it left one alone was not very conductive in terms of building a wealthy and productive future for the gabbers or aquiring social skills that fascilitated the aquisition of employment in jobs that could provide forementioned wealthy and productive future by alternate means.

 

I vividly recall the confidence i had back then when i thought about career, future and sosciety that i was still young and there would be plenty of time for me to get that job working with computers and make that fat paycheck in a couple of years. I don't remember the moment at which that confidence went away to make place for the realisation that time had run out and that choosing my final path and succeed on it through sheer determination was no longer an option. That the easy road i'd coasted on “Until i got serious and go do what i wanted to do” had run out of exists.

 

I guess i never did realize that, seeing that in the end i didn't even comitted myself to succeed in the only path left to me.

 

TBC soon