About Me

Hi there, my name is George and I am writing to you from beautiful Melbourne, Australia. This page has been a long time coming, and even as I am writing this, I really don’t know what to say (or what to reveal!) about me. So here goes — by the way, if you have a question to ask, feel free to.

Name: George
Location: Melbourne, Victoria (Australia)
Age: 25 years old
Employed: Currently self-employed, co-owner of a business called aCore Solutions.
Job position: Development Manager
Previous education: Completed a Bachelor of Engineering (Software Systems) with honours at RMIT, VCE at Glen Waverley Secondary College

How long have you been using computers?

I played with my first computer (a Commodore Amiga 1000) in 1987. I usually just played games, but programming sparked my interest soon afterwards, and I started to write very rudimentary code throughout my primary education years. It wasn’t until year 7 (1st year of high school for our international readers) that programming actually started to make sense to me, and there were many animations and silly programs that I had written on the school’s Apple IIe’s. My first programming experience was in really crappy AmigaBASIC (which is basically a rebranded version of Microsoft’s GW-BASIC, but with some advanced graphic and sound functions), but my imagination really started to be expressed through the Apple IIe’s LOGO programming language.

By year 9 I was dabbling in HTML — at this stage I had already outgrown an NEC 286/10MHz with 20MB hard drive and 1.2MB 5.25″ high-density floppy drive (my first PC that I didn’t have to share with anyone else!) and was owning at the time a hand-me-down 386 DX40 (AMD chip) that had 4MB RAM and an 85MB hard drive. I could finally use Windows 3.0 (later upgraded to 3.1 and then 3.11) and sexy GUIness was reintroduced back into my life after the dry patch that existed since using the Amiga (which we still had, but I barely used). I still remember opening Netscape Naviator 3.0 Gold on my 386, which took 25 minutes of solid hard-drive reading to launch, and after that it was still as slow as molasses. I didn’t have an internet connection at the time, so my main purpose of using Navigator was for Composer (since I hadn’t any knowledge of HTML). I used to save my website onto a floppy disk, and take it to school to upload to a free GeoCities account via the school’s 56kbps connection to the web. Ahh, how times have changed!

Throughout the rest of high school, I improved my HTML skills a lot more, and also my programming logic (or how to think programs through, and plan how to code before typing on the computer). I obviously upgraded my PC many times within this period — from the 386, I upgraded to a Cyrix 6×86 PR200+ with 64MB RAM (which I later fried), then an AMD K6-II 450, before building my current PC, an AMD 1800XP. It was at this stage that my PC was powerful enough to emulate an Amiga quicker than the original Amiga could run natively, and I used this to my advantage with emulating Amigas that would have been a lot more powerful than the actual Amiga hardware that our family still had. Running Workbench 3.1 for the first time was a breeze, and quite different from the Workbench 1.3 and 2.05 that I was used to on the real hardware.

When university came around, I enrolled in a Computer Systems/Software Engineering course, which of course included programming in its syllabus. Even though we were introduced to C++, the programming theories were the same as to what I was used to, with the dabbling of programming that I had done for the previous 10+ years. This meant that I picked up C++ far too easily, and was basically helping out my classmates and friends with their programming, even though I hadn’t seen any C++ code ever in my life 6 months prior. C++ opened my eyes to the exciting possibilities available to software engineering — controlling hardware through software was very exciting and intriguing for me.

Our first project was basically an electronic circuitry that behaved like a game controller — this plugged into the PC via the parallel port, and the assignment was to construct a game that utilised the controller. The controller was a project for the Engineering Design subject, while the game was a project for the Software Engineering subject. The excitement I had when I had figured out how to control the hardware directly through code was overwhelming — I just had to show everyone in my family what I had constructed.

It may seem up to this point that I might be “showing off” or that I seem to have a knack to learn anything that comes my way inside out — this had not always been the case, especially at uni. I absolutely despised Java, I just couldn’t understand why I had to go through so many levels and interfaces, just to print out a “Hello World” on the screen, where I can do the same in just a handful of lines in C++. I also haven’t been much of a mathematics guy — I pretty much struggled through high school in the later years, and found passing Mathematical Methods for year 12 an extreme relief and a huge accomplishment — since it meant that I could go do engineering at uni. Little did I know that I had to continue maths right through the course — I was very young and stupid then!

It wasn’t until my final year of uni that I was introduced to PHP. I found PHP very interesting, since it was a lot like C++, but for web servers. My interest in C++ finally amalgamated with my curiosity with HTML and web technologies — it was a perfect marriage. I poured over PHP documentation, books and manuals, trying anything and everything that I could get my hands on. Having PHP as a free open-source technology that I could install on any computer (well, almost!) just drove me further into the deep end of PHP. Relational database classes at uni assisted me with MySQL, which again is perfectly matched to PHP. Things just got a lot more interesting :)

My last position at the workplace was a Web Application Developer / Database Management Guy, and I still used PHP and MySQL there. We used Macs there (PowerMac G4s to be exact), and this spiked my interest in Macs and OS X. I had always drooled over Macs during uni (the local Apple store was only a block away), and using one at work allowed me to ‘test drive’ OS X without actually having to buy any hardware or software first. I decided that I really like OS X, pretty much to the point of using it instead of Windows, so I bought myself a PowerBook G4 and have been using it daily ever since. The PC is now sitting in the corner gathering dust, occasionally switched on to grab a file from the hard drive, or the occasional game playing.

Even now that I am running my own business, the Mac is still the daily ‘everything’ that I use. I love it to death, I can do my work very easily with it, and I have no complaints at all.

What computers have you had?

I currently own an Apple MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo (main computer), an Apple Power Mac (QuickSilver) and an AMD 1800XP+. The specs (as of 23rd November 2006) are as below:

    Apple MacBook Pro

  • 2.16GHz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU
  • 1GB DDR RAM (hopefully soon to be upgraded) 2GB of DDR2 PC5300 RAM love
  • 160GB SATA II perpendicular hard drive
  • Airport Express and Bluetooth standard
  • 15″ LCD screen
  • 6x Dual Layer SuperDrive (DVD burner and CD burner)
  • … plus the usual Apple stuff, like FireWire 400/800, USB2.0, Gigabit Ethernet, backlit keyboard, ExpressCard 34 slot, iSight, etc.
  • … and to make the laptop feel like a desktop when I’m at home, I use an iCurve for a stand, and an Apple Wireless keyboard (BlueTooth) and Apple Wireless Mouse (BlueTooth as well). I also hook up my Hyundai 17″ LCD screen as a secondary monitor, via DVI.
  • Runs Mac OS X 10.4.8
    Apple Power Mac (QuickSilver)

  • 733MHz PowerPC CPU
  • came with 512MB PC133 RAM, upgraded to 768MB
  • came with a 40GB IDE hard drive, upgraded to a 120GB Seagate IDE drive (it’s an early QS, so it has the 128GB hard drive limit)
  • DVD-ROM/CD writer (Combo Drive)
  • Iomega 250MB Zip drive
  • NVIDIA GeForce2 32MB AGP video card
  • … plus the standard stuff like modem, FireWire ports, USB ports, etc.
  • I had bought this machine off eBay, had it delivered. Quite a clean machine, not many scratches or cosmetic blemishes, and it is currently being used as a server hooked up to my router. Accessed via Apple Remote Desktop 3.
    AMD 1800XP+ PC (hand built)

  • 1533MHz CPU
  • 512MB PC133 RAM
  • 40GB Western Digital hard drive
  • MSI motherboard, using the dreaded VIA KT100 chipset (ech…)
  • Some weird CPU fan on my heatsink, makes my PC sound like a vacuum cleaner when turned on
  • ATI Radeon 9600XT 256MB video card
  • The same Hyundai 17″ LCD screen as mentioned above (but connected via VGA — the screen supports both signals, and has a mode switch on the front panel)
  • Some sort of generic network card
  • I use the onboard sound card (hangs head in shame)
  • Runs Microsoft Windows XP SP2
    My previous computers have been:

  • Commodore Amiga 1000 (secondary floppy drive, 256KB RAM expansion to 512KB, Kickstart 1.3 boot disk) — family computer
  • Commodore Amiga 2000 (upgraded to 8MB RAM, GVP hard drive card with 40MB hard drive, 2-speed SCSI CD-ROM drive, 2.1GB IBM SCSI hard drive, 14MHz 68000 CPU upgrade) — family computer. Note that this was the later A2000s, it came stock with just 1MB Fat Agnus and Workbench 2.05/Kickstart 2. All the other stuff we had done ourselves.
  • NEC 286 10MHz with 640KB RAM, 20MB hard drive, 1.2MB high-density floppy drive, EGA monitor+card
  • Custom-built 286 12MHz with 1MB RAM, 20MB hard drive, 1.44MB high-density floppy drive, VGA graphics
  • Custom-built 386 DX40 (AMD CPU) with 4MB RAM, 85MB hard drive, Windows 3.0 (then 3.1, then 3.11)
  • Custom-built 6×86 PR200+ with 64MB RAM, 2.5GB hard drive, Windows 95 OSR2 (then 98, then ME), Diamond Monster Sound II MX400 sound card
  • Apple PowerBook G4 15″ 1.67GHz Revision D with 1.5GB RAM, 80GB hard drive and 8x SuperDrive (since handed down to a relative)

What programming languages do you know?

I have dabbled in the following languages/scripting platforms:

  • PHP
  • C++ (Borland and Microsoft [ech])
  • ASP (and ASP.NET with VB.NET) — ech
  • Visual Basic — ech
  • GNU C
  • Bash scripting
  • Java — ech
  • JavaScript (plus the usual HTML, CSS, DHTML, blah blah blah…)
  • Turbo Pascal (veeeery long time ago)
  • QBASIC (veeeery long time ago)
  • Microsoft GW-BASIC (veeeery long time ago)
  • Apple LOGO (veeeery long time ago)
  • AmigaBASIC (veeeery long time ago)

What podcasts do you listen to?

My podcast tab in iTunes have the following subscriptions (in order of appearance):

  • 12 Byzantine Rulers: The History of the Byzantine Empire
  • ABC News Radio — StarStuff
  • Commodore Amiga Retro Sounds
  • Digital Photography Tips From The Top Floor (good podcast this one, if you’re into photography or wanting to get into it, like me)
  • Dr. Karl on triple j
  • Hamish and Andy (FOXFM podcast)
  • Mac Pro Podcast (with Joseph Nilo — has now got a good mix of audio and video podcasts, and is quite interesting to see the Mac world in the eyes of a graphic professional)
  • MacCast (the enhanced version of the MacCast, that includes cover art and bookmarks)
  • Nova 969: Merrick and Rosso (for a good laugh)
  • Plueballs (another good laugh)
  • The C64 Take-away podcast (excellent renditions of classical Commodore 64 and Amiga tunes)
  • The Ricky Gervais Show (my favourite podcast, hands down)
  • The Science Show (as heard on Radio National)
  • Tony Martin Get This (from 3MMM radio)
  • Wiggler.gr (Greek video podcast on technology)

Why are you using such a crappy machine like the Mac? Macs are the gayest computer ever!

I find Macs pretty cool. It’s also different from Windows, and I like change. It forces a new kind of thinking and behaviour for using your computer, and in my mind, the OS is more intuitive and logically designed than it is with Windows. I can do all my work and tasks that I did in Windows on my Mac, it’s about 99% compatible with Windows, and the hardware design of the PowerBook is just sex on batteries.

Each to their own though — I’ll just use my Mac, and you can continue using your beige box.

Wow, you use a Mac! I like you! Let me buy you a beer!

Cool :)

Wow, you use a Mac! I love you! Let me buy you a beer! I want to have your children!

Cool :)