Late-Night Coding

"Dad, I got Star Trek working!🖖"

No dress code at "Insurance Automation Methods (IAM) Inc." and Bedhead is encouraged.

Me: "Wait. It's a DROID? 🤖 That you give COMMANDS!? 📜 And it DOES STUFF?! đŸĢĄ"

My Dad: "Yup."

Me: "đŸ¤¯ I'm all in on this computer thing."

I've loved creating things as long as I can remember. This is me on my dad's TRS-80 in 1977, the first "home computer" anyone had seen in New Jersey, let alone Sparta (Lake Mohawk). "BASIC Computer Games" was the book. I taught myself to type, and became obssessed with pecking in programs. The "final boss" in this book was "Super Star Trek", the longest program in the book at 9,200 lines of source code. Early lessons in debugging, they never worked the first time. When I got one working, neighbors would come over to play, and gape at the technilogical wonder.

Walking downstairs from this photo, you'd find our lacquor-encrusted workshop, with an R/C plane 🛩ī¸ mid-construction by my dad, and a model rocket 🚀 from me. I built upwards of 30 models back then, from plastic to R/C cars to rockets. Valuable early lessons in craftsmanship, extrapolation from incomplete datasets (the manual), fine motor control, and not stopping until it's done.

That's thanks to the inspiration of my Scientist-Inventor grandfather, Percy Brooks, who had a dozen U.S. Patents to his name, and my dad checking out of the Ratrace at 40 to start his own computer business.

Needless to say, I'm still a Level-90, Card-Carying gamer. As a teenager, I worked in 2 different arcades on the boardwalk in Wildwood NJ just to be around microchips. I switched to PlayStation 5 years ago, and have been loving the experiexnce. The best video games I've ever played are PlayStation exclusives. I'll never own another PC or XBox. You can see from my PlayStation Accomplishments, my fascination with robots hasn't waned.

Russ Brooks: Coding Age 7