As you have already seen, my name is Mark Elliott. I am a computer technician as well as an enthusiast. I really enjoy computer hardware both old and new as well as software and operating systems. I’d like to briefly talk about my history with computers, showing you how I wound up where I’m at now. Then I would like to say where I want to go from here.
I did get an early start as a user. My dad gave my sister and I his old Vtech 386. It ran Windows for Workgroups 3.1. We mainly used it to play games and we really enjoyed messing with Paint Brush. We really did not do anything serious or productive with the machine. It did however give me some very basic exposure to text based computing. We had to use MSDOS to startup Windows and some of the games we played. As I got a little older I got a computer of my own. It was a Compaq Deskpro sporting a 166mhz Pentium. By this time I was ambitious enough to do some hardware upgrades. I had really developed an urge to tinker with hardware. Over the next couple of years I added a 40gb hard drive and a cd-rw drive and went from Windows 98 to 2000. As I entered high school I got a faster computer from my dad. It sported a 1ghz AMD Athlon 512mb of ram and that same cd-rw and 40gb hard drive from the Compaq. By this time I was able to perform basic hardware trouble shooting as well as Windows trouble shooting and support. When I got my first job as a bus boy at Fuddruckers I saved up and built an even faster computer. This PC was equipped with an Athlon XP 2500+, 1gb of DDR memory, an 80gb hard drive and a faster cd-rw with buffer under-run protection (no more coasters!). I had gotten to the point where I had enough personal experience with hardware and Windows software to start supporting people.
By the time I was a junior in high school. I was working at Circuit City selling iPods and video games. I really wanted to work in their computer department to get my foot in the industry door, even if it was just sales. One day I decided to venture into that department and just sell a computer. I did not care if I got in trouble or not. Shortly thereafter I got moved over to the PC sales department and I was finally in. I was a salesman for around 6 months or so. Circuit City decided that they wanted to compete with the Geek Squad with actual computer support and repair and I made it in as an actual technician. I moved from Circuit City to various Computer repair shops as a in-store and on-site computer tech. My career has and for the most part still does revolve around supporting the Windows environment and it’s users in both personal and professional settings.
I had my first experience with a non-windows platform in 2007. I was wrapping up a job at customers house and I saw an iMac G4 siting in the corner of his office. When I asked him about it he told me that he hadn’t used it in years. I offered him $100 and took it home. After a clean install of OS X 10.4 it was ready to rock and I really enjoyed it. I then acquired a PowerMac G4 Quicksilver and upgraded it substantially, adding a 1.33ghz OWC Mercury Extreme CPU upgrade, a sonnet SATA card and a flashed Radeon 9800 pro with a Zalman Cooler. My fondness for PowerPC macs comes from the fact that they are what introduced me to the world outside of Windows and Microsoft. During the years leading up to 2013 I had gone through several machines and macs and have tried to gain as much experience as possible with the Mac OS’es as well as maintaining my Windows skill set for my job. As this time went on I saw the effects of Apple’s abandonment of the PowerPC platform take it’s toll on the security of the PowerPC Mac OS’es. I watched the Mac OS only crowd battle against people who pointed this out and as a result of this I began to use Debian. I had dabbled with various Ubuntus over the years but in terms of stability Debian takes the cake. I’m now hammering Debian like I did Windows as a child or Mac OS a few years ago. I am having quite a bit of fun doing so. My current job is kind of a jack of all trades tech position. It still is heavily Windows based tasks, however there are frequently Mac OS tasks as well as the occasional *unix task. In addition to these we do projection, audio, video and much more.
Now that the past and present is out of the way I would like to talk about the future. I am having a blast using and learning everything I can with Debian. I am by no means an expert but with practice and repetition I will get there. It’s been a great experience, it is nice to not be beholden to a company like Microsoft or even Apple. In addition to honing my Debian skills I would like to learn some programing languages. I would like to learn C# as it would have direct benefit to the job I currently have. In addition to C# I would like to learn C++, python and ruby as they are much more free languages compared to C#. I would like to eventually complete a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science.
Thats my story. Stay hungry and always be willing to learn, it’s very fun and rewarding. Most Importantly, thank you for reading!