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I vaguely remember a Maths master telling as about FORTRAN and ALGOL in the Upper Sixth and I think we did some exercises with loops. Des Watson, a bright colleague, really got the hang of it and produced something marvellous for the end of term show involving lots of matchboxes and beads.

Programming wasn't something that appealed to me, though, and it was way ahead of anything I needed for A levels so that was that at the time.

My first full-time job, strangely enough, was in a department called Accounts Computer in Edinburgh. I got to see plenty of Accounts on bundles of green and white striped paper but only ever the merest glimpse of Computer which appeared to occupy a large suite of rooms across the corridor.

My first actual computer was a Dictaphone Dual Display. It had a vertical A4 size display, a keyboard which also featured a horizontally scroll of the characters being typed and a massive standing processing unit with slots for two 8" floppy disks. I'd set up a consultancy business and we made good use of it to produce lots of documentation based on templates and databases of addresses and client information. I even managed to get it do some calculations with the data before adding that to documents. We also offered word processing services locally as the quality was marvellous compared to some on the market at the time. That helped to cover the massive £11000 or so it all cost!

The printer was so noisy - a daisy wheel type - that companies made a fortune selling boxes to put them in. A big perspex lid with a fan to keep things fairly cool kept it a bit quieter but we still finished up moving it down to another floor!

The nice thing about it was the fact that it was one of very few that displayed on the screen something pretty much like you'd get in print. The codes to make things bold or underlined or whatever showed on the red scrolling thing but not on the screen.

In 1989 I had a brief encounter with an Amiga machine and was amazed at the drawing programme I could use. I think it cost about £4500 and wasn't something I could afford or really justify even if I could.

Next was my first personal computer - an Amstrad PWC 2512 in 1990. I used that to write my first novel, amongst other bits and pieces. It used Locoscript. I could get about 25 pages on the 3" disks and had to remember not to fill more than 50% of a disk or I wouldn't be able to edit anything.

Its printer was a nightmare - a matrix affair that sort of screamed as it fired black dots across the paper. Just one sheet at a time. Printing the 600 page book took weeks.

The first Windows machine had a 166Hz processor, about 128Mb RAM and Windows 95 so that must have been late 1994. The internet too - dial-up with LineOne and no time-based charges or limits.

1996 brought a Mesh PC with a 233Hz processor, 512Mb RAM and 4.3Gb hard drive. I had a zip drive slot on this too and those disks could hold up to 250Mb compared to the 1.4Mb on the floppies. That's still going with bigger drives and, I think, a faster processor. It started with Windows 95 but finished with Windows 98SE which was a lot better.

I was also then using laptops at College for training sessions off-site at various places wherever enough people could be got together to learn how to use all this new technology. The first were a dreadful white colour and had black and white screens.

Next at home was a nice Mesh Shuttle PC in 2003 with a processor I can't remember, 1Gb RAM and 250Gb hard drive. That had Windows XP Professional and I managed to avoid Windows ME completely! This was a neat little machine but the fan was noisy and it developed a habit of suddenly losing power and smelling of burning! I still have it and it probably just needs a new power supply and a quieter fan. I also had a Mesh Notebook which ran fantastically until it was stolen in my car in late 2004.

College replaced the laptop with a Dell Inspiron, 1Gb RAM but small 32Gb hard drive and big 17" screen. That's still going.

In 2008 the popping Shuttle finally had to be replaced and, being used for this article, is a Mesh with 3Gb RAM,. 500Gb hard drive and I have no idea what speed the processor is but it is something called triple core. It's quiet and pretty damn good. My son is using an identical machine which appears to be just about surviving, although it did need a graphics card upgrade to run Need For Speed and has a tendency to misbehave for reasons we've yet to determine. They both have Windows XP Media Centre Edition which I'd like to upgrade to Windows 7 sometime before long.

I also have an ASUS laptop F5V Series with 2Mb RAM and 320Gb hard drive. It has an office version of Windows 7 (the one with an N) and, whilst it has survived a pretty tough life, it does seem to struggle occasionally, gets damn hot underneath and on the tracking pad and gives up more often than it should.

I really don't know what I'd do without a computer and the internet - I'm totally reliant professionally and probably addicted personally! Almost everything I want to do involves one in one way or another and it is a great time to be alive and to have time to develop with them. I guess that in a while a computer will be largely just something that's there. It has never been a 'study' or 'spare room' thing for me but part of my main living room as the audio and tv facilities are great. It's got a bigger screen than my TV and it's easier to find and play tracks than loading CDs on a hi fi!

So, yes, I love computers. Seems like I've been in the right place at the right time in that respect. They've been good to me to and hope they'll help me earn a bit more yet too.