Marty Anstey: All About Me
It's difficult writing about oneself, so perhaps the best way to summarize everything is to listen to this song.
Many thanks to the very talented Jeff Kornberg for writing this awesome tune about yours truly!
I have been interested in music, electronics and computers since a very young age. My very first computer was an Olivetti L1 M20 (Note: in Italian) that my dad's company had bought, and had been sitting unused in storage for a couple of years. It was the mid 1980's and my brothers and I discovered it, tucked away in boxes in a dark corner, and convinced him to bring it home for us to play with. And thus began my foray into the world of computing.
Although at the time I had practically no knowledge of how to use a computer, within a few months I had written my first programs in BASIC and assembly language (keep in mind, computers of that era weren't exactly user friendly). Fortunately my dad's company had purchased some business software to run on the computer, written in BASIC (as things often were then) and I spent months reading over the source code.
In retrospect, reading source code is a great way to learn a programming language, and it just happened to work well for me. In addition, the system included a full set of fairly comprehensive manuals which outlined everything from how to use the operating system (PCOS), a BASIC and Assembly Language programming reference, and information about the hardware. In those days, when you bought a computer, you expected it to come with full hardware and programming references. It certainly made the task of learning all about the internals of the machine much quicker and more thorough.
The Olivetti was a solid computer that stood up well to the rigours of four kids thrashing on it continually. The keyboard was the first to go, but we repaired that by replacing the plastic pins that made contact with the switches under the keys with home-made metal ones - cut from tiny nails if I recall correctly. This repair wasn't permanent, however, and it became a common task to boot up the machine, determine which keys didn't work, perform the repairs and then get on with whichever task you had to do. It became quite tedious and in time our use of the Olivetti waned.
In 1990, my parents took notice of our plight and bought us an IBM PS/1 model 2011 personal computer, a 10mhz 80286. In many ways, the PS/1 was a great computer. despite a few interesting design choices such as housing the power supply in the monitor (which I never fully understood), and using a ROM-based version of DOS (thankfully, that could be bypassed). But it was nice to be one of the first of all my friends to actually have a computer with a colour screen!
Along with my brothers and our friend Alastair, I spent countless hours playing games, particularly the incredibly popular Sierra games - Space Quest (my particular favourite was Space Quest III), King's Quest, Police Quest, as well as many other gaming hits of the time including the popular Commander Keen, Cosmo, Paganitzu, Crystal Caves (this game was awesome!), Duke Nukem, Doom, and Wolfenstein 3D - to name a few.