If you read my write-up on the vintage calculators
that my Dad gave me, you know that he worked for Pico in Scotland. Pico got heavy into the home automation stuff and eventually turned into X-10. They moved to the US in the late ’70s. We came to the US in 1979. Being part of the home automation world meant that we were no stranger to gadgets. (Me more so that my brother and sister.) I’ve always been into electronics and computers. I guess I take after my Dad.
I was a geek long before the term “geek” was popular. Actually, I was a called “nerd” a few times, but that’s probably because I wore glasses.
In 1987, we were interviewed by Electronic House magazine. My brother and sister weren’t really into anything technical. My older brother was more into sports and collecting baseball cards. My sister was only 8. Being a girl, she was more into Cabbage Patch dolls and New Kids on the Block. They did use X-10 to turn their lights on and off, so I guess that counted.
I was 12 at the time and had been very much into electronics and computers for years. The magazine people fell in love the minute they saw my room. I had a TI-99/4A and a Commodore 64 next to my bed. In 1987, I guess that was unheard of for a kid. I loved a good game of Spy Hunter, but I also loved programming in BASIC.
They loved my room so much, they put it on the front cover.
Here’s a closeup so you can better see the TI and the Commodore. In case you can’t tell, that’s a model of the human eye I’m holding. I loved my science models.
I’m also in the table of contents breathing into my Dad’s “Puff and Sip” invention. It was a home automation device that the handicapped could use to turn appliances and lights on and off by simply puffing and sipping on a straw.
And there it is! The a full-color two-page spread!
Actually, it’s a 4-page article. That’s a pretty big deal, not like some little blurb in the sidebar.
The article talks about the beginnings and evolution of X-10 and my Dad’s involvement, as well as how that’s bred a family of tech-loving geeks.
The astute reader will notice the Mac Plus and the Commodore on those desks behind my Mom and Dad, but here’s a closeup:
I didn’t know anyone else in school that had a computer, let alone four! I don’t think that was all of them either. We had an Apple IIc and a few TRS-80s floating around too.
I guess I’m pretty lucky to go “way back” with the tech. Not like other people that call themselves a “geek” because they have an iPhone and a Facebook account. Please.