How did I start being computer geek, software geek and electronic nerd?

It all started when I was 5 years old – in 1989. My father was staying in Kuala Lumpur, while I was staying in Kangar, Perlis a small town in north Malaysia. One night, he called me from Kuala Lumpur, and asked me, what I want for my birthday? So I told him, I want a computer! On my next trip to Kuala Lumpur, meeting my father, I found out, there was a computer for me! I was so excited! That year, in 1989 dont talk about Windows GUI. Everything in DOS – Disk Operating System. Everything in commmand prompt and I remember each command to execute the program, when I was still five years old!

When I was six, my whole family moved to Shah Alam, which made me able to work (play) with my computer. My computer is now in my room and Im able to play with that machine daily. Everytime after coming back from school.

My computer looks somthing like this, but this using 5 inch diskette. I should not throw away my first PC. Why did I throw away?!

OK. The computer system was not like now. It was tough even to start the computer. Come on, it was 1990! 28 years ago! Almost 30 years ago! Im using a 30 years technology by that time where considered the most advanced computer my father had for me!

At that time, I was using a 3.5 inch floppy disk, with 1.44 MB (Megabyte) – which considered very huge capacity by that time and very advanced to store data. While other still using a 7 inch disk or 5.25 inch disk, with only able to store 720 KB of data, Im using double the capacity with the size less double. HUGE THING — HOKEY~~

This is how 3.5inch diskette (floppy disk) looks like

 

The comparison on the disk physical size. I was using the blue diskette.

 

Now, how to start this computer?

  1. Power on the computer
  2. Wait until the BIOS (Basic Input Output System) done loading
  3. The computer will prompt for OS to load
  4. Put in the diskette that has Operating System into Drive A (Yes, in that time, we have Drive A and Drive B. Thats why now we have Drive C but no more Drive A and Drive B)
  5. Hit enter
  6. Type in command
    1. A:/
    2. load os
  7. Wait for the Operating System (OS) to load into the RAM
  8. Once done, take out the this from the diskette drive
  9. Now you can put in your application file and load into the OS – let say a wordstar (It is a MS Word but 1990 version)
  10. Type
    1. A:/
    2. wsstar.exe
    3. Wait for the application to run while the floppy sound krreet kreet krreettt~
  11. Only now you can use your application
  12. If you want to save your file, there is another drive -B drive
  13. To save your file :
    1. B:/
    2. mkdir files
    3. save <your_file_name>
    4. wait until done

There was no inkjet printer by that time, only dot matrix printer – and it was huge thing in 1990 when you can print a teddy bear on a dot matrix printer! using ASCII word. Dont get me started on how to print ASCII art . I did that in 1990!

How to shutdown the PC you might ask.. Just flick the power switch. Thats it.

But after you shutdown the old PC, you need to load the OS into the RAM again. There was NO HARDDISK, NO CD-ROM, NO INTERNET by that time in the PC, only RAM and the RAM memory was only like less than 512 KB. Yes, Five One Two Kilo Byte. We survived that era!

Nowdays, you need to click start, click shutdown, and wait.

By that time, I watched a TV show, on how data able to be transmit using phone line. It was 1996 and my friend and I talked about this technology on the next day at school. See, how geek I am!

Moving on.

When it was in 1994, my passion towards electronics kick in. There was a class while I was standard 4 about basic electronic. This really sparks me to get to know more about elecronics. My father and I went to purchase 1 meter of wire – black and red, swicth, battery, battery holder, light bulb 3,0 V rating, light bulb holder. When I reached home, I was so excited to asemble everything and there, my HELLO WORLD to my electronic engineering world! I still remember, until today,  how excited I was, when Im able to get the light on and off using the switch.

 

 

 

This was the circuit. Simple circuit. But this was my HELLO WORLD to electronic engineering

 

I brought the circuit to school and showed to my teacher. That was how excited I am. I was 10 years old by that time.

In 1997, when I was 13, I already know where I want to go, my education path and what I want to be – electronic engineer. During this time, my target was to enter technical school. In Malaysia, there is a special education stream for students to enter if they want to get into engineering – electronic, mechanical, civil. We need to apply but we need to have good result to enter this stream. So I did well in my exam in order for me to enter this school.

End of 1997, my father bought me a book, title: ‘Basic Electronic’. I was 13 years old by that time. I was so excited and  I finished read the book within 30 days.

 

End of December 1999, my father involved in electronic industry, with a IC packaging, we moved to Kulim, Kedah and luckily my technical school just behind my house. On the very first day, on the very first class, I was sitting the most front of the class, to ask question to my electronic engineering class – YES, thats how Im very keen in electronic engineering. Sitting in front row, on the first day, and asked questions about electronic on the first day itself!!! HOW GEEK AM I? REAL GEEK! I still remember the question was about RC – Resistor and Capacitor timing – RC charging circuit and about wave radiation. The whole class like — who is this guy, asking question on the first day? hahahaha.

Later, after two years in technical school, learning electronic engineering, I enrolled myself to a very first technical university in Malaysia – UTeM – Universiti Teknikal Melaka Malaysia. I was the very first batch. Regardless the facility was like very minimal (since it was the first year operation), I dont care. Im here to get the technical knowledge in electronic engineering. For 3 years, I was there. Trying to grasp electronic knowledge as much as possible. On the second week in the first semester, I was having high fever. I was sent to the clinic by the university officer and they want to send me home after the clinic visit. I told them, NO! I want to be in the class. They told me, you got Medical Cert and need to rest. But I told them, NO, I want to be in the lab and learn. They sent me to the electronic lab and I did not miss my class.

On the second semester, I managed to get Deans award because of C++ Programming class. I realized then, Im good in software development. Anyway, my faculty name: Faculty of Electronic and Computer Engineering, a faculty that combined computer and electronic. I realized that, my passion towards software development more than my passion in electronic engineering. I did my software development project in 30 hours programming without sleep. I still remember, I closed my bedroom, switch off the light, becuase my roomate want to sleep, but I want to still do my software. How did I protect my eyes, working for 30 hours staring at computer screen? I wear sunglass! I did that! Bathe? I cant remember if I take a toilet break or get meal. But after that 30 hours, I slept for 20 hours.

Moving on

After I finish my diploma electronic engineering, I applied back to the same University for my degree in electronic engineering course. But since this time is degree, Im able to choose major. I did chose to enter computer related course, so that Im able to write software and design electronic circuit while at the same time, applied to other university. Later I got two offers, the same university and other university, Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP). At UTP, I was offered to enter 100% software development course, and I chose to be at UTP. Reasons:

  1. I assume, I had enough bsaic knowledge of electronic engineering – the hardware, I need to move to software engineering
  2. Nearer to my hometown, only 2 hours drive, compared to UTeM, 8 hours drive
  3. The PETRONAS brand

 

So, I was at UTP for my degree beginning 2015 to 2018. Instead of doing 4 years degree, I did degree for two-half years only, since Im able to transfer up to 30 credits.

After UTP, I was in the software and electronic engineering field. My first job was a computer programmer, then I moved to INTEL as electronic engineer, later software engineer at MIMOS, and then test engineer in a manufacturing company. The most I used my electronic and software engineering knowledge was at this manufacturing company where they need a software developer to create software, to automate the test procedure and they need someonw who able to understand electronic hardware. Fix me well!

Most of my career was at Kulim Hi Tech Park, where all big electronic corporations situated.

To know electronic while having the capability to write software is a very huge advantage. People still asking, how did you stare at computer screen hours? I told them, Im doing this since I was five years old!

Passion in what you do, is the most important!

— adam —

 

adam

Software engineer by passion

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