There were various influences:
- The name of this blog, “Computer James” is a play on the 80’s song “Computer Games” by Mi-Sex. That was my nick-name at college, before I even really got interested in (or had access to) any computers. It was a nick-name I didn’t discourage, therefore I kind of grew into it. It was better than the alternative: Hippo-heavy (instead of Hippo-lite)!
- Love of science fiction. Especially Robert A. Heinlein. I particularly loved his The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress. It opened my eyes to the possibilities of Artificial Intelligence.
- Nelson College upgraded from BBC Micro to Apple IIe just as I hit fourth form. Thus the right confluence of ability and availability joined together to introduce me to AppleSoft BASIC and Turtle Graphics.
- I failed in my bid to join the RNZAF as a University Candidate, Officer Selection. I had spent 5 years at No. 23 Squadron (Nelson) Air Training Corps learning to be the best Air Cadet I could be, only to fail OTS for my hand-eye coordination. A lesser rank held no appeal to me.
- But computers were still only a hobby to me until I hit second year at uni. This was because I made a materialistic decision to concentrate on a Business Degree, in order to attempt to make the big bucks. I signed up to be an Accounting Bursar with the Housing Corporation. They agreed to pay for my 3 years of study (plus holiday work) in return for my bond to stay 3 years to work as a junior management accountant. I had never taken Accounting as a subject at school. Accounting wasn’t available in the first year. It was only after I took ACCY205 in my second year that I discovered I absolutely hated it.
- So, I switched majors from ACCY, to Information Systems (with some side papers in Computer Science), switched department from Management Accounts to Information Systems at Housing Corporation, and never looked back from there.
- In fact, shortly after I attained my degree, I had shown such aptitude, that my university lecturer and I started a company together. I paid back my bond to Housing Corporation and I became co-director of my own Information Systems consultancy!