Computer Science at school, my online store.
From a very young age I have had a strong passion for statistics and probabilities, rolling dice and taking note of the outcome and then trying to predict the next roll, little did I know about independence at the age of 9, but hours of fun, really, I swear.
Now, aged 13, I chose computer science as an option at school, a totally new course on the curriculum, and it seemed like the future. I had such a passion and curiosity for computing, it was an obvious choice, man, was I disappointed with the first 6 months, writing code on paper and then transferring it onto punch cards to send it to the local data centre. A week later, I would receive a ream of green and white striped computer paper with my code neatly printed out and the words “this is my first program” emblazoned across the bottom. The feeling was totally underwhelming, computers were meant to make difficult tasks more straightforward and faster, so what was this all about?
As part of the examination, each pupil had to submit a programme. I set out with the idea of using the computer as a polyphonic synthesiser. Using the qwerty keyboard and graphically displaying a piano keyboard on the screen, users could play an electric piano, although limited to just over an octave, having to use the arrow keys to move up and down the octaves. The project was written and delivered way in advance of the submission date, (later I would realise that what I was doing in terms of staying up all night to write code would be the norm.) I added several cool features such as ADSR and an oscillator but still was not satisfied. I wanted to expand the project into, as I saw it then, a tool that could be used to try different keyboard brands, by centralising the different sounds people could try them all out and then decide which one they would like. Obviously, it was impossible to get additional sound files and much more to replicate them using such a primary sound card. The final build ended up as a store for keyboards, with data and graphics of many models and the names and addresses of all the local retailers, it’s a shame the internet did not exist then my store was a decade ahead of a little-known online bookstore. This also became a little business for me as I wrote several other students final projects, the art of programming in modules, called procs (procedures) in Basic back then, showed how quickly DevOps could happen.
I was issued with a Sun systems Sparc workstation, the proverbial mother had truly over delivered. In-house developers had written many models that could be accessed, and although hugely powerful it was not the correct environment for amateurs. We moved onto Windows-based systems across the trading floor, and with that came the possibility to explore what was available. Armed with my new desktop, visual basic, web connectivity, a great boss with vision and a great IT team we set about creating an online exchange for Japanese warrants.
The project progressed well as we worked together on the system specification, database integrations, pricing models and the UI/UX. We went live and had good client take-up, unfortunately, the warrant market was coming to an end and with it our exchange.