My First Computer

Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud, and how does it relate to the person you are?

I became interested in physics when I built my first computer, around the age of 13. A friend and I purchased the parts individually and assembled them to create a computer more powerful than anything then available commercially. Like surgeons, we meticulously dropped each piece into its place, connected each wire to its respective socket, and designed a cable system that allowed maximum air flow, increasing the machine’s efficiency. And like mothers watching over their young, we monitored the assembly process, nervous each time we jerked our hands a little too fast or touched components before completely removing excess static from our fingertips. What started as silicon and metal morphed into my multimedia workstation, the center of my digital activity, from networking to video editing to simply printing. After we finished, my family handed over control of every photograph we had ever taken and every song we had ever listened to.

Although the responsibility of managing my family’s photographs, music, movies, documents, and internet connection was quite a bit of work, I wanted to expand my knowledge of technology. Having built a computer at the macro-component level, I felt the next step would to be to uncover the inner...

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