My first experience with computers was in 1969. I did some work on the first computer numeric control (CNC) machine, an Excelon printed circuit board drill installed at Hartzell Electronics, in Edina Minnesota. When the question "Is it ethical to have a computer making parts for itself?" was asked, I answered yes. So if computers take over the world and Terminator becomes reality you can blame me for helping to take the first step. I have worked on many different types of CNC machines since then, and I am currently working on a 150 kilowatt CNC induction heat treating machine.
My interest in personal computers began in 1983 with the purchase of a ZX-81. Soon after I upgraded to an Apple II, then a 286 PC clone. During this time I went back to school and got a two year community college computer science degree. Most of what I did at school was Cobol and RPG programming on IBM mainframes, followed by a brief stint in the IT field where I found that it spoiled a good hobby. In the following decade I did a lot of programming, mostly assembly language.
My first experience with Linux occurred sometime around 1995. Up until that point I was using DOS, the early releases of Windows did not Interest me. I was waiting for a 32 bit operating system. When Windows 95 was introduced it surprised me that Microsoft would create a 16 bit operating system 10 years after the introduction of the 386 processor, so I went looking elsewhere. I gave OS2, Linux, and Windows NT4 each a six month trial, enough to become fairly comfortable with each. At that time I decided to go with Windows NT4. I don't remember what Linux distro I tried, but it came in second. I installed Linux every year or so to see how it was progressing, and it soon became apparent that Linux was getting better while Windows was just getting more bloated. When Microsoft introduced Vista I took one look and knew it was time to make the switch.
After a bit of research I decided to try Ubuntu 7.04, and Puppy Linux. I was able to come up to speed fairly quickly, but I joined both forums to ask a few newbie questions. Shortly thereafter I took an interest in the Asus EeePC and became an active member of the eeeuser.com forum. When the EeePC turned into a mainstream computer and that forum started dying I became involved with the Ubuntu forum.