In the beginning...
It was 1984 when I was 13 years old and my parents spent a little
fortune in order to buy me a nice C64. It was so expensive that they
couldn't afford the costs of the disk-drive unit: it was as expensive
as the whole C64! With the C64 I spent lot of time (...very lot of time)
playing with Pac-Man, Donkey-Kong, Jupiter-Jumper and the like. I also
spent some time (...little time, unfortunatly), programming in BASIC
and trying to understand the magicness of the PEEK and POKE command
needed to program the sound and the graphic chipset. It was at that
time that I discovered the FOR-NEXT cicle needed to clean the graphic
memory of the C64; a cicle that took more or less 40/50 seconds to be
executed in BASIC. I early got so tired to wait so long every time I
want to draw something on the screen that as soon as I discovered the
assembler, I tried the port of the cleaning cicle in the 6502 assembler.
Wonderful! No more that 1 second was enough to clean the whole screen
but.... assembler, as soon as such speed, showed also an incredibly
complex programming language: no variable; no easy cicle; no string
support.... nothing! That's why I quickly got back to BASIC...
around 1987, in order to start a new business, my parents were
going to buy the bleeding-edge of the computing power for that time:
a wonderful 80286 plently of RAM (640KB... yes, KILObyte
and _NOT_ MB!) and disk-space (40MB...yes, MEGAbyte...
and not Gigabyte). Luckily enough, it was so expensive and so difficult
to have that our supplier were unable to sell it to us and... hence,
we were able to buy a previous generation 8088 machine with only 512K
RAM and 20 MB HD. We spent for such a machine more or less the equivalent
of today 4.000 euro. 4.000 euro...fifteen years ago...for an 8086 :-(...
The 8088 were running a DBIII application. DBIII was what we would call
today a relational DBMS but that did not support SQL [...well, SQL did
not exist in the 1987 ;-)]
Anyway, DBIII was really a smart DBMS: it was very quick using proper
indexes and, also, it supported a procedural language by which it was
possible to build simple procedure to handle input from keyboard, searching
data and printing reports.
While spending time on DBIII, I got some experience with a little local
software house. Basically I was involved in writing some little application
using Quick Basic and... thanks to this, after a couple of years, I
was able to get in return a wonderful new PC based on the 80386 processor.
I started studying Computing Science at Univerisity of L'Aquila in 1990.
It was at that time that, thanks to one of my best friend, Luigi, I
discovered Clipper: something that started as a compiler for DBIII applications
but that quickly became a superset, a large superset of DBIII.
At univerisity I also had some experience with other programming languages
(C, Pascal, Fortran) and also other operating systems (SunOS, IBM AIX,
Actually, I previously had some contact with Apple Macintosh thanks
to my brother, Dario, who were working (...and is still working) for
a big research center that, at that time, largely used Macintosh (Mac
Plus, Mac II, and the like). It was on one of this Macintosh that I
saw the game "The Fool's Errand"
that I'm still finding today be run on a today's PC (BTW: if you
know where I can get it, please let
Getting back to University, the most important things to say related
to Computer Science are not so good:
But even if with this two concerns, I'm absolutly sure that university
gave me a strong open and technical-oriented mind. I think that only
thanks to university backgroud, my further investigation withing internet
technologies were possible.
...is explained in the CV ;-)