Toronto Free-Net username: dn922
My interest in computers surfaced for the first time when I attended high school in Etobicoke. The year was 1972. We were offered a course in computer technology; the hardware was a Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-8e with a whopping 8 kB of semiconductor RAM. I first learned to program in BASIC on this machine.
After graduating from Grade 13, my post-secondary computer courses included PL/1 at U of T, System 360/370 assembly language at York and at Ryerson, where I also took an interest in Fortran and RPG (Report Program Generator; a unique, but now forgotten language).
In the early 80s, after working in film and video for a number of years, some colleagues and I started a small computer graphics firm. Using an Apple II compatible machine plus a broadcast quality video generator, we were able to supply fancy titles and remarkable graphics (at that time) to clients we had come to know over the years in the business.
Turning to more recent times, I discovered the Toronto Free-Net in late 2008 while browsing through a list of Toronto ISPs at a local library. They were one of the few Internet providers where one could actually go to an office and pay cash for service, so I decided to sign up. At first, I was only a regular member, but in late 2010 I decided to become a volunteer. My tasks over the years have been manyfold:
Recently, I have also begun putting some of my old programming skills to work for the Free-Net, designing and coding a user-friendly system for generating and printing receipts for all the various services we offer and also the small hardware items that we sell.
All in all, it is a rewarding experience volunteering at the Free-Net and I would advise anyone with a passion for technology to come sign up with us and try their hand at being a volunteer!