How did I get here? Part 1

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This post is supposed to be a quick introduction to anyone wanting to know more about my technical background and personal path that led me to this point in time. I’ll be focusing a little more on my technical graduation and the things through my life that took me to take this path in IT and Computer Networks. This post will be attached to my “About” page and probably fill the requirement for a little background there =)

A curious kid’s story

I was born in 1993, a time in Brazil when computers weren’t very accessible to the general population, where mostly companies had their white~brown desktop with the CRT monitors and a lot of people would still use the typewriter for the bureaucracy. At around 1998, when I was 5, my father already had some old Pentium II computer where I’d get to sometimes use for entertain (like playing pixel-based games haha) and was curious about the components that would compose this “magical thing” that could be used for several things. At that time, I did already see a motherboard and, I think like most of children that sees one for the first time, though how all the components would make a model of a city, with the roads, buildings and some other things.

Pentium II AT MoBo with the CPU and DIMM RAM slots. Good Times

My father didn’t have any study in IT by the time, but was used to trying to fix things by himself and learning from the process. He had some component welding background from a course he took when was younger, but not much apart from this. So, from the trials and tests of trying to fix computers by himself, he had several components, like MoBos, RAMs and other around the house by the time I was 7, and I’d get to live among those things as a curious spectator, where I started to learn about the components and working of a computer.

The will to create things by myself

When I was younger, and I’m really grateful for having that, I used to play with mounting blocks (the famous LEGO), and that was a time I’d start understanding how the minor pieces would come together to become something larger. This is something that I believe is crucial in the development of a child’s learning capacity: being able to break a problem in smallers pieces, understand them individually, solve them or adapt them to their needs and them rebuild everything back up the way it’s meant to be.

I think a “game changer” in my history is when I came across a program called RPG Maker when I was about 10 years old. I already used to play RPG games in video games, had a Nintendo 64 by the time and had a SNES before that, but I was curious if I could create a game by myself. From that and some experience with Google, I found out about this program that would let you create your own games. For this, I’d need to first learn something: programming.

RPG Maker 2000 screen

RPG Maker would have an interface where you’d build the interactions and events of a object using a GUI selection mechanism where you could then specify every part (like variables, switches [a kind of boolean variable], objects, and other) of what you need. Of course, when I started learning how to used this software, I didn’t have any programming background, so I didn’t understand everything the same way I do today. But there was something important in my learning process: the Community.

Around 2005, there was a web forum in Brazil called “RPG Maker Brasil”, where the community would post tutorials of their “systems” developed using the platform, and where people would post questions to be answered by others. Once I started learning more and more of this event-driven programming, I’d start publishing tutorials from the systems I used to develop and people would give me feedback to make them better. I think it was the more approximate experienced I had from research, development and publication hahaha.

Even though, programming wasn’t my thing

Also by that time, around 2005, Online games started popularizing in Brazil due to a game publisher called Level Up! bringing games like Ragnarok Online and others to be more accessible by the local players. Me and my friends would play games like Ragnarok Online, Tibia, Mu Online and Gunz – The Duel together, but specially about Ragnarok and Tibia around that time, there was a growing movement to make these games more “affordable” by the community by creating Private Servers (by that time, we simple didn’t know these kind of servers were illegal, but well, we were kids).

The eAthena Ragnarok Online Server Emulator

Those private servers would actually be emulators created by more skilled programming using reverse engineering of the games’ communication with the server-side application. Most of them were available through the communities and was widely disclosed through the web by the time. So me and my friends started considering about how to create our own servers. Again, with some curiosity and help of the vast community around the web, we’d create our private Ragnarok Online servers using the eAthena Emulator (later the Cronus Emulator for the brazillian version) and our own Tibia’s OT Servers (that had an interesting XML configuration and programming approach) where we’d learn more and more about the internal working of those servers and make the modifications we’d be happy about.

Around 2008~, mostly of Brazil’s ISP services were based on ADSL with authentication through PPPoE and had a D-Link modem/router for the connection, that would then use a NAT to distribute the dynamic IP acquired from the provider in a private subnet. This kind of setup wouldn’t let us do much, since by the time we didn’t know about how port forwarding works or how to configure it on a D-Link modem, but that wouldn’t stop us from trying.

That’s all for now, folks!

I think it gives a pretty good introduction to my early years and some of the background that I consider important to what makes me be myself today. I’ll go on in another post in another day, focusing on my formal technical graduation, but I’ll stop here for today.

Hope you enjoyed reading a little about me and hope that it gives you some insight for questioning how the early years of someone can have some influence in their latter graduation.


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