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My History With Computers & Technology

My love for computers and technology started when I was in elementary school. My dad had an old DOS based computer that he used and I would spend hours at night entering my sports cards into some software we had that was supposed to show its value. I had 1 running word processing document that I used for everything but it was mainly filled with song lyrics I had taken the time to type out. In 3rd grade we had Macs so I got to learn a little bit about that operating system but I always preferred Windows.

When Windows 95 came out we got a new PC (Acer Aspire, 75mhz processor, 1GB hard drive) and my dad, brother and I started to get into some turn-based games like Ultimate Domain and Lords of the Realm. The first really good games we played were the ones that came after that: Warcraft 1 & 2, Command & Conquer and Diablo. I liked creating maps with the custom map editor for StarCraft and creating websites for whichever clan I was in at the time. I used ICQ (an early messenger client) to keep in touch with friends and clanmates.

When South Park Season 1 came out, I was in love with the show. I created a fan site called Brett's South Park Page and I poured hours of time into drawing characters from the show in MS Paint and then uploading them to my site as original content. I was bitten by a rattlesnake early that summer and it kept me inside for months. I spent that summer reading a book on HTML my dad had and with all of the self learning I did my web design skills went from beginner to intermediate.

In high school, I spent more time on the computer than I had in middle school. I took a couple programming classes, Visual Basic and C++, but I was definitely not a natural at it. I had to work really hard and get help from the smarter kids to accomplish my projects. I did create one cool game in Visual Basic that I called Beaver Madness. It was a 2D shooting game that was sort of like Duck Hunt but more violent and with cooler weapons similar to games like Doom at the time. My group of friends played games like Starseige Tribes, StarCraft, Unreal Tournament but the game we played the most and for the longest time was EverQuest. I spent most of my computer time playing games but I also continued to make webpages and graphics every once in a while for a friend or clan. I bought an ATI All in Wonder Video card that had a video capture capabilities so I started learning how to record live TV and do minor editing to the video files.


I went to college from 2003 to 2007 and I did not spend as much time on my computer during those years. In my final year of college, when I was living alone in a 2 bedroom apartment, I got into recording songs on the guitar. I started with a Sound Blaster Audigy but eventually found the Line 6 Toneport. I used Steinberg Cubase/Nuendo to as my recording software and I cranked out a lot of recordings in about the span of a year.

After I graduated from college, I had a 6 month period where I was unemployed and did not have much money to do anything so I spent a lot of time recording. This period yielded my best work but sadly all of it was lost when my hard drive crashed. I learned a valuable lesson about having backups.

Once I got a job I did not have as much time for recording and I have never really done it much since. Once every year or so though I might record a quick cover of something but I have not written and recorded an entire song since 2008.


In 2011, the computer I had at the time was very outdated and parts were dying out. I needed a replacement but I had never put together a computer from scratch before, I had only done a few pieces like RAM or video card. But with the help of a friend I successfully pieced together a new system at half the cost it would have been from a store. Also that year I decided I really wanted to get into app development. I created an app using the help of another app called App Factory and it turned out ok, it was a good learning experience. That app ended up getting over 100,000 downloads.

From 2012-2014, I learned Java and XML enough from YouTube videos and googling that I recreated the app above from scratch. This one also gained 100,000+ downloads but I kind of lost interest in trying to get better at Java. I started working on other things like Tasker and KLWP on android. After a year or 2 of a break, I tried to return to app development/programming but I had found that so much had changed with the Android operating system itself. I felt too lost and never really got back into it.

In 2015, I started getting interested in home automation. I started with some GE Link smart bulbs and quickly moved onto a Wink Hub and Philips Hue bulbs.

In 2016, I undertook the huge task of scanning thousands of our family photos onto the computer and converting VHS tapes into digital copies.

In 2017, I bought a Raspberry Pi 3 and started working with Home Assistant which took my smart home to the next level. I created a Plex server to host all of my libraries of content. I bought and hooked up a 3rd monitor to my main computer and used my old monitor for a 2nd PC running Plex and Blue Iris. I bought a Shield TV and downloaded a bunch of emulators so I could play old NES/SNES/Sega ROMS. I started working on this website.

In 2018, I moved Blue Iris, my security camera software, to it's own separate computer so that the Plex server could be on its own dedicated computer. I continue to work with Home Assistant and Plex on my computer. I added a lot of content to this website.



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