It occurred to me this morning that I have been fumbling around with computers for approximately 20 years now. It’s no wonder I’m such a computer genius.

Playing on the computer used to be so much more fun. For example, making banners with the first version of The Print Shop, and printing them out on that primitive, perforated printer paper with the holes on the sides! Yay for the old school Apple II series (which recently celebrated is 30th anniversary).

My first instant messaging experience
I sent a message from the family room computer to the computer in my parents’ bedroom. Then I ran in there and sent a message back to myself in the family room. Then I ran into the family room and sent a message back to the bedroom. (Notice how this used to be less of a social networking experience and more of a physical activity.)

Early gaming
I definitely learned a few things from Where in the World is Carmen San Diego? – mainly the states and capitals, the locations of various foreign countries, and the beginnings of my impeccable detective (aka “Internet stalking”) skills. I liked Carmen San Diego much, much more than The Oregon Trail. The only thing I learned from that game was how to ration money and kill off the rest of the people in my wagon in order to keep more food for myself.

Adopting e-mail
My first e-mail address was (Don’t try to e-mail me there. AOL sucks, and that address doesn’t exist anymore. The AIM name Atlantys23 still belongs to me, however, and you might catch me on there once in a blue moon.) I used AOL to keep in touch with friends from summer camp and hang out in the occasional teen chatroom (13/F/NJ u?). Those chatrooms always turned into an insult-fest. I vaguely remember typing something along the lines of “well, you have the IQ of a tube of toothpaste” to more than one stupid ass in another time zone. By this time, Where in the World is Carmen San Diego? was a television show.

Keyboard brilliance
I learned to type in high school, but luckily I still got to take my standardized tests on paper with a No. 2 pencil and an answer sheet. (Do kids still take SATs with pencils anymore?) According to multiple online typing tests, I type approximately 103-108 WPM.

My computers
When I started college in 1999, I had a computer that was solely mine for the first time ever. It was a piece of crap. It would freeze, and the power button wouldn’t turn it off, and I would have to pull the plug and kick it to turn it off and start over. (This probably had something to do with all of the music I was illegally hoarding off Napster and Limewire.) I learned the value of saving my work every five minutes, along with grasping the concept of an ethernet cable, being connected to the Internet 24 hours a day, managing multiple e-mail accounts, and using the computer to communicate with people in the next room.

In 2000, at Virginia Tech, I got my second computer. That one worked a lot better. I learned how to reformat my own hard drive and operate a computer while under the influence of alcohol. I also discovered the usefulness of an FTP site and submitted my homework online, and I was the proud owner of a pirated version of Windows XP by the time I graduated college.

Internet omniscience
If you’re an avid reader of this blog, I’m sure you remember the arrival of my post-graduation laptop. All hell broke loose! I came to terms with wireless Internet, I mastered [the basic concept of] HTML code, I started up the LJ, and I I finally broke down about two years ago and created a MySpace page. I’ve found roommate after roommate on; I pay my bills online; I’ve got more than four functioning e-mail addresses; I’m on my second iPod and my fourth digital camera; I’m making money off of at least four different websites while I sit here at my desk (Associated Content, CafePress, SurveySavvy and eBay); I’m working hard on developing my new Virb profile, and my pride and joy at the moment is my 250GB external hard drive (that my awesome boyfriend gave me for Christmas). You’ll get more results Googling “VTJerseyGirl03” than you will “Lisa DeNoia,” and I even have an abbreviated version of my online alias (VTJG03) on my license plates!

So, there you have it – how to become a computer genius in 20 years.

Anyway, back to work (and Internet browsing, and solitaire, and MySpace, and Facebook, and Virb, and Google, and e-mail, and Vision, and…you get the point).

Oh, and at some point during this 20-year technological revolution, Where in the World is Carmen San Diego? became a board game?

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