Was I the first Pinoy Hacker, in the Internet sense. In fourth year, we had a bit of a scandal. Some colleagues and I were accused of hacking. The Internet was very new. My classmate did it. He gave himself credits in the time accounting system. I showed him how. One fateful night he stayed overnight. I logged into the school system using my 2400bps modem, and found that the time accounting shell script was setuid root but did not check the PATH. Scripting was still very new.
I started my Ateneo life in Chemistry/Computer Engineering (Chem CE). I figured that by that time, I had enough of computers and should try a physical science. After all, in my youth, I thought I’d be a “scientist” of the traditional type. This changed when I failed Fr. Schmitt’s class. He gave the name to the Chem building, and was probably the oldest x86 machine language programmer for lab control. He was my quantitative chemistry teacher in the hot summer of 1992.
I moved to Computer Science. My first class was CS 21a, and Turbo Pascal was the teaching language at that time. I hated it because of its inconsistencies. (Like: why does writeln work even when it’s not defined as a function?) For my first sem, the teacher (whose name I forgot), allowed me to pass the course without attending. I just needed to submit a final project, a blackjack simulation called CaSino 21. (What a coincidence in the name.) I made this with ASCII art graphics and PC speaker drumbeats. When I rejoined the mainstream CS, I was with the class of ’96 for most of my major subjects.
At some point I joined the Ateneo Virus Research Group, when viruses were all the rage. (I have some recollections in my previous post.) I implemented my code in C. C was heaven compared to Pascal. I used Turbo C, and then later Borland C/C++. For Christmas in 1993 or 1994, I made a “brick game” in Borland C++ and its proprietary VGA graphics module, as a gift. One of our senior projects was also in C or C++ – networking class. We made a multiplayer LAN shooting game – inspired by the CROBOTS fighting robots perhaps? It did not use IP, just layer 2 broadcasts.
I did not get over my old favorite BASIC so quickly. 1991-1992, I picked up Visual Basic 1.0 after it got rave reviews in PC Digest. It was not used in the CS curriculum at all, but I used it for a class project in psychology (of all things! it was a quiz called “EnviroPsych” when environmentalism became hot.) I also made a sliding puzzle game called “PushOver” which I have planned to remake many times.
All this time I was on DOS and Windows. I only moved to Linux/Windows in my senior year, 1994-1995. We had a Unix programming class where we had to implement a multiuser chat style app. This was when the Internet was new, and people used “finger,” “talk,” telnet BBS’s and IRC to communicate with other PHnet universities and the world at large. One of my friends was probably the first to get into online romance during this period, and she eventually moved to Florida and married.
I got introduced to Linux care of Doc Mana, during the days of Slackware and its numerous diskettes. I took the plunge and installed Linux in my computer (486DX33, 8 MB RAM, and 120 MB hard drive I think?) so that the Doc could present at an event in UA&P. I got involved in that event care of CompSAt, but UA&P (CRC at that time?) was the host. I got involved more in Linux as I did some work in making plans for the Internet (in what would lead to IPhil Communications), as well as my participation in the BBS community which was making moves towards the Net.
Those were historic times.