One weekend, my dad needed to learn CORBA for work. My mother drove the family to the Barnes & Noble on Stevens Creek Blvd. Three hours later, when we returned to pick him up, my dad had bought, and mostly read, Client/Server Programming with Java and CORBA. The cover showed two cartoon aliens drinking coffee at a diner.
That book found its home in our living room bookcase alongside many other programming books.
The original iMac came in only one flavor, but it still had a name: Bondi Blue. If you touched the CRT monitor, you could feel static electricity; a magnet would bend the colors. The mouse was round and had a single button.
I had a desk I’d convinced my parents to buy for me in the first grade. The iMac filled it, pushing the keyboard just barely past the edge.
The summer before my last year in high school, I started an internship at a semiconductor company. My grandmother worked there as an executive assistant and had gotten me the job. This was fortunate, as I had no other qualifications.
The previous summer I typed shipping orders into a computer terminal and delivered printouts to sales associates. I practiced writing their names in big, flowing cursive. I drank Styrofoam cups of coffee.
Tamagotchi was released in the US in 1997. It was a pink, egg-shaped device with a 32x16 pixel display and three buttons. The display showed a tiny digital pet. The buttons provided the pet with food, recreation, and medicine. If you neglected the pet for too long, it would get sick. This was designed to teach Japanese children responsibility. Everyone in my elementary school was desperate to own one.
Tamagotchi had a website, and the landing page featured a cartoon drawing of a Tamagotchi.
A friend had lent me The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and it was making me miserable.
My mother took us to the pool at our grandparents’ condo in Sunnyvale. We were one of the few families that used the pool. It felt secluded, surrounded by honeysuckle bushes; we had discovered a previous summer that we could suck the nectar out of the flowers. On other days, I would have smelt chlorine, felt the hot concrete under my feet steaming with pool water.