Like so many, I ended up with a Commodore 64 home computer.
This machine proved to be a kind of revalation, compared to what I was used to, it had virtually unlimited memory (64 KB instead of a whopping 1 KB) and 'fast' storage. The machien I had had a purpose also, to write a database system for the company of my dad. For this purpose, we got the fast and high capacity SFD-1001 drive, which stored upto 1 MB on a floppy and managed a peak transfer rate of upto 1mbit/sec.
At first, the C64 seemed to have a big disadvantage, its Basic version is very limited, and doesn't have commands for graphics or sound, two things that the C64 is in fact very good at, at least for its time (and when it comes to sound.. lots of efford goes into emulating its sound hardware correctly on modern PCs, and the sound chip for the machine is still quite popular among people who build analog synthesizers.
Within a short time, there were machines that could display more colours and had more sound channels, yet couldn't match the flexibility of either subsystem.
The Basic disadvantage soon turned into an advantage since it meant that in order to use any of the sound and graphics features, I had to learn 6502 assembly language.
With the database engine complete, I turned to multimedia and demo coding, concentrating on the multitasking capabilities needed for doing graphics, sound and possible game/demo logic at the same time.
Somewhere around this time I also got my first modem and made my first calls to a nearby BBS system (at a whopping 300bps full duplex ;)
Once I had started working for IBM, I started doing more with communications and less with multimedia programming.
It helped a lot of course that I soon aquired networking hardware for my home computers (I had 2 PCs and an Amiga by that time) and got a faster (2400bps) modem.
Still being interested in graphics, I made myself a nice fast fractal generator, derived from ideas from the then popular fractint program.
I also got a Compuserve account through IBM, and got access to e-mail and usenet (news) through an IBM Internet gateway.
Now things started to accelerate and 2 years after starting at IBM, the Netherlands got its connection to the Internet, and within months I got a dialin account on an Internet connected Unix machine.
Less then a year later, I got a slip account at a small Internet Provider and got my home network connected.
When the first versions became available for testing, I got my home network connected through a proxy server.
By this time I had also encountered Linux and FreeBSD, and started wondering if one of those would make a better gateway/proxy.
As it happened, my ISP was running FreeBSD, and was interested in helping me out a bit with setting up a machine myself. In the end I didn't need that help, but it convenced me that I should give it a try.
It didn't take long before I had my network connected through a 'masquerading' gateway, allowign all machines full Internet access
By that time, my home network had grown substantially and I had moved to my current home in Utrecht.
The network included some 8 PCs by now, 2 of them running FreeBSD, one running Linux, one running Windows and 4 running OS/2.
By now I had encountered a net game called Kobra, a multiplayer adventure style game based on the so called LPMud driver.
After playing this for a few years (..) I became interested in how such games were built, and after some investigating, I joined the group who develops this specific net game.
Years later I decided to start out for myself with such a game, based on more modern technology, a project which is still ongoing.
In the meantime, I had picked up sound and video as hobbies again, and setup a small recording studio with some computer controlled equipment.
My Network started including non-PC machines like SGI indies, a SUN SPARCStation, HP Apollo machines, a DEC VAX and some others. It had grown to over 40 machines and included token-ring, 3 types of ethernet, optical fiber link and a leased line connection to one of my friends.
I use this network for many purposes, including setting up test situations for firewall and filtering products.
When I got IBM's Internet Connection Server running for the first time I also setup my first website. I have maintained a site ever since, altho for years that was mostly an online version of my bookmarks.
In more recent times I made some serious work of my personal website, and of the server it is running on, and the result is what you see now.Some links to hobby projects I am/have been involved in (see 'About my work' for work related projects)
WebWatcher, a tool to monitor pages (may not work in Internet Explorer 6)
Way Of The Force, online multiplayer game